...because home doesn't happen overnight.
08.28.12 / Mabrey’s Room

It was this time last year that we learned we were unexpectedly expecting. Wouldn’t you say it’s about time Mabrey had a proper nursery?

Mabrey’s room is teeny – not even 10’x10′. Normally, I wouldn’t think of painting a small room a dark color but it felt right and the room faces south so it gets a fair amount of natural light. I absolutely love the dark walls. It feels like a cozy cocoon in there. The enveloping mood is fitting. I like the idea of this being her little cocoon. A place for her to rest, prepare and grow her wings before she turns into a busy butterfly.

There’s something not quite right about sharing a nursery minus the baby, so I made sure to include Mabrey. Don’t worry. The pillow comes out of the crib when Mabrey is sleeping.

The paint color is a chameleon. It changes throughout the day and even from wall to wall depending on where you look. Sometimes it’s charcoal, sometimes navy, sometimes black, sometimes a tint of green. I adore colors with this trait. There’s less risk of me becoming bored with the wall color if it’s always changing. It’s a great defense mechanism for paint in our house!

To brighten the room and add contrast, I kept most of the furnishings white.

Floor space is limited so I enlisted the help of popular wall shelves for open storage and display.

Opposite the crib is the changing table and closet. The placement of the changing table near the closet is convenient.

Now that you’ve had a brief tour around the room, let me divulge more details.

The crib is new. Our old crib – one of the only baby things we didn’t get rid of in the midst of downsizing – had a totally different aesthetic. It was curvy and large and screamed country. It was obvious it would hog a lot of room in the nursery, so I bit the bullet and bought a white replacement with cleaner lines and a slimmer profile. It converts into a toddler bed {the old crib didn’t} so we’ll use it longer, too.

I DIY’d the art above the crib. It’s actually an old frame that I had in the guest/playroom of our previous home. {I bought it as a mirror but when it arrived, the mirror was shattered. The company sent me a replacement right away and told me to keep the mirror-less frame because return shipping would have cost them more than what they would get out of the repaired mirror. Seven years of bad luck? Myth debunked.}

I had HH put together six small scraps of tongue and groove leftover from our mudroom and screw them to the back of the frame. Then I painted them ombre ranging from white to light pink to coral to raspberry. I used two bottles of craft paint {a coral and a berry} and simply mixed them with the white trim paint leftover from painting our baseboards to get the various shades. I brushed the paint on with small foam brushes and left the tongue and groove seams exposed – partly for an imperfect look but mostly because I was in a rush. I love the raw pine seams. They make the art look rustic and handmade.

Before I brainstormed the ombre idea, I tried painting ‘I hope you dance’ on the pine boards but it didn’t turn out so well. I painted over it. You can see the faint cursive writing in the pink and coral boards. Thank goodness for Plan B’s. The ombre turned out way better than I had envisioned. I think it looks like an abstract sunset.

The cradle rocking chair is new. It arrived missing the assembly instructions but after contacting the seller I had directions emailed to me within minutes. Assembly was quick and easy. No tools {other than the included wrenches} required and I had it together in 10 minutes.

Until recently, I used a thrift wing chair for night feedings and while it was super comfy it took up too much space. The cradle rocker is perfect for the small room and surprisingly cozy with a pillow for back support. It probably wouldn’t be a good choice for long newborn feeding sessions – say, longer than 25-30 minutes – but it’s great for quick feedings and bedtime stories with older babies and kids.

Even after the baby phase, I see this chair growing with our family. It could easily become Mabrey’s go-to chair when she’s a toddler climbing up and rocking herself. Maybe it will follow her to college since it’s so light. Maybe it will make its way to the family room. The possibilities are endless.

The open shelves hold baskets that store extra blankets and clothes that Mabrey doesn’t fit into yet. They’re a little sparse but I’m sure I’ll fill them up with more pictures and plants as time goes on.

And baby makes 5. The little basket behind the frame is original to the house. I bought it at the estate sale. I put Mabrey’s hair clips and bows in it.

The wire baskets hold board books and burp cloths within arm’s reach from the rocking chair.

I know owls in nurseries are totally cliché but I couldn’t resist this guy. I put a mini pot of aloe in him. His spiky succulent hair reminds me of Mabrey’s crazy ‘do.

