A Modern Glam Nursery Makeover
2012 was a big year. Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattison broke up, Ghangam style took over the world, we started saying ‘YOLO’, and I designed my best friend’s nursery. It was very busy, indeed.
Much like a lot of people Corbett (my best friend in LA) has great taste and she knew what she wanted but was having a pretty hard time pulling it together. I came in to rescue probably because I like nothing more than shopping with her and forcing her to spend money, so it became our project. Plus I’m really good at pulling triggers, especially really beautiful, really expensive triggers. You got a trigger? I’ll pull it.
Here is how her nursery looked before (on a messy day).
It was just the guest room and typically it was pulled together nicely, but those pics were the only ones we could find that showed how it was before (this was before I obsessively took photos of every moment of the design process and install). Her husband has a serious DVD and Blu Ray collection addiction so it was just piled up on the side of the wall which made Corbett super happy. They already had the roman shades and a rug left over from the living room, but otherwise we were starting with a blank slate.
Click through for the full nursery tour with resources and a GIF!! With babies! A baby gif!!! The internet EXPLODES!!!!
Full disclosure, Corbett should be a designer and has incredible style so in a lot of ways she really designed this. But since and I helped her with every decision and I executed it while she was out of town, I get to take credit. That was the deal. Right after she had the baby they went to Australia for 2 months (he’s from down under) and when she came back it was totally done and styled. She knew that there was a chance that I’d have it finished, but it was kinda a surprise to her (consider it her baby present), and she was very, very happy. Which makes me very very happy.
Here’s what I/we did:
Her style is midcentury glam – with a serious love of Chinoiserie, and a nod towards ‘woodland animals’. So we started with this wallpaper from wallpaper, which is just insanely beautiful. Its hand-painted on metallic champagne silk and acts as a huge mural in the room. The pattern might repeat, but it doesn’t feel like it does. You buy it by the panel and you have to have an incredibly good installer to install it because it is fragile.
That wallpaper also costs as much as my Honda.
But here is how we rationalized it: it actually fits the style of the mid-century Japanese house perfectly. It feels original to the house so even if/when they move its a selling point and could potentially add value (at least that’s what we told her husband). Their house’s layout is super open so when this door is open you can see the wallpaper from so many other rooms and it just brightens the whole house. Also Corbett really wanted it. And I REALLY wanted her to get it. (I can’t really disclose her budget because its not my business to share but it wuddant cheap).
The lucite crib is super special and obviously takes up very little visual weight. I have such mixed feelings about lucite. I love it, but it photographs TERRIBLY (because its hard to see) so I tend to stay away from it. But here, its just really lovely.
Charlie stopped by the shoot (in an outfit that I did not approve and immediately fired the sitter) so naturally we had to throw him in a few shots. Sabine is 9 months older than Charlie and he is absolutely in love with her. He just stares and kisses her as demonstrated here:
Here’s how it is going to go down. He will be pretty much in love with her his entire childhood. She will consider him and treat him like a little brother and not notice him grow into a tall strapping gentleman. In their late teens they’ll accidentally kiss after sneaking some wine while we are busy trying to act like we ‘still got it’. It will be awkward but it sparks something for both of them. She shakes it off. He will be even more obsessed with her and he becomes heartbroken when she falls in love with Sawyer, the pop musician. She stays with him throughout her early twenties. Then when she is 28, him 27, they’ll run into each other at a bar in New York (she moved there to be an actress and he an architect or teacher, I’m not sure). Sawyer broke her heart and cheated on her (not surprising), meanwhile Charlie just ended a really healthy but passionless relationship. At the bar that night he will witness a man being rude to Sabine in some way. Maybe the dude hit on her in a gross way or won’t leave her alone or something (I’m not sure about the details). Charlie sees it from afar and in an extremely manly (not so ‘little brotherly’ way) he solves the problem and forcefully invites the man to leave, escorting him to the door (without using violence, obviously). All of a sudden, just like that, she wakes up and sees him differently. Everything changes in that moment. They fall madly in love, and get married (a small but beautiful ceremony) and have 4 kids (our grandkids). We all move to a large commune in Topanga canyon and raise our kids and grandkids together. Also I never get wrinkles, my boobs stay perky and Brian and I die peacefully holding hands, a la The Notebook.
So thats what happens there. And yes, that paragraph will be deleted by the time either of them can read this blog, we don’t want them to rebel against the plan because they think that we orchestrated it (which we absolutely are).
On to the lights fixtures!
Many of you might not have put a spikey chandelier above their baby’s crib, I know, but you can’t physically pull it out of the ceiling with your arms because its in there so tight. So please don’t call the CPS on us.
The only crime here is that there are not more of these fixtures floating around. We found this one on Ebay from a dealer in San Diego. I think it was like $1800 when they typically go for over $3k. Or maybe that price was for that both that one and the flushmount in the middle of the room. I don’t really remember. Either way I remember it being higher end but not totally out of control, expensive.
