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colorful mid-century modern nursery inspiration

20 Oct

Leaves and Vines bedding, BirdsHaveFlowers, Etsy

I just had to create an inspiration board based on an amazing discovery I’ve made this week.

Whether you’re in the market for baby stuff or kid’s decor, you must check out this AMAZINGLY adorable bedding available in the BirdsHaveFlowers shop on Etsy.  When not playing in her band or hanging out with her two toddlers, Rebecca, the proprietor of BHF, custom-sews sheets, bumpers, and crib skirts with the fabric of your choice.  I’ve found her personal aesthetic (and her own fabric selections and suggestions) to be really beautiful and in line with what I’d want for myself.    You can buy a set of two sheets, one bumper, and one skirt for around $250-$275 (it depends on the fabric… see here) which, to me, is a great price for a unique and defining piece of decor. (I’m sure she can do the same thing for toddler beds.)

A while back, I created this inspiration board (above)  featuring an eclectic/mid-century style design, and it got a great response.  So I thought I’d do a similar thing again.   But this time, I truly believe that every piece I’ve included can work on its own.  Truth is, most of us aren’t starting from scratch, but we all could do with a beautiful new clock or wall treatment to spruce things up.  All the items featured below are mid-century inspired, from actual vintage to having vintage-like accents.

mcm mood board (click for PDF version)

1.  Walls.  How full-on do you want to go with the color thing?  If you said to yourself, yes! more color!, I’d recommend something like this Banana Yellow shade from Benjamin Moore.  Personally, I think I’d either do a very light grey or an eggshell white on the walls.  You’ll avoid any fear of overdoing it and it’ll help the colors elsewhere in the room pop more brightly.

 2. Crib.  This is my most favorite piece of nursery furniture in a long time, courtesy of my buddy Esther over at Buy Modern Baby (thanks, lady!).  She discovered this gorgeous item at the Dwell booth (yes, the bedding people) when she visited the ABC Kids Expo this year in Vegas.  See her link here for more details.  I only wish they had it when I was building Fionn’s nursery…

3. Chalkboard tiles. A new discovery of mine but available for a while now from Pottery Barn (the regular one, not the kids’ one).  The tiles are 20″x14″ and $34 each.  But they’re having a special promotion online – now you can get four at once for $15, for about $20 in savings.  I would do one of two things with them – either place them high-up (above a dresser, for example) as ‘decor,’ or mount them width-wise across one of your walls at toddler-height for an inspiring play space.

4. Vintage educational posters. Aren’t they great? From the wonderful folks at Grain Edit, available at Etsy for $37.50 each. 

5. Woven Poang chair.  IKEA’s really upped the game lately with their Poang series.  If you’re not totally into the idea of spending hundreds of dollars on a glider, this kind of chair would not only save you some change, the new webbing design would suit a retr0-modern-styled room beautifully.  I personally think the rich forest green is gorgeous and a great complement to the background field on the bedding.  Find it here for $99.

6. Wood-slat blinds with custom tapes.   Now, this may be a personal quirk of mine, in the same so-old-school-its-new-again vein, such as the red-painted studies and ornate chandeliers of Brooklyn Heights brownstones.  But I can’t help but think it’d be super cool to outfit a kid’s room with these sturdy wooden slatted window coverings, accessorized and personalized with fabric ‘tape’ in a coordinating color as the bedding.   There are tons of places where you can find these blinds; I checked out the “Window Blinds Mall” for a price quote.  This particular company offers tapes in great colors like a flamingo pink, a canary yellow, and “Alice Blue.”  And for a typical 32″x60″ window, you’d pay around $100, then add a few more bucks for the tape.

7. George Nelson “Fernando the Fish” clock.  Just adorable, in perfect colors for both boys and girls.  $150 at Hive Modern.

8. Kartell FL/Y lamp.  Available in so many fantastically bright colors, you can’t go wrong. (Of course, if you want white or black, they’ve got that too.) The greatest selection I found was at Velocity Art & Design, where you can find them for $293 each.

Got any favorites of your own that you think would fit well in this room? Rugs? Dressers? Artwork? Let me know!


Argington Bam collection

11 May

If you’re in the market for a crib, and you haven’t already decided upon the Gulliver at IKEA (great choice, by the way), read on.  If you’ve been considering the Stokke Sleepi expandable version, you may find this post very interesting.

