When my friend Sarah shared the nursery photos on Facebook I couldn’t resist asking her to guest blog for me so she could share them with all of you. I love everything she did and I cannot wait for little Ava to arrive! Congrats Sarah & Andy!
Hi! My name is Sarah Green & I’m so excited to be a guest blogger on Kuzak’s Closet! I’ve been friends with Amanda since high school (she attended Cass City High with my husband, Andy) and I really enjoy following her blog. On June 1st, Andy and I are expecting our first child, a little girl named Ava. It’s been so fun decorating her nursery and playroom. After seeing my post on facebook, Amanda asked me if I’d share some photos and my inspiration behind the rooms. So, here goes…
The first order of business was painting the rooms. Our recently-built home had a drab “builder’s neutral” color throughout, and it’s been my goal to change that, room by room. Andy’s one request for Ava’s nursery was that we didn’t “pinkify” everything, so I selected a (pleasing) neutral color, Benjamin Moore’s North Hampton Beige. I had the painter alternate horizontal stripes along the main focal wall (where the crib would be). The paint shop lightened the North Hampton Beige a couple of shades to come up with the custom striped color. My inspiration behind the striped wall was a photo I came across of a similar room on babyroombio.com (a helpful website for any parent-to-be while planning a nursery). I wasn’t sure how it would turn out, but I loved the end result. It’s a clean look that will hopefully grow along with Ava in the future.
I painted the playroom myself (at 30-something weeks pregnant, I may add — hello, third trimester burst of energy!). I used our leftover BM North Hampton Beige paint. For now, the room contains Ava’s strollers, high chair, a few toys, diapers, etc. In the future I can see her using this area as not only a playroom but also a TV/computer area along with an area set aside for her studies.
It was now time to find a crib for the nursery. There are so many options, it can be overwhelming! Luckily, I had been told about the book “Baby Bargains”, by Alan and Denise Fields (available through Amazon). This book pretty much sums up your choices in many different baby-related categories and picks the top choices, based on their own research to determine quality, value, etc. It’s pretty much like “Consumer Reports” for a nursery. One of their top-picks was the Graco Lauren crib (available for right around $150 at Target – ours even came with a free mattress during the “Black Friday” sales). It received high marks for its durability, quality, and looks. I have to agree – it’s a great crib. Simple to put together, very well-made, and nice aesthetic. Plus, it’s a convertible crib, meaning it turns into a toddler as well as full-size bed as needed. We’ve gotten so many compliments on it. I considered an “heirloom quality” crib from Pottery Barn Kids or Restoration Hardware, but, according to “Baby Bargains”, these cribs aren’t actually very well-built, and have received many consumer complaints. Goes to show that you don’t always get what you pay for. Plus, I couldn’t shake the image out of my mind of a future Ava teething on her crib, or surprising Mommy by coloring all over her “big girl bed” with markers. If she does, I won’t have to worry about her destroying an investment piece. I think we’ll be pleased with our choice.
Along those same lines, I had heard great things about the Ikea Hemnes dresser. I didn’t want to buy a separate changing table, as you won’t use it for long and it seemed like such a waste. Many people buy this dresser, and add a changing pad on top. That’s exactly what we did, and the height of the dresser is perfect for tall people (I’m 5’9”, my husband is 6’3″). I highly recommend the Hemnes if you are looking for a well-made (yet disposable, as needed) piece of furniture. While at Ikea, I also picked up a mini Poang chair, faux sheepskin rug (so soft under Ava’s rocking chair) and 4-shelf Expedit unit to store books, toys, etc.
Then, we decided it was time to repurpose some of the furniture that we already had on hand. We cleaned up Andy’s grandfather’s old rocking chair, and added fresh new cushions and a cute throw pillow. We then spray painted an old glider (think dark brown wood with hunter green cushions) matte black and gave the cushions new life with black mod-print slipcovers (this chair will likely have a home in the living room). My childhood rocking horse got a facelift as well, as our parents surprised us by refinishing and repainting it. It’s now in the nursery, ready for Ava to enjoy.
Last but not least, I began selecting accessories for the nursery (aren’t accessories always the most fun part?!). This is where it became difficult to avoid pink. I am not a huge fan of cutesy or themed nurseries (nor the expense that comes along with selecting a ready-made crib bedding set – it’s ridiculous for the short time period they’ll use it!) so I proceeded carefully. My goal was to buy the basics and in a pattern that would grow along with Ava, and not scream “baby”. I did a lot of research into what is really needed for a nursery. Turns out you aren’t even supposed to use crib bumpers or blankets (for infants) in a crib anymore. A typical crib bedding set comes with a bumper, blanket, sheet, and crib skirt. I couldn’t justify shelling out hundreds for a set, so I just bought pieces ala carte, mainly on eBay. While it’s true that you aren’t supposed to use a bumper, I did find a cute Dwell Studio for Target bumper online for only ten dollars, so I bought that for “looks” and will take it out once it poses a safety risk for Ava (said to be once the child can roll over on their own). We also have a breathable bumper that can remain in the crib throughout, although admittedly it leaves something to be desired aesthetically. I then found cute sheets at Pottery Barn Kids (Penelope), that have little birds on them. We were fortunate enough to receive several precious handmade blankets for Ava, and we will use these when the time comes for her to use blankets in the crib. I decided against using a crib skirt, sure they are cute and all but I never really found one I loved. Plus, I happen to like the minimalist look that not using one offers.
It was around this time that I decided if I had to pick any kind of cohesive theme for this nursery, it would be little birds (which happens to be the meaning of the name Ava). After browsing the store, I also came across a cute set of striped pink curtains on sale there, as well as a little bird dream catcher for Ava’s window. Once I hung the curtains (which were 84 inches long), I realized that they were just shy of hitting the floor (a major curtain pet peeve of mine – I like them to pool), so I remedied this by adding cute white ribbon with a silver trim to the curtain loops, giving them the additional length they needed. Finally, I ordered some accessories from etsy.com (pom poms to hang instead of a mobile, prints to go in my Ikea Ribba frames, and a personalized wall decal to hang over Ava’s crib). The nursery was beginning to look complete! Andy still feels it’s a little pink for his tastes, but as I’ve tried explaining to him, it could be oh so much worse 😉 I think the overall look is clean, age-appropriate, and perfect for a little GIRL!
We’ll add a few odds and ends to the rooms as needed, but for now, it’s all ready and waiting for little Miss Ava. We can’t wait to meet her! It’s been fun showing you around her nursery, and being a guest blogger on Kuzak’s Closet. Thanks for having me, Amanda!