TWEAKING THE NURSERY: SMALL CHANGES THAT MADE A BIG DIFFERENCE

Thursday, September 15, 2016
I have a disease. It flares up every August and drives me a little mad, makes me a little hyper-focused. It's called Home-Improvementosis, and while it has its moments, it comes and goes, so...I'm living with it. 

HA. :)

Seriously, though, for whatever reason, every August Ryan and I get the bug to re-do our home somehow. This year was a tad different - Home-Improvementosis struck late August since we were traveling. I'm just getting over the bug with the completion of this year's lucky target -- the girls' nursery (my bout this year was a good one)!
A little background: our home has two bedrooms - one is super big, one is small - and we chose to make the big room a stellar nursery when we moved in. I wanted to put their room together in the right way, so I bought an interior decorating class on atly while it was on sale - Creative Children's Spaces - since it focused on what I wanted for the room + it's taught by the accomplished designer, Meta Coleman. I believe so much in the vitality and power of childhood and play - and in making a house "home" - so with those drives and ginormous room, I was going to rock that space.

Here's the hilarious thing, though -- that was TWO YEARS AGO (actually, I bought the class during the same back-to-school sale that atly is currently running - 30% off the entire site)! But since atly's classes don't expire, the class has just been waiting for me to come back around, which is amazing, because I really wasn't in a place two years ago to decorate my home. I was running Let's Playground, Ryan was a first-year law student, and moving in was as far as we got. Last year's focus was decorating the main floor - our living room and kitchen - but this year! This year was my time to run with that initial dream to make the perfect living-play space for the girls. 

Putting the room together has been such a blast!!! Below is a string of BEFORE AND AFTER photos. I want to focus on how I didn't dramatically change this room; I didn't have the time or money for that. But - and you'll see this - the tweaks I learned how to make were MAJOR. Take a look...

BEFORE: the entire room. It's fine, right? It's clean and organized. It's bright. Yes and yes, but. :) Meta teaches how to create a totally cohesive, pleasing room with different techniques, like sticking to the right color scheme. After learning that concept + how to follow through with it, the outliers in my pastel color scheme were SCREAMING at me. Can you see them?? The turquoise print to the right, and the royal blue bins on the left? Not working!
AFTER: it's all okay, though. See? Ahhh. ;)

I'm going to break the room down, starting with the prints...
BEFORE: kind of a sad little wall. :)
AFTER: now it is happy! All I had to do was swap out the turquoise print for another almond-colored piece. And get frames! I bought those solid wood, white frames at Michaels a couple weeks ago for - wait for it -  70% off at $6 each. Yes! I don't know how Michaels pulls of their sales, but I watch for them and I love them. 
A zoom-in on the prints above since I love them so. My favorite designer in the world is Sara Harding (not exaggerating), owner of both A Vintage Poster and Robert & Stella. The prints below are from A Vintage Poster (left print hereright print here). Since the girls can't read yet, I took full advantage of picking quotes that will keep me focused and uplifted. Seriously, if my walls could talk, I would want them saying these things to me!! And repeatedly on the rough days. 
BEFORE: ugh that storage unit/bookshelf?? It's been a monkey on my back in here.
AFTER: much improved. I'm still far from organizing the books correctly, but gosh, I can live with that now. And mostly because of the decor on top...

For the first time in forever, I actually printed off photos and framed them (!!!) What a feeling! After clearing the royal blue bins out and moving the books to the compartments, I knew I wanted three photos to go here: one of the girls together, the Savior, and a temple (going for focus again here. "What's on your walls and in your frames" - that's where your mind goes, yeah?) I wanted these three particular photos, too, since I knew they wouldn't clash with the flow of the room and each has personal meaning...

In the photo on the left, Claire had just turned one, and for the first time here, the girls really sat together and soaked each other up. They felt like sister-friends (still melts my heart)! The beautiful, airy photo of Christ is FREE and found here. I love having this particular photo of Christ here, too, since we use the Bible Videos so much around here to learn about the Savior (I feel like we know that Savior)! And that special shot on the right of the St. George Temple + Ryan and me is from our wedding day. Having such a personal photo of the temple couldn't be surpassed. I absolutely love this space in the room. I could sit and stare all day. :)
BEFORE: the tiny kitchen above was cluttered (remember when Olivia got this number for her birthday two years ago?!)
AFTER: the tiny kitchen is cleaaaan! I can breathe now. 

I wanted to include these two photos below, too, because...
BEFORE: you can see how that whole wall was struggling. Going back to Meta's class, colors are clashing a bit, and then going back to 1995 when my mother taught me how to clean...it was a bit of a problem. ;)
AFTER: it's a full space now and so put together (Mom'd be proud)!!
Pulling the creative-room-card, we found the chalkboard above at Michaels by chance. I say "we" because Olivia spotted it and wanted it immediately. I loved that she wanted something fun for the room, and since it was $10, couldn't pass it up (again, those Michaels sales)!! I grabbed that little pail on the left, some chalk and an eraser from Michaels that same day and had Ryan throw a hook on the wall. Tada! We've loved it in there. Small things like this make a biiiig difference.
Now for some sweet, intimate details below that make the room ours. As I was working on this project, my eyes were opened to all the love from others that fills that room! There are a handful of precious gifts and background stories that truly make the room what it is...
For example...one of my best VA friends, Mandy, helped me make the above teepee for the nursery last summer. She made one for her daughter's room and had extra supplies that she super generously "just wanted to share!" The girls have loved having a teepee getaway, and I love it because it reminds me of how my Mandy Girl was so kind and generous. I tried to find the tutorial we used, but couldn't, so here's a repository of DIY teepee tutorials via Pinterest hat have got to produce similar results.
Okay I want to talk my felt ball garlands while we're here. This may sound silly, but the garland detail was really important to me. I knew that I needed a "connector" - something to tie the different pieces of the room together - and I wanted it to be the felt balls. Felt balls are whimsical, charming, playful, and inexpensive and easy to put together. I knew exactly where to go for them - Hello Maypole (the only place to get them)! My sweet friend, Aubry, and her team were sooo so helpful as I jumped between a few color combos and over-analyzed everything a few days there, because (this was my hang-up)...

