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Tag Archives: nursery

“You have the most popular nursery that no one has seen.” – Jackie

If you’ve read this blog before, you already know a couple of things:

1. Jackie, my dear co-blogger, has written about her beautiful nursery decorating. Check it out right… HERE.

2. If Jackie and I were decorating politicians, our platforms would be anti-store-bought themed nursery sets. Our nightmares have us fleeing from things that are too matchy-matchy. I specifically spelled this out after carefully defending a motif in my home, which you can see……. HERE.

With this second point in mind, my husband and I had long ago decided that should we have a baby boy, we would decorate his nursery based on one of our favorite movies, Fantastic Mr. Fox. In case you have missed this Wes Anderson gem, here are the reasons we find it inspiring, especially for our decorating purposes (movie photos courtesy imdb.com/20th Century Fox) :

1. The story itself is about family: a dad, mom, and young son. This could easily be us!

(Seth relaxing while I paint and listen to my records)

“Ash”- a cutie like baby

2. The colors: All of the colors are bold and saturated. We were really struck with the golden jacket of Mr. Fox, red of Farmer Bean’s apples, and the yellow of Mrs. Fox’s dress. Hints of blue make great pops of an accent color, too.

3. The textures: the movie is stop-motion animated, making everything realistically tactile. For example, Mr. Fox himself has so many textures- the corduroy jacket, his soft fur, and the glassiness of his eyes. Textures through the use of different elements and prints (checkered, polka-dot) create visual interest and are perfect for a developing baby.

4. The great outdoors setting: the “nature” of the movie allows for bringing the outside in. This topic is even addressed in the plot, as the characters deal with the destruction of their natural habitat. (They fight back with flaming pine cones.)

5. The maturity: the humor of the movie makes it not just for children. It has a classic quality and nostalgic feel. Anytime I can add vintage qualities to a room to give it a more comfortable aesthetic I do. And besides, is a nursery only for a baby? I wanted this room to be an extension of who we are, just as baby is a part of our family.

For these reasons and more, Fantastic Mr. Fox was our inspiration. Taking these concepts, I present Judah’s nursery!

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The nursery is a small room, but that can be the perfect setting for a bold, saturated color.

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This changing table was the first “official” purchase. I fell for the color when I saw it on craigslist and the price of $30 sealed the deal. The alphabet wall hanging I purchased two summers ago at the local, famed Normal Park neighborhood sale. It is handmade and frightfully old. The creatures have quirky colors and many have red eyes, including the Rat- which is a character in the movie who also has red eyes. It hangs from a stick.

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The cover here is brown with brown stars- like Ash’s official bandit mask. Here my bandit reorganizes his diapers.

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 The toy fox has jumped into a large basket box that serves as a toy box. I got it for a steal with plans of embellishing it, but we’ll see if that happens! All the textures make for a fun place to play.

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There’s a photo shoot going on?

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Baby needs a place for his sweater and cap.

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I love this little vignette. The handmade sweater was a gift from dear co-blogger, Jackie. His cap is from another close friend.

The iron cast hanger was a garage sale pick up.

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Every nursery needs a comfy spot to sit. After searching high and low for the perfect chair/rocker/glider I found the perfect blend of function and aesthetic in our living room: our midnight blue poang from IKEA. With a couple of gorgeous handmade throws as gifts, it is the best place for a story.

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Of course, perhaps the best accessory is a fun pillow. I saw many cute “fox” pillows on etsy, but sometimes the thrills don’t make it in the budget. Instead, I came across this red, metallic (hard to see the shiny here) iron-on decal at JoAnn’s. Another clearance pillow and I had a sweet and easy DIY.

Speaking of DIY and IKEA- the graphic tree curtain is another IKEA pick-up. And speaking of a literal pick-up, it also hangs from a mighty stick on curtain tie-backs.

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I love the black-and-white graphics on the curtain. I think every room in a house should have a black-and-white element. It seems to add a sophistication and yet stays playful.

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It is important to my husband and I that we support real artists and fill our home with their artworks. So it was wonderful when were given one as shower gift! We have “Hellephant” here now to be apart of our story time. This was given to me by my cousin, Jewel Renee, who is a very talented artist. She knew I especially liked this adventure of “Hellephant” (there are many!). The colors fit perfect in our scheme.

