Sweet Suite

by Alison Friedman in Baby Land, Mommy's Musings, Pregnancy

Don’t think for one second that as soon as we found out we were having a girl, I wasn’t already blueprinting the baby’s nursery in my head! We saw the lady bits on the monitor and BAM! My brain was already deciding what piece of furniture goes on which wall and which shade of paint should be painted on it. It was like wedding planning all over again, but the final product would last more than eight hours and I was making decisions for another person (okay, so the lats part is exactly like wedding planning! Womp womp…).

Bryan and I both agreed we wanted our baby girl’s room to be girly. Modern, unisex, and contemporary styles — although cool — just aren’t our taste. I also didn’t love the idea of a baby-ish themed nursery either. I know, a baby would be living in there, but little, cartoonish duckies or teddy bears or kitty cats around the room just wasn’t my idea of girly sophistication. I dabbled with the shabby chic theme because to me that speaks girly and delicate, but the stores that I’d already registered with didn’t carry any true shabby chic bedding which, to me, is the starting point for nursery decor. Plus, shabby chic patterns, while gorgeous, are usually soft and muted in color and my eye always goes to color (hello, pink and orange wedding colors!). So with shabby chic as a trampoline of inspiration, I began my nursery decor and ended up selecting a lot of pieces from Pottery Barn Kids and Baby, lending the room to become girly sophistication.

Before owning all the pieces, we first had to paint the walls. It took me forever to decide on the colors and Bryan was anxiously waiting for me to make a decision so he could purchase the paints and begin painting his daughter’s room. But I threw a wrench in the plans when I decided to take a personal design risk and choose three colors! Three walls would be painted a soft, buttery yellow and the wall that would house the crib would be accent wall with two shades of pink in stripes. Bryan heard me say stripes and he immediately dialed our inexpensive, but talented painter, Alvaro. A few days later, Alvaro and his team painted the baby’s room and executed the stripes perfectly!

My fabulous baby showers were so much fun and many of our generous friends and family also contributed pieces to the room to complete the nursery. It was fun to tie it all up and complete the finishing touches. I wanted the room to be a space that our daughter would love, but also be a haven for us, her parents. We knew we’d be spending a lot of time in there (hence the purchase of Apple TV next to the mini flat screen), so it was important that it was comfortable, relaxing, and beautiful.

The finished product was complete a couple weeks before Madelyn was born, but I didn’t have a chance to take and share photos until now. Oops. Here’s a little tour of the sweet baby suite!

It took me forever to fall in love with crib bedding. I may as well have made a JDate profile for sheets and gone on dates to be courted by dream bedding because I spent many sleepless nights crying over patterns and colors gone wrong. I did fall in love with an ensemble from Pottery Barn Baby that kept getting back ordered. I was promised a May arrival, then July, then August (cutting it close…) and then September. I was sick and tired of being led on and decided to break up with the bedding that couldn’t make a commitment. Broken hearted, I began the search all over again and found a set that would lift my spirits and help me believe in love again. (Sidenote: I was in PB Baby a few weeks ago, and saw that the original first love was back in stock and showcased in their crib room. I had pangs of nostalgia and for a second, thought about making contact again, but knew the right choice was to remain with my current and forever crib bedding because it treats my baby right, it’s beautiful, and it’s reliable.).

I’m not much of a DIY-er because I don’t have patience or the space to store arts and crafts. However, on rare occasion when I do get crafty and I haven’t drained my creativity in blogging, I really do enjoy being artsy fartsy. The one thing I absolutely wanted to make myself was the baby’s name wall hanging over her crib. I had specific criteria so it was just easier for me to make it instead of purchasing it. I wanted it to be safely hung over the crib so I knew I couldn’t use wooden letters. We live in earthquake country, and I didn’t trust myself to create anything that would be heavy and earthquake-safe, so I knew the letters from Michael’s would be out. I also wanted to be able to control the colors and patterns, and while I found some letters I liked in Anthropologie, my.favorite.store.ever., I also didn’t want to spend 20-something dollars a letter. Madelyn is a long name. ‘Nuff said.

So I went to Paper Source to brew some creativity and lo and behold, they had hollow cardboard letters in the most perfect font and beautiful papers with which to decoupage. I made my purchases and as soon as I got home, I got gluin’! I carefully cut and glued papers all around the letters, intertwining some of the patterns across all the letters to create a loose theme. After everything dried, I super glued the backs of the letters to a green polka-dot ribbon, tied bows at the end, and under the bows, I hid tacks to secure to the wall. It was actually a really easy project, super fun to make, and left my wallet in tact. Best part, I’m really proud of how it turned out and love that it’s a centerpiece of the wall.

