There was once a young woman who was faced with a difficult dilemma: how to decide on the design of her baby’s nursery when she works in the children’s furniture industry and is bombarded by all the newest products and trends. Sarah Bailey, store manager of Once Upon a Time, a children’s specialty shop in Mountain Brook, works with her mother and store owner Linda Flaherty, and the two had often discussed the challenges of designing a nursery with so many choices available.
When Linda and her husband Joe learned that they would be welcoming their first grandchild, they were especially excited since they have owned the baby store for more than 10 years. And so, as they have done for so many others over the years, they began to design the nursery, keeping in mind Linda’s advice to her customers to be sure to make it a “happy place,” because it is the room where new parents spend so much of their time.
Selecting the crib was the easy part. “Even before I was married, I always knew if I had a baby, the Bratt Décor Casablanca pewter iron crib was what I wanted for my nursery,” says Sarah. When the company announced they were making some design changes to the crib, Sarah convinced her mother to take the last one in stock off the floor and put it into storage.
Discovering that she was having a boy helped Sarah narrow down the color palette. She and her mother went to Atlanta in search of fabrics, walking row after row of bolts gathering swatches. Sarah found a blue, green, and ivory plaid she liked. She also found a fabric with a wave pattern that contrasted well with the more staid plaid and captured the fun and funky feel she was after.
Next, Sarah took out her sketchbook and started to plan which fabrics would work best for each piece in her nursery. The plaid fabric would be perfect for the crib skirt and roman shades. The wave fabric would be used on the cornice boards. Sarah also chose an azure blue burlap-like fabric for accents. One of the store’s linen vendors was contacted to custom embroider blue and green pompoms on an ivory background for the bumper, which was finished with blue and green plaid cording and azure blue ties with fringed edges. The blue and green plaid was cut extra long for the crib skirt to drape out from under the crib. Cornice boards were cut to follow the curves in the wave fabric, which was then glued onto the boards.
An old brass chandelier that her husband Michael spray-painted pewter was installed for the nursery’s lighting. One day Sarah was discussing her design plans with one of the store’s customers and mentioned she was looking for chandelier shades that could be covered with fabric. Later that same day the customer brought Sarah the type of shades for which she’d been searching. One of the nicest parts of her job, Sarah says, is that customers often become friends.
Sarah covered the shades in the azure burlap, and added blue and green plaid ties to give them some punch. She left the top and the bottom edges of the shades frayed, adding texture and visual interest.
Once the fabrics and linens were selected, Sarah searched for furniture and artwork to complete the look. The changer she settled on is an old sideboard her mother found at an estate sale. Painted antique white with blue highlights, the sideboard was the perfect size and finish for the room. A contemporary lamp was placed at the end of the chest for spot lighting.
For Christmas, Sarah received a small painting of a dog that she decided to use in the nursery. To compliment it, one of Sarah’s childhood toys, a stuffed dog named Pierre, was granted a place of honor on the end of the changer. The large
picture of a dog hanging above the changer completes the canine theme. Timeless quotes and words to live by adorn the walls, as do baby Jay’s initials in pewter.
The interior of the bookshelf was painted “dill pickle,” the perfect color because before they knew the sex of their child, Sarah and Michael nicknamed the baby “Pickle.” A comfy glider and ottoman in green was the final touch. After all the work was finished, Sarah felt vision had become reality, and her baby’s nursery truly is their “happy place.”