Ava’s Colorful, Handmade Haven
Name: Ava Florence
Age: 2 years
Location: Birmingham, UK
Ava’s mom, Joanna, is an interior designer who firmly believes that, when it comes to kids’ rooms, the only color rule is that there are no rules. She gave us a tour of Ava’s beautiful room, which features handmade items galore, and told us how it evolved from a white room that “looked a bit like a hospital” to the marvelous space that it is now.
I don’t think there’s a color in the rainbow that isn’t represented here, and yet it all works so beautifully. What are your thoughts about kids and color?
I don’t think kids can be kids without color. I have always been a big fan of bold bright colors wherever children are concerned and Ava is always dressed in some sort of bright clothing. (I hope this won’t change as she gets older and I have less of a say!) I think children’s rooms are definitely somewhere where there should be no color rules.
I must admit that the rest of our house is very neutral and muted, so Ava’s room really stands out. It’s where we can play and have fun with color.
You’re either very crafty or very well-connected to crafty folks! How did you come by so many beautiful handmade pieces?
I’ve made a lot of the things in Ava’s room, such as the curtains, cushions, bunting, pictures, daybed upholstery, and some of the toys. I love making things, so when I knew a baby was on the way, I wanted a nursery that was really individual.
I had great fun making the pictures over Ava’s bed. It started as one and then ended up as two. I’m so lucky that I only had to sew three letters for her name. I’m also lucky enough to have a crafty mom and sister who have knitted and sewn some of Ava’s toys. I love it when people make Ava a present. It makes it all the more special and I know she’ll treasure them.
I love the layering of items in this room. I get the impression that items have been added over time as the room has grown with Ava. Can you give us a sort of historical tour, telling us what you started with, and how this room has evolved since then?
When my husband Stuart and I found out we were expecting a baby, we chose not to find out the sex as we wanted it a complete surprise. However I really did find it hard not knowing when it came to decorating the nursery. We had inherited the two wardrobes when we moved into the house and although I originally wanted to get rid of them I’m glad I was talked out of it. (Yes, I admit I was wrong, Stuart!)
We decided to paint the walls white and give the wardrobes a fresh coat of paint. Although the room did look a bit like a hospital to begin with, I knew that as soon as I started to add color it would all come together. I started off making the curtains and recovering the day bed. Then, when Ava arrived, I made the bunting and cushions with contrasting fabrics.
The Lloyd Loom wicker chest and linen basket came from my granddad’s house, and the chest of drawers and bed have both been great little finds from eBay. The room has definitely evolved as Ava has grown, and there are always new ideas I think about for each little corner.
Right now, this room manages to be marvelously textured without seeming cluttery. Is clutter something you worry about? At any point do you think you’ll want or need to say “enough!” and do some pruning?
Absolutely. I’m definitely getting to that stage where I should be saying enough, although it’s hard when I keep finding so many beautiful things and Ava keeps being given such lovely gifts. I’m definitely the collector/hoarder in the house, so I really have to be strict with myself.
Soon, however, I’m going to be opening Folksy and Etsy shops to sell some of my handmade items, so at least I can keep making and won’t feel guilty about finding a new place to put them. Also, Stuart is in the process of making Ava a play house for the garden so I’ll have fun making the curtains and decorations for that when it’s finished.
Is there anything else you want to share with the Ohdeedoh community?
Don’t be in a rush to get it all finished at once. The room will grow with your child and it’s only when you start using it that you’ll see what works and what you need. We’ve found some great vintage bargains on eBay and from local antiques fairs because we’ve waited until we’ve found what’s right for us. Just go with your instincts and don’t be afraid of clashing colors and fabrics. If it doesn’t work, you can always have the joy of doing it over again!
Thank you so much, Joanna, Stuart — and of course, Ava — for the tour! For more of Jo’s inspirational style, be sure to check out her blog Little Button Tales.
Images: Joanna Hughes