I fell in love with a shelf at Pottery Barn Kids that I knew would house special trinkets, pictures, and, most importantly, shoes! This shelf would definitely be for more decorative than practical purposes, but I really felt like it helped complete this corner of the room.

On the shelf sits a trinket box that my best friend’s mom made for me when I was a teenager, a musical teddy bear that I loved as a baby (the wind-up is overwound. This makes me sad), beautiful booties that were a gift from one of Madelyn’s Auntie Phis, an owl that brings out the colors in the room and is the other half of a set of bookends, and one of my favorite photos of Madelyn taken by our cousin Sara, which is inside a frame from my mom that coincidentally mimics the striped wall! My own ballet shoes from when I was a toddler hang on the peg as well as other cute shoes and a ballerina outfit from Auntie Pattie.

Instead of buying a whole new wall unit, we decided to use an Ikea bookcase we had from our married-without-kids days. It used to be in the office/guest room, which was the room before it became the nursery (pour a little out for the office/guest room) and it held old college text books, wedding planning documents circa 2008, picture frames, and ashamedly, overall clutter. It was the perfect piece to hold the new baby’s books, stuffed animals, frames, and her our TV.

I thought the baby should also have her own little corner of her own little room (thanks, Rodgers and Hammerstein for the inspiration), so thanks to Auntie Harmony, she has a baby-sized chair that matches the rest of the decor. This chair may look familiar as the monthiversary photo chair! It’s tucked away between the crib and the bookcase and next to a basket of toys, so she has her own special place in the corner. Yes, somebody puts baby in the corner, and it’s me.

Opposite of her bookcase is a wall with another important piece of furniture, the dresser and changing table. I like that it’s placed under a bank of windows so we can enjoy natural light as we change diapers, get dressed, and play. Madelyn loves to play on the changing table and there’s no better time with my girl than nudey time: we sing songs, play with toys, and babble on about the day.

I have all the supplies right next to me on the top of the changing table, and all of the must-have clothes and diapers are in the drawers. On the wall, two shelves from my college days are home to some photos and keepsakes for Madelyn to look at while we change and play.

The changing table shares a wall with a toy chest and a basket of amazing blankets that were gifts, some of them handmade, like the yummy ones by Auntie Alison. I like that this space is light and uncluttered but is home to necessary items.

I spent almost as much time researching upholstered glider chairs as I did going on dates with crib bedding. We went to so many stores and sat in so many beat up floor samples. Starting a relationship with a chair was frustrating and seemed fruitless. No store had exactly what I wanted — the chair’s make and model and with an ottoman — so it was really hard to sample this combination. As a last straw attempt to test drive my dream chair ensemble, I stumbled across Joseph Wahl Arts in Woodland Hills and finally felt I could enter a marriage with my Little Castle Cottage chair and ottoman. I highly recommend this adorable store for babies and kids of all ages and the owner, Joseph, was extremely helpful and nice.

I placed my order and couldn’t wait for the chair to arrive so I could sink into it and pretend to read to my baby (thank you, Princeton, for helping me rehearse before the baby came). I wanted a neutral color so that it could be used in any room of the house when Bryan and I are old and gray and past the child-rearing years. I also didn’t want it to fight with the other colors in the room so as much as I love all the Little Castle swatches and colors, I decided that a neutral sandy color would mesh with the entire space. I also wanted a little table next to the chair so I could set a bottle down or put my own refreshments on a steady surface. I found this little green table at Home Goods and liked that it brought out the desired green for the accent color. Sometimes I just sit in the chair and look around and thank my baby for completing our home.

Bryan and I made a video for Madelyn just a few days before she was born that gave her a tour of her newly designed room. Prepare to see a whale-ish female figure also known as pregnant me. Also, we are overall dorks. Oh, and Bryan intends to pan down on my belly in the beginning, but instead it’s a boob shot. Awesomeness. My favorite part of the whole thing is the nanosecond before it ends where I say, “Please be nice.” Oh Pregnant Alison of August 2011, if only you knew. If only you knew.

  1. Linda
    12/28/2011 3:08 PM

    This is THE. Utest nursery I have EVER seen

  2. Char
    12/28/2011 1:33 PM

    Love the way Madelyn’s room turned out. The glider looks soooo comfortable. I used to go to Joseph Wahl when he had a store iin Thousand Oaks. He has all these great signs that I love. His parents usually have a booth at the Simi Valley Street Fair. Looks like you are getting along just fine being a mommy!

  3. ljr
    12/28/2011 12:31 PM

    No room for miss piggy bank??
    ….i kept her decor in mind… 🙁
    no worries – i guess it was just the timing of this piece..