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 – $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 Plan

If you’ve been keeping up with this blog for the last few months, you know that we’re expecting a baby this February (!!) and we’re having a boy who we affectionately refer to as Bambino. I’m resisting the temptation to be all Baby Town over here, but I’m sure you can imagine how excited I am to design Bambino’s nursery. And I promised I would dish once we got some details squared away, so today I’m sharing The Plan for the baby’s room. Here goes…


Here’s a rough sketch of the room’s floor plan and how I’m imaging the furniture layout:

raised by design nursery design floorplan

The room is separated by a sort of invisible corridor created by the door to enter the room off the living room and the external door that leads out to the driveway. In the original floor plan, this room was the eat-in kitchen which is why there is an exit. (Until we created an exit off the new kitchen to the backyard, this door functioned as the back door.) We left the door in place because we weren’t sure how we would use the room long term. For now, we’ve placed furniture in front of it so that it functions more like a window.

I wrote here about how the West side of the room is my office space, which will stay that way for as long as I can manage.

The East side of the room will be Bambino Territory. There is plenty of space for a crib, a large dresser that we’ll use as a changing table, a bookcase and a glider.


There are a few challenges in converting this space to a nursery:

  • The scary-steep basement stairs right off the room. We will need a serious Alcatraz-style baby gate there some day. The tricky part is that Roxy’s litter box is down there so we always keep the door cracked for her. Eff. Do they make baby gates with pet doors? Somebody get on that and become a millionaire.
  • The counter-height outlets leftover from the kitchen layout. DANGIT! In some ways these are great because they’re out of reach when baby is crawling on the floor. But they are perfectly within reach when baby is on the changing table or in the crib. To solve this one we’ll be hanging artwork over the one above the changing table and we’ll be putting the crib on the wall without an outlet under the windows.
  • It’s chilly in this room. Probably because of the drafty door but also because this room stays pretty shaded by the house next door during the day. Having the crib under the window may not work well if it’s too cold so we may have to rethink the layout.
  • There isn’t a closet. The one you see in the floor plan is actually our front hall/coat closet and we haven’t figured out how that’s going to work yet. We currently stash our coats, vacuum, ironing board, drying rack and umbrellas there. Where will we store all of our impending baby gear and huge packages of diapers? Our solution to that problem is to wing it until a solution presents itself.


For the most part, we have tried to repurpose furniture and decor that we already own or use things endowed to us by our families in their timely effort to downsize. But we will need to buy a new crib and a chair for rocking baby to sleep.

We have our eye on the Midcentury Crib in Natural from Dwell Studio. There are a bazillion cribs out there that we like, but this one is our favorite because of the killer x-shaped base and gold-toed legs.


For cuddling up with Bambino and late night feedings, we are going with the Graham Glider from West Elm in Lagoon. The deep blue faux-velvet is a bold choice that will give the room a good jolt of personality. I’m kind of obsessed with it. The chair has a nice high wingback shape – which means Mommy and Daddy can rest their weary heads while rocking fusspants to sleep.

I’m holding off on getting the matching ottoman until I can say for sure that the room can fit one. If we have the room, I may look for something fun from a different maker to mix things up.

West Elm Graham Glider in Lagoon

Next to the glider, we are keeping the brass/walnut bar cart in front of the door as an end table. I found that guy about 7 years ago at a thrift store in Roslindale, MA years ago for $40. It’s kick ass. I’m happy it can hang in the nursery.

raised by design - bar cart styling in office

We are (happily) taking my little sis’s orphaned Hemnes 8-drawer dresser from IKEA to use as Bambino’s dresser/changing table. This big guy didn’t make the cut when she moved into her studio apartment but its only a few years old and is incredibly versatile. The Hemnes is the perfect height to use as a changing table and the 8 gliding drawers should be enough storage to house diaper changing supplies, clothes, crib bedding and maybe a few toys.


Speaking of toys, for the majority of Bambino’s prized possessions we are planning to use two hand-me-downs from my parents: an extra large braided basket from Mexico and an antique bookcase with adjustable shelves. The basket will be a catch-all for easy cleanups and the bookcase will house books and things we want to have on display.

raised by design - honeymoon woven mexican basket

Once we settled on the pieces we would be bringing into the space – all basics for the most part – I started to brainstorm ‘themes’ to round out the decor. OH BOY! That’s where the fun starts.

