Building Home & Family

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Nursery Inspiration

Our baby’s first home is an investment property and not our “forever home,” which means I have been torn as to how much time and money to put into our nursery. On top of that, space is limited, so I want to avoid bringing things into our home that will be used for only a short time – even if they’re adorable! This process has been full of compromise.

I am really bad at editing (in a room, quilt, painting… the list is endless). I love color and want to incorporate every item I like, even if it doesn’t match anything else I own. Step 1 for me was narrowing my palette.

Probably the easiest solution would have been to pair blush pink and gold. They are popular colors right now, and I’m having a girl. Easy peasy. But my mom decorated my childhood bedroom in pink and white – even making all the curtains, bedding, etc. herself! – and I hated it. It made me feel like I was supposed to sit in a frilly dress and not get dirty while I was more of a mud puddle princess. So… no blush pink and gold for our baby. (Even though I think it’s really cute now! Irony.)

I kept returning to one of my favorite backgrounds in the A Beautiful Mess iPhone app and decided was the perfect fit:


From that background, I pulled a still-huge-but-at-least-cohesive palette:


It even includes blush pink!

Having settled on an 8-color palette, I almost died laughing when I was reading Emily Henderson’s design blog archives yesterday and came across this gem (abbreviated by me for relevance):

“Tip #1. You can mix however many styles you want… as long as you have a consistent color palette peppered evenly throughout the space. This is the number one problem I see – not telling a cohesive color story through furniture and accessories. Now if you are a color genius, or an extremely confident diy-designer then of course you can do whatever you want – and I’ve seen rooms look great with 94 colors in them. But I warn that if you have a ton of different styles in a ton of different colors all thrown together in a room, it can look like a thrift store, or even worse, a big, busy, messy, cluttered mistake.”

Yes, that is Tip #1. Top designer Emily’s very most important design guideline. It’s like she met me and is warning me not to follow my instincts, and yet, here I am, plodding ahead as “an extremely [over-]confident DIY designer.” Haha… I will probably wish I had followed the advice, and yet, I just can’t help myself!

The nursery is approximately 10′ x 10′. It can fit a lot of furniture, but not without looking cluttered. My second goal was to determine what items are most important and try to eliminate everything else.

  • Crib – The baby needs to sleep somewhere. I’m not a huge fan of most budget convertible cribs (with accessories, you can reassemble a crib into a toddler bed and then a twin bed), so I plan to keep this item inexpensive and upgrade to a “real” bed when it’s time.
  • Dresser – In addition to storing clothes, blankets, etc., I plan to put a cushion on top so it can double as a changing table. (Yep, I know to never leave my kid up there unrestrained.)
  • Bed – This choice is less common than the others. I originally planned to include a chair for feeding the baby. Both a bed and a chair won’t fit, so it had to be one or the other. I realized it might be more convenient to have a bed so the parent on “baby duty” can catch some sleep. Plus, when the baby is small, we could keep a bassinet in our room and have the nursery double as a guest room. We anticipate more visitors with the baby.

In addition to furniture, I know I’ll need a rug. The hardwood floor will be beautiful when it’s refinished, but we won’t get to that before the baby is born. We won’t do it right after, either; it makes more sense to refinish the nursery floor when we refinish the other floors (economy in grouping like projects), but the process generates a lot of dust and would mean moving ALL our furniture from EVERY room out of the apartment. It might not even happen while we’re living there. Serious bummer. Bottom line: a rug will be key.

Based on palette and furnishing considerations, here’s my inspiration board for our baby girl’s nursery (sources below).


Was there anything you wish you’d had in your nursery, an item you thought you could live without but couldn’t? Am I totally off-base not having a chair in the room, understanding I have some very comfy chairs in the living room that’s just a few steps away? Advice is much appreciated, folks!


  • Ikea Hemnes bed frame; our goal is to DIY this bed frame when we have more time, so the Ikea frame is a temporary solution
  • Ikea Gulliver crib
  • Curtain handmade from a Target shower curtain, sewn to size (for a prior apartment) and backed with heavy Ikea fabric for light blocking
  • Secondhand dresser painted to suit
  • Looking for a budget version of this lamp
  • Handmade crib sheets (fabrics are Robert Kaufman Urban Zoology Ostrich in Charcoal, Windham Fabrics Handmaker Loom in Black & White, and Flannel gingham plaid in Black) – will share details later in case you want to make crib sheets of your own
  • DIY wall art based on this tutorial/inspiration (with colors and images to suit)
  • Rug- Still searching, but recolored this rug by Lulu & Georgia to fit the inspiration board
  • House shelves from Target with hand painted peg dolls of our family inside
  • Canvas hamper from Land of Nod

One final note for anyone still reading: I’m a little crushed not to incorporate more wood into the design, but we have wood stained in almost every finish in the unit now. I don’t want one more mismatched piece. But opting for white furniture does kill me a little bit, even though I think it makes the other colors stand out in a positive way. Natural stained wood is my absolute favorite.

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Building Family

You might have noticed that the blog is called Building Home and Family but that I have only posted about “home” so far. I am excited to announce we have big news on the family front, too! Johann and I are expecting our first baby, due mid-May 2017. We don’t know yet whether it’s a boy or a girl.


Although my pregnancy hasn’t been symptom-free, I feel like I’ve had things easier than most. I’ve had strong food aversions – I am suddenly revolted by meat. And coffee. Motion sickness on my daily train ride/commute home has been amplified. I sometimes felt vaguely nauseous. But I never threw up and never felt like I was on the verge of death.

The biggest symptom for me was fatigue. I expected to feel tired, but I had no idea what exhaustion meant until now! I sometimes slept 14 hours a night, skipping dinner to sleep or grabbing literally anything that didn’t make my stomach turn as I put on my pajamas, only to wake up feeling like I could use a nap. During a few warm summer days when fatigue hit especially hard, I walked to the park across from my office (during lunch) and slept behind a tree so co-workers wouldn’t see me! Days when I drove were a little easier because I could nap in my car over lunch break.

I was relieved to announce to my office last week so it no longer has to be a secret. No one told me before I was pregnant how lonely the first trimester can be. There is a higher risk of miscarriage early on, so many doctors suggest not telling people unless you’d also be comfortable sharing that you miscarried. I tend to be a private person and didn’t tell many people early in the pregnancy.

Building up to tell my boss and co-workers was a real struggle. A lesson learned when I quit my first “real” job should have been instructive: good people are happy for you when you are sharing good news, even if it means an increase in their own workloads. Announcing my pregnancy went way better than expected… aside from some awkwardness with asking to speak privately in an open-concept office area, which put everyone on high alert. Glad it’s over!

I’m done with the first trimester this weekend and on to the second trimester. The second trimester is supposed to be the best of all because all the energy required to get the baby started is no longer an issue, so I should be less tired, and I’m not yet the size of the Goodyear blimp. I keep wavering between excitement and feeling like nothing has happened. It seems like things might start to feel more real now that everyone knows and I’m spending more than a few hours awake every day! There are a handful of new moms in my friend group, but if you have any advice to offer – things you wish you’d known about pregnancy, delivery, or having a new baby especially – I would LOVE to hear it. I scour a few message boards weekly and have learned so many things already!