(One more from Amara, one of the finalists vying for a blogging position at the upcoming AT:The Nursery. Comment away.)
Location: San Mateo, California
When my husband and I talked about decorating our then-unborn baby's room, we decided that we wanted it to be a space that was first and foremost a kid's room - colorful, creative, fun to play in, and with all the toys and books easily accessible to little hands.
After indecisively hemming and hawing over themes and colors for weeks, I was surfing the web one evening and happened upon the site of an artist, Gale Kaseguma, who does paintings for children -- fabulous, vivid collages of tissue paper, paint, glazes, and wax on canvas. My husband and I immediately fell in love with her work, and I became obsessed with re-creating one of her paintings of a tree as a mural on a wall of the room.
Lucky for me, my husband's cousin is a professional muralist, and as her baby present to us, she spent a weekend stenciling and painting the wall. My husband worked with her, and I did my part by keeping them supplied with a constant stream of cookies and coffee. As a finishing touch, my husband and his cousin painted two butterflies on the opposite wall from the tree, right above where we ended up putting the changing area.
The rest of the room evolved from the mural. We chose simple furniture that would take my son beyond his baby years through his toddlerhood and into elementary school. Since our house is dominated by IKEA and we couldn't stand the idea of seeing any more Billy bookshelves within our walls, we went to the Room and Board store that had just opened in San Francisco and decided to splurge on some furniture there. We got a great dresser on top of which we secured a changing pad and put a little bin for wipes and diapers. We also found a leaning bookshelf there that we liked (not considering the climbing potential of such a bookshelf, in our pre-baby naiveté) and a green rug that looked like a lawn sprawling underneath the tree mural.
For the crib, we decided on the Stokke Sleepi crib because it will one day transform into a toddler bed, and eventually, can be made into two sweet semi-circular chairs. What my husband and I didn't count on were the wheels and narrow shape of the crib proving an extra boon, allowing us to easily transport the crib into our bedroom at night so my son could sleep in our room the first couple months.
We finished the space off with books from my childhood (my mother is a packrat), toys gifted from friends stored in two cubby units from the now-defunct Hold Everything, and a framed needlepoint of the alphabet that my grandmother had made for me when I was born.
The best part of the room? My son is happy there. He can get to everything easily, he likes scooting up and down the modular play cushions we got for him online, and he spends long chunks of time pulling all his books off the shelves and reading them. And he seems to appreciate the mural; one of his first words was "bird."