RBD concept

Bambino’s Nursery Decor

raised by design - baby boy nursery decor design planI put together this mockup to illustrate my vision for Bambino’s nursery in real life. I wrote here about the main pieces of furniture we decided to bring into the room. And as you can see here, we already have white walls and geometric brown and white carpeting to work with. Finally, in this post, I wrote about the design concept and inspiration for the room which we’re calling “Adventures in Boyhood”.

It’s helpful for me to be (loosely) tethered to a concept when I’m designing a room, otherwise it can go to Crazy Town pretty quickly. I’m like the proverbial leashed child at Disney World at the start of a design project – a quick snap away from gobbling up all of the unicorn pops in the joint and then barfing on the ferris wheel. My concept acts as a road map – anytime I start to feel lost and alone I can refer to it for direction.

I pulled a color palette, another useful tool, from the below image in the inspiration board. This vignette is clearly not a nursery and that’s OK! It inspired me (that painting!), which is what imagery is meant to do – it doesn’t matter where it comes from.

The palette helped me stay focused while choosing art, accessories, crib bedding and toys. You don’t have to be rigid though. Saying things like, “Oh, too bad I can’t get that adorable blanket because it’s not deep sea blue, it’s more of a robin’s egg blue,” will do nothing but twist your panties up tight and get you beat up on the playground.

A serious thought on choosing colors for Bambino’s room: I really don’t think baby rooms need to be limited to a multiple choice of pale blue, girly pink, gender neutral sage green or baby yellow. As long as the space feels comfortable, relaxed and inspiring it will serve it’s purpose as both a sleep sanctuary and playhouse. In reality, this palette is tempered with white walls, (mostly) white furniture and a handful of neutral textiles. The pops of color come through in small doses via the art, toys and accessories. Mkay?

You can see how the inspiration board informed the design plan without being too literal:

raised by design - nursery inspiration moldboard adventures in boyhood

Below is a list of sources for all of these goodies.

raised by design - boy's nursery decor plan

  1. Framed 8×10 Print – The Rapids by Rose Lindo via Minted – $46
  2. Vintage Binoculars – (similar) via Rue15Vintage – $92
  3. Driftwood Mobile – (similar) by LumaLine – $40
  4. Framed 8×10 Print – Free by Kristi Kohut via Minted – $46
  5. Nursery Bedding – crib sheet by Little Auggie, crib skirt by ModFox and blanket by Fine Little Day
  6. Vintage Castle – (similar) by The Crafter’s Merchant – $35
  7. Modern Crib – Mid-Century Natural Crib by Dwell Studio – $649
  8. Log Cabin Blocks – Abe Lincoln Log Cabin Playset – $20
  9. Arrows – Gold Arrows by Mineral and Matter – $66
  10. Squirrel Teether – Organic Toy Teether by Bannor Toys – $12
  11. Pink Ugly Doll – Little Bent by Ugly Doll – $20
  12. Teepee Pillow – Tooth Fairy Teepee Pillow by Apple White – $24
  13. Brass Reading Lamp – (similar) Brass Pharmacy Lamp via Lamps Plus – $100
  14. Glider – Graham Glider in Lagood by West Elm – $899
  15. Moccasins – Stay Golden Suede Moccasins by Freshly Picked – $60
  16. Dresser/Changing Table – Hemnes 8-Drawer Dresser by IKEA – $229
  17. Ottoman – Rhys Ottoman by Anthropologie – $998
  18. Toy Basket – (similar) Handmade Fair Trade Woven African Hamper via Connected Artisans – $175
  19. Brown and White Carpeting – (similar) Geometric Pattern Rug via Overstock.com – $245

Many of these things we already own and many are vintage so I tried to provide similar options in those cases.

If you’re wondering where that incredible arrow light fixture from the inspiration board went…it went into my dreams, that’s where. We have ho-hum lighting in place for now, and our budget certainly doesn’t accommodate a $975 splurge. But DAYUM, somebody get that! The gorgeous leather ottoman from Anthropologie will probably be relegated to my dreams as well. Bambino won’t know the difference.

Once the room is ready (which, at this rate will be at the 11th Hour!), of course I’ll share heaps of pics. Before you know it, there will be a wiggly baby in them too. Eek!

Loveyoubye! Maggie

Bambino’s Nursery – Adventures in Boyhood

raised by design - nursery inspiration moldboard adventures in boyhood

Image Credits: Claudius Schulze via En Route Magazine /// The Merry Thought /// Sean Fennessy via The Design Files /// Pantone /// A Beautiful Mess /// ZuHouse Berlin /// Tulonksy /// Caroline Wanitzek /// DAMM /// Raised by Design /// Ryan McElhinney

Coming up with a cohesive design theme for Bambino’s Nursery was harder than I thought! There is so much inspiration out there and an infinite number of cute ideas for baby rooms. I had about a million design concepts bouncing around my head and couldn’t pick just one.

