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Romantic Homes
New Nostalgia
When creating a nursery, look to the past for a modern yet sophisticated feel

The newness of an infant, the innocence and purity, usually conjures images of crisp white furnishings in the nursery. But there is something about bringing home the next generation of a family that naturally compels us to reflect on our heritage and ancestors. I find comfort in surrounding not only the infant but also the new parents with mementos of yesteryear. Vintage photos, antiques and family keepsakes calm the spirit with the promise of continuity and the soothing balm of familiarity.

I am finding a shift in nursery design is taking place, influenced partly by the large numbers of women waiting longer to have children. These mature, more established moms-to-be want the nursery to be sophisticated and flow seamlessly with the style of the rest of the home. Also, many of today's new moms are employed--spending more time away from home. They want to feel relaxed and at peace in their surroundings when caring for their infant. In these tiring first few months, the nursery is as much for the mother as it is for baby, if not more.

I designed this particular new nostalgia nursery for a client and a friend who has an affinity for sophistication, vintage and function. I designed the crib bedding using humble ticking and simple cottons. I painted the vintage rocker, dresser, and buffet in a distressed black and the walls in putty gray. The alphabet, painted in faded black paint, adorns the doorways and windows. I simply used a stencil kit and dabbed lightly to achieve a faded, worn look. If black and gray sound drab, think again. These colors are so sophisticated while also so very sweet. It is simply a matter of balance.

The chandelier, originally intended as a dining room fixture, gets a sweet touch adorned with metal birds, which may be removed easily. The rocker is upholstered in sophisticated fabric that would work well in any room. The key to this nursery is that every piece of furniture may be used in another part of the home when the time comes to change the room to fit the child's needs and personality.

Vintage wire school baskets, hanging on the wall near the changing dresser, hold essentials such as diapers, powder and lotions. A French enamel sink stand is transformed into a laundry basket with a linen liner. This sink will later hold toys. The iron crib by Bratt Decor will later convert into a daybed and certainly becomes a family heirloom. As baby grows and commands a more playful room filled with fairytale characters and superheroes, the rocker is easily transferred to another room along with the dresser and buffet. The furniture is not traditional baby furniture but classicly refined pieces that, again, will endure.

I enjoy designing nurseries simply because the challenge is to step outside the traditional mode of thought and create a room that soothes a tired parent as he or she soothes our future generation.

Written by: Elizabeth Maxson


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