Meta teaches that if you're working with pastels, stay monochromatic with your accent colors/decor. That meant that I should go pink + white or something with my felt balls, but I really wanted a bit more color. The solution? I ordered an extra batch of white balls! Adding more white "diluted," per se, the different colors and I hit the goal to stay pretty neutral with this accent. I love how they turned out and could've strung them all over the room. And I love you, Aubry and Jo! Thank you for your help!!
Coupla more shots below of another garland - and my naked bebe, Claire, that jumped into the shot. Mmm that delicious child! Also, the print here is another gem from A Vintage Poster, preaching to us girls around here about who/what we are. :) It was just taped to the wall before (which you can see in the room's overall BEFORE photo).
Okay this sweet number above. One of my best friends from my study abroad in Jerusalem, Denise, gifted this pillow to us after Claire was born. Denise's sister, Vanessa (my other dear friend!) runs Marifly Co., a beautiful, handcrafted pillow shop, so sweet D had V custom make this darling pillow of Olivia and Claire, the sister-bunnies. There could not be a better touch for their room. For one, V's work is impeccable. And it's just so us - the colors, the delicate bunnies, the sweet sister relationship. It is perfect. Love you so much, D and V! 
The girls room has the sweetest details from our families back home, too. IE, the doll above is a PB Kids jewel from my always generous sister, Annie. I remember receiving this vividly. The day we said goodbye to Annie & Co. before moving to VA, Olivia was having a hard time letting the doll go and Annie, on the spot, said, "You take it, Olivia. It's all yours!" She was thrilled + I'll never forget how easy it was for Annie to just hand over something so darling. We love you, Aunt AA!! Also, that crib - a piece from Ryan's darling grandmother, along with that sweet baby blanket and pillow that she hand-made. Treasures. We love you Grandma (gosh this list of people I'm loving just keeps growing)!
Okay I want to chat this bucket above for a second. Remember the bright blue bins in the before photo of the disheveled bookshelf up there? They used to store our toys, but after working so hard to keep the color scheme together, I found this fine, pink lass below at Target for $10 (if that??). All of the girls' toys fit in that one bucket, which yes, screams that we don't have very many conventional toys. :) I have kept "toys" to a minimum, due to my minimalist shenanigans and my belief in children's imaginations, but that's another post for another day!
Had to snap this one above as the action started. They lasted a good hour yesterday (Olivia can spend THREE hours in there)! 

And the full shot below once more for good measure. Hello, heaven (for me). :)
I know I've said this a lot, but I really do feel grateful at the end of this one. If I did any dreaming about being a mom when I was little, being a homemaker with her own house was a large part of that dream. Growing up, I watched my mother - on a couple occasions - take a shell-of-a-house, re-create it, and make it a haven for her people. And she did it right (she's always had "the eye"). This small room re-do was all of that for me. It was a full expression of everything I love about mothering - learning and hard work, creating, beautifying - and dare I say basking?? There are those moments that you just sit and soak in because they're that sweet! During this moment, yes, I basked. Still feeling the glow now. :)

Over and out. Thank you for reading. I love sharing so much, so thank you, really, for coming around.

LOVE you, fam and friends! 

///

PS, a shot below of my inspiration board/anchor as I worked: that precious mini quilt. I'm a pastel-with-pops-of-color girl, and my vision for the color scheme + feel of the room primarily came from that quilt my mother + aunt made to be a table topper, actually, at our wedding (they made a at dozen of them)! Isn't it beautiful? I've draped it over our rocker since putting together Olivia's newborn nursery forever ago. Wherever we go, that piece will have a place in our home. Just one more thing to remind of how much I've been helped along in my life + how much I get to pay it forward. Grateful - full to the brim!
PPS, really, I could not have confidently put together this room without Meta's atly class. I just didn't know the principles of design for this context. I'm grateful for it, therefore, and I'll refer to the class again when I design future rooms (actually, my little bedroom is next)! Seriously, run and grab the class while it's hot on sale. And then, sheesh, girl, take it in two years. :) xox

5 comments:

  1. Well, now my wife wants to do some redecorating as well. "Alex, read Jenny's article, I LOVE what she did!"

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    1. Hahah, I should've mentioned that Home-Improvementosis is verrrry contagious. :) Promise you'll be glad, though, that she's caught it!!

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  2. I LOVE the pictures on your blog! You are so talented.
    What lens do you generally use?
    xoxo

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    1. Thanks, sweet girl. The photos are allllways a work in progress (look closely - I'm so blurry most of the time)! :) I jump between the standard kit lens (18-55) and my 50ml. Any close-up shot with a lot of bokeh was taken with my 50 ml. The wide, landscape-ish shots are usually shot with my 18-55.

      Glad you asked!! Never hesitate to run any Q by me here. I love you!

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