During my first conversation with Peta, I was both happy and nervous to hear that they knew exactly the style and colors they wanted for baby Shai's nursery. I was happy because starting with a direction is fantastic. I was nervous because starting with a direction means you have to live up to the vision that someone already has in their mind and it's my goal to always exceed the vision. HIGH PRESSURE.
They were dreaming of whites, ivory, cream and when given the option, gold was their metal of choice. Maks' lone request? To somehow incorporate elephants into the space. He's a longtime collector of small elephant figurines and wanted to bring that part of his life and their good luck to his little man's space.
The room itself was definitely up there at the top of the list of my career challenges. There is so much that a lens doesn't show - on purpose. Here's where I may go a little off path, but I think it's important to point out that photos capture a moment in time. A moment myself and my team spend a very long time styling and perfecting so it will photograph exactly the way we want it to. We shift and pull and push furniture. Move accessories. Fiddle with drapery and find items around the home to help complete the look. So what you see in a photoshoot for an interior, may not always be exactly what it seems.
The first surprise is that this space is actually a part of the master bedroom. Don't pretend you aren't shocked. Peta wanted to have the baby as close to her as possible. So in many homes this would be used as a sitting room, but they wanted it to become their nursery (for now). It was my job to make that happen. So the wall that you don't see, doesn't exist.
Since it wasn't designed as an actual bedroom, there is no closet in the area. My friends at California Closets made it happen for us! I thought they were going to walk in and say, "Vanessa, here you go being all delusional again. We cannot put a closet in a small little alcove." But, they actually said, "Great, lets pick a style and finish and get this made!". The end product is awesome. It looks like it was meant to be there and is extremely functional as well as beautiful. The other part that is important to mention - or we could not and let it be another elephant in the room, is the fireplace. Yes, there is a gas fireplace in the master bedroom...This is the home they live in. They did not want to do construction and start knocking out or covering their walls. They wanted to leave it. It was my job to make sure that their baby boy would never be able to get his hands on the switch and to design around it. A permanently off and enclosed fireplace is of absolutely no danger to a child (to the woman on Instagram that said it is dangerous even if it doesn't work - this is me sticking my tongue at you :-}. The fine folks at California Closets helped me Houdini that switch deep inside the closet and all was great!
Since we weren't hiding the fireplace, we decided to use the space above it to celebrate it. What better way to do that than a prized animal head? Totally kidding. Not real. It's a custom made resin elephant with gold tusks by Near and Deer. I was a little nervous it might look a scary to a small child, but turns out that fear was for nothing. It's fun, cute and was made for the room - both literally and figuratively.
When Peta told me she liked traditional cribs with upholstery on them, the only brand that came to mind was Romina Furniture. Anyone who is ever shopping for baby furniture knows that Romina is the end-all. The best. The highest quality, with drawers that are definitively unsurpassed by any other juvenile brand sold in America. Seriously, the crown jewel. The Hermes, Rolls Royce or Harry Winston. Have you gotten the point? Ok great, because once again I've managed to derail my thoughts. Maks and Peta loved the furniture, but the crib is traditionally offered with tufting on the headboard. I felt that with the custom gold paint trim, the tufting would give it a too feminine feel. So I begged and begged and Romina agreed to create the upholstered panel of their Imperio crib in a flat finish.
Next to the crib sits a showstopping rocking chair and ottoman by Rocker Refined. The set was also custom made for Peta and on paper I know the fact that I wanted nail heads, tufting and a patterned fabric probably looked like chaos - In person, it's exactly what I imagined it would be. With a chair like that I'd want my baby to wake up often in the middle of the night. Mmm, then again, I remember those days, so maybe not...
Two of the walls are covered with a safari print by Hygge & West. This wallpaper is subtle, beautiful and adorable all at once. The other wall is covered in a textured cream and gold shimmer wallpaper by Graham and Brown. If you remember the nursery I designed for Ali Fedotowsky - well, this wallpaper is the same, but in a different color. I'm pretty obsessed with it and it's one of my go-tos.
