A Nursery That Tells a Story


The right color on a wall always helps a space come into its own. I love the sight of natural light shining on rich creams, strong blues or warm grays. A good paint choice can quickly make walls go from chilly and empty to approachable and inspired. That being said, I recently went for a different approach with the walls of a client of mine.

I was working with a young Texan couple that had relocated to Raleigh, North Carolina. When we started talking design, they expressed to me that they wanted their home to reflect a seamless cohesion of their Texas origins with aspects of their newly formed roots in Raleigh. I loved this concept, and set about finding and merging elements that spoke to both parts of their collective identity.

I think my favorite part of this whole project was designing the nursery. The couple was expecting a baby, so putting together the perfect space to welcome a little boy or girl was a big priority. They handed me their ultrasound in a sealed envelope (keeping the sex of their baby a secret from themselves) and asked me to design the baby’s room accordingly. The reveal of the room would happen on the day they came home from the hospital. It was such a unique challenge, and truthfully, I loved the excitement of all the secrecy and the building anticipation everyone felt as the day drew nearer.

So I commenced designing a nursery for their baby boy (I can say that now!). In the spirit of marrying the old with the new, I wanted to find a way to incorporate some beautiful reclaimed wood I had from a barn in North Carolina into the baby’s room. The wood was flecked with these dusty, gray tones, and I realized that the wooden boards from the barn could form a striking bespoke accent wall while complementing my color palette. For the other three walls, I decided on a warm gray to pull out those hues from the wood.

Babies are soft and delicate, so I had to balance the coarse, masculine texture of the wood wall with something downy and white. This amazing sheepskin rug with the scalloped edge did just that while simultaneously channeling the Texan vibe my clients wanted.

The wooden floor lamp in the corner by the armchair looks distinctly cactus-like, and serves as an interesting focal point along with the luggage dresser and walnut crib. When choosing lighting for this room, I decided to go with a shaded ceiling light – a nursery is no place for a bright, harsh glare. Shades are a great way to diffuse light for a calmer effect without feeling too dim. Understated yet lovely pops of color in the curtains, ottoman and crib bumper took care of the finishing touches.

When I stepped back, I saw a nursery that hints at these parents’ story through the genteel charm of its shapes, colors and textures. More importantly, the space will be able to evolve right along with their son as he grows and matures. The wood wall in his room tells the story of his parents’ journey, and represents the beginning of a new chapter in a new home.

I hope that when you look around your home, you feel that it reflects the different important chapters in your life. Every story is worth telling, and certainly one of the best ways to tell a story is through your own personal style and aesthetic.