A Regina woman has transformed the space under her stairs into a Chronicles of Narnia-inspired world of enchantment that she hopes inspires her two-year-old daughter to imagine her dreams coming to life.
Brittany Gogel is an interior stylist from Regina. She decided to take part in the One Room Challenge — an interior design challenge where over 250 participants re-do one room from top to bottom in six weeks.
Gogel decided to completely overhaul her basement with the goal of creating an Imaginarium for her daughter.
“I want to invite my daughter into creativity and using your imagination,” said Gogel.
“I think that it inspires and encourages you to be bold and pursue passions. I think when we live out of what we’re passionate about, then that’s where we can really live a full life.”
Gogel worked with Alex Goetz to design and construct the face of a wardrobe to lead into the Imaginarium. Then, week-by-week, she worked to create a springtime forest scene inside the closet.
“I designed it so that when the wardrobe door is open, the first thing you see is massive fur coats … so you walk through the fur coats just the same way Lucy does the first time when she goes into Narnia,” said Gogel.
She installed grass for the floor and created trees out of chicken wire and papier mâché joint compound to create a forest-like appearance.
“Real particular people who are fans of the story will note I did not use the winter theme,” said Gogel.
“I didn’t want to have winter. We have winter enough here in Saskatchewan.”
She had the wardrobe extend back behind the stairs to create the feeling of walking into another world, complete with fir trees, blue skies, flowers, birds, butterflies, ladybugs and a Narnia-style lamp-post.
The power of imagination
Gogel also had Goetz install bookshelves for her daughter inside the trees.
“I think that the same way that I loved Narnia when I was a kid, and reading books — it got me into other books,” said Gogel.
“Fantasy is a really great way for children and people in general to sometimes deal with the reality of life that we have to put up with.”
Gogel hopes to instill a love of reading in her daughter as well. So far, it’s working out.
“She is so obsessed with it. I’ve encouraged it ever since she was born … she just loves reading almost anything we can get our hands on,” said Gogel.
Gogel said she hopes her work serves as a reminder that using your imagination is not just for kids.
“I hope that when people look at what I’m doing that they’re really inspired with creativity for themselves,” she said.
“Whatever your passion is, that you would look at what I’m doing and feel inspired to pursue your own passions and creativity.”