And So The Nursery Begins…

Yeaaaaaah, baby – it’s nursery time! Pun most definitely intended. The last time we shared a shot of this room (in this post) it was looking like this. Totally newborn ready, right?

We started on Clara’s nursery in February and she was born in May, so it felt right to get moving in there now that it’s January (since the barnacle is due in April). We’ve had so many ideas swirling around in our brains for the last month after finding out we were having a boy, that waiting a hot second before running in there and going to town has been nice because the projects and ideas that we truly love have had a little time to float to the top.

We’re leaning towards using bold green along with graphic black & white (although we’re sure almost every color of the rainbow will end up in there in small doses) and we’d also love some natural elements (wood furniture, woven baskets, bamboo blinds, etc). As for the mustache doll, Clara picked one out for her brother at a craft sale we went to recently, so he’s just in there for fun, along with the same green alligator toy that Clara played with as a baby.

The whole green accent color idea actually came from the bike prints that John framed in rustic homemade wood frames for our last house’s sunroom. Here’s a detail shot of those awesome rich-wood frames…

… and here’s my favorite shot from that post. For obvious reasons.

We think they’ll make for awesome large scale art in the nursery, and from there we can layer in things like a black and white striped bench, a neutral rug, bamboo blinds, built-ins to flank the crib that are spaced to accommodate a twin sized bed in between them (longwise) – or even a full-sized bed (widthwise) for when the barnacle is older and no longer chilling in a crib like a villain angel.

So our starting point for the room is definitely that bike art, but our first purchase for the room actually snuck up on us. We were in HomeGoods and saw this big 100% wool rug, and something about it just had us at hello.

Even Clara was smitten.

Within five minutes we were checking out with it and stuffing it into the car. It’s an 8 x 10′ 100% wool Martha Stewart rug by Safavieh and it retails for $800 but it was marked down to $399. We liked that it was soft (not scratchy) and had a cool pattern on it that was somewhat subtle (so it won’t compete with other bolder patterns, like a thick black and white stripe on something, for example).

But the room was hardly rug ready, so we had some cleaning up to do when we got home with it. After we put all that stuff where it really should go (either in other closets/rooms/or the storage room) it looked a lot better – and we were able to take our traditional “us in the room before we start on it” photo.

We did one of them in Clara’s nursery before we started on that back in 2010 (apparently I automatically pop up onto my tip-toes whenever I’m in a picture next to tall John).

And then we snapped this one when we were done, so we’re planning to do that in the nursery here as well. It was fun to compare how my bump changed after three months, and sort of hilarious that I “popped early” and just seemed to stay that big – well I grew a little more – in the last trimester).

Here’s the nursery now with the rug in it. It’s looking pretty big here since it’s shoved up against that side and back wall, but we think once we center it and load in the room it’ll hopefully be great.

We’re loving everything from the tone-on-tone pattern to the nice wool feeling underfoot. Just ignore those unpainted walls and that half-constructed crib…

Rug close up. Hubba hubba.

So there’s still lots to do, but it’s progress! We’re sure our to-do list will continue to evolve as we go, but here’s a first-thought brain dump for ya:

  • clean out the room
  • paint the walls and ceiling
  • address the window (bamboo blinds + blackout curtains?)
  • get a rug
  • add built-ins to each end of the long wall so the crib (and a future bed) can nestle between them
  • add sconces to the sides of the built-ins
  • create some sort of slatted or trimmed out wall between the built-ins for interest?
  • get the ceiling wired for an overhead light fixture (none of the upstairs bedrooms have them)
  • find an armchair for all that late night nursing
  • redo the closet for little clothes (paint it, add a second hanging bar, cubby storage, etc)
  • maybe even paint the closet door a fun color like Clara’s?
  • add chunky crown molding
  • bring in a dresser/changing table (we’re 80% sure we’ll use the wooden hand-me-down from John’s dad that’s currently in our closet)
  • build custom shelves (since John did this for Clara, he’d like for this to be a tradition)
  • make a woodsy little cuckoo clock (since I made one for Clara, I’d like to make a charming little rustic one for the bun as well)
  • make a mobile
  • hang art (at least one or two prints will have a sea-faring reference, thanks to Clara’s baby boy nickname of “The Barnacle”)

We’re planning to document this nursery’s evolution exactly the same way that we did Clara’s: in real time as we go. We created hers over the course of three months and 17 posts (cleaning the room, painting the walls/ceiling, going shopping, crib hunting, adding curtains/blinds, getting a crib, painting & hanging a mirror, finding a chair, making a faux sheepskin, refinishing her dresser, adding drawer liners, organizing her closet, making a crib skirt, making a mobile, building nursery shelves, adding art, and sharing the full reveal when it was 100% bean-ready).

So while we expect that many of the steps that we take will change this time (we don’t need a crib, but we want to add built-ins), it’s safe to assume that over the course of the next three months, we’ll probably share one or two updates a week as we go (along with progress in other rooms, showhouse updates, etc). We have a few loftier goals for this space (like built-ins, sconces, and chunky crown) so it might be down to the wire, but no matter what we hope to be done by mid April.

Oh man, it’s pretty crazy to think that in a few short months we’ll be a family of five (Burger counts!) with a former junk-room-turned-functional-bedroom for our littlest family member. I’m all grinny and hyper over here. Is anyone else working on a nursery? Do you have a big ol’ to-do list and a permasmile on your face? Or do you have memories of creating a bedroom for your little one that you’d like to share? I can’t get enough of that stuff.


  1. says

    This is where the fun begins!! Can’t wait to see how everything comes together and what surprise ideas will pop up along the way :) Your ideas and creativity is nothing short of inspiring!

