Magnolia's Little House in the Big Top

Magnolia's Little House in the Big Top

Katie Steuernagle
Nov 24, 2010

Name: Magnolia Kate
Age: 21 months
Location: Rochester, MN
Room Size: 10x10

I'm very excited to share this nursery with Ohdeedoh readers, because this nursery was designed by me! I started working on it long before I started writing for Ohdeedoh, and like many of you, I drew tons of inspiration from all the beautiful photos and cool projects featured here. Creating this space was especially fun for me because although Magnolia is my third child, it's my first actual nursery. Budget constraints were so tight when my first two babies were born (my husband and I were in college) that designing a nursery seemed like a fantasy to me. So this time I knew I wanted to go all out, not in a spendy way, but in a DIY handmade mania way. That's probably why it took me 2 years to finish it.

What was your inspiration? I knew I wanted to stick with a vintage circus meets Little House on the Prairie with a touch of my grandmother's house in the 70s theme, you know, like if Laura Ingalls married into a Bavarian traveling circus family instead of marrying Almanzo and then retired and drove a big yellow Oldsmobile and ate tea sandwiches at bridge club parties. I tried to explain that to the salesgirl at BabiesRUs, and she had no idea what I was talking about. That's when I knew I was going to have to make everything myself.

What's your favorite element in the room?
I guess the crib mobile is my favorite, because I struggled with the color palette so much, and then I ended up using those colors all over the room. It's sort of like the design vortex.

What is your proudest DIY in the room? That's a tough one. I made so much of the stuff in this room that it's hard to pick out my favorite. I like the stove because it's so rock solid sturdy but all the sides and top slide apart and lie flat for storage. I'm pretty proud of that. I love the wall of stuffed frames because I was shooting for giving the twin bed a snug daybed sort of feel. The frames are mounted really flat to the wall and then secured all the way around with heavy duty velcro so they don't bang around. Maggie loves to get in there with lots of books. Oh yeah, and that spinning merry-go-round book caddy. That was fun to make, although Maggie pulls off all the books and puts plastic animals on there and spins them. And the little lamp next to the bed that's full of plastic toys. That was inspired by my older sister's collection of gumball machine toys that she had when we were kids. And the lion door knockers are made out of plastic lions that I found in the dollar section at Target. I can't believe how much they really look like door knockers. And the toys. Lots and lots of toys I made. And the floating log shelves. I love how those turned out. So easy to make, too. Oh, oh, okay, last one...the wood veneer fox wall hook. I was so happy with how that turned out that I carried it around for a week.

What was your biggest challenge? The oak-colored bi-fold closet doors. Those things drove me nuts. I stared at them for hours trying to figure out what to do with them. So finally I painted them and added the lion knockers.

What is your dream source? Home Depot.

crib: cheapest Jenny Lind I could find on Amazon
lingerie chest: Craigslist
Humpty Dumpty lamp: Ebay
rug: $15 from Home Depot, dala horse motif added with this tutorial
stove: see it lie flat here
lion door knockers: see decapitated plastic lion bodies here

little yellow kid chair
faux birch log table
merry-go-round book caddy
electric fox lamp
Easter egg music box

Other stuff I made: crib mobile, curtains, gold square pillows, lion pillow, ruffled plush hedgehog (free pattern here), floating log shelves, swan boat, red riding hood car, toys in the wall crates, carnival toy lamp, ruffled ceiling light shade (to cover the awful brass thing up there), card catalog wall shelf, stuffed picture frame wall, crib quilt, plush squirrel, fabric and buttons clock, wood veneer fox wall hook, Hey Diddle wall plaques

I hope these projects light a DIY fire in you. They sure were fun to make and none of them require special, expensive tools or crazy advanced skills. And just so you know, out of all the toys I've made, Maggie's favorite is an empty Gatorade bottle filled with Froot Loops.

(Images: Katie Steuernagle)

Have you seen our Nursery & Kids Room Submission Form? In addition to working with some readers to feature full tours, we will also share the best as "My Room" posts on Ohdeedoh -- short, quick tours of great rooms. Submit yours right here.
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