For a feminine touch, I added a pair of gold vintage-looking flower hooks. The lightweight blankets are perfect for warmer weather.

The changing table used to live in our previous home’s playroom {as toy storage} and in our previous apartment’s family room {as a media console}. It gets around. I’m working on a handmade mobile to hang above the changing table. Hopefully, it will add some much needed color to this side of the room. As soon as it’s done, I’ll share it.

Baskets and bins corral baby clothes that currently fit, diapers {cloth and disposable} and swaddling blankets. Three of the bottom baskets are empty. Plenty of room to grow!

The basket on top of the changer holds wipes, lotion, cornstarch powder and diaper rash ointment. I’m not much of a scrapper {and by scrapper, I mean scrapbooker} so pinning Mabrey’s hospital bassinet tag to the basket is a fun way to show it off.

I hung a large mirror above the changing pad to bounce light around the room. Mabrey loves smiling at and talking to her reflection after a diaper change. {Not to worry. Big brother Everett was spotting Mabrey.} This is another piece – like the cradle rocker – that I can see following Mabrey around into her teen years and beyond. At some point, we’ll probably rehang it vertically so she can primp.

I love looking back into the room. The mirror gives the nursery another dimension and makes it feel bigger than it really is.

In the bottom corner of the mirror I used stickers to spell out ‘I hope you dance.’ Like I said, I had originally tried painting this phrase on the frame above the crib but it looked awful. Still wanting to incorporate it into the room somehow, I thought adding it to the mirror would be a subtle personal touch. The phrase holds a lot of meaning for me:

*It was the song I danced to with my dad at mine and HH’s wedding reception. I love my dad. We’re really close.

*Literally, I hope Mabrey dances and appreciates her body.

*I studied ballet for 10 years and was really good. Then one year, under peer pressure, I suddenly quit to take on cheerleading. My parents could only afford one activity so I had to choose. I wish I would have stuck with ballet. Cheerleading wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. I hope Mabrey doesn’t crumble under peer pressure and sticks to what she wants and enjoys – whether it’s dancing or conducting science experiments.

*In a broader sense, I hope Mabrey is active in living her life. I hope she tries new things, scary things. I hope she takes chances and risks failing in order to find her passion. I hope she chooses to dance through life instead of sitting it out.

I’m not sure how well the stickers will hold up to regular cleanings but I think the meanings behind them are worth giving it a go.

On the floor next to the changing table is a dirty clothes basket. I hang the wet bag for dirty cloth diapers in it too.

I was going to write ‘wash me’ in chalk but I couldn’t find any in the house. {I know it’s here somewhere.} Instead, I used more stickers to spell it out.

The door to Mabrey’s room opens up right onto the closet. We removed the closet door and I hung a curtain to make things less cumbersome. I still need to hem it. The only things in the closet right now are a box of disposable diapers, a babywearing wrap and sleep sacks for winter. Again, room to grow!

The trunk under the window was a wedding gift from my parents. It’s empty but I think it will make a nice toy chest in the future.

For the life of me, I can’t take good pictures of windows so forgive me for reusing the first photo to talk about the window treatments.

One of the first things we did when we moved in was add room darkening roll-up shades to all the bedroom windows. This was purely for function. In Mabrey’s room, I added long white curtain panels with a subtle chain pattern and textured wood blinds. The roll-up shade is still there, mounted within the window frame, for function but you can’t see it unless it’s down. By contrast, the bamboo shade and curtains are purely for aesthetic – although you could close the curtains or lower the shade if you wanted. Hung high and wide, they make the window appear much larger and the ceiling appear much higher.

To soften the wood floor, I bought a jute chenille rug in a chevron pattern. It has color variations throughout – from ivory to beige to tan to brown – and it makes a world of difference against the dark floors and walls. It’s soft, too. I layered a small sheepskin right in front of the crib for added texture. It’s also a good landmark in the dark when I go in to get Mabrey for her night feeding {or feedings, depending on the night}. I don’t have to turn on the light.

