April 7, 2010

The Nursery {Finally!} Before & After


Those who’ve been reading my blog for a while now know that I did absolutely nothing to the nursery before Justin was born.  I got a little less-lethargic about it towards end of my pregnancy and collected some things I loved (including lots of owls!), but this being my second baby and not knowing if he was going to be a boy or a girl, I really felt a bit uninspired.  Finally, I can say I’m pretty much finished with 3 month old Justin’s nursery.    (sometimes- and I hesitate to say this because it’s not always the case for me- sleep is more important than a pretty house 😉  Please pretend there is beautiful wall-to-wall seagrass carpeting installed…
{The little green vintage owl hangs on baby Justin’s nursery door}
As I’ve said before, I’m under no illusions that a baby’s nursery is for the baby… yet.  We (my husband, our 2 year old, and I) enjoy it far more than he does & I think he’d be happy almost anywhere.  My goal for the nursery was to create a cozy, fun space where we could hang out, read and play, and it had to include a comfy spot for me to nurse the baby and of course be conducive to sleeeeeeeeeeeping.  We used all of the same furniture from my first son’s nursery and I really wanted a drastic change from that pale, pretty tone-on-tone space:
I was thinking dark and bright and a little bit curiosity-vintage (not sure if that’s an actual term but I like it 😉  You know a bit Alice-in-Wonderland combined with a Strange Study?  Kind of quirky but still fun with some bright colors? My reasoning went a bit like this:  My frst son is very sweet, but really rough-n’-tumble like most little boys.  I wanted to create a space that feels a little more “boy” than “baby” because they become little guys so quickly.  The “baby” stage is so short-lived.  I wanted to fill it with interesting things we’ve collected over the years…  Things we can talk about…  With artwork that sparks questions & the imagination…  With meaningful pieces.  So, I’m aware that this nursery doesn’t scream “baby” but it was a conscious departure for me.
Here’s what we started out with when we moved in:  The furniture, white walls, and the seashell mobile left over from Christian’s old nursery.
And here’s the nursery now:
(Crib with make-shift Canopy}
{Navy blue walls with punches of white and bright color…  It’s a very sunny space}
{Collected and sentimental Artwork}
As I mentioned before, I did add a lot of cute little owls.  The handmade mobile is by Pink Perch on etsy and it’s just so special.  Justin loves “his owls” and he actually falls asleep staring up at them.  (My first son never fell asleep in his crib so this is Heaven!)
This is Justin’s view from below
{He seems to love staring at the high-contrast pattern on the fabric up the wall}
My original plan was to have identical shelving on either side of the crib, but I nixxed the shelving on the left side in order to add a little reading/ “snuggle” nook in the corner for Christian.  He likes to hang out in the nursery while I’m feeding the baby so I thought it would be nice for him to have how own little spot.  (Gotta make those firstborns feel special when the newbie arrives…  balanced shelving or not! 😉  It’s an old denim beanbag that used to be my little sister’s.  It says “Morgan” on it but we put that side down 😉
Pillows are always rotating from room to room in our house, so currently we have a bunch of bright ones that work well with the mobile:
{Christian “reading” in his nook}
I’m a big fan of combination dresser-changing stations in babies’ rooms and I like to get them in the closet if possible to maximize floorspace for play.  We ended up taking the bi-fold doors off of Justin’s closet because when open, the left door got in the way of the actual bedroom door.  I plan on adding curtains to the opening eventually but haven’t gotten there yet.  (I also know the curtains would pretty much always be open right now because we’re in a fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants kind of stage and have little time for extra steps.)  We mounted a cheesy winnie-the-pooh mobile above the changing station, but that thing is a lifesaver & I must admit, I love the song 😉  We keep extra blankets and burpcloths in the baskets and diaper stuff in the top drawer.  There’s hanging space for clothes on the left and I didn’t take pics of the left side of the closet because it’s not “organized” yet  — i.e. it’s a mess!
Dave hung these vintage cut-crystal pendants in the corner of the room:
Here’s another view of the nursery “before” and you can see the painted ikea shelf that we brought over from the nurery in our old house.  It created a really awkward space and was pretty inaccessible:
…So we cut it down and now use only 4 baskets instead of 6.  (The other 2 are now in the closet holding the blankets)  I made the blanket hanging on the crib out of some curtains I found at Goodwill that I backed in fleece and finished off with a fun fringe.
One of my favorite things in the room is this vintage German cuckoo clock we found. (below)  I actuallly removed 2 rifles off of the front of it because I didn’t like the message for a little kid’s room.  (Christian’s really into Bambi right now & that “mother!” scene is hard enough!)
Here’s the cut-down shelf.  Since I’m always moving stuff around, who knows what will stay and go on the top shelf (and once Justin can pull himself up in the crib I’ll have to ditch the breakables)…  But for now, I used a pitcher full of branches from that magic bush on the side of my house (they’ll root in water) along with the scale I recently found at a thrift shop.  Christian loves playing with the stones we placed in it.
I love baskets in kids’ rooms too.  They’re so easy for clean-up and encourage little ones to partake.  (I am all for a little free labor!)  Below is a close-up of an owl I had when I was a little girl:
We made the fabric hanging above the crib out of a dropcloth.  We -I promise I helped this time- used a stencil and leftover paint from the walls.  It took about 3-4 hours for this 14 foot dropcloth… spread out over a few days (baby crying & all that…)  I stapled it to the ceiling & wall with a staplegun.  (so easy!)  I attempted a little freehand painting on the front of the canpopy for a little added detail & differentiation:
Here’s a close-up:
I used a fabric remnant for the “skirt”:
Our chaise (below) works so well for feeing the baby and we can actually fit the whole family on it…  Why we would all hang out in the smallest room in the house is beyond me, but it happens quite frequently.  Like I said earlier, we’ve accumulated a lot of art work over the years- much of it sentimental- created by family & friends.  I hung pieces that just worked for me althouh the subjects vary… from an angel to ships on the ocean to a Spanish sundial…
I’m still looking for the perfect lamp to light up this little corner (ok, I know what I want but am waiting to buy it). the orange oil painting up top is by my Grandmother and I hung up an old gold frame and am filling it with cards & drawings for Justin:
(Below) Here’s the beginnings of the collection- baby booties by the very thoughtful Patricia Van Essche from PVE, and a little bear card from our family friends:
Here’s a close-up of an original mushroom painting I scored for $1 at a Goodwill a few years ago:
And, here are some more mushrooms, below, a vintage German mushroom chart:
I love this dark forest print I purchased at Joseph’s Coat Resale Shop in Falls Church, Virginia with my friend Rebecca of Acanthus & Acorn.  Christian enjoys pointing out all the different animals:
One of my best friends, Lindsey, made this clay plate.  She stamped it with a Vintage German cookie press.  Notice the owl in the middle:
{Lindsey is opening her online pottery shop soon!}
Here is the crewel owl family that Christian & I pretend is us.  I think I’m the angry-looking orange one at middle right-  eek! 🙂
I adore these barnwood paintings by my Grandmother below.  My Grandmother is one of the most creative and focused people I know.  She made these so long ago but I just love them.
…So that’s pretty much each & every item in the room!  I’m really excited about going a bit outside of my comfort zone with this space.  I had so much fun putting it together & love that I can just keep adding to it.  It’s a really sunny bedroom so I’m loving the dark walls which dim it down a bit for midday naps.  I feel so cozy and comfortable in the nook where the chaise is and I just love curling up there with my llittle guys (and dog too!).
Thanks so much for reading and hope you enjoyed!
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