Name: Maren Armida Kim (18 months)
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Room Size: 84 sq ft
Maren's mom, Lisa, is clearly clever about color and making the most of a small space. So it's not surprising, then, that Maren's nursery was one of the winners of our Smaller Cooler 2011 Contest. We were so happy when she let us delve into a full fledged tour of her daughter's room so we could see even more photos of her cool, bright popsicle-ish color scheme in action and learn more about her clever storage ideas.
What was your inspiration for the room? When we knew we were 'going nursery' in this room, my husband started out by sanding and painting the floor white. He got it done in two weekends. I had already fallen in love with the Oeuf Sparrow crib in gray and so decided a mostly yellow color scheme would work well with the gray and white. Bright, but not too girly. After coming across the Saffron Craig fabric, my colors expanded to include some yummy pinks and oranges — I started thinking of it as a popsicle palette. I tried to stick with white and gray as the base, and use the bright colors as accents so that the look and design of the space could adapt without having to change everything or repaint. Who knows, the room might need to be shared with a little guy some day.
What is your favorite element in the room? The floor. I cannot get enough of white painted floors. This small space was the perfect opportunity to indulge. What it does to open and brighten the room far outweighs the added maintenance in the sweeping and mopping departments. To me the floor is made at least three times more awesome by the custom rug done for us by Etsy seller Green at Heart. I sent her a swatch of the fabric and she matched the yellow perfectly in the gradient. I could not be happier with this rug, and it goes in the washing machine!
Were there any surprises? Babies grow! Faster than you think. A shelf I hung strategically close to the changing table for easy access to wipes and other diapering needs is now getting kicked by toddler legs. Oversights happen. Maren has almost outgrown the changing table altogether, so it won't be an issue for much longer.
What was your proudest DIY? It only made me proud because it was easy. I bought my sewing machine just a few months before Maren was born. Not surprisingly, I did not have much free time to master it before there was a new baby in the house. So instead of trying to struggle through actual sewing projects with my fabrics, I bought pillow shams at Ikea, cut some rough strips with pinking shears, and just sewed those on to customize the bedding in the room. Again - flexible - you can always rip those stitches out and go a different direction down the road.
Tell us about those wall storage bins ... I used to live in a huge loft in Tribeca (with 4 other people). Over time we bought and hung about 30 of these along one long, wide hall. As a field, these Ikea shoe bins became this fantastic sculptural wall of storage. When we moved I took as many as I could fit into this smaller space. At some point I needed to label them to keep track of what went where, so bought a few liquid-chalk pens. That way I can erase and re-label as needs change. At some point we no longer needed bins for burp cloths or onesies, but did need a whole bin for all the pajama sets I can't stop buying. The chalk stays put pretty good, and rubbing alcohol works best for taking it off.
What was your biggest indulgence? I suppose the crib and changing table. Nursery furniture can be pricey and I did indeed have a budget, but I watched Craigslist like a hawk and ended up with the sparrow furniture from Oeuf for a price we could afford. For the crib I had to buy a set of two that was used for twins. I put the extra one back up on Craigslist and turned around and sold it a few days later for more than I paid. Hooray Craigslist.
What advice would you give to others starting this process? The same that goes for baby equipment I think goes for the furnishing and decorating of the nursery. You can't know exactly what you will want or need before the baby comes and you discover your own rhythm. Some personality types may not be able to do this, but I did not have this room finished when Maren came home. I wrapped it up pretty slowly over the first year of her life and it became more customized to her and us. For instance, we opted to use much of our small space for a twin bed instead of a glider or rocker. Turned out she did not like rocking so much, but it was really helpful to be able to sleep in the room with her while I was nursing. And the space now doubles as a guest bedroom of sorts for those OK with waking up at 5:30 am.
If money was no object, what would your dream source be? I am pretty hung up on the Oeuf brand. I think their furniture and other products are thoughtfully designed, but not over designed. The mission statement of the company is also something you can feel good about. As a Brooklyn resident, they are also in the 'neighborhood'. I would buy straight from the source if budget allowed, but also really love the idea of re-using items found on Craigslist, yard sales, etc.
• Round Gradient Rug: Green at Heart
• Fabric: Saffron Craig
• Geometric Print: Swell Papel
• Framed Scrabble Letters, a gift from Annie, stylist of Elsa's Barn Door Hideaway!
• Row House Print: Claudia G Pearson
• Mobile: Metal Clip Mobile with origami birds from Makikomo
• Crib and Changing Table: Oeuf Sparrow collection in gray
• Storage Bins: IKEA Trones
• Chair: Panton Jr from Vitra for kids, a gift from my dear friend Carey in Texas!
• Twin Bed and Quilted Bedding: IKEA
• Gray Wall Paint color: Benjamin Moore, Alaskan Husky
• Floors: refinished by husband Randy in a Benjamin Moore white exterior paint
Thank you Lisa!
(Images: Jaine of brklyn view photography and Lisa Kim)