I’m going to share the Mood Board with you later this week so you can see what we’re doing to fun the place up for Bambino.

Stay tuned!

Loveyoubye, Magoo.

Geometric Pillow Cover

geometric pillow

Hi. Last week I made a pair of pillow covers out of fabric scraps. I’m sure that doesn’t sound awesome to a lot of people, but here’s why it is. These fabric scraps are stored in a small pile in my studio that’s part of a bigger pile in my basement that’s becoming a mountain of half-baked craft projects. You know, “I really think I should start needle felting all my friends’ baby gifts. Hm, maybe I’ll take up oil painting en plain air and buy a stupid beret while I’m at it. Those mittens are totes adorbs – I can probably make them myself I just need 8 skeins of alpaca wool.”

Said pile has been growing for at least the last three years and making my husband worry about me. The new rule is that if I’m not going to use it, out it goes.

So I made these pillow covers out of some old samples from a design job and a random piece of cute vintage green tomato fabric from my Mom. Green Tomatoes!! It was super easy and I’m NOT an expert at sewing. I have a beginner machine that my Mom and I picked out together in college from the local Kmart. It’s a  Brother LS-1217, which they don’t make anymore but is probably most comparable to this guy. It’s bare bones but it gets the job done.

So here’s how I did it. After perusing the internets for inspiration, I decided on a simple geometric pattern.


Here’s what you need:



2. THREE PIECES OF CONTRASTING FABRIC FOR YOUR GEOMETRIC PATTERN (I used a neutral woven, a black textured microsuede and a blue-gray wool)




6. IRON (optional)




1. Cut your triangles for the front – one large and two small as the pattern shows. I find it easiest to just drape the fabric over the pillow insert to see how much I need to cut. When you’re sewing anything, you always want about one inch of extra fabric all the way around so keep that in mind when you’re cutting your pattern.

2. Cut two rectangles from your backing fabric and set aside. Each rectangle should be bigger than half of your 20″ square…so that they will overlap by a good six inches (see pattern above). That would mean your rectangles would EACH be about 17″ x 22″. For this pillow, instead of using a zipper (too hard) or sewing the entire cover shut (too permanent), we’re going the easy/non-committal route. We’re making an overlapping fold so the pillow insert can be removed easily but won’t peek through. Like this:


3. Iron all of your pieces. This step is optional but highly recommended.

4. Back to your triangles. Take your two SMALL triangles and align the edges so the hypotenuse edges face outwards (what, you didn’t think a GEOMETRIC pillow cover would involve GEOMETRY?).  You should now have two triangles that, together, are roughly the same size as your LARGE triangle. Capisce? If you have to read this step a couple times I won’t judge. I had to write it nine times so we’ll be even.

4. Now fold those two SMALL triangles onto each other so that the good sides FACE INWARDS. Muy importante! Pin along the middle edge and sew along this line. Yay.

5.  I like to iron the new piece so that the seam sits flat and doesn’t cause any problems. Also optional.

6. OK OK OK. Take your two big triangles and lay them down, hypotenuses facing IN this time, to make a square! Fold those two pieces onto each other along that line, good sides IN again. Pin…and sew. Easy peasy!

7. BOOYAKASHA geometric square.


Let’s make the back now!

1. Lay your two rectangle pieces down so that they overlap by about 6″. Just check yourself here to make sure you have a square big enough to cover your whole pillow. This would be the time to adjust if you need to…

2. Hem one (22″) edge of each rectangle. This hem will be VISIBLE so use a thread color and stitch you don’t mind looking at. I have exactly two stitches available on my machine…so I chose zig-zag and used black thread. You could be super fun and use hot pink thread and a fancy pants stitch.

3. Now lay your overlapping rectangles down over your geometric square…good sides what? GOOD SIDES IN. Pin all the way around that bad boy and trim wherever you have extra fabric. You should have a nice 1″ border around a 20″ square to fit your pillow.

4. Sew all the way around…inevitably run out of bobbin thread and struggle to remember how to reload and thread a bobbin. Curse, get up and go eat something, come back and calmly finish sewing.

5. DONE! Turn it right-side out, stuff your pillow inside, and give your cat a brand new thing to shed on.


Loveyoubye, Maggie