Aiden’s “Modern Preppy” Nursery

updated May 6, 2019
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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Name: Aiden (14 months)
Location: Stevenson Ranch, California
Room Size: 11′ x 11 1/2′

Interior designer, Jennifer Hsu, recently finished a project for a very special client – her son. I have heard many interior designers say that they are their toughest client. Jennifer and her husband put in the extra care to make sure everything was just perfect for their little man. I am in love with the results; so calming and so perfect!

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)
(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)
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(Image credit: Jessica Comingore)

What was the first inspiration for creating the design for your son’s nursery?
Knowing that we would be spending a lot of time in this room, I wanted it to be a serene and peaceful place that will grow with Aiden. As soon as we found out we were having a little boy, I had a vision of a soothing white, blue and gray palette. In addition, I wanted a space that was “modern preppy.” To achieve this look I brought in traditional elements like wainscoting and mixed it with modern furniture pieces.

What is your favorite element in the design?
It has to be the walls. I am really happy with how the wide horizontal stripes, wainscoting, and the built-in shelves turned out. My husband installed all this. It was his very first time building wainscoting and built-in shelves and I think he did a really amazing job. I had a lot of fun drawing them out and shopping for molding. The shelves turned out to be at the perfect height for Aiden; he loves getting his books and toys from the shelves every day.

When designing the nursery, what were some of the more practical considerations?
Aim for adaptability – whether with the furniture, color palette, or style. Also, make sure to invest in furniture that will grow with your child. We purchased a crib that can be adapted into a toddler bed and bought a dresser to be used as a diaper changing station. When looking for furniture pieces, try to look for pieces that are thoughtfully designed but not overly designed. Also, if you can, repurpose old furniture pieces. We were lucky to receive a comfortable glider from my sister-in-law. After we reupholstered with new cushion inserts and fabric, it looked even better than new! Most importantly, when designing a nursery don’t worry about following a trend. Stick with the style you love. You will be spending a lot of time in that room so it has to be something that you will enjoy seeing every day.

What were the biggest challenges when designing the space?
Finding the time to put everything together. Besides the nursery, we had tons of other home improvement projects that we wanted to get done before Aiden arrived. We were good about ordering all the furniture and accessories on time, but when it came to building the wainscoting, built-in shelves, and painting we ran out of time. Luckily, Aiden slept in a bassinet next to our bed for the first 4 months. This gave my husband plenty of time to finish up the nursery.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

What is your advice for incorporating built-in furniture into a nursery?
Custom built-in furniture is a clever way to make the most of every nook and cranny in a home. I love incorporating them because their custom nature has the ability to offer endless style and configuration options tailored to any space. Think about what is the main purpose you want for your built-in furniture – is it for open storage, closed storage, seating, etc? With Aiden’s room we turned a wide, but shallow window niche into an open bookshelf. This was a perfect way to display children’s books and to reduce clutter by storing smaller toys in the metal bins.

How do you see Aiden’s room transforming as he grows into his toddler years?
We made sure to purchase furniture pieces that Aiden can use beyond his infant years. The crib can transition to a toddler bed and the changing table is actually a dresser. Later I will probably add a toddler-sized table and chairs where he can do arts and crafts.

What are a few of your dream sources for decorating a nursery?
I love Etsy; you can find lots of fun and creative items there. Also, Pinterest is always great for finding inspiration. I enjoy browsing other people’s pinboards and I discover new things every time I visit. I also frequently visit The New Traditionalists, Dwell Studio, and Serena & Lily. They carry beautiful furniture, accessories, and/or bedding.


(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Thanks Jennifer!