When entertainment executive Eric Rhone and his wife, Angela, moved into their spacious Frontenac home seven years ago, they intended for a large room in their stylishly finished basement to be a media room. But with two young, energetic boys, they determined that the space would be better served as a special playroom for sons Arlington and Eldridge, filled with their favorite toys and their own personal artwork. The room, dubbed "The Rhone Zone," was completed as a Christmas gift to them.
Eric travels back and forth to Los Angeles, where he is currently executive producing "The Soul Man," the new sitcom starring another St. Louis native, Cedric the Entertainer. The family gets support from the boys' nanny, Tiffany, who spends a lot of time in the "Rhone Zone" helping and playing with the boys.
The Rhone Zone has everything two rambunctious kids could want, and everything needed to stimulate them as they grow, including individual computer stations for educational play, "miles" of toy train tracks, a mini-stage with a range of musical instruments where the kids perform as the "Rhone Rockers," shelves of books, and space to stretch out and watch TV (only on weekends).
To add a personal touch, Angela invited over family and friends for a "painting party" to paint the mini-kitchen's cabinets and drawers, giving each kid his own space to decorate in bright, primary colors. One cabinet even has the paw prints of the family's toy poodle, Cole-B. The cabinets and mini-fridge are stocked with snacks and drinks for the kids.
On the room's long walls, Angela strung brightly colored twine, where she clips the boys' artwork from school and home. The phrase "So many toys, so little time" is painted on the wall between the pictures.
Their favorite thing to play with are the train sets, which Angela and Tiffany help them set up in large, elaborate formations. "We use the train sets to teach them about architecture and engineering," says Angela. "Once we get one built, they'll play with it all week."
The boys also love sports, and the Rhone Zone is long enough for them to toss a football back and forth with Dad or with their big brother, Eric II, who played high school football for CBC.
The playroom provides the perfect setting for the entire family to enjoy time together and where the kids can simply be kids.
ERIC AND ANGELA RHONE
Ages • Eric is 47, Angela is 42
Occupations • Eric is an entertainment executive, currently executive producer of "The Soul Man" on TV Land. He also serves as the tourism commissioner for the State of Missouri; Angela is vice president of their entertainment management company, Visions Management Group
Home • Frontenac
Family • Three sons: Eric II, 19, Arlington, 7, and Eldridge, 5; family dog, toy poodle Cole-B