I think that just about covers everything. Many items we already had on hand but here’s a source list if you’re interested:

paint – Benjamin Moore dark pewter

ceiling light – IKEA {discontinued}

floor lamp – gift

curtain rod – Target

curtains – West Elm {discontinued}

bamboo shade – Overstock

trunk – gift

jute rug – West Elm

sheepskin rug – IKEA

crib – IKEA

ombre art – DIY’d from a broken mirror

cradle rocking chair – Amazon

wall shelves – IKEA

ceramic owl, wall hooks – Kirkland’s

hanging blankets – gift, Amazon

changing table – IKEA

mirror – IKEA

changing table bins & baskets – IKEA

laundry basket – gift, Target

red stripe pillow – West Elm {discontinued}

other pillows – etsy {discontinued from here, here and here}

stickers – JoAnn Fabric

all other accessories – from our attic!

What do you think? I have to admit…HH isn’t a fan of the wall color. He keeps asking me when I’m going to repaint. He can have his surround sound; I’ll keep the dark nursery thankyouverymuch. ;)

Lauren Liess wrote something that spoke to me when I was decorating Mabrey’s room. I don’t recall her exact words but it was something to the effect of a nursery really being a room for the parents, especially mom, since babies spend most of their time in there sleeping and eating – not paying much attention to the decor. When I’m in Mabrey’s room, it feels right to me. Like a room I would have if I had a house all to myself. I don’t know if Mabrey likes it as much as I do.

But she sure seems happy. Love you babygirl.

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

129 Comments

Dana, it looks amazing. Beautiful job. I love that rocker! The colors work brilliantly. Nicely done.

reply )

replied on August 28th, 2012

And a man is the first to comment the nursery post…nicely done, yourself, John.

reply )

28.August.2012

I love, LOVE her room! I love that the colors are not traditional baby girl colors, and that it’s modern without being cold and futuristic. It’s mature but still soft. Fantastic. Too bad my daughter is on a purple kick. I have to figure out how to do her room without the purple taking over. I’m going with gray walls with purple accents. Mabrey is too cute, I adore her hair!

reply )

28.August.2012

I love love the wall color. And that mirror. And of course the cutie showing it off. We have a mirror over our changing table and my little one loves it. Back in the newborn days I did not love it as much as I was staring at a mom with no sleep which was scary, but now it is perfect. Especially since the dark circles have diminished slightly. Love this room!

reply )

28.August.2012

I love it! Was just at a friend’s nursery & she too had a dark gray color. It is cozy and makes any other color pop. Looks so inviting, great job.

reply )

28.August.2012

I. Love. This. This is so beautiful. If I ever have another child I’m refusing another baby shower. I feel like I have to cram all this stuff into my girls nursery because it was given as a gift and it feels like too much sometimes. I love the simplicity of it and the fact that there is room to grow with it. Very well thought out.

reply )

28.August.2012

Oh my gosh I love this! It’s true that dark colors can make tiny rooms more of an impact. Amazing!

As she gets older, you can even add chalkboard paint to one of the walls and I bet it will blend pretty seamlessly. Just as long as she doesn’t try to write on the other walls. :)

reply )

29.August.2012

Fantastic room, Dana! I absolutely love everything about it. I just painted our soon.to.be bedroom a darker bluish-gray and what you did with Mabrey’s room is a huge inspiration for me. I was seriously struggling with what kind of accessories I was going to add. I’ll be taking some of your elements and color scheme and incorporating them into our bedroom. Thank you. Thank you! And as for your HH – I say keep the wall color. If you love it, it should stay. It’s a room for you and Mabrey. ;)

reply )

29.August.2012

I think it’s one of the best nurseries I have ever seen. Love it all!

reply )

29.August.2012

omg it’s gorgeous!!! You have amazing decorating skills!!

reply )

29.August.2012

So pretty and simple!

And I love seeing her cloth diaper. ;)

reply )

29.August.2012

Dana, It is stunning! I love the unconventional wall color for a little girl. It reads very navy/green to me. It looks fantastic with the white/grey fabrics and pops of coral. I painted both my children’s nurseries dark colors and never regretted it. I noticed many of your items in the source list were from Ikea, but the room reads so much more high-end and sophisticated. Great job!

reply )

29.August.2012

I love seeing Mabrey and her gorgeous room! I hope you dance was playing during my baby’s birth so I love seeing inspiration on how to incorporate it onto her life. It was the best country song my anesthesiologist could come up with. Much better than what I remember as my son’s labor song…..push it by salt n pepa. How do you hang that in a room?!

reply )

