When we were expecting our baby we chose not to find out the sex, so planning a nursery that we could imagine our son OR daughter being cozy in was a bit challenging, but joyous. The neutral room was themed in grey and white with subtle pops of ocean blue and bright sunshine yellow. I truly loved all those hours logged in that room, even those middle-of-the-night groggy moments…. well, most of them anyway. Fast forward, and our baby boy is now three years old and the time had come for a Big Boy bed and Big Boy room. He has his own thoughts on what he wants and at the top of the list was a blue bed. So with that clear request in unison with one of my favorite nursery items, a gifted hand-carved wooden white whale by family friends and artists Mike Bacle and Susan LaCouture, the room began to take shape in my mind.
I knew the palette was going to be navy and white, while keeping some of the grey elements of the nursery, especially the grey walls that took something like a dozen sample swatches to select. I also knew I wanted to pull in some natural textures with rattan and the coziness of faux sheepskin. When I saw the amazing Melville wallpaper from Serena and Lily, the design vision was complete. We wanted a boys room that could grow with our son but still had some whimsy for a young boy. The bold whale pattern hit the mark and made the perfect backdrop for the essential blue bed. The blue upholstered bed was clearly nonnegotiable and we opted for a full size. Right now, he seems tiny in it but in no time he is sure to fill the space. There are so many great options for upholstered beds out there but the casual white stitching and wood accents on this one just seemed right for a boy’s room. After establishing the bed selection I went on a quest for the right mattress. Avocado Mattress was a shoo-in for us with a Made Safe certification, all organic and climate neutral, handmade in California. We topped it with a more sophisticated but relaxed bedding look with the textured white duvet cover from our favorite Pom Pom at Home. Balancing the Pom Pom at Home body pillow in indigo and decorative natural and indigo stripes with some boy-friendly printed sheets with faded blue and grey lions, elephants, and rhinos. Then punctuated it with a nod to our little car enthusiast with a vintage racecar pillow.
We tried to utilize several of the items that existed in the room when it was a nursery. The cloud-white glider, though admittedly a tad too large for the space, I simply could not part with after bonding with our little human in it night after night. The two bird lamps by Stray Dog Design were repositioned and a new blue petal shade ordered to update the look and pull in a complementary shade of blue they call downpour. We duplicated the existing white stool side table with a twin, but in that same downpour blue which was both playful and balancing. We repurposed the bone inlaid dresser that served as a changing table and positioned it beneath the Serena and Lily Montara rattan mirror. The navy rattan accents on the double frame gave a nautical nod to the room and added a causal vibe over the more ornate dresser.
The nursery had the benefit of a large closest that sat behind folding closet doors that hung askew and ended up being a dumping ground for all hand me downs and items that no longer were in favor. This was the biggest challenge of the design. We wanted to create something that would work for storage, play against the strong pattern of the whale wallpaper and have a useful and fun element for our son now and in the future. We hired a carpenter that worked off my sketch of the cubbies, desk, shoe shelves and small section for hanging clothes. Then we crafted a fun ladder to what I refer to as his “reading nook” and he refers to as his “hideout”. The addition of colored LED disc lights operated by remote completed the play space and after the first two weeks of needing help to climb the ladder he is now jumping off of it like a jungle gym. The navy background paint and white shelving turned an unsightly closet into a focal point of the room. We mimicked the rattan mirror with the Riviera chair and baskets to capture all those little items that young boys seem to not be able to live without. We wanted a chair that when looking at it from the back was just as much a design element as from the front and we absolutely adore the navy and blue weave. Then, opted for the mist grey rattan baskets to soften the bold navy and white palette and punctuated it with a playful piece by Los Angeles based friend and artist, Liz Walsh that adds in some whimsy and color for fun. We love playing and snuggling in the space with our son, but most importantly, the design reviews were all glowing from the growing boy that calls it his room. Now the next challenge will be keeping it ship shape.