Above the dresser are 3 really unique shelves by Uttermost. I think if you knew how long it took me to decide exactly where they should be placed, you would think I was completely insane. But, the little details are so important to the end result in my eyes.
To the left of the crib there was an open empty space that needed to be filled, but couldn't block the walkway. Like all nursery furniture, I wanted it to be purposeful and functional for the family. The problem was finding something in the correct dimensions. I searched high and low and then discovered the brand Stem Goods. The company produces custom furniture at reasonable prices in America - seriously, does it get any better than that? They whipped up exactly what I needed and then finished it to exactly match the rest of the furniture in the room.
The light fixture is by Currey & Company. It look us a while to find the proper height and also to re-enforce it so that there could never be a falling issue. I know some people thought this home was in an earthquake zone, but that is not the case. It's actually on the east coast. Earthquake free and with tremendous re-enforcement there is no danger whatsoever of being a falling hazard.
I know the room feels very sophisticated, which my clients loved, but I know that isn't for everyone. Keep in mind that my job isn't to design a space for everyone - it's to meet my clients wants and needs for their space. What was very important to me for this nursery is that with all the white the room still felt warm and cozy. I brought all different textures into the room in an effort to make that happen and I think it worked out well.
The two area rugs were part of that plan. The metallic hide on the floor by Kaymanta is covered partially by a faux sheepskin fur rug by Fur Accents. The two pieces are perfect complements to each other.
The woven drapery was also a custom product created by my people at the Shade Store. I call them my people because I spend a large amount of my life calling and emailing them for help with different projects. They have the BEST fabrics and so many styles to choose from. In this case the woven fabric added another texture to the room and brought that unique window to life. If you're wondering, the crib is actually pulled pretty far off of the wall in daily life. No chance of a baby or toddler reaching it or the drapes, but like I was explaining above - for photos we have to style what's best for the lens.
The crib mattress, feeding pillow and the changing pad are all by Nook. I think at this point its safe to say that I use Nook products in all of my projects. New parents and parents-to-be usually ask me my opinion on the mattress and I tell them what I use for my own children and how much I love it. That's why they pop up in all of my photos.
On the crib and changing pad is a dreamy, custom bedding set created to match the design by Hug Bug Shop. I'm a lover of custom products. I don't think you should have to design around something - you should be able to find something that can be designed to fit into your vision. The right bedding is so important to the final look and this set totally got the job done better than anything else could have.
The little touches that make the room come together can't be forgotten! The tiny little lamp on the dresser is by Land of Nod. Everything is so much cuter when its small! Ironically, the GIANT swan is from there too. This is another instance of vanessa-takes-too-long-to-place-everything. That swan must have been moved 100 times before I decided where it could live for the photos. In a few photos, that you will never see, it sort of looked like it was eating the crib. The sweet canvas drums to the side of the dresser are by Pehr Designs. The gold stripe and dots on them were really what sold me on them, plus the fact that I have a similar item I use as a laundry bin in both of my kids rooms, and I knew they would truly get good use out of them. The pom pom blanket and the fur pillow are both by Best Home Fashion (another one of my go-tos).
I absolutely love the way that everything came together and I know my clients did too. I received a ton of questions from people who had seen the space in People Magazine and also on Peta and Maks' social media. Some of these I'll address on my social media. The one I did want to make very clear here is that the room that Shai sleeps in is VERY safe. I am not only exclusively a kids space designer, I am also well versed and educated on child safety. Every design I create keeps that in mind and all of the information safety gets passed on to my clients. The moment in time that these photos were taken are just that - a highly styled moment in time.
All photos are by Alan Barry - a talented photographer with a load of patience and great advice!
For a view of the original computer design, compared to the finished product, check out my Instagram at TheNessaLee