29.August.2012

I am SO glad you posted this. I just painted my guest bedroom/office Iron Mountain (a similar BM color) over the weekend and have sort of been wondering if I made a terrible mistake! It’s nice to see how cozy charcoal/almost black can look with some crisp white and fun textiles and accessories.

reply )

29.August.2012

It’s perfect. Just shared it with a friend who is working on her baby’s nursery…I am sure she will be inspired. Beautiful job. Xo

reply )

29.August.2012

Beautiful, it can be very easy to go ott with sterotypical colours or themes and too much stuff route in a nursey and end up changing it once they gey past the newborn stage as it no longer works with an older baby. With my first I bought tons of stuff because was cute. Our nursery now (no 3’s room) is only 9×8 and we had to keep it really neutral and cull tons of stuff to get the room to function. My daughter is now 2-5 and very vocal in her likes and dislikes she hates pink and is currently going through a blue phase she will insist on blue dresses and will only eat off the blue plate, a traditional pink room would be a disaster for us!

reply )

29.August.2012

Considering they say babies only see black, white, and red for the first however months, I think it is the perfect wall colour choice. It is a stunning room!

reply )

29.August.2012

I love the wall color and furniture and really all of it. But, I’m old fashioned and I want a few ruffles or pink sheets or something girly. Pink dresses hanging on hangars on the hooks? A doll on the dresser? A tutu on the wall?

reply )

29.August.2012

This room is worth the longest post on H*T !! Very nice indeed, calm and sophisticated, yet a little girly with hints here and there (coral color, hooks, blankets and stuff) and with all different textures ! It’s very delicate but not baby-ish … LOVE. IT. take care !

reply )

29.August.2012

SO digging this space! Great work! I am working on our little space for our new bean! Great inspiration!

reply )

29.August.2012

I love the space! The walls are great and I can just imagine how cozy the room must feel. I’m sure Mabrey loves it as much as you do!

reply )

29.August.2012

Hi there!
I’m writing from Hungary. I have been reading your blog for some days and I love it! I like that you also write about your kids, family not just strictly about’ house tweaking’
The nursery is beautiful, its simple and calming, I love it!

reply )

29.August.2012

I love the nursery! It is beautiful, calming and really sweet! I totally agree that it seems cozy… which is perfect for a nursery! I love that you’ve incorporated lovely little touches without crowding or cluttering the room. Perfect! And Mabrey seems mighty happy with it! Cute as pie!

reply )

29.August.2012

Cute, Cute, Cute! I love the color!

reply )

29.August.2012

I love it. The restrained palette is beautiful and all the textures and layering make it feel super cozy. Great Job!

reply )

29.August.2012

It’s fantastic Dana! Great job. Mabrey is so cute and looks very happy.

reply )

29.August.2012

This looks awesome! Tough to work with dark colors, but that looks so nice

reply )

29.August.2012

This is so beautiful! I love every single detail in her room. And the shots of Mabry herself…so precious!

reply )

29.August.2012

your baby’s room is so beautiful, she is very lucky to have a mommy like you that really took time to make her room beautiful…i love the colors that you used – not the overused nursery colors like pink, purple, green, yellow – i mean these colors are my favorites but the color that you used? i would not have thought about that! i need to be open with other colors and explore possibilities….

plus! your baby mabrey – she’s such a cutie!!!

huggies***
smartmomma

reply )

29.August.2012

I love it! Great Job. I wish you could come over and redo my whole house!

reply )

29.August.2012

Okay, I’m 33 and have no baby and I want this room. It’s adorable!

reply )

29.August.2012

What a lovely nursery. Great color choice! I too have very small rooms in a 1960’s ranch style home. My nursery is neutral, like yours, but I used a dark charcoal color as an accent. I have more of a traditional aesthetic. I also used coral as an accent for my daughter and now a deep, earthy red for my son. I just adore your nursery. Great job with the limited time that you have. (I know, I have three, and my last was also a pleasant surprise.) Have a great day!

reply )

29.August.2012

Love, love, love it! Such a stylish room for baby and mom. Great work. I’m looking forward to seeing the rest of the house as it comes together.

reply )

29.August.2012

So many others have said it already, but WOW! I adore each and every detail. The contrasting colors and textures are amazing. And the color! I might use it for my own room.

reply )

