March 30, 2010 in Making our House a Home
Last Tuesday, I was able to share with you the way our nursery came together through the blessings of others. In addition to being a testament of God’s provision, this room has been for me a creative outlet for all things handmade! I know I have already shown you multiple pictures of a fully furnished room, but let me take a few steps back today and show you the blank canvas:
Picking the color scheme was easy: I love baby things in green and brown…and love that the colors work equally well for boys and girls. We did not want to know the gender of our child until the “It’s a Boy” or “It’s a Girl” moment in the delivery room…so we picked out nothing pink or blue until then either. But this isn’t the only reason I wanted to go gender neutral with the vast majority of our baby things; I didn’t want to have to replace everything pink or blue when #2 comes along. Yellow and green are the typical “gender neutral” colors, but I unless you incorporate a lot of blue, I think yellow is on the girly side. Actually, yellow has been my favorite color for as long as I can remember…but I wanted green. And brown.
At first I thought I wanted to do green with brown or cream bead board paneling on the bottom half of the wall. But the room is so small that most of the wall is covered by furniture, so I felt like this would just make it seem a bit busy and even cluttered. Plus the window is high, so I would have either had the paneling going a little awkwardly high to reach the windowsill OR an awkward green strip below the window sill and above the paneling. Maybe it really wouldn’t have looked so strange….but in my head it did.
Then I thought about doing a bit of a handpainted and/or stenciled border around the top of the room…like an alphabet strip that runs along the top of a classroom…with brown or cream lettering. A lot of what motivated this idea is that the last people who painted this room painted right over a wall paper border and the line was very evident. I tried to peel it away and determined it was a much bigger job than my 8-months pregnant back could handle, and I really wanted the room painted and the furniture moved in to the room BEFORE the baby was born. I thought perhaps making my own border would at least make the wall paper line look intentional. With that idea still in mind, I painted the walls green. I don’t remember the exact name of the green we picked…I looked at so many.
For the windowsill and trim, I picked up a cheap can of “oops” paint that had been mixed in the wrong color at the store. I LOVE it!!! It is cream, but so rich it is almost yellow. I also wanted to incorporate a nice rich chocolate brown…and decided the closet was the best place for it. I love the contrast.
I spent a lot of time looking at paint samples throughout this process (we were shopping for paint for the rest of the house at the same time). One company–I don’t remember which one–had a clever way to compare different shades of the same color by overlapping circles. I was inspired. I ditched the ABC strip idea, and decided to paint big dots on the walls in different shades of green. I admit it was a bit nerve-wracking when I drew the first huge circle right on top of my freshly painted wall. But I am very pleased with how it turned out. Relatively subtle, but very playful!
Having ditched the alphabet strip idea, I decided to incorporate the ABC theme elsewhere by framing some quilt squares:
With ABC you need 123…so I covered some plain wooden frames with fabric and painted some wooden numbers to glue to them. In the #1 frame is a baby picture of my husband. In the #2 picture is a baby picture of me. And Josiah makes 3.Zooming back out a bit, let me show you this corner of the room again:
Last Tuesday, I showed you this exact picture and pointed out where all the stuffed animals, blankets, etc. came from. I didn’t mention the changing pad cover. There are ones at the store just like this, but they come with only one of the terry cloth overlays…which made no sense to me. I made two of the green bubble dots covers, but 4-5 of the smaller terry cloth overlays. So when the inevitable mess happens, we don’t have to change the whole thing, but just grab a new overlay from the drawer.
Last Tuesday, I zoomed in and told you about all of the vintage treasures on the top shelf. This week, let’s zoom into the boxes on the second and third shelves up…
These are fabric covered shoe boxes. They are very practical…and decorative. And something everyone can do! The fabric folded over keeps the lid on pretty snug, which means that so far they have also proven to be pretty baby proof .
Now let’s jump back over to the closet….
The boppy on top of the dresser is wearing a homemade slip cover. Most of the time, I know it is not proper decorating technique or fashion trend to be too “matchy, matchy”…but for my nursery I love that everything coordinates perfectly. One side of the boppy cover is the same bubble dots fabric as the changing table. The fabric on the other side was also seen on one of the shoe boxes, the #1 frame, and in the ABC quilt squares. And all of the fabrics used around the room come together in the quilt that hangs over the edge of the crib:
The quilt was actually the first thing I had in mind when I began nesting, but it was the last thing that was finished. Every number, every letter, and every stitch on the quilt is special for one reason or another. But I’ll tell you more about that next week. Today, let’s zoom back out and end where we started:
There are a few other things to point out from this first picture. First of all, can you believe Josiah’s hand was ever that small? My mom gave us that cute hand print kit that hangs right inside the doorway and it matches the rest of the room perfectly! At this point you can probably guess that I also made the dust ruffle and valance. These required a bit of technical creativity. I did not have a regular sewing machine when I did the decorating for this room. I only had a serger (a serger cuts the fabric as it sews and finishes the seam). It is a wonderful machine, but does not offer the versatility to be able to turn corners or sew casing. So the valance is just a big loop hung over the curtain rod. I didn’t really have another option at the time, but as it turns out I really like the simplicity.
You may have also noticed the O-N-E on the windowsill. Those were not there until after Josiah’s first birthday. I used leftover paint from the nursery walls to paint these paper-mache letters for the cake table at Josiah’s birthday party.
Thanks for joining me on this little virtual tour. If you can’t tell, I really love this room. It may not be anything out of a Pottery Barn catalog, but every detail is special to us in one way or another. And that is what makes it perfect!