Thursday, July 25, 2013

Before and After: The Nursery

During my recent hiatus from blogging (almost a full month since my last post) a miraculous and life-changing event took place here in the C household: Peanut was born!  She was eight days late and weighed over nine pounds, and her delivery was a rather complicated one, which all adds up to an extended recovery period for Mommy.  Now that I am well and our family of four is settling into a routine at home, I am back and ready to introduce a new segment on the blog called "Before and After."

After two full months of around-the-clock labor, I am relieved to announce that the first phase of our home renovation is complete.  Our house is still very much a work in progress, and probably will be for as long as we live here, but I am pleased with what we have accomplished thus far.  The walls are painted, the light fixtures are hung, the floors are refinished, and the carpet is laid.  In honor of Peanut, the first "Before and After" installment is her room, the nursery.

To refresh your memory, this is what the nursery looked like before we moved in:

The space was overwhelmed by dark wallpaper, a mismatched border, and faded, rose-hued carpet.  The bare windows provided no privacy or insulation.

There was no lighting in the room besides the small lantern to the right of the door.  The doors and trim cried out for a fresh coat of paint.

This is what the nursery looks like now:

I've always dreamed of having a cheerful, gender-neutral nursery, so we painted the walls a sunshine yellow (Benjamin Moore, Golden Honey) and the moldings and cutouts surrounding the window a soft white (Benjamin Moore, White Dove).  The cutouts surrounding the window are perfect for displaying favorite books, small toys, and framed pictures.

We installed a ceiling fan with lamp to provide overhead lighting in the room.  Because I am a window-treatment minimalist and deeply concerned with blind cord safety, we opted for these Hunter Douglas Duette cordless accordion blackout shades to keep the room cool during the day and extra-dark at night.

The carpet is an ivory wool, and if you think I'm crazy for putting light-colored carpet in a nursery then you share something in common with my husband, but you didn't have to pay for it.

The design inspiration for the nursery stemmed from this print of The Velveteen Rabbit- my favorite children's book- that my Godmother gave to me for my twelfth birthday.  The quote reads, "When a child loves you for a long, long time... then you become Real."  Below the quote is a picture of the anxious Velveteen Rabbit conversing with the wise Skin Horse in the boy's nursery.

Our own "Skin Horse," (i.e., a Melissa and Doug rocking horse) stands guard beside the dresser that my husband refinished in a walnut stain to match our crib and changing table.  I added the green knobs, from Anthropologie, to the drawers for extra pizzaz.

These cards, a sprinkling of the well-wishes we've received, represent just how loved Peanut already is.  We found the soft white lamp on the dresser at a shop called Filaments in Greenwich Village.

We bought this oval crib- by Stokke- three years ago when we were expecting Minnow.  Its shape and size were ideal for our tight New York City bedroom.  Unfortunately, finding bedding for an oval-shaped crib is virtually impossible.  This ivory organic-cotton circle bedding, which I purchased from Dwell Studio three years ago, has been discontinued.  Good thing I registered for lots and lots of fitted sheets the first time around!  The sweet lamb mobile hanging above the crib, a gift from one of my oldest friends, is from Pottery Barn Kids.  The oval green accent rug is also PBK.

Our changing table is also by Stokke.  What I like most about it is that it is forward-facing, so baby faces you as you clean and change her.  The two canvas storage bins provide ample space for diapers (for Peanut), Pull-Ups (for Minnow), wipes, burp cloths, blankets, bathing supplies, and pretty much anything else you can think of to care for a newborn (and/or stubborn toddler).

It may surprise you that Peanut's name is not actually Peanut.  The custom-painted chevron monogram letters that hang above the changing table were designed by Maureen Pawlowski at MP Creations.

One of my favorite things in the nursery is this set of French alphabet cards, which we found in a vintage housewares shop on Block Island two summers ago.  We had them affixed to a green mat and framed as a Christmas gift to Minnow.  Minnow generously (unwittingly) agreed to share this one-of-a-kind wall-hanging with her sister.

When I was pregnant with Minnow, I desperately wanted a slipcovered glider in which to nurse, cuddle, and rock the baby to sleep every night.  Of course, space was limited in our Manhattan apartment, so the glider got pushed to the wish list for Baby #2.  This was literally the first piece of furniture I bought after we closed on our house.  It was a steal on clearance from Pottery Barn Kids, and is white canvas with apple-green piping.  The chevron throw, also in apple-green, is by Serena and Lily.  My own Velveteen Rabbit from childhood keeps the seat warm between feedings.  

Shades of yellow, ivory, white, green, and walnut: a serene retreat for both Peanut and Mommy.