So many projects, so little time to blog them. My resolution for 2015 is to devote more time to documenting my designs + DIYs so that you can see what I'm up to - you know, should you feel like creepin'...
Tuesday, January 13th marked the highly anticipated debut of Baby B to the world!
As a princess would, she kept us waiting for over a week past her original due date. It was worth it though- she is an absolute doll! Quite literally, the size of a tiny doll. I am afraid I might smoosh her.
I am so glad to be able to share the story of how her lovely little nursery came together.
Brooklyn's mom, Jenn, and I have been part of a close-knit group of girlfriends since high school. We grew up living around the corner and down the street from each other. I am still a little in awe of the fact that we've grown up so much, that now she is a mommy. We have shared so many experiences together over the years and have been there for each other through many milestones in our lives. I was incredibly flattered and happy when Jenn asked me to be a part of this one...
We essentially started with an entirely blank slate. A blank slate that served as a temporary storage space for car parts. I think it's safe to say, the '67 Camero sitting in the garage is not going to get much attention from Dad for the next little while. Little B has already got him wrapped tightly around her finger.
Jenn's only requests for the room were to use a small chandelier as the main light fixture, hang some cute pictures on the wall, find a bookcase to sit in the corner of the room and somehow reuse an old rocking chair. Other than that, she gave me total trust and free reign. (Yes! The perfect client.) She had a pretty good idea and vision of how she wanted the room to look, she just needed a little assistance to steer things in the right direction.
It all started with the chair.
The rocking chair has been in Jenn's family for 3 three generations of babes! That's pretty incredible when you consider how much rocking it has done over that many years. Needless to say, it was in rough shape. One could say it was 'shabby chic' minus the 'chic'.
Anyone who knows me, knows that I'll be the first to try to refresh something that has lost it's lustre. I believe they call that being resourceful, kids. Take note: Always try to work with what you've got. Not only saving on the cost of a new chair, we improved an already cherished piece that the family will hopefully have for many more years to come.
Which leads me to paint medium, fabric, colour and design choice...
Although the crib and dresser in the nursery were already purchased in a rich, dark walnut stain, we decided early on that we wanted to mix the dark with white pieces to lighten and balance the overall weight in the room. As a result, the already comfortable space feels even more spacious.
I DIY'ed the paint for the chair by making my own chalk paint, at a fraction of the cost of the real stuff. Chalk paint is great because it bonds to a non-sanded surface (thank god for not having to sand down those spindles by hand!) is highly durable and has great coverage. There are about a million recipes for chalk paint floating around on the internet, but I used:
1 c. paint (CIL NO-VOC eggshell white)
1 tbsp. Plaster of Paris (a carton of this stuff sells for $4.99 at Home Depot - score!)
1/4 c. hot water
- add the water to the Plaster of Paris and mix well until smooth
- add the mix to the paint and stir until fully combined
- voila! paint away.
I used a regular paint brush and also mixed the chalk paint in a tupperware container that I could store in the fridge between coats. It took about 3 coats to get full coverage. I wanted to make sure the paint was nice and thick to stand up to wear and tear. After allowing the paint to fully dry, I applied 2 coats of Minwax Water-Based Polycrylic in Clear Satin. (A foam roller or brush works best for applying the poly, as it doesn't leave streaks)
Jenn wanted to keep the nursery a neutral colour so that the room can be used again for the next little one that comes along, whether it be a boy or girl. We decided that a soft, medium-light grey would be perfect for the space. I'll say this now: I am the worst at picking paint swatches. I have been known to paint a room once...twice...and again a third time, because it was just not quite the right colour. (Third time is always the charm!) I am a very visual person and I need to see a paint colour on a wall, in different light, in a magazine or photo before I can decide if I really like it for a space. I advised Jenn to do this, to see what she liked best. She chose the aptly named, Universal Grey which is a soft, calming tone. Perfect for a place that will (hopefully) induce a lot of Zzz's.
The rounded, feminine shape of the rocking chair, plus the pretty chandelier and a couple of other girly pink accessories that Jenn had collected and we had our jumping off point for the overall theme of the room: elegant, soft, feminine and pretty.
In keeping with the neutral basics in the room, I found the perfect fabric to recover the rocking chair cushions in. A beautiful raw linen in a soft, grey tone from IKEA. Normally, I would have taken on the task of recovering the cushions on my own, but since we were a little pressed for time- and I can't quit my day job- we hired an upholsterer to do the dirty work. I didn't want to have the original cushions recovered, as the foam was quite worn and the shape of the cushions outdated, so I sketched a design for new ones, drawing inspiration from a plush tufted headboard, fit for a princess! The new cushions would have fresh three inch foam wrapped in batting for extra cushion, rounded, smooth edges without piping and upholstered buttons in a diamond-tufted pattern. Gorgeous! I was so pleased with the final result, as they turned out to be just exactly as I'd envisioned. (Merci, FK Textiles!)
After searching high and low, Jenn found the perfect pink, white and grey damask print crib bedding from Carousel Designs (www.babybedding.com)
We picked light pink, sheer curtains from IKEA and a white curtain rod, with a damask-esque finial (details, details!). A tall, white IKEA bookcase sits in the corner of the room opposite the rocking chair, housing a few special pieces such as a Tiffany's pink and white piggy bank- a gift from Brooklyn's Aunt Sarah, a letter 'G' which was signed by guests of Jenn's baby shower, as well as an adorable pair of baby cowboy boots tied with a pink ribbon that Jenn had purchased and photographed to reveal Baby B's gender to family and friends. A large, framed, rectangular mirror sits lengthwise on the wall above the dresser/change table, reflecting lots of natural light around the room. Jenn ordered an extra yard of the same crib sheet fabric so that I could make the sweetest little bunting banner to add to the decor in the room.
Finally, the icing on the cake that is this room... the mini-gallery wall.
This part was extra special to me because I got to create some original art work for a few of the frames. From left to right, the first frame is an oval shape which I used to frame out a single pink ribbon tied in a bow. Simple and pretty. The next frame is a B&W photo of Mom, Dad and Brooklyn's cowboy boots in a cluster. Below that is a frame containing Brooklyn's sonogram. (The image below shows a wedding photo of mom & dad, as a placeholder for the sonogram) Sitting in the centre of the gallery wall is a damask mirror from Winners. Originally black, I spray painted it with white semi-gloss. To the right of the mirror, a chrome frame of the phrase "you are loved" in hand-lettering which I did to resemble the waves on an Electrocardiogram (EKG). Below that frame are 12 whimsical hearts that I painted in soft pink and a single one in glittering silver.
And, of course... B is for Brooklyn. Sweet, dainty, beautiful, baby Brooklyn.
Click on the photo below to scroll through more views of the nursery.
Photo Gallery of Brooklyn's Nursery (Click on above photo)