Extreme Kids Rooms: Why Do Parents Do It?

Why are parents willing to go to extremes when it comes to their kids?

May 17, 2011 -- They are the rooms ABC's hit reality show "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" is made of.

The ship and sword-laden pirate bedrooms for boys. The dream-like princess rooms for girls.

The room transformations that make even the youngest of the show's participants jump up and down, scream and cry just like their parents.

These types of over-the-top, extreme bedrooms for kids are no longer just the stuff of made-for- television dramas or an episode right out of "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous."

From Los Angeles to New York, and in between, extreme kids rooms are quickly becoming the norm, popping up in design showrooms and real-life homes across the country.

Minneapolis-based interior designer Steve Kuhl gave "Good Morning America" a peek inside just one of the many kid-friendly, dream spaces he has created, a $60,000 pirate bedroom complete with a rope bridge, crow's nest and a secret compartment for hiding.

PHOTOS: Ahoy, Mateys! Child's Pirate-Ship Bedroom

Kuhl's fellow Minneapolis-based interior designer, Kelly Thyen, recalled the time she was brought to turn one family's construction mess into their child's bedroom.

It was a job request that did not just mean a quick paint job or installing a child-sized bed.

The $15,000 custom mural? Check.

A $8,600 custom made sofa? Check.

One $3,500 loft hide-away? Check.

The entire cost of redecorating the room? $76,000.

"The idea for the mural came from the roof line of the home," Thyen, of the children's design studio Wiggles N Giggles, told "GMA" anchor Lara Spencer. "And there is a space that is not a flat wall that looked like the hull of a ship, so the idea sprung from there."

Extreme Decorating: A Dream for the Kids, or the Parents?

So what exactly is it that drives parents to spend more money decorating their kids' bedrooms than most American families spend on their child's college education?

For many parents, it is a chance to give their children what they never had.

Julie Spangler, a mother of three, came from a poor background. Born in Korea, she came to the United States as a child and went on to create a successful life for herself in her new country.

When it was time for Spangler and her husband to decorate their daughter, Kylie's, bedroom, in their lavish, new home just outside Minneapolis, Minn., they spared no expense.

"It's more about me," admitted Julie. "It was really an opportunity for me to create a kind of fantasy room for her that was totally princess-y…a girl's dream come true as a bedroom."

The dream for Spangler, and perhaps her daughter, included $10,000 worth of hand-drawn and hand painted murals, a $2,700 mosaic bench, a $1,400 mosaic mirror, more than $1,700 worth of furniture, a $1,200 custom butterfly chandelier and more.

"There are mermaids that reflect us," Julie pointed out. "So there is a mommy mermaid and a Kylie mermaid."

For those keeping track, the Spanglers spent $39,313 on their 10- year-old daughter's bedroom.

The story of Julie Spangler and her extreme decorating is neither unusual nor extreme, confirms Jennifer Duneier, the president of Duneier Design in New York City.

"People want their children to have the most amazing rooms, partially because maybe they didn't have the fantastical room that they wanted as a child," she said. "Or now they have the means and they want to blow it over the top for them."

And when the kids are gone and the means are still there, where will mothers like Julie focus their attention?

"This is a beautiful silver hand carved dog bed," Duneier pointed out to Spencer in the Zoya B. showroom in Manhattan. "It's about $2,600, and of course you can do it in any fabric, any size you want."

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