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

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.

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

Around the House

It’s raining today. Which means I’m inside. I haven’t turned the TV off from the news this morning which means I can hear some super excited lady screeling on The Price Is Right…ding! ding! ding! Turning…off…now…phew! Ick.

Being in here reminded me that I need to share some snaps with you of the inside of our little house. We’ve done a lot of work to Lil’ Spot in the last 4 years – a full scale renovation, actually. We still have lots of other projects to tackle – like renovating our basement, replacing our vinyl siding (which isn’t so bad, but is starting to show its age) and putting on a new roof (which is spitting shingles onto our driveway). Since the day we put an offer on this place we’ve talked about putting on a second floor someday. But that’s a far off someday.

We’ve done most of the fun stuff though: put a fresh coat of paint on all the walls, installed new carpeting in both bedrooms, gutted our bathroom, revised our floor plan, designed a totally new kitchen in a new location and built a deck. These days we’re just tweaking. And by we, I mean me. And by tweaking I mean driving my husband nuts moving things around.

I’m also psyching myself up for the basement project. Which I’m totally dreading because I’m scared of spiders. I know it’s pathetic but it’s the biggest thing keeping me from just doing it.

Here’s what it looks like in here these days:

raised by design - living room

raised by design - entry table

raised by design - caffe latte

raised by design - kitchen

raised by design - kitchen counter

raised by design - kitchen shelves

raised by design - kitchen shelves closeup

raised by design - kitchen shelves - houseplants

Loveyoubye! Maggie