Elsa’s Adorable Blue Nursery

updated May 6, 2019
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(Image credit: Bethany Nauert)

Name(s): Elsa Ida McMillan, 7 months
Location: Long Beach, Calfornia
Room Size: 10′ x 15′, 150 sq ft.

Elsa is the beloved 7 month old of Jeff and Liv McMillan, who are both incredibly artistic and creative people. Over a year ago, I joined Marcia Prentice to photograph their home in Long Beach for a House Tour. Liv was a couple months pregnant and they had yet to begin converting Jeff’s old studio into what is now the baby nursery.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)
(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Inspired by artwork, soft palettes of color and a gorgeous robin’s egg blue- the nursery is a delightful dwelling for any baby. Taking design cues from inspiration all over the web and in magazines, they aimed to give Elsa a room that was not only functional for a baby but aesthetically charming for adults. This is truly a room that she can grow into and love as young girl or even a teenager.

What was your inspiration for the room? My little baby girl! I wanted a room that was fun for her, and pretty for us. It definitely evolved over the 7 months I knew I was pregnant, but I had a pretty clear vision from the get go of the colors and feel I was going for. I drew a lot of inspiration from a favorite blog, Lay Baby Lay, where her baby’s nursery used a lot of the same colors.

What is your favorite element in the room? The tree print over her changing table. My husband Jeff is a painter and did this amazing painting titled “Birds fly by flapping their wings” for the Long Beach Museum of Art. It’s one of my favorite pieces he’s ever done. I love all of the birds, the cat at the bottom, the dinosaurs and water park in the distance, and the colors he used. He made prints of the painting (the original sold) and on this one he dedicated it at the bottom “For Elsa”. I love that she has that in her room.

Before starting, what did you know you wanted to include, for sure? We knew that we wanted a lot of art in Elsa’s nursery. We’re huge art lovers and asked a lot of our artist friends for a small painting instead of diapers as a baby shower gift. They totally came through! We made a big grouping of those pieces above her dresser and scattered a few more around. They bring in so much color and originality to the room, I’m so thankful our friends were so generous to gift us those pieces.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

What was your proudest DIY? I love to sew and do crafty things, and I went into hyperdrive making baby things in my last trimester. I made her a mobile for her crib, fitted crib sheets, a baby quilt, countless bibs and burp cloths, and pillows but I think my biggest project was her growth chart. It’s quilted and I sewed inch marker lines and then embroidered the foot marker numbers. My mom embroidered her first entry of her length when she was born (she’s a much neater embroiderer than me!) and I’ll do an entry of her height at each birthday. I think it’ll be a special piece Elsa will hang on to forever. She better! Momma worked hard on that!

What was your biggest indulgence? The crib mattress. I wanted to splurge on a nice organic mattress. We can use it when we convert her crib into a toddler bed so I don’t feel bad that her mattress cost more than all of the furniture in her room!

Any advice for other people starting this process? Take your time putting the room together and make good use of that nesting instinct! I did a lot of research into the items I put in Elsa’s nursery because I wanted them to be things we’d actually need and use and were safe for her. I read product reviews and asked my friends that were parents what they used and built her nursery around that. You have to start with the necessities, and then do the decorating and creative stuff around that.

If money was no object, what would your dream source be? Smallable.com. Oh man, if money were no object, I’d go crazy.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Source List:

• Crib: Sniglar from IKEA, Mattress- Naturepedic
• Changing table: vintage, Craigslist. Paint color: Driftwood gray in high gloss by Martha Stewart.
• Dresser: vintage, Jeff’s childhood dresser. Paint color: Silhouette black in high gloss by Martha Stewart.
• Rocker: IKEA Poang rocking chair, Craigslist
• Ottoman: IKEA Bromma footstool
• Gold metal and glass nesting tables: Magnolia and Willow

• Cat coat rack: vintage, Liv’s childhood coat rack
• Bookshelves: IKEA Bekvam spice racks
• Elephant rocker: Plan Toys
• Horse rocker: vintage, Jeff’s childhood rocker
• Gold frames: Frames USA, gold economy frames
• Felt embroidered plush bird: Wishing You Happiness
• Liun Aminal pillow and Ugly dolls
• Sheep mobile, growth chart, pink floral pillow, roman blinds, crib sheet, stuffed elephant by Liv. All crocheted amigurumis by Liv’s mom.
• Floral fabric boxes: Liberty of London for Target
• Pink Giraffe: Plaid Pigeon
• Cat Lamp: Offi My Pet Lamp
• Wood stacking blocks toy: Little Sapling Toys
• Globe lamp: vintage
• Wall color: Valspar’s Grand Hotel Mackinac Blue

• The Bird Print (above the changing table): Prints at JeffMcMillan.com
• Bearded cats and schnauzer painting by Nathan Spoor
• Small Yeti painting by John Culqui
• Flamingos painting by Brendan Monroe
• Cat and rattle ink drawing by Seth Haak
• Winnie the Pooh drawings and Siamese cat with Bunny ears painting by Jeff McMillan
• Crocheted Elsa doily by Crocheting by Rose on Etsy
• Uh-Oh Bear print by Rifle Paper, Co.
• Painted cardboard monogram (above rocking chair): Wishing You Happiness
• Animal prints (above crib): Pages from Catherine Ledner’s book ‘Animal House’
• More details on Liv’s blog! www.livandjeff.blogspot.com

Thanks, Liv, Jeff and little Elsa!

(Images: Bethany Nauert)

Have a kid’s space you’d like to share? In addition to working with some readers to feature full tours, we share the best as “My Room” posts — short, quick tours of great rooms.