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Nursery: The Building Blocks

So now that you know the news of the baby (AAAAAHHHH, still can’t believe that’s a thing) and know that we kept secret two projects we’d been working on (growing a human and creating a nursery), and now that you’ve seen the floor plan, inspiration photos and moodboard, I’ll share with you the building blocks of the nursery. In other words, here’s the lowdown on the nursery design.

Nursery Design: The Closet

This bedroom is small but, out of all the built-in closets that came with the house, it actually has the biggest closet. This room has to store just about everything that the baby needs since we don’t have ample and easily accessible storage elsewhere in the house, so I redid the closet in a way that would be most useful to us.

The previous closet was outfitted with old wire racks that served as both shelves and hanging rods. I hated these wire racks so so so much. In addition to being old and dirty (they came with the house), the rod parts were segmented so you couldn’t slide hangers around very easily, and I am not a fan of slatted shelves. The closet setup also wasn’t going to work because there were three racks on two walls opposite each other. So when clothing was hung on both sides, you couldn’t actually walk into the closet or easily access whatever was hanging or shelved toward the back of the closet.

This room served as the guest room and my sewing studio and the closet was almost completely full with fabric, my sewing machine and all other sewing supplies. First thing I had to do was clean out that closet. I threw out anything I didn’t really need and then got containers to properly store everything in the garage. Then I took down the wire racks and threw them out. Then I literally washed the walls and ceiling and floor to get a clean start.

With the old closet out of the way, I could then focus on the future closet. I filled all the holes with joint compound, sanded them all down once the compound had dried, washed out the closet again to get rid of dust, and painted the walls and ceiling in Behr’s Powdered Snow, the white we have used everywhere else in the house, including in this guest room.

I built the new closet out of white metal brackets and light wood rods and boards that I cut down to make shelves that fit the space. I purchased three sets of hanging rods and added shelves to two of them on one wall. The layout of the closet is two shelves/rods on the left wall, with enough room from the ceiling to put some larger items on the top shelf, and one rod on the back wall. Now we can actually walk into the closet and see and reach everything we need to, even with clothes and organizers hanging from all three rods or items on the shelves. We left the floor of the closet free so we could store what we needed to in it. Right now, the closet is storing boxes of diapers and wipes, and some gear. The final addition was hanging a push-button, LED, battery-operated light so we can see in the back of the closet at night.

All materials are from Home Depot.

Nursery Design: Paint

I knew I wanted some color in here but I didn’t want to paint the entire room because I wanted it to still feel light and breezy to take advantage of all of the beautiful natural light the room gets. So, what exactly was I going to paint? And here we go down the rabbit hole of my thought process.

I knew I wanted paint behind the crib and I knew I wanted paint on the ceiling but, of course, there was an issue. As I said, I didn’t want to paint too much of the room, so I didn’t want to paint the entire wall behind the crib nor did I want to paint the entire ceiling. And the floor plan (therefore, the ceiling plan) is an odd shape because the built-in closet juts out of a corner of the bedroom, so the ceiling isn’t a full square or rectangle.

I envisioned early on painting an isosceles triangle behind the crib. Wouldn’t it be cool, then, if the top point of the triangle met with a point of another triangle on the ceiling to form another isosceles triangle across the ceiling extending to the wall opposite the crib? And then, wouldn’t it also be cool if the other end of that ceiling triangle led into an upside-down isosceles triangle down that wall opposite the crib? The answer to all of this is yes, that would be cool. I know this is confusing, but essentially it would be one triangle leading to another triangle, which would lead into a third triangle.

But the problem was the surface area of ceiling because of the closet jutting out into the room. I wouldn’t be able to get a full triangle extending from one wall across the room to the opposite wall. My solution was to cut up that ceiling triangle into a bunch of smaller triangles that would then be painted coral or left white to create a cool pattern on the ceiling.

As far as color goes, we wanted to go gender neutral since we didn’t know if we were having a boy or a girl. Our answer to the gender-neutral challenge was to go heavy on the gender as well as the neutral. I knew early on that I wanted a coral color and tested out two: Salmon Peach and Springtime Peach, both by Benjamin Moore. We both agreed that Salmon Peach was the way to go as the warm pink of salmon helped bring a warmth to the peach and looked so beautiful in the sunlight.

Once I played around with the tape situation, especially on the ceiling, it was easy from there. Two coats of Salmon Peach later and the room looked like this:

I love this color so much, although it reads more pink in photos than it does in person. And it looks gorgeous in the sunlight.

Nursery Design: Furniture

I initially envisioned this room to have white and light, natural wood color furniture, and to be a mixture of new and vintage. To my surprise, it almost all worked out and not even in the way I thought it would. First of all, people can be really friggin’ generous and I was just so surprised at how generous our friends and neighbors have been since learning that we were expecting a baby. A neighbor gave us a crib from Oeuf that they were ready to get rid of. It’s such a pretty crib and the type of color and style I had envisioned. I initially thought I wanted a gray upholstered rocking chair, as I showed you on the moodboard, but I moved away from gray as the nursery design evolved. We then decided on a vintage or used rocking chair but weren’t finding any that had the right design or wood tone. But then a friend said we could have her rocking chair, which is a hand-me-down from her grandfather, and it’s that light, natural wood that fit the nursery design perfectly and matches the crib.

After we were told we were getting a crib and rocking chair from friends, then that left the search to the bookshelf and dresser. The bookshelf was easy enough (more on that in the nursery reveal) but the dresser proved to be difficult. I was really intent on getting a vintage dresser. I just didn’t want this room to be all big box and new. But, as this room is really small and the dresser would really only work on one wall, it had to fit specifications of that one spot in the room. It couldn’t be too wide and it couldn’t be too deep, but had to be wide and deep enough to fit a changing pad. We also needed to find a vintage dresser in our style, in a decent price point since I didn’t want to spend too much money on any piece of nursery furniture, we had to agree on the vintage piece, and it had to fit that exact space. Those are a lot of requirements to put on a vintage dresser. After several months of searching, I quit and decided to go with the Ikea Tarva dresser, which has been hacked and modified time and time again, as you will see if you do an online search. In addition to it being the perfect size, it is made of unvarnished wood, so I knew I could make it look how I wanted it to.

Enter another painting job. I wanted a mint green in here. We have green elsewhere in our house, so bringing green to this room made sense. I think green is also a great color to bring into a space that already has blue, coral and white. I tested out a few greens and landed on Spearmints by Behr in a high gloss finish.

Painting it was easy enough, just two coats applied with a roller after we had put the entire dresser together. I’ll show you what it looks like in the final nursery reveal.

I mentioned we went heavy on the gender as our way of going gender neutral. What I mean by that is this slightly pink wall paint coupled with this blue rug from Safavieh that had already been in the guest room together provide both feminine and masculine elements. The rug actually has lots of colors in it, including light pinks and greens, so the wall and dresser paint colors pull from the rug beautifully. I didn’t plan it that way but it’s working out and I love it. (You might be wondering why we kept this rug instead of going with one similar to what was in the moodboard and the reason was because we wanted to save money.)

So there you have the building blocks of our nursery design: the closet, the paint colors and the furniture. To see other closet and paint projects we’ve done in the house, check out here, here and here.

Next week comes the final nursery reveal where you’ll see it all come together. Let me know if you have any questions in the comments section below.