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of meeting Samantha Delman-Caserta (whom I believe to be the same person who co-founded 3R Living, an eco-friendly and organic home goods (gift) shop, formerly in Park Slope, now in Maplewood, NJ and online).   She obviously knows her stuff when it comes to environmentally-friendly and sustainable manufacturing processes.  

 Bam bassinet

What I like about the Argington line of furnishings and soft goods is that their environmentalism really just makes sense.   As a mother, it makes me feel really good to know that the wood they use is not forest-damaging, that their glues, stains and finishes are non-toxic and don’t release chemicals into the air — especially because I know that my son’s mouth is going to be all over this furniture.

But I wouldn’t be saying all this if their furniture wasn’t so lovely.  
And I doubly wouldn’t be saying all this if their new Bam line of convertible bassinet/crib/toddler beds wasn’t such a great value.

Less than $600 for both

When Fionn was born, we used a cradle, which I loved.  Of course, I didn’t need a cradle… the crib would have been fine, or the car seat, even, or a bouncy chair inside the crib (actually, something we used when he was diagnosed with reflux).  But newborns are just so tiny, and they look so tiny in that big piece of furniture you bought for them. 

Standa cradle ($150, Buy Buy Baby) and ParkLane crib ($300, Walmart)

I also love our Baby Mod crib – which will be convertible to a toddler bed.  But if you do the math (excluding mattresses), the Bam collection comes out at about the same price, give or take.  For $585, I can’t see why you wouldn’t get the bassinet with the ability to convert to a crib.  (BTW, the bassinet comes with bedding).  I know you have to pay extra to then convert it to a toddler bed, but I’m not totally convinced we’re going to have the same furniture when that time comes.

Bassinet and crib in ebony

It comes in ebony and white (bamboo, which is really cool, costs extra).  I almost forgot the best part of Samantha’s sales pitch (remember, we’re in Brooklyn): “It fits through 24″ doorways” (Flashback to me, half-asleep, at 2AM, scraping the walls, manuevering the wheels, trying to get through the bedroom doorway and down the narrow hallway to the front room). 

Now that’s knowing your customer.

discovered: red cribs

11 Feb

Duc Duc Cabana canopy crib, Duc Duc, $1445 (or here for DIY hints)

Immediately following ‘colorful ceilings’ on my growing list of Things that Never Occurred to Me When Planning My Nursery, now comes another paint-inspired item. As I’ve learned from hours upon hours of HGTV-watching (you’re guilty too. I know you are), it’s important for a newly-designed room to have a focal point, something that attracts your eye and becomes the ‘centerpiece’ of the space. As the thinking goes, if you’re designing a nursery, the obvious focal point would be the crib. And if your room is pretty plain so far, why not make the crib pop with color?

(Before you ask, yes, I have been snowed in with design star David Bromstad and his Color Splash reruns).

Hampton beadboard crib by Newport Cottages,, $1240

Red cribs are amazing. And for some reason, really expensive. Maybe it’s because of low demand for red cribs, which are often built on demand. Or maybe it’s because red is a darned tough color to paint, as anyone who’s painted a red wall can attest to. But whatever the reason, they’re worth investigating; when it comes to cost, if there’s a will, there’s a way.

Here’s what I’ve learned:

1. If a manufacturer makes one model in red, chances are there are other models also available, and in other colors too. So if you like a crib but the one you’ve seen is too expensive, you may be able to find another model for less (either from the same manufacturer or from a different company, as manufacturers often sell the same crib under different brand names).

“Dick” crib, Bratt Decor, available here, now $650

Heritage crib, Bratt Decor, available here, reduced from $1499 to $749

2. Find closeout styles. As painted cribs are considered somewhat ‘trendy,’ they’re likely to be discontinued. The Bratt Decor cribs featured above are both are on sale; I think it’s because the company is now concentrating on its wrought-iron offerings.
Alex crib, Duc Duc, $1295

Gulliver crib (hacked), Ikea, $100 (hacked)

3. When in doubt, hack it!
Duc Duc cribs are great – they’re made of 100% hardwood (versus MDF), and coated with water-based, non toxic lacquers. They’re based in New York and make their furniture in Connecticut (see their environmental policy here). If you decide upon one of their cribs, you’ll be making a wise investment, but an investment nonetheless. Or, if you’re creative, build an Alex-inspired crib. Hack instructions available on Ohdeedoh.

Lastly, tip #4, as beautifully described by Talia, aka Joyous Little Wife, get a can of spray paint and call it a day.