Louis's Tiny (but Grand!) Chinoiserie Menagerie

Louis's Tiny (but Grand!) Chinoiserie Menagerie

Lauren Pavao
Mar 5, 2013
Name: Baby Louis (6 weeks old)
Location: Boston
Room Size: 64 square feet

What do you do with a baby on the way and an 8'x8' room in which to fit his nursery? You scoff at the tiny footprint of the room, and you fill it with grand style, bright colors, and captivating artwork, of course. At least, that's what Amanda Pendleton did for baby Louis. She also threw in her love of Chinese decor and some faux taxidermy for a truly remarkable and grown up nursery that is perfect for her sophisticated little man.

Amanda successfully disguised a beat up $40 chest and a handful of thrift store frames and accessories among a sea of gorgeous royal blues and golden greens, custom bedding, and elegant mid-century style furniture. She insists that her secret was to focus on creating a space she loves and which is comprised of pieces that could fit in any other room in her house. Her efforts result in a gorgeous room any adult would be happy to slumber in, but which somehow seems just right for a baby boy.

How would you describe the look and feel of this room? I would call it Palm Beach Regency meets Mid-Century Modern. I wanted it to look sophisticated enough for grown ups, but still fun for a baby. Ultimately I picked colorful fabrics, prints, and brass accents that I loved and would make me happy during 3am diaper changes!

What was the inspiration for the room? I was inspired by Chinoiserie style on a trip to China right before I got pregnant. That's probably why I was drawn to the Chiang Mai Dragon fabric I used on the crib bedding and the gilded bamboo frames.

What was the biggest challenge decorating the room? The size! The room is only 8' x 8'. To fit a full sized dresser and crib in the nursery, I had to put the rocking chair in the living room. I also used the large window sill as a make-shift bookshelf because there wasn't any more floor space.

What is your favorite piece or element? I love how our gallery wall turned out. All the art pieces are originals. I mixed in gold painted faux taxidermy with photos, watercolors, and oil paintings from my favorite artists on Etsy. It's a mix of contemporary art — with baby-friendly animal photos — and they could all easily be used in different rooms once Lou grows out of the nursery. The frames are all from flea markets or antique shops, collected over months. Every time I found a gilded bamboo frame I snapped it up, then found art pieces to fit and had a custom mat cut for each one.

If money were no object, what's your dream source? 1st Dibs, Design Within Reach, ducduc, and The New Traditionalists for nursery furniture

Do you have any advice for parents creating a room for their child? Pick what you love! Minus the crib, I can see using this room as an office or guest bedroom. I can also see using each piece in a different room of a future home.

What is your proudest DIY? I had been hunting for a campaign chest for months when I found this one on Craigslist in horrible condition. I bought it for $40, polished the brass hardware, and put about six coats of glossy white paint on it—and it looks as good as new! I used it for storage in our upstairs loft until I realized it would make the perfect changing table. We attached the changing pad to the top, and we had a new changing table for under $100. (The brass animal heads on top are for styling only!)

Source List:

  • paint: Farrow & Ball New White (on walls) and Benjamin Moore White Semi-Gloss (on bricks and trim)

  • crib: Oeuf Sparrow in walnut

  • campaign-style dresser: Garage sale find (painted white), topped with changing pad

  • draperies: Smith and Noble (drape fabric is Robert Allen Metro Lines in Mint with blackout shade in ivory)

  • crib bedding: Custom by Etsy shop modifiedtot (bumper interior and crib skirt trim: F. Schumacher Chiang Mai Dragon in Aquamarine; bumper exterior and crib skirt: Robert Allen Metro Lines in Mint; bumper piping and ties: Robert Allen Valemont Skipper; crib sheet: Kona Cotton in Parsley)

  • changing pad cover: Custom by Etsy shop modifiedtot (Kona cotton in Parsley)

  • lamp: Pottery Barn

  • art over crib: our own creation

  • gold animal busts: Etsy shop WhiteFauxTaxidermy

  • turtle shell: Nate Berkus for Target

  • art on gallery wall: Etsy shops metamorphosing, DIMDI, brittanybass, gallerywall, gretchenkellystudio, ArtbyAutumnRose, VibrantDays, minagraphy;

  • photography: Joel Sartore, Animal Print Shop, and some personal photography

  • gold frames: vintage from flea markets and antique shops

  • rug: Brazilian cowhide from Los Angeles street vendor

  • brass bookends: elephants from eBay, deer antlers from vintage shop (used for styling only!)

  • stool: Z Gallerie, topped with Room and Board sheepskin pillow with square foam insert

  • hamper: Serena & Lily

Thanks, Amanda!

(Images: Greg Pendleton)


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