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  STYLE Magazine
Oh, Baby!
A Baltimore-based Children's Furniture Company with International Flair Has A Hot Hollywood Following

A Baltimore-based children's furniture company with international flair has a Hollywood following.

When Mary Bauer was expecting her first child 12 years ago, she searched for a crib in stores around Baltimore and found herself unimpressed. Even a trip to New York City with her husband, Stephen, failed to yield a crib that fit the couple's eclectic, elegant style. What was out there in the real of baby design was limited, she recalls. There were a few incredibly ornate European cribs retailing for thousands of dollars, a bunch of boring, inspired designs in cherry and maple finishes, or, worse still, themed cribs of characters like Raggedy Ann and Andy, she says.

It was nothing I could deal with in my house, says Mary. There were no real artists designing furniture for children. So she and Stephen, who had moved to Baltimore from South Africa in 1992 and owned a commercial illustrating company, designed their own crib, and soon after, opened Bratt Decor, a children's furnishings design company.

Initially the Bauers worked out of a small warehouse, selling cribs to specialty baby boutiques up and down the East Coast. Now the company has seven lines from the simple Sweet Pea to the high-style Venetian featuring cradles, armoires and changing tables, in addition to pieces for older children, like daybeds, bookcases and desks. And their furniture can be found in more than 500 specialty boutiques across the country.

What distinguishes Bratt Decor from other children's furniture companies is its emphasis on elegant design but as the name implies, Bratt Decor doesn't take itself to seriously. When Stephen came to the United States, he loved the cheeckiness of American words, so when Mary suggested pairing the hip bratt with the sophisticated decor, Stephen was sold.

Bratt Decor's flagship crib, the Casablanca Plume pays homage to the black wrought-iron furniture that Mary developed a passion for while living in Paris. Stephen designed a simple columned crib with an antique French feel and imported huge white ostrich feathers from his native South Africa, which he added to the tops of the crib's four soaring posts. It was unexpected, recalls Mary, elegant, but still playful. Their newest piece, the Chelsea sleigh crib, is accented with relief carvings and a rich ochre inlay inspired by the couple's recent trip to Italy.

In the fall of 2003, the couple opened the first store dedicated entirely to Bratt designs in Belvedere Square. Tysons Corner got its own Bratt Decor this May, and during the next five years the couple plan to open stores in Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas and London.

As the company expands, the couple find themselves talking on a growing number of roles within the company.  We basically both have about eight jobs, says Mary. Stephen still designs every piece of furniture as well as instruction manuals that come with the furniture and the very boxes the furniture is shipped in. He also makes frequent trips to Asia, managing the company's offices in Vietnam and China, where the furniture is manufactured. Mary runs the business end of the company, including accounting, marketing, and publicity and she sees to it that Bratt Decor catalogs find their was to celebrity moms (and dads) to be.

Diane Farr, star of CBS hit Numb3rs, purchased the Venetian crib in an antique gold finish. Life & Style magazine featured the star's nursery in a recent issue and quoted Farr calling her purchase the most beautiful crib I've ever seen. In January, Bauer met with Desperate Housewives star Marcia Cross, and helped her decide on several pieces from Bratt's Dick and Jane line. Entertainment mogul Sean Diddy Combs twin daughters also will sleep in a Stephen Bauer original, a set of wrought-iron rocking cradles from the opulent Zanzibar line.

The couple's son Sebastian, now 11, has long outgrown the crib that inspired his parent's company, but he, and little brother Raiff, 9, continue to play an important role in the family business. They are our product testers, says Mary. The boys, who make the occasional appearance in the company's catalogs, have had the same furniture for seven years, says Mary. So you know our products are as durable as can be.


Written by: Lia Gormsen

 

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© 2014 Bratt Decor, Inc. All rights reserved. Call 1-888-242-7288 or e-mail sales@brattdecor.com for a baby crib.

When designing your nursery start with the crib then add the other accessories like changing tables, armoires, crib bedding, sheets, rugs, lighting, and accessories to complete the look you want in your baby’s room. Luxury, style, and timeless elegance are the hallmarks of Bratt Decor design and will transform your baby’s room into something spectacular. Baby rooms, nurseries, and baby spaces are sacred spaces and deserve your best. Our designer infant furnishings and decor offer a variety of luxury designer cribs including wrought iron cribs, oval cribs, convertible cribs, four poster cribs, canopy cribs, sleigh cribs, lifetime cribs, and gorgeous carved wood cribs. Our newest crib, the Parisian is an iron crib design which converts from a traditional iron baby bed, to a four poster version, and a canopy. All of our cribs convert, some to toddler beds or daybeds and the lifetime to a full size bed. Additionally our oval/round sleep systems, start as a cradle and then convert to a standard crib and toddler bed and exude contemporary elegance. Chelsea collection includes a sleigh crib which coverts to a toddler bed, a lifetime crib that converts from a crib to a full bed, in both iron and wood, a gorgeous oval crib, the Darling, which starts as a cradle goes to a crib and then a toddler bed. Other accessories in the Chelsea collection by Bratt Decor include armoire, night stand, 7 drawer dresser/changer and darling oval dresser/changer and bookcase. We also offer a variety of finishes to fit your look. This collection has everything you need to complete your baby room with style and sophisticated design. J’adore, our newest crib, is a round crib, wrought iron design, that grows with your baby. The Casablanca premiere is a gorgeous wrought iron crib with timeless appeal, and also converts to a toddler bed. This site offers you a dreamy journey into the world of elegance, style, and quality for your baby’s room. We offer beautiful baby bedding, custom crib bedding, lighting, nursing/rocking gliders and chairs and rugs to complete your nursery. We also have an exclusive line of crib mattresses designed for our cribs that fit like a glove. Bratt Decor has been making furnishings for baby since 1995 and are the gold standard in terms of safety, quality, and designer excellence in the nursery.