Oliver’s Crafty Crib

published May 20, 2011
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Name: Oliver
Age: 9 months
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Room Size: 11′ x 14′

Can you imagine what the nursery of the first born son of Parents Magazine Lifestyle Director Amanda Kingloff would look like? Well, it’s even better. Modern and vintage, fresh and playful, colorful and light, this room exudes happiness. And even though it was featured in the June issue of the magazine, there’s nothing staged, stiff, or pretentious about it. It’s a real space for a real baby.

The high-end crib sits near a school chair rescued from the trash. Designer nesting tables from Areaware are home to board books and stuffed animals. A garland knit by grandmom drapes across modern wallpaper by Elisabeth Dunker. And the DIY projects? Did we mention that Amanda is the Lifestyle Director at Parents? The woman knows how to use a glue gun like Catherine Deneuve knows how to wear a Hermes scarf. She’s got that certain je ne sais craft, that savoir felt, that makes it all look so effortlessly chic. And she was kind enough to show us around the amazing nursery she designed for her son, Oliver.

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What was your inspiration in designing the space?
Honestly, I wanted Oliver’s room to be an extension of the rest of our home—a room that I could live in. I didn’t have a theme, but was going for a youthful look, without being kiddy, if that makes sense. I wanted it to feel playful, alive, and casual so if something’s out of place, no one would know. That’s sort of how my husband Michael and I live in the rest of our house, too.

Did you know it was going to be featured in Parents, and did that add any pressure?
While I was pregnant, my executive editor at Parents asked me if I’d be willing to open my doors to the pages of magazine. I didn’t even hesitate with my “yes”. I “pitched” my ideas as I would any feature that I produce for the magazine, but this one obviously had a different importance to me. I planned out every last detail before the baby came, and to be completely honest, the only thing that survived my crazy editing, tweaking, crafting, and re-crafting, was the wallpaper. Oliver was born 5 and half weeks early, and I had really been counting on that last month for some power decorating. So, while he camped out in our room for the first 8 weeks, I used all my “spare time” to get his room done. Yes, shooting it for the magazine added pressure, but I needed that to get it done. He’d still be living with paint swatches on the wall if it weren’t for an editorial deadline.

Tell us about the crafty DIYs you created for this room.
There was no chance that this room could be decorated without the help of my trusty glue gun. I’m a craft-addict of the best kind.

• The dresser was one of our early purchases. My original plan was to paint it, but after we shined it up, it looked too good to cover, so I accessorized it with the pulls, made from vintage wooden yoyos.

• The mobile hanging above his changing table is made from paper circles and embroidery hoops. I made it one night sitting on the floor of our living room watching a movie. Quick and easy!

• I bought the fabric for the curtains at Ikea—just $8 a yard! I attached overall buckles to belt material to make the straps that draw the shades. The buckles hook onto buttons about 18″ down from the top of the curtain.

• The monkey chair was a fun project; I found the chair in the trash outside of a private school near my apartment and I dressed it up with some felt and yarn. Oliver is still too small for it, but one day, he’ll love it—especially the wired, braided tail!

• The yarn light fixture…that was a real labor of love. I read dozens of tutorials online, but it took quite a bit of trial and error to find a process that really worked. You can read my how-to on Parents.com.

• The rug was sort of a DIY project. It’s actually a product from FLOR, but you have to cut it yourself. We had so much fun doing it; here’s a video of the process.

• The knitted pennant was lovingly made for Oliver by my mom and her knitting friends in Atlanta, GA. When I was pregnant my mom visited New York with a suitcase full of yarn for me to pick my colors; she didn’t trust the computer to be accurate!

What’s your favorite thing about the room?

It really changes weekly. Today my fave detail of the room are the drawer pulls made from vintage yoyos. They are so simple, they feel good to the touch, and each one has a sense of history to it. I wanted all of them to be red on one side, so it took some time on Ebay to find enough for the dresser.

What was your biggest indulgence?
The crib by was by far our biggest indulgence financially speaking. I didn’t want a crib I had seen in a million rooms; the Caravan crib, the design inspired by the storybook circus wagon, was new and playful and I loved that. It’s also made of the best, safest materials and for Oliver to spend 50% of his days there, that mattered to me.

What advice would you give other parents who are just beginning the nursery design process?
I think you have to start with what you love. Don’t feel like a boy’s room has to be one way and a girl’s has to be another. Keep the space fluid and free and allow things to evolve. Your child is growing and changing by the second; why shouldn’t his room?

Wallpaper by Fine Little Day
Caravan crib by Kalon Studios
DIY Faux Hide Rug Set by FLOR
El shelves by CB2
Martini Side table by West Elm
Nesting Tables from Areaware
Vintage flash cards from Three Potato Four
Woodours Mobile from Amazon
Little Auggie Crib Sheet
Urban Outfitters Settee
Owl Pouch from Giddy Giddy
Ikea fabric
Boy/Girl Pillows by Vintage Jane

Thank you, Amanda! You can find instructions to all of the crafts at Parents.com and be sure to read Amanda’s craft musings at The Violet Hours.

(Images: Heather Weston)

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