the nursery

The nursery is done! Well, mostly.

Back in February, we found out we were having a girl and shared with you where the nursery would be and a sketch of a floor plan we had in mind. In March, we posted two different nursery design directions and ultimately chose the darker scheme. Since then, there’s been a lot of talk about paint colors, fabric, decor and furniture. There are a few original ideas (including the low bench/cubby and floating shelf above the dresser) that I hoped to have complete by now but they fall under the category of “hey Kyle, can you build that?” and he has been putting all of his time and energy into the basement (with a looming baby deadline, we decided it was better to divide and conquer). Besides, they’re not exactly critical elements for newborns so I don’t think she’ll notice.

All in all, I really love how the space turned out. It’s not as frilly or styled as the nurseries that permeate Pinterest and baby blogs, but it fits our style and will continue to evolve as our little one does. Admittedly, it still feels a bit empty but I imagine the guest of honor will soon change all of that. I’ve also come to the conclusion that putting together a nursery in the months leading up to one’s due date has a small functional purpose and a larger psychological purpose. For us, the room is ready and we are ready.

One reason we chose to paint the walls a dark color was to make the space feel like a cozy enclave off the main part of the house. The two large sliding doors can be easily shut for privacy and some acoustical separation.

The room had no built-in closets, so we installed a free-standing IKEA Pax wardrobe hidden by two hand-sewn(!) curtain panels on a ceiling-mounted track. A used dresser serves as a changing table and holds diapers, wipes, clothes and other frequently used baby items. In lieu of a more traditional mobile, we had the idea to hang air plants in glass vessels above the changing pad. The floating shelf mentioned earlier will eventually go to the left of the vessels.

On the opposite wall, we located the glider and ottoman, with a lamp and small side table for nursing and rocking. The side table will eventually be replaced with the cubby/bench that will extend the full length of the window and serve as book and toy storage.

The yellow stool is hanging out in this corner temporarily, but it’s already come in handy to reach things at the top of the wardrobe so maybe it will stay.

I’d been looking for a way to use these West Elm glass vessels and a new interpretation of the mobile seemed like a good opportunity. The delicate air plants add some greenery and a nice compositional element to this wall. [Note: the vessels were hung at a height that should avoid head-bonking during late night changes. As with everything else, if it doesn’t work for some reason, we’ll change it.]

Aside from the dresser, the wardrobe currently holds all the baby gear we own. I know things will shift around as the room evolves, but I feel good about the amount of storage we have and the potential to modify the interior fittings as our needs change. [I know, I know…once toys come into the picture things will be drastically different, but we have some ideas for that already.]

True, I may not be reading Wuthering Heights aloud anytime soon, but I love the redesign of the Penguin Classics books and have long thought about building a collection for our daughter to read. Also, I like the idea of including elements in her room that she can grow into or look forward to. [These will likely not stay on the dresser, but it was fun to arrange a few items for the photos.]

The dresser is just deep enough for the changing pad (which is fastened to the back of the dresser by two small straps). I splurged on a Simple Human slim trash can for diapers, rationalizing that I could also use it with a wet bag liner for cloth diapers down the road.

The photograph above used to sit on the picture rail in the dining area, but after we found out we were having a girl it seemed like a no-brainer to move it into the nursery. The photo (taken in 1920 or so) shows five generations of women in my family. The baby is my grandmother and the woman holding her is my great-great-great-great grandmother! The same photograph hung on the stairwell of the house I grew up in and I always loved looking at it and imagining the lives these women had. After our little girl is here, we plan on taking another photo with my mom, me and the baby to carry on the tradition. The squirrel coat hook is just for fun. We’re still not sure what will hang from it, but it’s playful and cute and Kyle and I have an odd history with squirrels (like when a pack of them nearly tried to attack Kyle as he was proposing to me years ago).

We have been fortunate to receive several homemade gifts for our little girl. This is Hazel the hippo and was a gift from a friend/co-worker. It’s modeled after the stuffed hippo she carried everywhere as a child and has become her go-to baby gift. Of course, the colors coordinate with our nursery. Of course.

Due to safety concerns, cribs are fairly minimal these days. But that’s ok. I like the simple and under-stated appearance of our IKEA Gulliver crib. I’m sure she’ll add her own accessories as she gets bigger.

