When I found out I was pregnant, one of the first things I began daydreaming about (besides the baby, of course) was decorating the nursery. Now that the nursery is complete, I realize such a peaceful, happy, and beautiful space awaits baby Caroline because of the people who played a part in its creation.
My first purchase and inspiration for the nursery happened with my business partner, Ashley Daly, as we entered the flea market early one February morning. I was only a couple months along, but the Hudson Bay blanket we saw laying in one of the first booths had the look I’d imagined— bold primary colors (think children’s building blocks and crayons!) with a soft, neutral backdrop. Simple, classic, clean. Ashley told me I had to take it home. The Hudson Bay blanket was my springboard for the room. From there, things seemed to fall in place.
My mother-in-law, Carol, couldn’t wait to go shopping for the baby. On Memorial Day weekend, we spent the day browsing through baby stores and Carol insisted on purchasing the second item for the nursery— the crib. Now the vintage Hudson Bay blanket co-exists nicely with the new wooden Graco crib and just above, my husband’s childhood stuffed animals —BB Bear and Le Mutt— share a shelf with a collection of simple line drawings I made (“The Caroline Series” I like to call them).
After seeing my husband’s old stuffed animals, my mom dug through her closets and found my Raggedy Ann doll, which happened to fit my primary color scheme perfectly. She told me a waitress at a restaurant her and my dad frequented back in the 80s made the doll for me as a baby.
The mobile is one of the most special pieces in the room to me. Not wanting to spend a ton of money, I decided to make my own. I ordered the wool felt balls from Etsy and then, with the help of my husband, used one of my dad’s old walking sticks for the base. As my dad passed away two years ago, it was important to me to include something of his in our baby’s room. In fact, several of the trinkets found throughout the room were once his. It makes me happy that I will be able to admire my dad’s things while rocking my baby to sleep.
This yak bell is from Nepal. My father-in-law, Chris, brought it home last fall after climbing to Mount Everest base camp. Chris also handmade the changing table using European beechwood and vintage baskets for storage. Carol found the perfect cherry red changing pad (the Peanut) that added the right pop of color to the table.
An alphabet shadow box is positioned above the changing table. Several people contributed items to the shadow box. My friend Lauren would call to see what letters were needed so she could hunt for tiny treasures (e.g., H for hedgehog) while vintage shopping. Some of my favorites include my husband’s contribution of R2D2, Ashley’s contribution of the Eames Rocker, and our friend Fix It’s contribution of the van. The arrow (for A!) was handmade by our Retro Den friend and picker, Kenny. I liked the hint of girly pink the arrow brought into the room.
Choosing a rocker was difficult because I knew it would be the centerpiece of the nursery. When Ashley found this Russell Woodard Sculptura rocker on Craig’s List, we knew it was a winner with its sturdy, yet delicate-looking metal frame. I had it sandblasted and powder coated in natural white and my mom upholstered fresh cushions in a pale gray. I made the pillow during a sewing class at Owl & Drum (notice the fabric matches the custom crib sheets, also from Owl & Drum).
The yellow leather footstool and the red vinyl chair (both sporting brass grommets) were finds from two of our favorite Retro Den pickers. Both of these gentlemen had no idea that the pieces they had found at an auction or yard sale would be perfect for my baby’s room. They should be proud.
Being a baby and all, I know Caroline won’t really appreciate the nursery so many people who love her worked to create. However, I know I will enjoy it with her in the months to come. And I like to think that in fifteen years she’ll read this blog post and realize what a lucky little girl she was to start her life in a room so beautiful and full of love.