She Says… Project Nursery (Part 1)

I have always been an art/design junky. I majored in Architectural Studies in college, studied art and architecture while abroad in Florence, Italy (hence the Italian nickname for Piccolino!), and even started to get a Masters of Interior Architecture. A few weeks into the program, however, I dropped out. It was the first thing I had ever “quit” without finishing, and it was a really hard decision to make. But the reality that I came to was (1) I hated the meaningless artsy fartsy design assignments one is forced to do in school. I wanted to work with real design problems and real materials and budgets, not construction paper and cardboard. And (2) I didn’t need to get a Masters in something just because it was my passion. Getting the degree wouldn’t necessarily help me get a job with a firm or deepen my love. In fact, even if I never got a job working with art/architecture/design, I knew I would always be able to “work” on the design of my own house. Thank goodness I married a man with good taste (and good enough sense to let me take the reigns with most of our design projects)!

It will come as no surprise to you, then, that I have been dreaming of designing a nursery since before I was even pregnant. A few weeks ago, when we found out the little dude is a BOY, I knew it was time to get to work. First I made a spreadsheet with 6 different worksheets of various nursery schemes. Colors, furniture, bedding, wall decals/art, themes, etc. My mind was in overdrive. There are a few things that limit my big dreams, however. Space and money. Isn’t that always the way? As I’ve learned decorating the rest of our house, I will never have quite enough space or quite enough money. However, the rest of our house has turned out pretty cute (if I do say so myself), and I am confident that the nursery will too.

So without further ado, here are the selections I’ve made so far. None are set in stone, except for the bedding, which I just ordered.

Special Order for KateEckstein Custom 4 Piece Crib Bedding Set Alexander Henry 2d Zoo in Chocolate

Custom bedding I designed (to be sewn by a seller I found on Etsy) made out of these fabrics… a crib skirt, crib sheet, padded bumper and changing pad cover.

Summer Infant Contoured Changing Pad

Changing pad (something like this) to go on top of…

MALM 3 drawer chest 

2 Ikea MALM dressers side-by-side (there’s a 3-drawer and a 4-drawer, I will practice changing diapers on both in the store and see which is the most comfortable height for me — since I’m so short I’m thinking it will be the 3-drawer, but we’ll see).

Vinyl wall decal - cute hippo with bird on back - great for nursery, play room

Wall decals like this with some modern, graphic jungle animals to coordinate with the bedding.

The Thomas Mobile - Modern Nursery Mobile - Funky Animal Alphabet Globes
And I’m going to attempt to make a mobile sort of based on this one, which is paper globes, made of different paper in the color scheme of the bedding.
Phew! Now all I need to find is a rocker/glider that will fit up our TINY, curvy staircase to the converted attic where our bedroom and the nursery will be, and doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. Apparently not to easy to find!

19 responses to “She Says… Project Nursery (Part 1)

  1. Lovely! Have fun.

  2. You’re nursery designs look AMAZING! I don’t have much money so I’m just buying a few things from IKEA and that is all. I’m supposed to get them next week but I’m SO NERVOUS to get them this early, in case something happens. Do you have those fears too? I know so many people who only bought a car seat before their baby was born and I’m wondering if I should be doing that same thing… What are your thoughts?

  3. LOVE your creations! I really like the green and brown in there. Can’t wait to see the finished product!

  4. So much fun!! I love the bedding. I’m so frustrated b/c we were supposed to have moved into our new apt by now, but there have been delays and I don’t think we’re moving in until May 1st which is 2 weeks before my due date!! That means I can’t set up the nursery until then! Oh well, I’m just going to buy the stuff and have it all ready for when we move. I hear you about space & money – the room for our girl is 8×9 🙂 Gotta love NYC!

  5. romancingthestone

    Love it Kate!!!!! It’s going to look fantastic.

    I just wanted you to know that we are setting up a network for FUTUREMOM’s in Boston. So many cool ladies have due dates in 2010 and it would be a great vehicle for support, playdates, etc. If you are interested, or know anyone who might be, please pass on the info. People can contact me via email or at

  6. Wow. Okay so I’m feeling a little behind in this department. It doesn’t help that we’re not finding out what this little baby is, but I’m also not nearly as creative and gifted as you! I can’t wait to see the finished project!!!

  7. Kate, your preliminary designs look great! Definitely take tons of pictures of the nursery so one day your baby can see all of the work you put into it 🙂 Time for me to start dreaming up how I want my baby’s nursery to look like – after our ultrasound this Fri. Hubs and I hopefully find out if we’re having a little girl or boy.
    Good luck with with the room!

