When Britt and Keith started the process of adopting two children from Ethiopia, they started dreaming, painting and stitching up a room for their babies. Working with a few key pieces she had acquired in the course of decorating her home, Britt designed this lovely gender neutral space, not knowing if she and Keith would bring home boys or girls. In the end, they became parents to one of each, and Gus and Lula were welcomed with a cheerful and tranquil room filled with sweet vintage finds and homemade details in shades of yellow and green.
Britt's talent and nostalgic sensibility shine through the work showcased in her Etsy shop, and the room she decorated for Gus and Lula reflects her bright outlook and aesthetic. The centerpiece of the room is the vintage green velvet couch, big and bright enough to accommodate this newly expanded family for rest and play. Britt documented many of the projects for Gus and Lula's nursery on her blog and filled us in on more of the process, sources, challenges and fun.
Were there any special considerations when decorating for two? How did you approach designing for aesthetics and efficiency?
Designing the space for two babies -- two babies of unknown genders at that -- was definitely a challenge. To accommodate twins and all the gear that they require, we did our best to use the space wisely. A second dresser was squeezed into the closet for clothes storage, a sofa (instead of a rocking chair) allows all four of us to sit comfortably in the room, and the clothes and toys we have in the room are carefully scrutinized.
Designing one space for both a boy and a girl was also a challenge for this mama who had very definite ideas about how a boy's nursery and a girl's nursery should look. A photo of a cheery Ruthie Sommers room in the blue, yellow and green color scheme was the starting point for the gender-neutral design, with pops of pink added for our little girl.
What is your favorite element in the room?
All of the handmade touches. Almost everything in the room was sewn, painted, or built by a family member -- from the crib skirts, blankets, and mobiles, to the artwork and bookshelves. We hope that Gus and Lula will look back at their first room and see all of the love and excited anticipation that we felt as we prepared the space for them.
What was the greatest decorating challenge?
More than anything, all the unknowns surrounding our adoption affected the design. We didn't know when our babies would be coming home, the genders of the children we were waiting for, or even their ages. We tried to remain flexible, and as with everything in international adoption the process was very much one of "hurry up and wait" - we scrambled to make the room livable, and then spent months and months adding finishing touches as we waited to bring the babies home.
What do your friends say about the room?
It's cheery and bright. They wonder how our babies are able to sleep in such a sunny room, but we have some seriously great sleepers.
What was your biggest indulgence?
The vintage tole chandelier. I love lighting, and just any fixture wouldn't work for this special room. I love the personality and character the vintage lights have, and this one seemed just perfect for the space.
What advice would you give to someone designing a nursery or children's room for the first time?
Do what you love, let your concept evolve with time, and think outside the box.
What is your dream shopping source?
I love all things vintage, handmade and thrifted, so etsy is a favorite of mine. Flea markets, yard sales, and craigslist are great, too.
• Chandelier: eBay
• Cribs: Craigslist
• Dressers: thrifted
• Curtain fabric: Premier Prints
• Crib skirt fabric: Joann
• Sofa: thrifted
• Lucite tables: Craigslist
• Storage bins: Target
• Artwork: Gus & Lula
• Everything else: handmade
(Images: Gus & Lula)
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