Nursery Tour: No Gray Skies for Mallory Gray

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Name: Mallory Gray
Age: 2 months old
Location: Hickory, NC

Often parents choose yellow when creating a nursery without knowing if they're having a boy or a girl and it can feel like a compromise, but here a buttery yellow paired with gray, bright white and rich woods results in a sophisticated and playful space where yellow is the star.

Parents Laurie and Andy, an interior and graphic designer respectively, are paid to be creative for clients, but found their most important client closer to home. Below Laurie tells us more about their daughter Mallory's beautiful room:

Inspiration:
We wanted to create a nursery that would inspire creativity and create a cozy refuge for our little one. Our key inspirational terms were: whimsical, eclectic, imaginative, & playful.

Favorite Element:
The wallpapered ceiling. When Mallory lays on her back, she is drawn to the contrast of the dark birds on the light backdrop (mommy and daddy love it too).

Biggest Challenge:
Designing the room not knowing the sex. We wanted a sophisticated, yet soft look and we didn't want the typical green & yellow, gender neutral look, so we went with a color palette (dove gray, butter yellow, antique white & blend of natural finishes) that coordinated with the rest of our home.

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What Friends Say:
"Can we move in?"

Proudest DIY:
The hand-painted mural of a tree that Andy labored over for 2 weekends in a row.....and the decision to paint over it!!!

Biggest Indulgence:
The many vintage children's books, including the out-of-print edition of Alec Wilder & Maurice Sendak's "Night Songs & Lullabies". From this particular book, we framed pages of sheet music and hung above Mallory's crib.

Best advice:
Start soon. Get as much completed as you can while you are able. The end of my pregnancy was quite enjoyable because I had the time to focus exclusively on myself and my baby-to-be. And check out lots of sources. I couldn't believe it when I found my perfect crib at Walmart!

Dream source:
Local Antique Mall for accessories and old frames and Etsy for affordable art.

You've combined vintage and modern elements so harmoniously - any tricks to pass on for parents hoping to do the same?
In all my rooms I like to combine antiques with lots of personality with newer, cleaner elements. The vintage pieces add warmth and character and the contrast adds interest. I find rooms that are all brand spanking new to be rather dull and showroom-esque. An antique chest can make for a great changing table. Also, in my small nursery using a larger glider was out of the question. So, instead, I opted for a mid-century modern rocker that adds so much to the overall design.

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How is creating a room in your own home different from designing for a client?
For some reason I find it much more difficult to design a room for myself. When designing for a client, it's easier to listen to what they want and then approach that with an open, yet critical eye. When designing for myself, the endless sources that I'm exposed to lead to stimulation overload and it's hard to make what I think is the "perfect" choice. For instance, I will move a piece of art five times in one day. It is harder to know when to stop when it is your own space. I have never wanted to please a "client" more than my little girl.

Since Mallory's arrival you've had a chance to really use and spend time in her nursery - does it live up to your expectations? How does being there with her make you feel? Have you made any changes or rearranged anything?
The best and "final" touch of the room was Mallory, herself. She brought the room alive and it's funny to us how perfect it suits her personality. We are still on the look-out for a rug to go under the crib. And a few of the touches we added after we knew our baby was a girl, such as the chandelier. As Mallory gets more mobile, we will definitely have to move some of the smaller more delicate accessories to higher shelves. And of course the little vignette of books and feather on her changing table, is now home to her diapers and baby wipes and such. But, we couldn't be more pleased with how the room turned out. There is nothing better than going in her room with the early morning light trickling in and Mallory gazing up at her birds. What a perfect start to any day!

Can you tell us a little about your family business, Rhoney Design?
My husband, Andy, and I started the business 4 years ago. Andy does mostly graphic design and brand management. Together we have also done custom invitation and stationary design. Also, Andy has designed and built custom furniture for my clients. He's a "jack of all trades" so to speak. I run the interior design portion of the business specializing in residential design and event planning. Being based in Hickory, NC, we have a lot of access to the furniture industry. My job has also led me to work with national furniture companies in designing their stores and showrooms all across the United States and Canada. More recently, Rhoney Design has branched into event planning--handling all aspects of an event from conception, design, invitations, and even recently...photography! Rhoney Design has also worked with out-of-state clients with our "Design in a Box" program in which I will design a room/rooms based on your measurements and preferences. The client who selects this service will receive a custom designed room with resources and products that are readily available through open to the public sources.

Thanks, Laurie! Readers, you can more information about where Laurie purchased many of the items for this nursery here.

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As Apartment Therapy's Family Editor, Carrie covers design and modern homelife with children. A lapsed librarian, she lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two kids and is in contention to break the record for most hours spent at the playground.