  8. Girl, you are a woman after my own heart – your organization is incredible!!

    I think it’s good to get started on the big stuff now so that you can make little adjustments and detail changes when you start to move towards August. How fun!!

  9. Hi Kate–I forget how I found this blog but I’m a Pediatric Nurse practitioner student and we’ve been learning alot about child safety in our classes. Their website has a bunch of helpful info on creating a safe nursery including related to bedding/cribs/etc. They actually recommend against a number of things marketed around cribbing including crib bumpers…just an FYI to keep Piccolino safe! 🙂

  10. Thank you all!

    Esperanza, Ikea has some awesome stuff. Although it’s cheap, I find that it’s almost always well-made (if constructed properly), and the design is much more modern than most other places, especially baby stores. For me, that is reason enough to shop there, as my design aesthetic is very modern and clean-lined. At this point I’m no longer worried about something happening to the baby, so I don’t really have any qualms about purchasing things like furniture. Obviously there is still a risk, and horrible things do happen, but I am letting myself fully expect to have a baby in August now that the statistically high danger zone has passed. Honestly, though, if you don’t feel comfortable… don’t do it! You really need very little for a newborn. A car seat and some blankets and diapers should do it 🙂

    nutritionbyeve, I hear you! That would totally stress me out. I think creating the nursery is going to be incredibly relaxing for me. I would not be happy if I knew I had to do it in 2 weeks, along with the rest of my house. Good luck! If you have everything purchased, it shouldn’t take long to set up.

    romancingthestone, Sounds great!

    Amber, Don’t feel behind, I am just a freak about this stuff and am a planner. PLENTY of people wait a whole lot longer before purchasing anything 🙂 Not to fear! I’m sure your nursery will look adorable once you get a few things, and there are a lot of really gorgeous gender-neutral bedding sets, etc. out there.

    Nancy, How fun! Congrats on finding out the sex of your little one. Then, let the nursery designing commence. Hee hee.

    Sarah, I totally agree — while part of me feel like I have it all planned out, I’m sure once I set it all up I will have little projects and accents I want to do here and there, and I’ll totally have time to do it while I’m feeling huge and uncomfortable in June and July 🙂

    bridget, Thank you! Yes, I have done some reading on crib safety, especially that the bumper needs to be removed once the baby is old enough to roll around and grab it (since they could pull it down and suffocate themselves). I’m glad I read that before designing my crib bedding set, because I made sure to put the “pattern” that I’m basing the room off of on the skirt as well as the bumper, so that when the bumper is removed it’s still visible. Great points, I’d be interested in seeing what other info I haven’t read yet!

  11. It might not be “design-savvy” but I got a really nice Storkcraft glider from Walmart (cheapest prices I found for the glider). You can pick the color you want, or you can be like me and get the khaki colored one that matches anything. It has nice side pockets for burp cloths and such, and I can attest that it’s pretty comfy. Also, I’m getting a “breathable bumper” for when the kid is old enough to roll around, but still needs to be stopped from jamming her little arms and legs through the crib bars.

    Good luck with the nesting! 🙂

  12. Adorable!

    Have you checked out I found their blog on the same blog as yours. They are expecting a baby soon and have featured several great (and cheap!) ideas for the nursery.

  13. I love it! I love the idea of custom bedding from an Etsy seller! I love design (but i’m terrible at it, art is NOT my thing) so, I’ve been thinking up nurseries since we bought our house two years ago….just in case!

  14. Ohhhh, LOVE the bedding! I use that Amy Butler Lime Polka Dot fabric for so many baby projects! I also have the blue version of that Alexander Henry 2D Zoo Fabric.

    You have great taste!

  15. Yikes! Please read more about crib bedding before putting a bumper in with your child. It’s completely unnecessary and dangerous. Putting a leg or an arm through the slats is no big deal. I’d much rather hear my child cry because they are momentarily uncomfortable than the alternative.

    Please, it’s not really worth it for four months of the “cute” factor, is it?

  16. So impressed at your organization, and I love the colors/fabrics. I can’t wait to see pictures of your final! I also think it is great that you are supporting independent artists through Etsy…what a great idea!

  17. I cannot wait to see how it all pulls together! The fabric you chose is beyond adorable–there is a slightly more feminine version very similar to that, with pink elephants instead of turtles, and I recently ordered a onesie/bib/blanket set for my niece, so I smiled when I saw yours.

    What a fun time for you!

  18. Agree with Kate about the bumpers at any age–they’re just to dangerous and its not worth the risk of what can happen.

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