Finally, to visually fill in the space to the left of the crib, we framed and hung this sweet and modern fairy tale print next to baby photos of us.

We generally don’t include cost breakdowns for our projects but I thought it might be helpful to list specific info and general prices. It always feels like cheating a little bit if I don’t include prices for things that weren’t purchased specifically for the nursery, but then it’s a matter of where to draw the line – do I include the flooring? The insulation? The windows? Going into this project, we tried to limit both the amount of money spent and amount of “baby stuff”, giving priority to simple yet quality pieces that we’ll hold onto for many years.

Glider + ottoman: Land of Nod Monte Luca in charcoal (ottoman, $385 and glider, $995. The glider was a gift from my siblings, but we also took advantage of a 20% off sale.)
Crib: IKEA Gulliver in birch, $129
Crib mattress: Naturepedic ($260) and Aden+Anais sheet ($30, both gifts)
Wardrobe: IKEA Pax (already owned)
Curtain track: IKEA Kvartal, $20
Curtain fabric: Texas Susannie Fabrics, $60
Dresser: Craigslist ($100) with white plastic laminate at about ($30) plus yellow paint (already owned BM in “luminous days”)
Changing pad: Naturepedic ($100, gift) and yellow cover, $3 (consignment sale)
Small lamp: “vintage” IKEA (already owned)
Yellow stool: IKEA (already owned and painted in BM’s “luminous days”)
Side table: “vintage” IKEA (already owned)
Lamp: IKEA (already owned) plus new IKEA shade, $10
Chevron rug: West Elm (already owned)
Hanging vessels: West Elm, $43 (used gift card)
Air plants: Air Plant Supply Co., $30
Squirrel Coat Hook: Land of Nod, $29
Frames: IKEA Ribba, $15
Christian Jackson “Princess and the Pea” print: Imagekind, $32
Roller shades: The Shade Store (already owned)
Fan/light combo: Modern Fan Co. (already owned)
Paint: Benjamin Moore Natura in “Baby Seal Black”, about $40

So there you have it – a sweet and sophisticated room for our little girl. Can’t wait to show it to her.


37 Responses to “the nursery”

  1. Dawn Moore says:

    All I have to say is thank GOD you chose “Baby Seal Black” for the kid’s room. I so love your whole thought process on the baby thing. She will be President one day. Love IT!

  2. Jacqui Bennetts says:

    Not long now… best wishes for your next adventure.
    Jacqui Bee
    New Zealand

  3. S says:

    Really lovely room!

  4. Suzanne says:

    Love it!!!
    Holly can’t wait till her new friend arrives!!
    Holly has a hook similar to the squirrel in her nursery. For now I am hanging towels there, which has turned out to be handy in those emergency bath situations.

    • kzerbey says:

      couldn’t we hang binkies there (aka pacifiers there) I’m clueless, but hopefully not for long. Have been reading “happiest baby on the block” have you read that one suz?

      • Suzanne says:

        I have the happiest baby on the block dvd (a.k.a. the lazy parent version), and ended up using several of his tips quite a bit. I’m not sure about the binkies, the hooks looked a little big, no? Holly only used pacies for a month or two before switching full time to the ‘ol built in paci…. the thumb!

    • chezerbey says:

      Aww, I know…they’re going to be BFFs! =)

      • Suzanne says:

        Yes, I was just thinking how nice it was for C&D to plan their wedding for October so that they could meet!

  5. Robyn says:

    Love. Can’t wait to see it when my neice arrives. : )

  6. I love that this room is so “you” – not everyone would pick to go so simple but it totally fits with the vibe of your whole house. Obviously that’s fitting since the room is so open to the rest. Great work! Congratulations!!

  7. Lindsay says:

    what a great room – I love the modern feel and how it flows with the rest of your home. you’re right, it’s not the typical frilly & girly room – but that’s what I love about it!

  8. katie says:

    great room – the wall color is perfect! i think that it looks so cozy, and it does fit in nicely with the rest of your house.

  9. InMadison says:

    It looks wonderful! And someone once told me to decorate a baby room the way “you” like it, since you’ll be the one spending time in there and the baby won’t recognize much for a long time. Enjoy!

  10. mtadams1208 says:

    Very pretty! I don’t get why so many people shy away from dark colors, whether it’s for a baby’s room or anything else – I have painted a few rooms dark in the past and I always find it to make for a cozy and inviting space.

