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Home Front: Style for the Small

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It was little-girl heresy. Even when she was 8 years old, La Différence Vice President Sarah Paxton never liked her friends' frilly, fancy canopy beds. They seemed stuffy, she says.

No wonder, then, that the new ladiff KID collection is anything but. Head up to the third floor of the Shockoe Slip furniture wonderland, and you'll find sleek, convertible cribs, round chalkboard tables and a featureless, but strangely appealing, orange "sit-on-dog" ($279, from Magis).

Ladiff KID, which officially launched March 3, is aimed at parents who are already aficionados of La Diff style and want to continue the contemporary look with their children's rooms, Paxton says. Some of the Scandinavian- and Shaker-style beds and dressers are kids' versions of furniture that's popular among adults. The Danish Flexa bed is designed to grow with a child, converting from a twin bed with rails to a bunk bed or loft bed.

Paxton sought to create a collection that was both "modern and livable," she says — the antithesis to the heavy, hand-me-down suites of yore. "Put the antiques in the guest room. … Let the kids have something that's really fun," she says.

One surefire kid-pleaser is the line of WallCandy peel-and-stick wall appliqués ($89 for the Candy Factory pattern). You can let your child decorate — and redecorate — his or her own room with giant lollipops, dots or butterflies.

Then there's the "Scary Fish" crib bedding. Beatrix Potter it ain't. According to Paxton, the red, white and black print of schools of toothy fish have made some parents say, "Good God, why would you put that in your child's crib?" But such bold designs encourage an infant's visual development, Paxton says. And hey, it's cool.

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