29.August.2012

I LOVE THIS! I love everything about this room. Its so functional and cozy and has simple style. Great job. I am so loving everything about your new house.

reply )

29.August.2012

Hi Dana! I love your blog and I love this room! Could you tell me where you found the beautiful metal baskets on the bottom LACK shelf? I have been searching for some wire or metal baskets everywhere and can’t seem to find any I love. Thank you!

reply )

replied on August 29th, 2012

They used to live in the pantry at our previous house. I think I found them at Target a few years ago.

reply )

replied on August 31st, 2012

Yup, they are from Target! I have the same ones, love them. I don’t know if they are still there, but they were in the closet organization section, along with locker type bins.

reply )

29.August.2012

Beautiful job Dana. You are amazingly talented. I love everything about how you decorate and love that you go out on the limb and take a risk here and there. You are beautiful inside and out. Keep up the great design/decorating work. Best to you Patty

reply )

29.August.2012

Great job!! Love the color. I’m currently painting (most of) my house BM Light Pewter :)

reply )

29.August.2012

I just noticed that Mabrey’s room colors are the same as in your blog ! Interesting …

reply )

replied on August 29th, 2012

Yes, they are! How observant of you! I guess when you like something, you like it everywhere ;)

reply )

29.August.2012

Beautiful room! I like that you’re not afraid to mix neutrals. This is a very original nursery. I follow a bog called Project Nursery. You should enter it in their weekly contest… It’s a great contender for readers’ favorite nursery. I believe there may even be a prize.

reply )

Oh WOW!!!!! I am so in love with this room!

reply )

I love Mabrey’s room, its so beautiful! The dark walls and white furniture is amazing!
I’m so glad you posted it. Although I’m not expecting to be pregnant in the immediate future I have been trying to find inspiration for smaller nurseries for when the time comes (the room we would end up using is 9×8) but every where I’ve looked has these HUGE rooms so it’s nice to be able to see a smaller sized one. :)

reply )

Congratulations on creating one of the most beautiful nurseries I’ve seen. It’s modern, sophisticated, feminine, and personal. Mabrey’s a very lucky little lady to rest her head in such a superb space.

reply )

29.August.2012

Absolutely stunning. Perfectly balanced and modern nursery. I will be working on my second kid nursery shortly and your’s is a huge inspiration. Well done Dana !!

reply )

Beautiful! I wouldn’t have necessarily thought that a dark color would make the room feel light and feminine, but it does. It looks really cozy and clean. Great job!

reply )

29.August.2012

This is absolutely gorgeous!! We’re not planning on having kids in the near future (still a couple of projects to knock out before I feel like we’ll be baby-ready) but I really, really hope I can pull off a room with as much style as you have here. Love!!!

reply )

29.August.2012

I personally went for bright colors in my son’s nursery (http://www.kellyandellen.org/house/2012/05/nursery-reveal/) but I LOVE these dark colors for her space. I don’t think it’s too dark – the pops of white keep everything crisp and bright.

reply )

29.August.2012

Very unusual and pretty. You’re brave to use a color like that in any room, but I think it’s highly successful!

reply )

29.August.2012

I seldom comment on your posts, but I never miss them, and I love reading them. But this time…oh mamamia! I just love the whole room! I just decorated my 3 month old baby girl’s nursery (3 walls white and one wall green). My husband is not a fan, but I love it and I’m not changing a thing. P.S. The phrase “I hope you dance” is perfect!

reply )

29.August.2012

I think it’s beautiful and I really like the dark walls, especially since you have so many other light coloured items that prevents the room from looking dark. I love the crib pillow, I have that exact fabric on order to reupholster a chair :)

reply )

29.August.2012

Oh I absolutely love it! That rug, the wall color, everything is gorgeous, and I love the personalized touches on the shelves and mirror. You should take a picture of Mabrey Road and print it for her room! We came across an Archer road driving around upstate New York and took a picture to print and hang on our Archer’s door, someday when we live in one place for longer than 12 months and he gets a proper bedroom :) He never got a nursery, le sigh. If your stickers don’t work out, you could etch the mirror, but that would be permanent.

reply )

replied on August 30th, 2012

I love the idea about incorporating a picture of the Mabrey road sign in her room!

reply )




This blog is kept spam free by WP-SpamFree.