  11. Meghan says:

    I love it. Don’t worry about it seeming “spare.” That will change as she grows. I think that giving children a neutral backdrop to add their taste to is the way to go. Our girl also has a modern and not very girly nursey and I love it. It is my favorite room in the house.

  12. hjc says:

    What a fantastic space. It looks so appropriate with the rest of your house. We too have bedrooms without closets. It’s amazing what you can come up with when the traditional solutions are not an option. Great work and many blessings to you and your growing family!

  13. Hi I’ve truly enjoyed your blog. Your house is full of creativity. I especially like the princess and the pea print.

  14. I love your work. Your house is oozing creativity and I find that really inspiring. Liked what you’ve done with the nursery. The princess and the pea is a wonderful pick.

  15. Looks really great. I’m envying your glider & ottoman.

  16. This is so wonderful! Honestly, I get a little tired of seeing the frilly, fussy and overly-decorated nurseries on Pinterest. A room like this is classic, blends with the rest of your home, and allows the sweet little details to really shine. I really love it and am totally pinning it for future nursery inspiration ๐Ÿ˜‰

  17. Kirk Ohly says:

    Lauren, Kyle, I love it, love it, love it. My wife & I are expecting our first in early September and since we just moved in June and have a 1 year lease, we have done little to our nursery. I am hoping to get some family photos converted from slides to images and I love how you included photos of yourself, totally topical. Other than that, the crib is built and the glider/ottoman are in place. I need to tackle our CL dresser and make it look 1/2 as good as yours. Thanks for all of the great posts. On a side note, in regards to the west elm pieces that are hanging, are either of you familiar with Arakawa Hanging Systems, part of me thinks you might be because of your day jobs, and part of me thinks maybe not. After you look at the site, please let me know if you have questions or needs, I work for the outfit and would be happy to help you hash out any projects that you wanted to hang on cables. This is by no means a sales pitch, I just wanted to give you a heads up.

  18. Lilly says:

    It turned out perfectly! Now you can relax and wait for the big day ๐Ÿ™‚

  19. Austin says:

    I’ve been following your website for several months now (since your kitchen was featured on Apartment Therapy) and one of the things that I love is the photography of your finished projects. It is so well done. The lighting is always wonderful and the overall composition is great. This particular post is no exception. I’m definitely a fan.

  20. casacaudill says:

    Since baby stuff doesn’t interest me one iota, I usually skip those posts but I had to read because that is one heckuva beautiful nursery. Just perfect for your house and not overflowing with stuff. I especially love that you painted the room a dark, cozy color and the air plant mobile. Gorgeous.

  21. Sarah Martin says:

    i love the design of those penguin classics!

  22. Sasha Lynn says:

    I love the generations photo. And Sophie always makes me smile.

  23. buildllc says:

    Well done you two (three). The products and price list makes this a very valuable resource -truly great of you to share this info with the rest of us.

  24. Natalie says:

    The nursery is so beautiful! I just love everything you’ve done. I have to admit, I never would have considered dark walls like that before but after seeing it on here and a couple other places recently I really really like it!

  25. Love it! I thought I was sick of chevron until I saw this and now I love it again. Thanks for reinspiring ๐Ÿ™‚

    • chezerbey says:

      Aww, thanks! Can’t wait to see how your nursery turns out – that’s going to be one lucky little lady!

  26. So beautiful! Absolutely stunning!

  27. juliet says:

    Hello, I love that dresser! If I were to search for one on Craigslist, what words should I type in the search box?

  28. marie says:

    I have a similar dresser that has a badly faded (ugly) faux wood grain laminate top. Did yours always have the white or did you replace the old laminate with white or add the white laminate to wood?

  29. DeeDee says:

    My jaw dropped lower and lower as I scrolled down. Gorgeous- every bit of it. One of the few baby rooms I’ve seen that isn’t too “baby” yet is also “baby” enough. I especially loved Emma, Sense and Sensibility, Wuthering Heights, and A Christmas Carol.

  30. Lauren, you all did an amazing job in here! I really like how the warm wood tones and trim look with the Baby Seal Black. I’m a huge fan of darker paint colors, and so happy to see it used in a girl’s nursery! I’d love to feature this on my paint color blog, Involving Color. Let me know if you’re interested!

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