Group 6 5 minutes Read

the nursery

Lauren Zerbey

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.