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“Hellephant” isn’t alone. On the other wall he is joined by none other than a “Mr. Fox” and “Mr. Badger.” This artwork is the most direct reference to our inspired nursery. I found them on Etsy, from an artist named Michael Jonathan Smith in the L.A. area. Also on display is a prized giant pine cone I got from a local treasure store. Here is a close-up of Mr. Fox (minus the clear “repin” and “like” buttons on the top left):

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Isn’t he dapper? I love the vintage colors and “stained” print. It looks as if it was torn from an original copy of the book.

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And what a better place to store a book than here! This bookcase comes straight from my childhood room and my mother’s before me! My grandfather made this back in the 1960s.

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As we round the room we encounter my artistic addition to the room: birch trees!

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In a post to follow, I’ll show the easy steps I took in completing this project. As a new and somewhat paranoid new parent, I did not want to hang anything above the crib. These tree silhouettes add great balance to the room as they pull the eye up and continue what the graphic curtains started.

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There is still some room on the wall to the left of the trees for showcasing more artwork and some shelving… to be continued!

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To my surprise- though surprises are almost daily for this new parent– it turns out that baby’s room cannot escape the trendy need to have his name displayed. However, I adore this exception to my rule, as it is the banner from his baptism and a beautiful reminder of that special day.

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And another thrift store find: metallic owls. Whoooo doesn’t like that?

Finally, the most comfortable spot must be the crib.

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Baby has many friends to keep him comfy, not to mention a beautiful quilt handmade by a friend. The colors and patterns are everything foxy for our little fox.

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Little Fox

So if you are looking for a unique inspiration for a nursery, or any room for that matter, I suggest finding the book, movie, object, quote, or artwork that inspires you. Let it allow you to reinterpret it into a whole new experience. You will love the process and with cobbled finds and handmade touches, it will truly be original in every way.


Jackie here with a second installment of The Thrifty-Stylish Nursery. Missed the first installment? Get up to speed here: The Thrifty-Stylish Nursery, Part One: Color.

(A little color commentary on my real life: I totally intended to finish these posts BEFORE the birth of my second child, known fondly around our place as the Newcomer, but I totally  didn’t. On June 12, our sweet little Margot (MAR-go) was born and is now inhabiting the nursery I had such fun putting together.)

Let me take you on a quick photo tour of the furniture I put in Margot’s room. Furniture choices were key, as the nursery is a mere 8′ x 6′. Here’s what I filled the space with:

In this corner is a changing table I bought second-hand from Oliver’s former speech therapist, with a shelf my family has been carting around for years placed above it. I wanted the changing table specifically because 1) I like to have somewhere I can stand up to change diapers and 2) a second-hand changing table was a thrifty purchase (I spent less than $50 bucks) and I know I’ll be able to sell it myself when baby Margot’s all done with it.

Opposite the changing table, on the other side of the window, is a five-drawer dresser I got from Midland Arts and Antiques. It’s a fantastic piece with a little Indiana history—it was made in Bloomington, Ind. in the ’20s—so not only is it good-looking and useful, it has a little historical panache.

A fantastic dresser can take many forms and can be found in all kinds of random places; I recommend hitting up garage sales, thrift stores, antique shops, and the ever-enthralling Craigslist. What should you be looking for? All-wood construction, no major structural damage, and the size/shape you’ve deemed appropriate for your space. What should you not care so much about? DON’T avoid a dresser just because it has urgly hardware/draw pulls/etc. Hardware is remarkably easy and inexpensive to replace, and if you’re willing to do a little looking or crafting, you can probably find something quirky and unique. I did a quick drawer pull search on Etsy and found these sweet robot drawer pulls that I might get for Oliver at a future date. If you’re a bit more adventurous, you can look past color/stain and redo the piece yourself (provided you’re not currently pregnant—fumes + baby=no es bueno) or with a kind friend/spouse/etc.

Annnnd lastly: a crib. A crib is, of course, a no-brainer (unless one is of the co-sleeping club, which I am not because I had too many panicked dreams post-Oliver’s birth of him being lost in the blankets of our bed, and I’d wake up in a sweat, clobber my husband to consciousness in my hysteria, only to discover that Oliver had been sleeping safely in his room all night….) My crib is from IKEA, and I can’t speak more highly of what they have to offer. For between $70-130, you can get a crib that is perfectly safe—because the law requires it to be—and has those great modern lines of Swedish design. (And, BTW, if you’re looking for a crib that converts to a toddler bed, IKEA’s cribs do that, too.) Mattresses range from $35-80—also incredibly reasonable.

