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Sleeping beauty
Parents create castle bed for princess of a daughter

By CANDACE DOYLE

Once upon a time, there was a little girl named Morgan Kern.

Like many other 4-year-olds, Morgan fancied being a princess and liked all things related ó the dresses, the stories, the castles and even the idea of kissing a frog to release a Prince Charming.

Lucky for her, Morganís mother fancied being a fairy godmother in that she liked granting her daughterís wishes.

Also lucky for Morgan is that her mom, Sara Kern, is an interior designer with her own business, Marrin Designs LLC in Milwaukee. And, for the recent Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design graduateís thesis, Kern had to build a full-size play land, which is in the back yard of the familyís northwest side Milwaukee home.

"I learned all about spaces, and I really enjoyed doing it for kids," she says.

She enjoyed it so much that she decided to build a castle for Morgan, one that would safely surround her bed.

With the help of her husband, Christopher, the two used plywood, sonotubes and concrete forms and spent the better part of two weekends doing just that. They built a castle with a window at the foot and the head of the bed, and a door that opens at the side to enter; above that side door, the words "Princess Morgan" are stenciled.

Kern says the goal was to build the castle to surround the bed without overpowering the room, further decorated with a childís chair shaped like a frog wearing a crown, photos from Euro Disney and the familiar Cinderella dress hanging on a wall.

"I wanted to build something for Morgan," she says. "And she was into princesses."

The hardest part in building the castle, Kern says, was the stenciling and painting ó they used oil paint, which took longer than anticipated to dry.

The castle was to be a surprise for Morgan, too. "She had no idea," Kern says.

And her response showed it: "Ah!" Kern says Morgan exclaimed. "She was very excited. She just loves it."

Kern says Morgan was sick a few months after the castle was complete, and mom cuddled up with her daughter in the bed. "Itís so cozy," says Kern, pointing out the ceilingís light green, soothing paint.

Kern says itís satisfying to build something for a child, and since she and Christopher did the work themselves, their only cost was supplies ó about $200. Itís money well spent to live happily ever after.