Esme Jane's Colorful, Modern and Dragonfly-filled Room

Nursery Tour

Name & Age: Esme Jane (8 months)
Location: Austin, Texas
Room Size: 120 square feet

If something seems a tad familiar about Esme's colorful room, it's because we featured the home of her parents, Kim and Paul, on the site a few years ago: Kim and Paul's Twin Peak. They've got an eclectic, modern look that they translated to a youthful, fun look for their baby girl's nursery!

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We just love what a casual space Kim and Paul have created for Esme. It's really a bold space full of bright colors to stimulate baby. The space used to be a guest bedroom, and the gray color on the walls that worked so well for a sophisticated guest space makes a perfect backdrop for a soft baby's room. A big, red, glossy modern set of drawers really anchors the space and works well with the vintage rug with the 1960s color palette. A simple crib is adorned with soft bedding, colorful stuffed animals and topped with two lovely hanging pieces of art with good messages. We love the modern acrylic shelves Kim found for a modern baby book display.

The most stunning part of the room, of course, are the colorful hanging dragonflies that create a dynamic ceiling. Not only does it make the room instantly fun, but it helps create a more intimate space with a room with tall ceilings. Fun elements like the bright blue knitted poof and toys let you know this is definitely a baby's room for a modern world!

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What was your inspiration for the room? I didn't have an inspiration for the room in its entirety at the outset. It's kind of come together over time, piece by piece. I knew the baby would be in our bedroom to start, so that bought us some time — especially good since we didn't know her sex until birth. Also, I didn't think of the room in terms of gender, perse — I just wanted something colorful and engaging.

The dragonflies were actually inspired by Apartment Therapy. The room has a fairly high (10 ft) ceiling and it just called out for something bigger than a mobile. So, I started to look online for ideas and came across a posting that showed an LA kids store that had hung dragonfly kites on their ceiling. I thought it was so striking and wanted to create something similar for Esme's room. I found a wholesaler online who had the kites — I wanted to order just a couple to see what they were like, but the wholesaler required a $100 minimum order so I just took the plunge and ordered 20 kites and hoped they would be OK.

Any advice for other people starting this process? It's actually taken a full 8 months to get to where the room is now — for example, the lamp and bookshelves came last week, the dragonflies went up last month, the crib was assembled in June, and I bought the mattress and bedding then too, and I have toy storage bins on order. So, I guess I would tell people that you don't need everything done the moment the baby comes home. A place to sleep and a place to change diapers are all that you absolutely need — and the baby won't care one bit if you don't have anything else!

We had a challenge in that one wall of the room is all closet doors and the other is sliding glass doors; so I used the Icovia online space planning tool to play around with layout before anything was purchased.

I went with the Ikea crib instead of something more expensive for a few reasons: I don't think babies care what they sleep in, all cribs have to meet minimum safety standards and I wanted to be able to change it out without feeling guilty in a couple of years.

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Buy bins and label them with different sizes of baby clothing. As gifts come in, store them by size in the bins. That way you won't lose track of what you have as the baby grows. I found bins at the Container Store that fit perfectly in the CB2 dressers I bought. I even use one in the top drawer to store diapering supplies.

You don't need a dedicated changing table (or for that matter anything designed as baby furniture — other than the crib) — just put a pad on the dresser of your choice. Or use the floor.

How is the room similar or different from the rest of the house? The room is lot more colorful than the rest of the house. But it also has some of the same elements of old (the 60's rug for example) and new. I didn't repaint it, so the room still has the gray walls and curtains that it had when it was a guest bedroom. The red dressers have a dialog with some red elements in the screened in porch which is visible from the sliding glass doors in the baby's room.

Before starting, what did you know you wanted to include, for sure? We have concrete floors, so I knew the room would need a large area rug of some sort. I also wanted extra storage — we ended up getting the big red dressers, but I also considered a bunch of mid-centruy credenzas. I knew we'd need a crib at some point. One of our first purchases was a Saarinen Womb chair for nursing. It still lives in our bedroom and may or may not make it into the baby's room. It was on the space plan and everything, but in the end I think the baby is better off with more floor space for rolling around right now. I knew I wanted bookshelves of some sort, but only recently decided upon the clear, front facing ones that you see in the room.

What was your proudest DIY? Hanging the 20 dragonfly kites. Seems easy in theory, not so much in practice.

Were there any surprises? Um...how much of a PIA it is to hang 20 huge kites...

What was your biggest indulgence? The organic crib mattress (and, of course, that Saarinen Womb chair that isn't even in the room...). And, my husband's contribution to the room — the Tivoli audio system. It's small, but looks and sounds great. Baby needs good tunes for Jolly Jumper-ing!

If money was no object, what would your dream source be? I don't believe in spending a ton on a baby room furniture. However, I would like — for the future (like when she can use a chair) - a set of children's Cherner chairs and table. Dream sources for anywhere in the house — 1st Dibs, BDDW, Moss, and Ebay.

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Source List:

    • Dressers: CB2
    • Crib: Ikea
    • Bedding: Virginia Johnson, bought at Wee in Austin
    • Lamp: Tube Top Lamp, Room and Board
    • Blue poufs: CB2
    • Rug: 60s Mid Century Danish Modern Abstract Rya Rug, Ebay
    • Sheepskin rugs/throws: Ikea
    • Dragonflies: G and Z International Wholesale Importers
    • Mattress: Naturepedic 2 in 1 Organic Cotton Ultra Crib Mattress, bought from Wildflower Organics in Austin
    • Bookshelves: Cleardisplays.com
    • Audio system: Tivoli Model 3 clock radio with sub woofer
    • Prints: Rifle Paper Company, framed by Gentry Framing in Austin
    • Painting: Vintage, reframed by Gentry Framing in Austin
    • Trash can: Simplehuman
    • Toy storage bins (on order): Steel Canvas Baskets

Thanks, Esme, Kim, Paul and Snort!

(Images: Adrienne Breux)

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