She’s pretty much the cutest little girl in the world. And sassy. She is going to emotionally torture Charlie for years.
Meanwhile on the other side of the room is her changing table. We did what I did in my nursery, too – we bought a vintage dresser (this was already lacquered) and just mounted a changing tray on top (it screws into the back). Its incredibly beautiful and will obviously work for her throughout her life. Oh yeah, because Sabine can’t exactly change styles – we can’t afford to design her tween room if you know what I mean.
I tried to style the dresser as realistically as possible and it kinda kills me, but its the right thing to do. For the shoot I wanted to put a mirror up there, but you would never have a hanging mirror above your changing table (wall mount that thing). Luckily her daiper pail is on the other side of the dresser and all her diapers and wipes are in the top drawer. The only thing I really removed was the wipe warmer because technically thats not necessary.
That dresser is just stunning – its a crazy color, almost violet but in here it look hot pink.
Just look how beautiful that wallpaper is. It bounces the light around the room in such a magical way. The kids love it – they just stare and stare, call out the birds, etc. And no, we haven’t got to the ‘no writing on the walls’ stage of their life but we don’t need to worry about it because by that time we will have removed all writing or painting utensils from the house. We even debated possibly putting clear paper or thin clear acrylic on the bottom half of it during the ‘scribbling on walls’ years, but obviously that sounds like a really annoying (and potentially damaging) thing to do.
Also don’t forget to wallpaper your light switch. Most installers will do this automatically but just in case, let them know that you want all outlets and switch plates papered, too.
On the opposite wall we put this vintage lucite bookcase that we found at a junk store in the valley for $150 (see its a budget nursery!). It was probably an old display cabinet from a store.
Its awesome and perfectly displays her ridiculous collection of adorable shoes and perfectly styled shoes and blocks.
Speaking of shoes, she had Sabine’s first pair of shoes brass plated (like the old timey copper shoes) which I simply must do:
On to the other side of the room is the reading/cuddling nook:
Not exactly your average nursing/rocking chair. We found it at the Rose Bowl, we spotted it together at the same time and both screamed and then tried to control ourselves so the dealer didn’t feel like he had too much leverage (you want them to know that you appreciate their taste and like the piece, but if they know that you would die without it then they won’t come down on price at all). Since we were shopping for her and she was the one having the baby first she won the chair. Its Milo Baughman, and yes that base is brass. Its absolutely a stunner and potentially friendship breaking. It was originally $750 but we offered $600 cash and he couldn’t say no.
I had it recovered in this totally sumptious velvet (and then we had it stain treated). I didn’t think that it would be a good nursing chair because it doesn’t have arms and I really tried to convince her of that at the flea market. It does rock, but its not exactly smooth. But Corbett wanted this chair so bad that it could have been made of shards of glass and she still would have convinced herself that it was the perfect rocking chair. I have to say that in a lot of ways she is right. You only really sit in these chairs for a couple years. I love my (proper, comfortable glider) a lot and its wildly more comfortable than this one, but when Charlie is too big to sit in my lap (that will never happen, i’m stunting his growth!) then my chair will be less flexible in the house.
The chair was $600, the fabric was $30/yard (we needed 4 yards), and the reupholstery labor was $200. So all in all around $1k which is pretty darn good for a Milo Baughman rocking chair.
So pretty. Just so pretty.
I thought that the brass deer wouldn’t last in here, that they would be easily knocked over, smashing a childs foot (for a while she actually had them on top of the bookcase which made me nervous, daily) but they are still in here, and Sabine loves them and doesn’t knock them over. That brass hand lamp is mine that I think I left there (I got it at the flea market years ago). And the standing lamp is a pretty french deco lamp that we picked up at a vintage store.
Here are the rest of the resources:
| Purple Chair: vintage Milo Baughman | | Lucite Bookshelf: Vintage | Brass Deer: Vintage | Hand Lamp: Vintage | Pink Dresser: vintage from | Green Hamper: unknown.
Its a very satisfying transformation. The room is incredibly beautiful and it guarantees that Sabine will have a perfect childhood. Sometimes a good hand-painted wallpaper can really save lives, folks.
Meanwhile the only thing that we both would change is the rug. That rug was from their living room and they put a new rug in there so they moved this one in here. The ‘pros’ for it are that its like 5″ thick and just so comfortable to play on. Its like a big piece of furniture. And its beautiful. Plus they already had it and it was expensive and they didn’t have another room it would work in. But we would both like something lighter and brighter in here. It sucks up the light in a weird way, even though its just a medium gray. In a perfect world it would be a non-shedding cream rug flokati rug. This rug is awesome, don’t get me wrong but if it were lighter gray or cream I think it could be better.
So, since this project is really hard to recreate (due to budget and the fact that almost everything was vintage) we put together a ‘get the look for less’ board with more affordable, and yet still awesome options for you.
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Thanks to Kelsey Tucker for the beautiful after photos.
Naturally we had to end this post with a gif, because well, i’m officially addicted to gifs.