Today, my baby girl is one year old (Happy Birthday, baby girl!). It became my recent goal to have this nursery tour done before her birthday. I tell myself that while it may seem most ideal to read a baby room tour before the child arrives (filled with so much joy and anticipation!), a post with the hindsight of a whole year of parenting has its perks as well.
We planned and prepped a lot to turn a multi-use space into a baby room. Below is my inspiration pile. I sat things together in a corner to see how they stewed, much like we kept saying names aloud for months to see if they lingered and were repeated, until finally only the ones we loved remained, Harriet Louise.
I meant to have a very minimal room with neutrals. I wanted to try this style, but it turns out my minimal is actually best shown in my restraint of objects and furniture pieces. As you can see, there is a lot of color and so much pattern. I couldn't help myself. Look at those lovely navy and light pink crib sheet fabrics! I can respect cuteness in a baby's things, but I kept joking with friends that I needed something more esoteric. I needed nuance of feelings–happy, calm, pensive, free, brave, sweet. Someone described it as a wanderlust style; we've been calling it bohemian modern.
So why these pieces and this look? We needed form to follow function. My husband and I were excited and terrified to be parents, and we needed to be literally enveloped in calm and bravery. Harriet had some tummy troubles at the start, leading us to spend many, many nights holding her so she could sleep. We may have killed each other (seriously) if that room and our house hadn't been so supportive of the way we hoped to behave in the face of extreme sleep deprivation. Somehow organization and beauty really do help you be a bit nicer and kinder when you're on edge. It also makes the bright moments brighter.
I mean, how on earth could that precious baby be any cuter? Put her on a gorgeous floral crib sheet (custom made by the amazing Petit Giggles in cahoots with Owl and Drum, local fabric shop of my dreams).
Part of creating a comforting room is surrounding yourself with meaningful pieces. The art above her crib is a vintage postcard of New Mexico I happened upon soon after we'd vacationed there. My husband Ryan and I used the time alone in the beautiful New Mexico landscape to decide we were ready to be parents. We cheekily tell ourselves we can just look at this image during any tantrums and remind ourselves we purposefully chose this life.
Her shelves hold treasures from many parts of our lives. Rocks from all our travels, a tiny vintage vase from my childhood flea market collection, a poem my mom gave me as a girl, a rock from Ryan's grandparents' home in Arkansas, blocks from a Retro Den picker friend, Harriet the Spy book (duh) from a friend, a buffalo print from another friend, and brass animals—the dachshund one I found the day after I dreamed I gave birth to Harriet and she turned into a dachshund.
I hoped with all my heart that Ryan and I would sing our baby to sleep each night, and we have. I think hanging the guitar so accessibly brought that to fruition. We most often sing Lyle Lovett's If I had a Boat and John Prine's In Spite of Ourselves. I love singing with Ryan, and sweet Harriet made that a daily event for us. Babies bring new life-grounding rituals you don't expect.
Is there any other time in a person's life that the image of their parents is a primary piece of art in their bedroom? We had to do this while we could. While her room was really our room. I ran some faint pink over our photos to bring the crib sheet color to this part of the room. Those are vintage frames from an estate sale. I love their color and quality.
My business partner's father-in-law hand crafted this perfect changing table for us. It can transition to handy storage in her post-diapering years. It houses vintage swim shelves from the early days of Retro Den, when Ashley Palmer and I took such a brave plunge and met great happiness as small business owners, a story I'm very proud of and looking forward to sharing with my daughter.
Ryan and I sewed those baskets together just for her little diapers. That was a silly evening. And that art box was my mom's as a child; I hope Harriet stores her treasures in it like I did. The non-rocking chair was Ryan's grandpa's favorite chair. Ryan reupholstered it himself, and he brought it home finished the night I told him I was pregnant.
Beautiful lamps I asked a talented friend to make for us. I'd dreamed of this lamp for a long time (with the frosted Danish pendants I knew were stunning but sat in our shop for two years), and it's better in real life than I'd imagined it.
Another friend made her a simple bookshelf. Another friend crafted her a wall-weaving that helped set the color palette for the whole room. Another couple friends made her soft, sweet baby quilts. Another friend recovered her rocking chair. All these pieces remind us that we are surrounded by those who love us and love our offspring. That we are not alone in raising a new person, and she has so many people to turn to and learn from as she grows into herself.
I am about to cry as I look at these photos of her space Ryan and I so carefully crafted last summer. Babies have so far to come–they need so much love and care. We all needed that to grow up and be where we are now, and we still need it.
It's been a long, fast, precious year lived fully and fiercely on a beautiful background.