Even though Baby E is gone, I am still excited to share our nursery tour today. I jumped so many design and foster care inspection hurdles to get this room ready and not only am I happy with the end result but I’m so grateful to have had a baby to use it. I put a lot of hard work into incorporating a nursery in our bedroom without it feeling juvenile. According to the state I had to fit a crib and changing table in a bedroom that already contained a king size bed, an eight foot dresser, and two night stands. Because we rent I could not change the carpet, ceiling fan, the color of the trim, or doors. I also could not remove or change the blinds. This is a HUGE post so grab a coffee or a glass of wine and settle in. Let’s do this!
BEFORE:Our room was pretty sad looking. The paint in this photo was from the first apartment we ever lived in ten years ago. I am not kidding. It’s a semi-gloss finish(first time paint buyers remorse) and it’s shiny and tacky looking–like patent leather. Just no. Obviously, nothing is working together and it’s very dark and dreary–our lamps don’t even match. Our bedroom needed lots of help.
AFTER:So much better, right?! I wanted our room to tell a story each time I walked in or lay down at night. I was born next to the ocean and it is one of the happiest places on the earth for me. Some of my happiest memories from my entire life are vacationing at the beach with my family. When I lay down at night I wanted to be surrounded and transported to the beach but I did not want it to feel hokey or campy. I wanted it to hint at the beach and leave room for my imagination to fill in the blanks. I also needed a gender neutral theme for the ‘baby’ side of the room and ‘beach’ landed squarely between both baby and grownup. I drew my color pallet from the large art piece hanging over the changing table. It’s just a print but it’s one of the first pieces of art I ever bought and I’m so proud that I still love it to this day.I started with paint. We rent and therefore the walls have been repainted a thousand times and are covered with inches of uneven texture. I needed a color that would not accentuate the texture like the tacky, semigloss, dark blue I had painted them. I also had to take into consideration the ugly tan carpet. I wanted to chose a paint color that would draw attention away from the carpet and complement its undertone–not an easy feat. I vacillated over paint color more than any other design aspect. I was very worried that the green undertones of the paint might be nauseating, but this color ended up being so versatile and calming. It leans more blue if you add blue accents and it leans green if you add green accents. It’s one of those truly neutral colors in that it isn’t too warm and isn’t too cool–and it’s not grey. It reminds me of sea foam or misty mornings on the beach. Of all the choices I made this was the most transformative, most dramatic, most effective, and CHEAPEST ‘renovation’ I made to the entire room. The new paint color also helped the ugly carpet disappear. The dark blue color from before exaggerated the carpet but the light blue green draws the eye up and away. Now the carpet I can’t change is more like a accent to the wall–like sand in a sea-glass bottle. Wall color is Sea Salt by Sherwin Williams.Next I had to figure out where I was going to squeeze a full size crib into our room. I spent a lot of time digging through Pinterest looking for ideas on how to incorporate a crib into a master bedroom. Most ideas revolved around picking a corner of the room and letting the baby have that space but that just didn’t work for our room. There were no corners to designate to a baby space because they were almost all taken by windows and doors. I wracked my brain for weeks trying to figure out a good solution. One evening, while Sam and I were sitting on the couch watching TV, I decided to sketch the room out on a piece of notebook paper and draw different layouts. I realized after my first sketch that every room I’d seen the ‘baby in the bedroom’ space designed for was very square with only one or two doors and a single window. Our space is a long rectangle with three doors and two windows. No wonder I was having issues! I was playing around with my sketch when I got the idea to draw a diagonal line down the room to define the space. The furniture instantly clicked into place. The crib fit snugly against the shorter wall between the closet and bathroom doors with plenty of room for our king sized bed against the opposite wall–though I had to give up my bedside table. I converted our dresser to accommodate the changing pad and slid it against the wall between the windows. The space above the dresser was empty so I designed some shelves and had Sam hang them off center making that wall the focal point of the room. It was the perfect solution. Now there was ample room for the crib and unobstructed paths between the bed and all the doors and windows. The crib is a vintage find I got from a family friend and it has an interesting little story. I got this crib months before Sam and I decided to pursue adoption through foster care. That crib is really special to me because I bought it in faith that I would one day have a baby to put in it. I was so nervous I wouldn’t be able to use it once we began the certification process because whatever crib you use has to pass government codes and the environmental inspection. I was so relieved that we were able to use it! It was already painted the minty pastel green when I got it, and I had planned to paint over it, but after assembling it against the new wall color I left it alone.The shelves above the dresser we made out of 2×8 pine from Lowe’s which I hand sanded and whitewashed with Sherwin Williams Extra White paint. I chose to whitewash the shelves because it gave me another texture and design element to play with–a sort of drift wood look. It played to my beach theme and whitewashing made the shelves look visibly lighter. I had a