If These Wall Murals Could Talk

Mairead Murphy is a Melbourne-based illustrator and interior designer with her own design practice, Maike Design. With an adventurous boy fascinated with rockets and space, she set out to paint a mural in his bedroom that wasn’t strongly gendered and wasn’t boring. The result is a room that has easily transitioned from a nursery into a more grown up bedroom with a nifty bunk bed. When Mairead’s second-born came along, her spare time was taken up by painting another stunning mural for her daughter, Kira. Today we are sharing both of these beautiful rooms and the updates she has made along the way. 

Mountain Mural
Handmade rocket mobile and mountain wall mural by Mairead Murphy

Tell us a bit about your son Flynn, the owner of this room? 

‘Flynn is my eldest and the room was designed for him as a toddler. At the time, he was into astronauts and space. Now he is 5, an avid storyteller and he loves LEGO. He has very particular taste and knows what he wants, so he must be onboard with the decisions for his room!’ 

What was the brief for Flynn’s room? 

‘I wanted to find a balance between being interesting but also a quiet, calm space. With the mountain mural, I was making it up as I went along! However it was important to design something to foster his love of storytelling and adventure.’

Mountain Mural
Vintage Marimekko Cushion and C110 Highback Chair from Feelgood Designs

Tell us about the second mural you painted for your daughter, Kira’s room? 

‘Kira is my youngest, she is 2 years old. I wanted to design a room that captured her imagination without being overwhelming. I painted Kira’s mural after she was born, so at the time I had a 3-year-old and a newborn. Getting that paint on the wall was quite difficult! Flynn used to sit on the floor and do his own art while I was painting and Kira was napping. It was tricky but an enjoyable process.’

Tell us a little bit about your business? 

‘Maike Design is a design practice specialising in highly detailed and beautiful residential design. I also have my illustration business Mairead Murphy Illustrations which has slowed down since I had two babies (only so many hours in the day!). I have designed a range of children’s wallpapers available through Milton and King and illustrated a children’s book called One Runaway Rabbit, which was shortlisted in the CBCA Early Childhood book of the year.’

Bird mobile and forest mural by Mairead Murphy

What’s the kids’ favourite feature in their rooms and why? 

‘The kids are both so proud of how their rooms turned out! They lie in bed telling each other stories based on their wall murals. I also made a lot of the soft toys and the mobiles myself, so the combination of the wall murals and the mobiles has really nurtured their storytelling.’ 

What was the best investment piece? 

‘The bunkbed in Flynn’s room separates out to become a loft bed and single bed, which I think is really clever. We didn’t want to buy something that we would need to replace soon so investing a piece of furniture that will be used long-term was a good choice for us. Once the kids are older and move into separate rooms we will be able to split the bed up into the two rooms. Also both kids were terrible sleepers, so the cane highback chair was for me to sit in at night while they fell asleep. It’s surprisingly comfortable!’ 

Flynn on his Frankie Bunk Bed from House of Orange

Quick Fire Q’s

[Instagram] Fave scroll stopper: @rachelcastleandthings @oliverjeffers @est_living

[Design style] Less is more or more is more: something personal is more important

[Motherhood] Defining parenting moment: This is such a tricky question! I was so nervous when I was pregnant the first time that I wouldn’t be any good at mum-ing, but the minute Flynn was put on my chest I thought he was just the most amazing, beautiful thing I had ever seen. I knew that everything was going to be ok.

[Mindfulness] Quote that sums you up: It’s a bit of a running joke at our house that no matter what challenges are thrown at us, in the end I always say “See – couldn’t have worked out better”


Get The Look

Chair – Feelgood Designs, Round Rug – West Elm, Frankie Bunk Bed – House of Orange, Andes Rug – Armadillo and Co, Bedlinen – Cultiver, Black and White Marrimekko Cushion – Angelucci, Fat-fat Black Side Table – B&B Italia at Space Furniture, Timber Side Table – Tide Design, Print “It All Makes Sense” – Anthony Burrill, Black and White Prints – Mairead Murphy, Cot / Toddler Bed – Mocka, Arne Jacobsen City Hall Wall Clock – Danish Design Store


Styling: Beck Simon

Photography: Tess Kelly

Designer: Maike Design

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