Nursery Tour: Sofia's Spanish Crib

Nursery Tour: Sofia's Spanish Crib

Feb 22, 2007

Name Sofia
Location Madrid, Spain

There's a whole lot of history here. Sofia decided that instead of buying a whole bunch of new furniture for the nursery that would soon be outgrown, she wanted to use family hand-me-downs that would both have meaning and serve multiple purposes.

Apart from the crib and some IKEA goods, all of the furniture (and most of the pictures) are repurposed from various family members--and a fair amount of the pieces used to be Sofia and her husband's when they were babies themselves. We love the fact that their daughter (also named Sofia) is surrounded by furniture that was a part of her parents' childhoods.

Other than a few touches of little girl pink, (we're in awe, and frankly, envious of her daughter's lineup of impressive party dresses), the room isn't frilly or over accessorized. And since it's a small room, there are a number of clever storage solutions, with wall space turned into shelving where toys, books, and outgrown clothes can be stored.

We'll let Sofia do the rest of the talking; here's her description and story of the space:

The best thing about the room is it has really good bones. When we moved here in 2005, we completely regutted and renovated the flat. We painted the room a neutral colour, which we got by mixing white with a little black and a little green. The room gives out to a little terrace where we planted a tree in a pot. It is a liquidambar and in the autumn its leaves turn a beautiful colour: it should be red, but this year it only obliged with -an admittedly lovely shade of- yellow.

When I was pregnant I set about furnishing the room. Most of the furniture is hand-me downs. The dresser which I use as a changing table was in my husband's room when he was a boy. It was a rather putrid green, so I painted it off-white. The Peter Rabbit pictures used to hang in my nursery. I fished them out of my parents' attic and changed the passepartout from royal blue to grey with a red inside border. Ditto for the Victorian ABC picture. The sea picture on top of the changing dresser (hung so high so that Sofia won't be able to reach it) was from my husband's room. The bed is an ancient one where one of my brothers used to sleep, taken from my parents' attic. I put a nice duvet to cover the very scratched wood and added large cushions from IKEA to make it look like a sofa. This is a great place to sit and even to sleep if Sofia is having a wakey night. The cushion with Sofia's name was a gift, from a shop called La Llave Hueca which does embroidery.

Sofia is now almost a year old (on Saturday), and she's slept in her nursery almost from the beginning. At first she was in an antique crib belonging to my husband (it was his crib as a baby), but after 4 months or so we moved her to her current cot-crib from Mothercare. We bought the cot crib so that it would last her until she is five and not mean even more clutter to be put into storage!

The two round rugs are from IKEA, as are the shelves and plastic boxes over the radiator, which I installed recently when I realized how many toys were strewn all over the place. The lamp is from a place called Better and Best and I had a shade made in the same fabric as the duvet on the bed. The curtains were made at home with fabric from Lienzo de los Gazules (cheapish store in Spain -this was 10 euro/metre).

The nursery is not too big, but it is divided into distinct areas: first the cot area, with the crib. Then there is the nappy changing-dressing area, with the dresser and the built-in shelves on the right where I put toiletries and creams. Behind me as I stand facing the dresser is a bin from IKEA for dirty clothes and a metallic bin from the local supermarket for dirty nappies (I think in America you have a wonderful invention called the nappy genius or something which prevents smells, which I would love to get, as my solution can get a bit smelly at the end of the day)... Hung on the peg is a sort of tent to store nappies.

Then there is the bed for adults to sit or lie in, and then the floor in front of the shelves, which is the designated play area, although now that Sofia has learnt to slide on her bottom (she has never crawled) she can be found in the sitting room or bedroom in a trice. Bedclothes and towels go in the dresser, and clothes in the wardrobe in the entrance, which has been built to last a lifetime.

As for resources, IKEA is great, especially for all the storage solutions. I like Mothercare but I don't know if you have it in the US. And try your parents' and in laws' attic or cellar by all means before you embark on costly purchases! My advice: neutral colours are best.

(Thanks Sofia!)

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