Nursery: House 1.0

Office Nursery original

Here are the before pics of the room. The previous owners used it as an office.


And here is the after.

We moved into our house when our first son was 3-months-old. Gender, obviously, was already established, but I wanted to decorate a nursery that would also work for our subsequent kids, be they boys or girls. Equal parts D.I.Y. and store-bought, here is the full result.


This room is small but perfectly sized for a nursery, which really doesn’t need much more than a crib, rocker, dresser and bookcase.  I started with fabrics from Joann Fabrics—one striped, one polka dot—in coordinating colors. My sewing wizard mom created the bed skirt, crib bumpers, valance and two changing pad covers. (If you are lucky enough to have seamstress skills or can impose on someone who does, this is a very budget-friendly solution.) Incidentally, the art pictured here to the left of the crib is the embroidered alphabet that my mom made to hang in my nursery as a baby. Vintage. I used the fabric as inspiration for the paint colors for both the wall and the stripe. Most paint stores have the ability to color match from fabric, but I was able to find very close matches from paint swatches. The unifying theme is elephants, which are loved equally by both genders.


The cozy corner. This rocker, literally called the Best chair, lives up to its name. It is the most comfortable piece of furniture that we own, and we bought it in colors that match our living room furniture so we can move it downstairs when our kids age out of rocking. The valance and lamp shade are also mom-made and the teddy bear was created by my mother-in-law, in the same style as the one she made for my husband when he was a baby. (We’re surrounded by some seriously crafty ladies.) The bouncy wheel hanging from the ceiling was a present from Korea, so I can’t say where it can be found, but the bookcase is easy enough to find at Ikea. (Bolted to the wall, of course. Our boys are climbers.)


I was obsessed with the furniture from now-defunct Chicago shop The White Attic, but we  couldn’t afford the splurge. So my mom re-created the look by painting an old dresser she owned to mimic their style, then added Anthropologie knobs. The framed artwork is courtesy of Etsy.

That covers the D.I.Y., but below is a buying guide for the store-bought items, with the exception of the crib, which is no longer made. I recommend splurging on a crib that is hardwood rather than particle board to reduce off-gassing, as well as purchasing one from an American or Canadian company that uses baby-safe paints.(Kids gnaw. It’s always better if they don’t gnaw on lead.) And yes, I know there are crib bumpers in the photos. These pics were taken before they were roundly demonized, and anyway, I had an on/off solution with them. Off when the kids were infants, on when they were smacking their heads against the side of the crib, back off when they could stand and used them as leverage to escape.


Best glider, other varieties available here, starting around $550.


Elephant mobile, $49, in a similar style to mine.


Animal parade print, $24 unframed.


Be Kind to Books Club vintage poster, $21.99


Elephant hamper, $19.99


Elephant rocker, $120


Name puzzle stool (click here for similar styles)


Cloud B Soothing Sounds Gentle Giraffe, $35


“Bunch of Clowns” art at by artist Chuck Wimmer—I purchased it from the One of a Kind Show in Chicago.


Monogrammed nursery blanket, $29.50


Zinnia handle in aqua, $18 a piece

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