little corner leftover with nothing in it and I wanted every part of the space to be usable. There wasn’t enough room for a rocking chair so I decided to make a child sized reading nook. We could have gotten a child up to eighteen months old who really could have used a quiet corner of the house to ‘read’ and use their imagination. Books are so important to me. My own childhood was filled with books and endlessly being read to. I still adore books–I’m an aspiring author–and I really felt a space for books needed to be incorporated into our design. I vacillated over whether to buy picture frame ledges from IKEA or build them myself. It came down to aesthetic, really. I wanted shelves that had texture and natural wood–plus building them cost me nothing. Sam found some plans online(search picture frame DIY for a million options) and we used the left over scrap pine from another project. I sanded them down and stained them with Minwax Classic Gray 271 (left over from staining the headboard) and then white washed them slightly with Sherwin Williams Extra White (which I also had left over from another project). I decided to stain them first because I wanted to add another depth of color and contrast as opposed to the very light shelving above the dresser. I used this tutorial as my guide. Whitewashing is a learning process so I recommend getting a small piece of similar scrap wood and practicing on it before tackling your project.The headboard is a very heavy piece of paneling from the inside of an old elevator that I refinished and hung with a french cleat. It’s actually the same headboard in the before picture. And, technically Sam added the french cleat. This is one of the projects I’m most proud of because it took a lot of work and planning. I ended up having to start over because of unsavory advise from someone working in a big box lumber store, but it turned out much better than I could have imagined. I already had the white linen duvet cover and I knew I wanted to keep with the white bedding because it is cooler to sleep in(we live in the south y’all) and very spa like. Once I added the faux down duvet insert the bed became very light and airy to look at.Let’s talk about the mobile. I made this mobile myself–yes, I really did. I knew I wanted a mobile over the crib but I honestly couldn’t find anything I liked that didn’t scream ‘baby’. I came across the idea on Pinterest(a girl’s best friend) and instantly knew this would be perfect. I love books because they can transport you to other times and places, and you get to experience what it’s like to be a different person. But I also love books because they have messages and those messages can be empowering, edifying, and resiliently hopeful. I wanted a child to be able to look up and see that there is a life just for them that extends far beyond foster care. There is hope. Initially, I wanted to use a Bible–there is no other book filled with more hope– but Sam couldn’t come to terms with me tearing a Bible up this way. I think it would have been beautiful–also very controversial–and I didn’t want ‘controversy’ hanging over our placement’s crib. There is enough literal controversy in a foster child’s life they don’t need metaphorical controversy hanging over their heads too. So, I chose the hardback version of the Chronicle’s of Narnia by C.S. Lewis which I snapped up from a local Half Price Books. The pages hanging from the book’s spine are from ‘The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe’. I didn’t have a guide or tutorial I just sort of made it up as I went along and for a first go it turned out beautifully. As I was cutting the pages out of the book’s spine I asked out loud for C.S. Lewis to forgive me for tearing up his work. I also sent a silent prayer asking God to pass the message along in case he was too busy up there in Heaven and didn’t hear me. I added the little wooden stars because it needed a little more length with some fishing line and hot glue. I think once it’s no longer needed as a crib mobile I will remove the stars and hang it in my office.Initially, we didn’t have a light on the changing table but after several weeks of blinding each other in the middle of the night with the overhead light I broke off and bought a lamp. The most time consuming part of this entire room was styling the shelves above the dresser. It took months. The top shelf actually came together in like five minutes. It was the bottom shelf that really gave me a headache. The vintage glass mason jar–which is filled with shells and sand-dollars from Sam’s very first trip to the beach and our first trip as a married couple–was the only object that actually made it to the end of all the edits I made.
There is still a lot left to be done to the adult side of the room. I’m still looking for the right art to hang above the bed as well as a bedside table that better matches the aesthetic of the space. And there is still the dilemma of what to hang on the long wall against the bathroom door. The bedding could also use some color and updating. But that’s the joy of design your own space–in my opinion–because you get to decide as you go along and what ultimately ends up in your space is curated to be 100% you. Thank y’all so much for coming over for a tour. It really means the world to me that y’all have followed our journey as foster parents. You’re continued interest and support means the world to me.
Furniture: Crib/Vintage, Dresser/Cason’s Mercantile, Headboard/DIY
Decor: Changing Table Lamp/Target, Bedside Lamp/Target, Wall Art/ Etsy, Crib Art/Hobby Lobby, Crib Mirror/Vintage Find, Sea Urchin Spines/Target, Changing Table Tray/Hobby Lobby, Coral Art/Target, Book Shelf Art/Urban Outfitters, Oval Frame/Hobby Lobby, Indigo Art/Jennifer Parry Dodge, Wooden Ship/Michael’s, Cream Vase/Target, White Basket/Target, Grass Basket/Target/ Changing Pad Cover/Buy Buy Baby, Crib Sheet/Target, Green Squirrel/Anthropologie
If I forgot something please let me know! XX — Maegan