Nursery Tour: Beatrix's Vintage Nest

Nursery Tour: Beatrix's Vintage Nest

Alejandra Valera
Nov 5, 2008

Name: Elizabeth and Beatrix
Location: Chicagoland, Illinois

The first thing you notice when you walk into Beatrix's nursery is the lovely warm, pink glow the room emits. A serene coziness seems to envelop you as you're surrounded by cashmere, memories and charm. We had the chance to visit Beatrix's room recently (which thoughtfully combines art and family history) and to speak with her mother, Elizabeth...

Elizabeth, whose shop Kistner Supply was featured a while back, described her design style and philosophy to us:

When it's possible I prefer to reuse things that I love rather than buying new. I think there is a lot of emotion involved in decorating and if you are surrounded by items that you care about and share a history with you can really sense it. And of course, it's very eco-friendly and chic to recycle well-made furniture and accessories!
Most pieces from the nursery are things I've used over the years in different environments, items that I inherited or were great finds at antique stores or thrift shops. If I really love something I save it until I have another use for it.

We were interested in hearing what Elizabeth's inspiration was for the nursery:

The inspiration behind the nursery started with three possessions that I'd had for a long time: a pink and red painted chest of drawers from a junk shop in Chicago, a set of cabbage rose curtains that originally hung in my Granny Kistner's house and a wrought-iron chandelier that I rescued from an alley, had rewired and painted myself. Those three favorite pieces created the feel of the entire room. The stories of where each of the pieces came from stay alive and are fun to revisit.

As for the specific items in the room, many of the pieces are antique store scores or items from Elizabeth's past. The framed artwork above the crib are from Kistner Supply's Mother Stork's Baby Art collection of custom framed artwork; the silhouettes between the windows are of Elizabeth and her husband; above the closet door hangs a framed wedding card by Chicago artist Christine Thiel.

The curtains, rods, tiebacks and bedding were all purchased from Target; the mission rocking chair was a 25th birthday gift from Elizabeth's mother that was found at an antique store. The upholstered footstool is a mid-century piece from Elizabeth's childhood home. The table next to the rocking chair is a sewing table which belonged to Beatrix's great grandmother. It transformed from Elizabeth's nightstand to a staple in Beatrix's room. And the wooden lamp, several of the books, the wooden stool, child-sized rocker and dresser in the closet were all Elizabeth's.

Several DIY items also adorn the nursery including the Cashmere Baby Blanket, Cashmere Chime Balls (part of the Kistner Supply Cashmere Collection), the three shadowboxes displaying baby bonnets from three generations of Elizabeth and Beatrix's family; the polka-dotted lampshade and the Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls.

Lastly, we asked Elizabeth for advice on how to approach the nursery decorating process and she had this to say:

I knew I was having a girl and figured that eventually her room will be her domain only. I love vintage style for little girls and figured I needed to get it out of my system before Beatrix's taste developed and she decided she didn't want anything girlie. So, my advice would be to do it up! Have fun, use pieces that you love. Scour garage sales, thrift stores and antique stores for things that can be easily updated with paint, new lampshade or knobs. Hit up your parents, friends and in-laws for any old furniture or decorative accessories that they might have sitting in the basement

Finally, be safe! Have someone who isn't pregnant test all old painted surfaces for lead based paint and repaint anything that is with low VOC paint, rewire old fixtures and replace any glass in the room with plexi-glass.

Thank you so much, Elizabeth and Beatrix!

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