SheKnows HomeStretch: Meet the mom - Cori

Sep 21, 2010 at 5:07 a.m. ET

In Season 2 of the SheKnows online TV series, "HomeStretch," it was the Battle of the Boys. Two terrific moms were paired with two designers to makeover their sons' rooms for $2,000 in two days. Let's meet one of the moms, Cori Marx, and find out more about her son, Julien.

Cori and son

About Cori

I grew up in Phoenix and went to The University of Arizona, which is where I met my husband, Benjamin. I'm an art director at Off Madison Ave, an advertising agency where I design everything from brochures to TV commercials to websites. My husband is a paramedic/fire captain for the city of Phoenix.

I may not save lives like he does, but I like to think I make some things in them a little prettier! We have two sons, Julien, 9, and Simon, 5, as well as a 124-pound mastiff who fancies himself as a lap dog.

About Julien

Julien is a dynamic 9-year-old who can never seem to get enough information about, well, everything. He has been reading since he was three, which has opened a whole world to explore on his own. While he enjoys the usual boy pasttimes like sports, bikes, and television, his real passions are directed toward building with Legos, as well as devouring and processing (by making models and drawings) all information about World War II airplanes and war ships.

He is quick to clarify that WWII itself is not his interest (coincidentally he shares his birthday with Pearl Harbor Day), but that it is the technology behind the machines that intrigues him. When he is not wrapped up in discovering new information he is a great, big brother to Simon. He also loves swimming and playing video games.

Also, unlike most kids his age, Julien has a hard time sleeping. We went almost an entire year with only three or four days a week with a full night's rest. Recently, we decided to change his diet to gluten-, milk-, egg-, and soy-free. Tough for anyone to stick to, let alone a kid, but he has been a real trooper AND has slept through almost every night since the change! Those nights he still has troubles, he has plenty of books to keep him company.

About his room

Julien's room hasn't changed since he was four, but his interests definitely have. He has been asking me for a while to help him make some posters or paint a mural with airplanes or ships on it so his room would feel more up to date. One would think this would be easy for me considering my profession, but after a long work week, my creative energy is completely tapped.

Although he is so much more important to me than work, I fear my continually putting him off was starting to make him feel like he was having to take a backseat to my job. Not a happy feeling for either of us!

Due to Julien's sleep issues he spends a lot of time in his room at night awake. I'd like for him to have better lighting for when he is awake as well as other techniques (like organization!) to help put him at peace and help him get back to sleep. Last, because Julien's interest in WWII planes is so consuming and so unusual for a child his age, I wanted to give him an experience that validated his love of something out of the ordinary. Having a group of people take an interest in, and produce something with his favorite theme, sends the message that it's okay to like different things. History and technology are really cool, and the love of them should be celebrated. What better way to celebrate than with a room makeover?

What needs improvement

Julien's room is in a sad state, indeed; buckets of Legos are all over the ground. His models are often on the floor or teetering on the edge of his nightstand. In his attempts to decorate his room, Julien has printed out some illustrations of planes and taped them to his wall. There doesn't seem to be enough space on his bookshelf for the numerous books he has, so they are in piles around the room as well. The lighting in the room is terrible, which is tough since he spends so much of his time reading. The chaos in his room is a bit overwhelming—no wonder he is having issues sleeping!

Full of pride

I hope this experience will give Julien a room he is proud of and that shows him his interests are something he should be proud of as well. I'd like for the designers to figure out a way to turn a somewhat jarring theme idea into a place of peace and relaxation to help him get to sleep, but still be fun and youthful, reflecting Julien's personality.

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