When I first found out I was pregnant, I couldn’t wait to create a special room in our home to welcome our little boy into. I had daydreamed since I was young about the day when I would rock my own child in a rocking chair, or put him or her into their crib at night.
Time flies, and I found myself only months away from meeting my baby boy, ready to redesign our guest room into his special sanctuary. I found out that our Darling Interiors Editor, Rachel Meadows, had a special passion for nursery design, so I told her to take over. She made an initial mood board and then we reached out to several of our favorite brands, designers and artists to be a part of making it come to life.
In Rachel’s words: “The goal when designing this space was to make it a multifunctional room to serve as not only a nursery but also a guest room. The nursery is the perfect combination of playful and modern, it is minimal yet cozy. I selected a soft neutral color palette, aside from the pop of blue from the daybed, and designed the nursery to be an extension of their home.”
Here is the room BEFORE:
The guest room before wasn’t really designed at all and was more of a catch-all for all our furniture or decor that didn’t fit in the rest of the house — we found that since it wasn’t really established as a room, it became a place for us to hide our messes when people were coming over [smile].
Here is the room AFTER:
We knew the room was small so we would need to start with the major pieces, so we started by looking for a crib and changing table/dresser to set the tone for the whole room. We decided upon Babyletto because they create eco-friendly furniture that is adorably stylish while also made with the safest, most renewable materials including sustainable New Zealand Pine, lead and phthalate free finishes.
Rachel: “I was immediately drawn to this crib and changing dresser from Babyletto because of the style and size. Space is limited so something smaller that could transition with the baby was perfect. I am also a big fan of all-natural organic products, especially when it comes to designing a nursery! It was a relief to find Babyletto’s organic crib mattress and changing pad with 0% toxins at a great price.”
We knew the next two steps would be finding a cozy rug and rocker — staples for snuggling with baby — so we looked no further than Land of Nod. I love them because their products are high quality with a special “vintage reimagined” aesthetic that works well with both kid and adult décor, giving you the flexibility to put them anywhere. Their pieces are also created by artisans with livable wages and healthy, safe working conditions. We also added in the Light Years Gold Table Lamp and Set of Two Half and Half Bins to surround the rocker.
Rachel: “I really wanted the rocking chair to have a minimal mid-century vibe to fit Sarah and Steve’s style. This piece is something that can transition into another room later on. Also, since Sarah’s guest room had hardwood floors, I knew I wanted to select a rug that was incredibly soft so they could have a cozy place to sit and play with the baby.”
Land of Nod also has incredible accessories and toys. We also included their Arctic Rocker, Treehouse Play Set, Falling Bear and Fox artwork, Black Mod Botanical Throw Pillow, Black Striped Blanket, White Fresh Linen Crib Skirt, Feather Iconic Fitted Sheet, and Straight and Narrow Wall Rack.
Since we often have guests visiting, I needed a stylish yet functional bed option that didn’t take up as much space as the previous full size bed we had in the room. I’ve always loved CB2 because it is affordable, chic and modern for the everyday apartment and they also give back to the causes of hunger, diversity and creativity through the arts!
We went with this really comfortable and functional daybed and they also provided us with this nice grey rug as a layering piece under the other rug to create more texture on the floor. Land of Nod’s Periscope Floor Lamp was the perfect piece to go behind the daybed to fill the corner with light.
Rachel: “I was looking for a daybed that would be transitional enough to fit a nursery but also a guest room with a modern sense of style. This was a great piece to pull in a pop of color.”
Since this room has so much natural light and large windows finding proper curtains was important. Thankfully Loom Décor came to the rescue. They are an incredible company because all of their products are made custom in the United States with each piece being handcrafted with the finest attention to detail. You can choose from more than 400 fabrics from designer brands, plus, we were able to sample all of the different colors we were interested in and they came out and installed them with seamless hardware.
Rachel: “Since the room is on the smaller side, we went with their Classic Pure Linen White Ripplefold drapery that truly opened up the room while making it feel incredibly cozy. They also made custom throw pillows for the daybed in Classic Linen Lunar to tie everything together.”