We settled on a hybrid of our favorite boy themes, wrapped into one overarching concept we’re calling ADVENTURES IN BOYHOOD – one part Peter Pan’s Lost Boys, one part Robin Hood, one part Moonrise Kingdom, two parts Little Woodsman/Scout/Explorer.

The result is what you see in this inspiration board – a mixture of textiles and toys that reflect boyhood dreams and bring nature and imagination to teeny Bambino’s bedside.

Next up is a look at how we’ll actualize this inspiration in the room itself. Stay tuned!

Loveyoubye! Maggie

RBD Concept: The Blue Madonna Part II

A couple weeks back I posted about a design concept for a modern Italian Restaurant. ‘Member? Here’s the post if you missed it. I’m calling this hip downtown Italian eatery The Blue Madonna and the concept is inspired by Italian-American suburbia and Roman-Catholic iconography.

Below is the mood board I put together to visualize the overall concept:

raised by design concept - the blue madonna italian restaurant

But I couldn’t stop there…so I sketched out a (very) rough floor plan. This gets me thinking about the space in reality and how the different zones – dining, bar, bathrooms, courtyard, reception – would play out. Check the layout I’m envisioning below:

the blue madonna - raised by design

Once I got my bearings in the space, I could start to think about the materials in each of the zones, starting with the flooring. Here’s a look at the finish floor plan showing the chosen materials:

the blue madonna - raised by design

In the main reception and dining room areas painted white, unpolished concrete brings rich ‘lived in’ texture without crowding the eye. In the bar area: same material, but painted an icy stone blue, reminiscent of stucco on suburban buildings.

A faux-grass walkway brings the suburban landscape indoors and leads the patron from the front entrance back to the bathrooms and into the courtyard.

Let’s take a walk through the space, looking at some of the furnishings and finishes.


raised by design - the blue madonna - restaurant design concept - reception area

Nonna’s living room, turnt up. Vintage faux marble wallpaper, a pair of peach velour sofas joined by an inflatable terrarium stool, reproduced and enlarged to function as a cocktail table. Can we talk about these gorgeous babies for a second and how I need to have one in my living room as soon as possible? They are just incredible. Cute little mcm legs supporting an inflatable plastic poof, filled with carefully arranged plastic flowers. So much kitschy awesomeness I can’t even stand it.


The space is punctuated by a statement chandelier – a vintage Italian glass find on 1stDibs.


The reception area leads into the bar and lounge area to your right. While guests are waiting for their table, they can sip on their Negroni in one of the mid-century side chairs with champagne basket weave upholstery.


You’ll notice in the top floor plan that there are two art features planned for the space – one in the main reception area and one in the bar and lounge area. Opposite those champagne lounge chairs is the Bathtub Madonna art feature:

raised by design - the blue madonna - restaurant design concept - art feature - bathtub madonnas

I put this together quickly in Photoshop so it’s a pretty rough interpretation of the installation, but you get the idea. Four large ‘Bathtub Madonnas’ suspended by heavy chain and anchor against a large scale custom graphic of traditional vintage oilcloth normally used as tablecloth.

Bathtub Madonnas are a real thing. Nowadays you can order a factory-made grotto online for your Blessed Virgin Mary garden shrine, but back in the day people used an upended bathtub, which I find much more interesting. These garden shrines are not exclusive to Italian neighborhoods, of course. Some of the most impressive displays are in the German-American neighborhoods in the Midwest. Our neighborhood is mostly made up of Croatian and Portuguese families and there are lots of modern versions of Bathtub Madonnas around.

I’m having so much fun with this concept and love how everything is coming together but there is more to explore. Thinking about the bathrooms – what do suburban kitsch bathrooms look like to you? Stay tuned for one last installment on this design in the coming weeks!



RBD Concept: The Blue Madonna

This is a design concept that I’ve been brewing for a long time; an Italian restaurant inspired by real deal Italian-American culture, specifically in suburban areas.

The majority of Italian restaurants in America aim to transport the patron back to ‘the paese’ with a dimly lit wine cellar atmosphere, exposed vintage brick, and warm Tuscan tones. Others focus on first generation vintage Little Italy or the Frank Sinatra/mafioso glamour of Hollywood. And then there are the hundreds (maybe thousands?) more that throw a red and white checked cloth over tables and hang a few vintage posters of spaghetti, grapes and cigars on the walls and call it a day. It all feels overdone.

I’m having a lot of fun collecting imagery to illustrate this concept and I’m loving how the look translates into a bright and airy, kitschy space, elevated to fit any chic neighborhood or up-and-coming chef. I’m calling it ‘The Blue Madonna’.

raised by design concept - the blue madonna italian restaurant

The Blue Madonna goes beyond the first look at Italian culture in America and highlights the topiary-dotted lawn of Nonna’s awninged split-level house in the ‘burbs.

Here is the inspiration board I put together:

raised by design concept - the blue madonna italian restaurant

Next I’ll share the details to flesh the idea out – floor plans, sketches, graphics, art features…

In the meantime, I’d recommend brushing up on your Italian-American slang.

Loveyoubye! Maggie