Now, you’ve probably noticed that my furniture items don’t match. I’m not bothered by this (the only matchy-matchy that exists in my house is my husband and I have matching dressers and nightstands in our bedroom, and all of our dining room chairs are the same)—I tend to be more interested in the principle of “does it go?” rather than “does it match?” If you like everything matching, okay. Just know that there’s NO RULE that says everything has to match exactly in order to look good. I made all of my pieces make sense together by using color—you’ll notice all of the orange, green, and purple throughout the room—as well as the use of repeating shapes (circles, squares—but more on that when I discuss the room’s accessories). So, embrace the hodgepodge; choose meaningful pieces that you both need AND respond to; and don’t feel obligated to drop tons of money just to make thing match.


Rachel and I are at that age when every time we turn around, another one of our friends is pregnant. Not that I can say anything: as I write this, I’ve just turned the corner, flipped the page, whatever, into 31 weeks pregnant with my second baby, a girl who is due June 9. Every time I turn around, there’s a Bundt-cake-ish sized protuberance revolving with me.

And babies bring all sorts of inevitabilities, the most psychologically arresting of which is, no, not that fact that one is going to be for all time a parent to a complex, somewhat inscrutable human being, but that one will have to assemble a practical and attractive nursery.

Well: I am assuming. A nursery doesn’t HAVE to be attractive. But I am hoping that a small measure of hubris on my part is allowed in assuming your interest in this because you are here reading a decorating blog.

(No, really, it’s a decorating blog.)

I was particularly thrilled to prep this baby’s nursery because we were renting when we had Oliver. I did ask my landlady at the time if we might paint a room or two in our duplex—I was excited to try out a color palette in Oliver’s room-to-be. Her response? “Oh yeah, if I can pick the colors.”

Oh. Huh. Okay…never mind.

Our house isn’t large—it’s a two-bedroom home—so my husband and I decided to put the baby in the little bonus room off our bedroom—my Virginia Woolf room, the room of my own, that was initially loved and adored and persuasive in our home purchase because it would be a space for me to work and write. (Now I work and write on the couch…the laptop made me do it.) Here’s the room as we first saw it, before we bought the house:

Since the room was initially intended for me, I decided on wall color as I always do: I wanted something saturated. We opted to paint our bedroom Sherwin William’s Drizzle (a bluey-green), and my VW room one color down the color swatch, Lagoon. Here are a couple of pics, taken shortly after we bought the house and began customizing, that show the colors we chose and the relationship of the VW room to the master bedroom.

When we found out it was time to convert the VW room to a nursery for Baby Girl, I was determined to keep the same saturated color I’d initially chosen for the room. I can’t wrap my brain around wanting to paint a baby’s room a light color—I don’t generally care for them to begin with, and, further, babies don’t particularly respond to pastel colors as newborns because their eyesight isn’t fully developed yet. And I admit I tend to be opposed to what mass culture says I ought to do in my child’s room. So no light pink, light blue, light green, light whatever for me.

Not that pastels can’t be okay—I have an Indy friend who painted her daughter’s nursery a pale pink—but she didn’t pair her pale pink with myriad other pale colors, instead opting for a bold black and white zig-zag rug for the floor and other color-rich prints and pictures for around the room. So if your particular aesthetic says, oh I must have light walls in my little one’s room, see what interesting non-pastel accessories, etc, you can bring in to contrast with that. (More on that later.)

Once I knew I’d be keeping my Lagoon room, I got to choose a set of colors to go with. I headed off to Michael’s to stand in the aisle of acrylic paint—to wait for inspiration to strike me. (Why there and not Lowe’s, Home Depot, Sherwin Williams, you wonder? I knew I’d be using the colors on small projects, where a tube of acrylic paint would come in loads handier than a bucket of interior.) Here’s what I settled on: Light Blue Violet, Brilliant Yellow Green, and some kind of Orange (that’s the top of one of my fav vases shown in the pic). These three colors have guided all subsequent decorating/accessorizing choices for the room, the first of which is here in the picture: I redid a shelf that’s been around in my family for YEARS in Light Blue Violet.

When my brother Addison first saw a posted pic of the completed shelf, his response? “That shelf is still around?!”

Oh yes, brother. It would be cobble-remiss of me not to re-purpose perfectly good shelving—here’s our first glance at the “thrifty” part of the Thrifty-Stylish Nursery: look for items you already have and see if you can “refresh” them for a new decorating scenario. And the shelf was my first opportunity to enact the accent palette—more opportunities to be detailed soon; I’ve got to bail now to go play outside with my nap-spurning Oliver.