When I found out we were having a girl, I knew I had to take advantage of the fact that I was finally going to be able to do a room for a little girl. I have really loved doing nurseries for the boys, and then doing their big rooms, too. But I was anxious to put some pink someplace. I really do love me some pink–I show my hair as evidence of that.
I also knew, however, that we’re on a tight budget and I really couldn’t justify throwing out all of my baby things and starting over. I also didn’t want to run out and buy a whole bunch of new things, because I can barely walk around the house without waddling and hobbling, let alone around a store. I challenged myself to make a nursery that was obviously feminine but that still utilized the things I already had. I figured that keeping the same furniture and the same rug would keep the cost pretty low. But to make it that much harder on myself, I told myself that I wouldn’t repaint the walls, either.
That last stipulation was a struggle, let me tell you. I am not sure what color I would have repainted, but I did consider the leftover deep green from our bedroom at one point out of desperation. I wanted the room to look completely different for a low cost, and paint would have been the easiest way to do that. I had told myself, however, that I’d keep the walls the same, so I stuck to that plan. So, everything else evolved over time, but the wall color persisted.
This was the first incarnation of the room: it was really bright and modern. I decided to paint the crib and dresser and dye the chair. The walls stayed the same, but the rest of the room was accented with maroon, red, and pink. I still really like this design. It would make a fun room.
Then I brought home an antique quilt that’s been in my family for generations. It was made by Elvie Kate’s namesake’s namesake, so I knew I had to use it in her room. Unfortunately for design #1, the quilt is anything but bright, bold and modern. Next to the reds and pinks, it just looked dingy. What can I say? It’s old.
So I revamped the look of the room again. I brought home an extra antique rocking chair from my parents’ house to use in the room. I still planned on painting the crib and the dresser and keeping the rug, but I toned everything else way down.
I felt like the room was still feminine, but there was something about it that just wasn’t working for me.
I contemplated butting the bergere chair back in there, and as I was messing around on Polyvore, I found one in a yellow/ochre color that made my heart sing.
So it was time to revamp things AGAIN. The quilt was really too small to work behind the crib, so I moved it over to the wall behind the changing table/dresser. In searching for something to put behind the crib, I found this tapestry on society6 and just fell in love with it. Inspired by the tapestry and chair, I finally worked the rest of the room around them–keeping the quilt’s limitations in mind–and ended up with a clear picture of what I wanted to work towards.
That activity corner (read: table and chairs) is going to come in handy–I can already tell. If you haven’t yet, consider putting a space in your nursery for your older kids to hang out. I am, I guess, super old-fashioned about utilizing the nursery. I do not like to nurse, change baby, etc. just anywhere around the house. I keep all my baby stuff in the nursery, and do everything in there. Yes, I even tramp down the hall to nurse baby in the nursery in the middle of the night, even when they’re just days old. And let me tell you, I wasn’t able to do that with Clive (because he didn’t have a nursery, poor dude) and I HATED it. So! Since I’m in there a lot, it makes sense for there to be a spot for the older kids to be in there, too. Plus it means I can keep an eye on what they’re up to, if we’re all up there with the door shut.
I had lots of plans for DIYing some lights and curtains, but once I started working I realized my energy is seriously waning and I just didn’t want to deal with having to come up with an idea, shop for it, and then execute it. So I stole the curtains I was using as a shower curtain in the boys’ bathroom (yup) and tacked them up in the cracks in the wood wall. Then, after trying some star lanterns that were really just too small scale, I decided to just stick with the shades that I had used for Anselm’s room. Maybe I’ll switch them out later, but I doubt it. I really like them and I don’t have anywhere else for them to go if I don’t use them in the nursery. So, that was another two ways to keep my cost and time down.
I could ramble about all my thought process behind this room for forever, but I’ll try to stop and post pictures of the actual room.
Here’s the room when we bought the house:
Got to show where it’s come from, right?
Here it was as Anselm’s nursery:
And here it is after one week and $150 got it ready for a baby girl:
According to plan, the dresser got painted, the crib got painted, and the Bergere chair that really needed TLC got a dye job. I found that chair for $30 at a yard sale several years ago, so I wasn’t too worried if I totally messed it up. I used it as the chair in Anselm’s room, too, and it’s so roomy that you can grab a couple of pillows and snuggle up with a newborn and not have to worry about a stool for your feet or whatever. I used a rocking chair with Ephraim and was always having to cross my legs to be comfortable when I was nursing him. I usually sit cross-legged in this chair.
It was way easier to dye the chair than I thought it would be. Only the cushions themselves gave me trouble. I dyed them the wrong color at first, then had to try to re-dye and match them to the rest of the chair. It’s not perfect, but it’s definitely close enough, which is good enough for me. The first go-round turned them apricot. It actually still “worked” in the room, but it was not what I was hoping for. I considered keeping them for a while, but changed my mind and decided to try again.
Painting the crib was definitely a case of “why didn’t I do this before??” Ephraim’s nursery was woodsy and dark and the espresso finish fit right in. Really, it worked well in Anselm’s room, too. But painting it the same color as the walls just kind of makes it disappear in the room. It’s a really small room, so having a huge piece of dark furniture took up a lot of visual space. Now it just kind of recedes. I love it.
That little owl was a last minute thought–I had pinned a picture of little fabric pouches that attach to the crib and thought it would be great for holding pacifiers. Then, before I could buy or make any, I remembered I had this little owl pouch that needed a good permanent spot. I was given that as a gift during a visit to Japan back in 2004. When I was taking pictures, though, I noticed that someone had thought it might make a good car holder instead.
Life with boys. 🙂
I made the mobile out of some paper butterflies from the craft store and a fallen branch that I found on the side of the house. Anselm is obsessed with them; fortunately they’re hung out of his reach. He does still occasionally nap in here, and will after Elvie Kate comes, too, so I had to consider his height (and long arms) when I put the mobile up.
The dresser is a hand-me-down from a great aunt. It had been in my room at my parents’ house for years, unused, when I decided to bring it down to use for Anselm’s nursery. The wood on the top was in pretty bad shape, so I didn’t feel bad painting over it. And I didn’t feel bad painting over it again for Elvie’s room. The purple color is perfect. I ended up letting some of the navy shine through because I liked how it looked. (It also meant I didn’t have to put on a second coat.)
(And because I got a lot of grief about using a sheepskin as a changing pad cover, can I just go ahead and say that I’ve never had a child soil it? Plus I keep a little lap pad down on it just in case? Okay! Moving along…)
I had a whole gallery wall covering this corner, but I thought better of it and took all the pictures down. It felt way too busy against the other corner of the room, which was just the crib, tapestry, and mobile. I hung just these prints up, instead.
I really adore these prints by MAKER + INK. It was hard for me to find art for the room that wasn’t snarky, a Mean Girls quote, or something that would glorify Elvie in her own strength. I was really happy when I found these–especially the bird print, because just before I found out I was pregnant again, I had a dream that I found a bird’s egg in our flower garden and it hatched in my hand. I wanted to have a bird somewhere in the room.
Ephraim calls this little table his “office.” I have some special toys for them to play with while they’re in there, but I put some art things there too…though I’m honestly not sure how long they’ll last, since Anselm is learning how to properly use them. Oh well, if he hasn’t learned yet that it’s not acceptable to throw them around in 6-8 weeks’ time, I’ll pack them up and just bring them out for the older boys.
In the meantime, they’re all enjoying the space as much as I am. I’m sure their sister will like it, too.
Ephraim wondering why I’m interrupting his Office Work.