  2. Em says

    I love the rug and mood board, but do have one comment that I’ve been “hemming and hawing” over mentioning. It seems like you guys are doing A LOT of built-ins in this house. From your other lists, you’re planning to add them to the office, the kitchen/living room doorway, your room, Clara’s room, and now the nursery (plus the dining room already has them). It just seems like every room is gonna end up with built-ins.

    Of course it’s your house, so do it up how you want, but thought maybe it was worth mentioning. Looking forward to seeing how the nursery evolves!

    • says

      Oh yes, I think it’s just because our last house had a bunch of them and we LOVED both their look and their function (we had a wall of built-ins in the dining room, built-in desks in the office, built-in laundry room storage cubbies, and built in shelving systems in nearly every bedroom closet). So when we moved into this house we were like “um, where can we put everything?!” – losing that storage and function made us miss it more than ever! The funny thing is that many really old homes (like old craftsman houses) have a ton of built-ins (in living rooms, dining rooms, bedrooms, etc) and new constructions have a ton too – so it seems like something a bunch of people gravitate towards… including us!


  3. Allen says

    Be sure to include a pic of the storage room in your next Keeping It Real post!

    Also, whats the haps with the garage? I know you have plans for it but it sounds like John’s been using it a lot lately…

    • says

      Oh yes, the garage and storage room = insanity! We are thinking about doing a house tour video though, so maybe if they’re not too dark we can capture the madness on film!


  4. Kate says

    I love the idea of a touch of green! I can’t wait to see more.

    I also love the baby bump – my little one is 11 months today and we don’t want another one (at least not yet), but seeing your bump makes me want to be pregnant again, lol!

    I’m so glad you found a good rug! Right now I’m in rug-finding-hell – we’re getting hard floors put in right now and I need a rug for the living room, but everything is either a) ugly, b) really expensive, c) wool (I’m really sensitive to wool), or d) not soft for the little one to crawl around on. Good rugs seem so difficult to find!

  5. Evelina says

    I’m SOOO excited about this! My favourite idea is the built-ins on both sides of the crib. Seriously genius. The rug is perfect too! I’m excited to find out the colour of the walls!!

  6. Katie says

    Before we repainted our current guest room/office, there was a layer of dark, bold green peeking out from chips and scratches. I’m pretty sure it’s underneath a layer or two on the whole room! It makes a wonderful accent color, but it makes me cringe just a little in the same way you probably twitch whenever you see that shade of blue from your house trim!

    I’m in nesting mode too, with under 6 weeks until our baby boy arrives! We’re planning on having him sleep in our room until we transition into sharing with big brother. So while we aren’t designing a new space, cleaning, re-arranging furniture and organizing are dominating my to-do list. Since we’re moving everything in our room around a bit, I may use it as an excuse to finally repaint it too. :)

  7. Tiffany says

    Yahhhhhh the post I have been waiting for. And I LOVE that rug!! It looks like it would purr if you petted it :)~ hehe

  8. Katrina says

    I am in LOVE with that rug – what a find!

    When we got our son’s nursery ready the best thing we did is install a dimmer switch for the over head light (well, besides installing the overhead light since there was none in that room originally). It was so useful to have that little bit of light available for those late night diaper changes/feedings without it being too much to cause him to really wake up and think it was time to play. And now (he’s 20 months) it helps to ease him into waking up on days that we have to get him up and moving.

  9. Stefanie says

    I was hoping you guys would use that awesome bike print in the nursery as soon as you revealed you guys were expecting a boy! Love the bold green color in it and can’t wait to see how you tie it into the room.

    A friend of mine is currently pregnant and her and her husband are both cycling enthusiasts so it was only natural to lean towards something bike related when it came to their little man’s room. She actually ended up making her own mobile using a bike wheel (sans tire) and paper airplanes made with maps. She got the inspiration from here and it turned out really beautiful. Just throwing an idea at you. =)

  10. Meghan C. says

    This post couldn’t have come at a better time! Our little man is due at the end of April and we just started clearing out the room and painting it a soft
    Blue aptly named “sweet baby boy.” We have a cape style house so the baby’s room has the sloped ceiling with built-in dresser & bookcases into the eaves. It’s a funny little room but it’s perfect for a baby.

    I’m doing a dinosaur theme in the room in soft blues, greens, and yellows so it’ll blend nicely with the other rooms. I’m toying with the idea of painting the back of the bookcase a nice deep blue for a little extra pop. Provided my brother doesn’t complain, I may swipe this giant neon green and orange stuffed dinosaur he had as a kid to bring in a family touch. It’s seriously atleast 3 feet long. It’s like the giant stuffed animal you’d win at a carnival game.

    Hope everything goes smoothly and can’t wait to see the progress on the barnicals room!

    • says

      Oh man, that room sounds amazing! I can’t believe it already has a built-in dresser and bookcases in the eaves! So sweet! Would love to see photos when you’re done!


  11. Kayla says

    We just found out yesterday we have a little girl due this summer! I am so excited to get working on the nursery.

    On a related but unrelated note….do you guys use pads under your rugs? I am new to the hardwood floor scene, but am wondering since our house is all hardwoods.


    • says

      Congrats Kayla! That’s so exciting! As for our rugs, we like basic rug pads from Target. They can smell a little plastic-y so we like to get them and open them up and air them out (in the sunroom or even out in the hot sun for a few days) just until they’re no longer stinky!


  12. Amy says

    Looks like it’s gonna be awesome!
    My all time fav room that I made for my completely unexpected third child was my favorite space I ever fixed up. We were in a 900 square foot apartment with our 5 year old and two year old. We didn’t want to move before hand so making fit was the name of the game. We had a small walk in closet in our master that I converted into the most lovely room in our house! The kids played in that teensy tiny space every single day. We moved 6 months ago now and I never thought if miss it as much as I do!

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