We also knew we needed a nice overhead light, and wanted to replace the old, tattered light fixture that was previously in the room, so we went with this linen origami pendant from The California Workshop, a company that values simplicity, utility and authenticity in design. Designer Michael Towey’s saw a need to reverse engineer great modern designs from iconic designers of the past that were no longer available. In his own words, “We are getting back to first principles, going with nature, purposefulness and the serenity of humility.”
Rachel: “I am over the moon for this pedant light. Not only because it is handmade locally in LA but it adds a softness perfect for a nursery with so much style. We were replacing an existing light fixture and knew we wanted something modern that would work great not only for a nursery but a light that could grow with the room and baby for years to come.”
I’ve always loved wallpaper, but definitely not the hassel of applying it – especially since this house is a rental! I asked Rachel about it and she recommended Simple Shapes paper. They pride themselves on creating original and unique wall decals that are designed and produced in their studio located in New Jersey. From nature settings to whimsical creatures, they offer wall decals that can be placed anywhere and removed easily.
Rachel: “The wallpaper was the toughest decision as it creates the largest statement that sets a tone for the space. We went back and forth on what we wanted but landed on this amazing neutral chevron lines pattern. The design is subtle enough that it doesn’t overpower the small room but enhances the space.”
Rachel and I wanted to add more texture and color to the room through accessories. Serena & Lily is a beautiful, home and lifestyle brand with a fresh California point of view, established in 2003 by Serena Dugan and Lily Kanter. We love their attention to using unique colors and patterns, original textiles and great design at a great price, so we included their Dip-Dyed Stools, Striped La Jolla Baskets for storage and adorable Menagerie Bookends.
The adorable robot on top of the stools is by Monroe Workshop. They make mid-century inspired classic toys out of responsibly-harvested wood species, salvaged reclaimed lumber, and storm damaged timber. Their robot horses are also amazing (seen in image with bookshelf).
Pillows and blankets add all the cozy elements needed to a room, so we looked to The Citizenry for beautiful handmade pillows! This company is special because they partner with artisans around the world, providing fair wages and happy working environments. There isn’t an excess of items on their site, just a handful of handcrafted, hand numbered precious creations in limited quantities. We also pulled in their Aldama Side Table (seen in image with rocking chair).
Rachel: “I not only love The Citizenry’s story and philosophy but their curated collection of home goods is so unique. We were looking for several pillows for the daybed and they had the ideal selection. With several textures in shades of gray I couldn’t have asked for a better grouping.”
The merino wool blanket is by Ohhio Blankets. The signature Ohhio look was created in 2015 by Anna Marinenko when a large skein of merino wool caught her eye, she started knitting it using her arms instead of needles. Then with a successful Kickstarter campaign, she brought chunky knit to the mainstream. Ohhio has now grown from a one-person operation to a team of twenty, creating new designs in a thick-knit style.
I’m really picky about art and toys, so we were careful to choose diverse and interesting pieces. The teepee and tree are by DeerAndBadger, an Etsy shop has beautiful prints of animals and nature — perfect for a kids room!
The large artwork on the wall was found on one of my travels to Florence, Italy, so we wanted to make it look nice by choosing a float frame. We went with Simply Framed for all of the framed artwork in the room because they take the difficulty out of framing. You simply choose your frame and mat from their incredible online selection, then they send you a tube mailer, you send your art, and it comes back safely packaged and perfectly framed along with hanging hardware.
It’s amazing how hard it is to find a beautiful mobile for above a crib, but I found this one by Hanging Mobile Gallery. Their talented artists create museum-quality mobiles inspired by Calder and other mid-century artists and their mobiles feature a variety of materials, including glass, metal, paper, and eco-friendly bamboo.
As the whole room materialized, I wanted to bring in more details so I found this beautiful basket by Local + Lejos, a home decor company that bridges communities near and far by creating modern pieces traditional retail stores cannot offer at attainable prices. The sheets are by Chasing Windmills, a company that creates soft, timeless and whimsical designs made from the finest merino wool from mountainous New Zealand and Australian ranches.
And finally, for a touch of personality to the room, I chose to hang these adorable Milkbarn products because their designs are fresh, imaginative and nostalgic, yet modern and country, yet urban and rustic, yet also clean, cool and timeless.
Images via Emily Blake