Rory & Quinn
John and Jade Brookbank are the Los Angeles-based husband and wife team behind The Letter B Photography.
They specialize in family photos, and when it was time to start their own family they got a double exposure, boy-girl twins Rory and Quinn. The nursery they pulled together reflects creativity, a deep love of color and a great sense of humor.
Check out the gallery for John's time lapse series of photographs showing Jade's growing belly against the backdrop of the evolving nursery.
What was your inspiration for the room?
Well, to quote The Big Lebowski, it all started with the perfect rug... more specifically, an adorable yellow polka dot rug from Pottery Barn. From there I knew that the red crib would be the focal point when you entered and everything else would contain different shades of yellow as an accent color. Everything else kind of grew out of those two basic elements and color palettes.
Do you have a favorite design element?
I tend to inherently go for brightly colored pieces with a handmade/ vintage feel, whether that be a crib, a frame or a mobile. My favorite element in the room though is by far the chalkboard wall. I just hope that teaching the children to color on the walls doesn't backfire on us badly.
What was the biggest challenge putting this room together?
We knew we were having twins but we'd also decided to wait to find out the sexes until birth which was EXTREMELY exciting BUT relatively challenging as far as decorating goes, because the room needed to stay gender neutral. That said, it was also very important to me to stay away from the standard unisex colors like yellow and green themes. I also wanted it to be pretty (or handsome, if it were a boy, haha) but not be too "babyish." After some serious swatch testing I decided to try gray out on the walls - it's a little less traditional but I thought it was a good bend for gender neutral. Painting gray, as I'm sure anyone who's ever been to Home Depot can attest, was more challenging than I first thought possible. You can't just paint a room "gray." You have to paint it Dolphin Gray or Cloudy Gray or Old Woman Hair Gray. After four different color choices and just as many trips to the paint department, we finally found one that wasn't too blue, purple or dark and it went by the name of Martha Stewart's "Cement." Definitely not the most comforting name for a baby's room but if it's the right color who am I to protest the name choice? Honestly, I would've put up Mushroom Cloud Gray if I thought it would match the polka dot rug and red crib.
Any regrets or things that you'd like to do differently?
Remember the Pottery Barn rug that I said was the inspiration for the room? Turns out I should have bought it first before planning the entire nursery around it. By the time I went to purchase said rug, Pottery Barn discontinued making them - they weren't just OUT OF STOCK, they actually STOPPED making them. My rug had gone extinct, and despite my frantic internet searching I couldn't find it anywhere. However, I pressed onward as planned and really love how it all came together... but if you see that rug, shoot me an email!
What do your friends say about the room?
They love it, or at least pretend convincingly.
What is your proudest DIY project?
The changing table. I scrounged that piece from a leftover moving sale and it had definitely seen better days. I got my Bob Vila on and stripped and sanded it down to the original wood through probably six layers of paint and then ultimately decided to turn it white. I had no idea how much work this would take or how many coats of painting and sanding but it turned out great and is a piece that we'll be able to use for a long time.
What advice would you give to other parents decorating a nursery?
Keep it simple, functional and think outside Winnie the Pooh themes.
What's your dream source?
Pottery Barn, Anthropologie, Ikea and Etsy.
Were there any unique challenges or opportunities that you encountered in decorating for multiples?
Functionality was a big issue. We wanted it to look nice but it also had to be a very usable space for changing, book reading, sleeping and playing. It's not a huge space to begin with so fitting everything in for two was interesting. Once we need to move the babies into individual cribs we'll have to change it up a bit again. Maybe bunk cribs?
You take beautiful photos of children and families for a living. Have you seen anything in a client's home that you wanted to do in your place?
I love going into a client's place that's not afraid to use color on the walls. Loud color. I think that can sometimes be scary to do, but I always love seeing it so I've definitely been bringing more of that into my own house. Like Ikea says, be bold, not beige!
Paint colors: Martha Stewart Cement
Crib: Jenny Lind - Craigslist find
Mobile: designed by my good friend Amy Lind
Chairs: Craigslist finds of Ikea's Ektorp chair with new slipcovers
Changing table and side table: garage sale finds
ABC Blocks: Perpetual Kid
Book Poster: allposters.com
Gym Locker Baskets: www.anytimeproducts.com
Vintage rocking horse: Etsy
Diaper Pail: Ikea but I spray painted it yellow
White Bedding: Ikea
Thanks, Jade, John, Rory and Quinn!
(Images: The Letter B Photography)
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