chicago nursery decor

One Room Challenge Week 5: Mother and daughter collab

Another week down for the One Room Challenge by Calling It Home and since I was so productive early on, this week was mostly full of fun stuff like room styling and not so fun stuff like organizing Henry's old baby clothes. It's been so rainy here so what better way to spend the days than to sort through a basement of tiny baby things and stock the room for those first few months. There was a lot of oohing and ahhing as I went through the old 0-3 month onesies that are so cute I could cry. It's crazy to think I'll be dressing a teensy delicate thing again soon. Crazy and a little frightening, I'll be honest. 

One thing I wanted to share this week is a pretty cool project my mom and I have been cooking up. I've been really into the modern quilt wall hangings that pop up in my feed now and then. Since my mom is a very skilled quilter, I thought it might be fun to collaborate on one as the sort of piece de resistance in the baby room. She didn't take much convincing given it was for a grandbaby ;)

To start, I taped out the area on the wall that I wanted to cover. Next, I sketched up some ideas on graph paper to show scale. Each square representing two inches with the goal of creating a wallhanging that measured roughly 26 x 36 inches. After mostly drawing up ideas that resembled the flags of unknown countries, I landed on the one in the middle there. Four colors, nice and simple with the stitching to contrast the color of each block.


My mom then directed me to a site with a lot of solid color fabrics which are not common in the quilting world... modern quilts apparently have some trailblazing to do. I found some fun colors that mimicked the scheme of the room which I laid out on a page to see how they would work together. 

Once we found the fabric and the thread, she got to work piecing it all together. She is speedy. Here it is step by step... hand pieced, pinned up and mostly quilted. This would take me a year. I might get my creativity from my mom but I have no patience for this sort of thing. I just want to see results so much faster than that. 

Once it was all quilted together we decided it would look nice with a border on it. I went with a black patterned fabric that's a little playful. This is also the backing of the quilt if you were to flip it over. And check out how we alternated the color of the thread... it's all in the details ;)

Last, she added a place at the top for the quilt to be hung. First it was a sleeve in the back to put a dowel through but I wanted the dowel to be more obvious so she added the tabs which I love. Any way to incorporate more natural wood into the space helps to make it feel that much warmer. 

And there it is in it's rightful place, exactly as I envisioned it. It was so fun to dream up an idea and see it come to life. Thanks, mom for the hard work. Not only does it make the room but it's sentimental because it's from you. 

Thanks for checking in, guys. Next up is getting this space photographed and ready for the reveal. I'm so excited to show it off! See you in a week! Be sure to check out other room transformations in the One Room Challenge link up, too! 

This baby boy is destined for adventure - a nursery project

In true form, I've been plotting another nursery for our home since we moved in. Pinks (maybe?) and creams and natural wood, oh my! I mean what else are we going to do with that fourth room? Welp, folks, this isn't that room but I was super excited to be asked to help a friend put together one for her baby-boy-to-be. Finally, a chance to make some nursery ideas come to life. Others I will save for us (if we're lucky enough for that to happen again and I can start to wrap my brain around how to take care of a baby and a toddler and stay sane...I'm scared).  

Sometimes I'm not really sure how I come up with the rooms that I do. A pillow? A piece of art? Even the littlest thing can set the tone. In this case, it happened that my friend already had a minty green on the walls and an existing crib and changing table in espresso. These were things she wanted to stay. Sometimes that can actually make my job easier. A blank canvas can be exciting but also a little daunting, while fixed objects can at least give a good starting point. 

With those things in place, I wanted a rug that offered a nice contrast to the walls and something that would also work with the dark wood of the furniture. The black and white Ikea rug checked off those boxes. At that point it was sort of a no-brainer to tie in the zebra print and well, why not a whole safari theme? My friends are outdoorsy and I'm willing to bet this kiddo will be on a camping trip by next summer. Maybe not a safari but a hike or a bike down the prairie path for sure. Either way, I think this will suit him just fine. 

Things are moving along nicely. Items are sourced (I'll share when I post after photos), mostly everything is ordered and we're nearing the big day. For me, that's styling day but I think my friend would consider delivery more of her "big day". Fair enough ;) Either way, this baby boy is going to love coming home. I know I'm excited to meet him!

The not-so-baby, baby room

Ok, so the baby isn't really a baby anymore but I'll be darned if that kid is moving to a real bed anytime soon (for reasons being sleep) so we'll just call it a "baby room" because the crib and all. So, another room where we had to start over – the chair rail, the navy and cream, all a little tired. Plus, I had been interested in this idea to paint 3/4 of the walls one color and leave the rest white (a la exhibits A & B).

Exhibit A

Exhibit A

Exhibit B

Exhibit B

Sidenote: My friend Jayne and I stayed at the place on the right this summer on our thrifting adventure through Nashville (@eastnashvillebnb). The thrifting was so-so but this Airbnb was pretty darned inspiring, from a style perspective. (I choose my Airbnb's mostly based on cuteness, don't you??) 

With those two images imprinted in my brain for a while, I decided to go for it in Henry's room. A baby room is a pretty safe place to take some style risks since heck, probably no one is going to see it but you, and they're too young to want to paste Fathead Transformers decals all over the wall yet. Take advantage. 

So I pried off that chair rail, spackled and sanded. Once the walls were all cleaned up I painted the whole room white – like a million coats to cover that navy. Next, I taped around the top quarter with frog tape. (That stuff is good but not good enough unless you go back over it with a credit card or a dish scraper – both super technical approaches to get it to adhere so the paint won't bleed.) Next, I painted the bottom portion with the Benjamin Moore oystershell (two coats) and pulled the tape to reveal a nice straight line. 

Mike then bolted the ledge shelves to the wall for Henry's personal library. I love displaying books as art, as you might have noticed. Since the room was painted in neutral tones the pops of color from the books and toys really stand out. I hung blackout shades from Ikea for the blackout-ness but mostly because I loved the contrast they provided in the room. I also have a sort of black and white sub-theme going on so I was happy to score those. 

This room was styled with a mix of new, old, vintage and upcycled items. That dresser was Mike's when we were dating. I painted it gunpowder gray (Glidden, I think) and added those brass knobs. Is it cute or crazy that I thought it would make a good changing table one day (while we were only dating)? Don't answer that. Anyway, this sort of eclectic mix is how I aim to approach any room for any client. Which pieces do you love and which pieces are you dying to trash and replace with something more current or just not Ikea? You don't need to start fresh for a few reasons:

1. You've lived this life and done some cool things and you probably have some equally cool things to show for it. This makes a room so much more interesting than filling it up with pieces from Pier 1 that have no story. Of course you'll have those things too, but keeping some of your personal mementos present just makes the house more you.

2. You have a budget or you should.

I knocked this room out in a weekend or so and I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. I lied last week when I said we started with the kitchen. I actually just remembered wrong. Mike insisted that we start with Henry's room and kudos to him for being such a good parent. No really. We moved into this strange place in a strange town where everywhere you go has a parking space (aka the suburbs) and we really did want him to feel at home right away. I think it did help his transition quite a bit. Of course, it doesn't hurt when you have a really cute dad to read you stories at bedtime ;)