Nursery Tour: Cate Cordelia's Modern Library

Nursery Tour: Cate Cordelia's Modern Library

Tammy Everts
Sep 30, 2008

Child's name and age: Cate Cordelia, due any day now
Location: Redlands, California

With a pair of book lovers for parents, as well as a wonderful literary middle-namesake (Anne of Green Gables fans will get the reference), it's a pretty sure bet that Cate Cordelia will grow up with an appreciation for books. Her mother, Andrea, who also happens to be a librarian, was gracious enough to give us a tour of Cate's nursery and show us the many ways that books and reading have been incorporated into this lovely room.

What was your inspiration behind Cate's room?

Our house is filled with books, why should our first baby's room be any different? I am a medical librarian and both my husband and I are readers, although I am responsible for most of the non-medical books in the house (hopeless accumulator). We have a charming 1928 bungalow in Southern California that we have thoroughly enjoyed fixing up. We are completely done with the rest of the house, so when we found out we were pregnant, we were ridiculously excited to start on another project.

What were your design criteria? Were there any challenges you had to overcome?

Being big planners, we loved and incorporated a lot of ideas we found through Ohdeedoh, but we also had a few other criteria. We want to have our kids pretty close together, so we were willing to pay a little more for quality pieces that we could use for multiple children of either gender. I don't want to buy three sets of crib bedding in the space of a few years.

In about ten months, we are moving to Manhattan for my husband to complete a one-year cardiac anesthesia fellowship. We evaluated everything we bought for the baby's room in light of a small city apartment. Example: we wanted a glider/rocker but it needed to look appropriate in a living room. The Ikea dresser/changing table will probably be for all three of us in our New York year.

How did you incorporate the idea of books and reading without making the room overly "theme-y"?

Well, this was actually kind of hard for me. I could fill up every available space with books/book-related paraphernalia. I am that much of a nerd. I had purchased the Pottery Barn Kids Schoolhouse book rack at least 18 months before I was pregnant because I love illustrated children's books so much that my collection was out of control and I had no way to look at the covers... they were all shelved the traditional, boring, spine facing-outward way.

I love vintage reading/library posters and found a used book called 75 Years of Children's Book Week Posters sponsored by the Children's Book Council (ISBN: 0-679-85106-2). It was SO hard to pick just two posters. I paid $14 to have Aaron Brother's come up with a custom mat to fit inside an inexpensive frame. We put everything together ourselves to save a little money.

Also, the framed Olivia print above the gilder is from an issue of The New Yorker that I saved from a few years ago. Olivia and her mother reading Good Night Moon? As soon as I saw it I knew I wanted it in a baby's room someday.

We also have a few owls in the room. I have loved owls ever since I took a "Birds of Prey" course in college, but again, didn't want to get too crazy with any one theme.

What tips do you have for finding great children's books?

Books ARE really expensive when you buy them new or all at once. I am a huge yard-saler, thrift store, library book sale type of person. Rarely do you pay more than $.50 per book. You can also find good deals on Amazon's used books and eBay. I have four nieces and I pretty much only buy them books as presents. And I am really picky -- there are so many dumb children's books out there. So, over the years, whenever I buy my nieces a book I bought myself a copy as well... an instant way of building a great collection over time rather than spending a fortune all at once.

Thanks so much for the tour, Andrea! And our best wishes for many happy years of reading ahead.

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