When I began planning a nursery in my house for my grandchild, I first considered all the givens:
- My daughter and son-in-law were not finding out the baby’s gender.
- I was far too impatient to wait for the baby to arrive before finishing the nursery.
- I needed to keep the cost down as much as possible.
- I wanted to use items in the room that represented family memories.
- I wanted a vintage look.
I began by selecting a wall color. As always, I struggled to find the right one. I settled on Sensible Hue by Sherwin Williams. Quite honestly, this is a very nondescript color. It has more green in it than anything, but it’s still hard to describe. It fit the bill, though, for a good neutral that would work for either a boy or a girl. I’ve been happy with it.
Sensible Hue changes color with the light more than any other color I’ve ever used.
I have never cared much for this ledge over the closets in this room. It’s a dust catcher and always seemed awkward to me. It did provide a place to display some large objects, though. I used a tin ceiling tile fragment, an urn, and my Aunt Ruby’s old suitcase from the 1950’s. It still holds some of her clothes.
The Duncan Phyfe buffet is a substantial piece that grounds the wall opposite the windows. It came from my Aunt Frances. Although I will paint almost anything, I would never paint this family heirloom. The mirror above it is from my mother.
Every nursery needs a comfortable chair. I found this swivel rocker for $50 at an estate sale. I was told it was from the 1970’s. I did consider recovering it, but the fabric was neutral and in perfect condition. I use it constantly. It’s a smaller scale than many chairs today, and that’s a good thing because it fits perfectly in the corner next to the buffet.
Above the chair I hung a silver platter that I made into a chalkboard. I tried chalkboard paint initially, but it just wouldn’t work. So I bought a sheet of chalkboard contact paper and attached that to the platter.
Another item in the room from the 1950’s is my brother’s red truck. It’s metal and very heavy. It sits on top of a new stool made from old wood and spindles.
My sister provided the vintage clipboard that I use to display a picture of my grandson. I included both boy and girl details in the room up until the night he was born. The first thing I did when I got home from the hospital after his birth was take away the Scarlett O’Hara and American Girl dolls that belonged to my daughter and the dress my mother made for me in 1960.
I found the play kitchen at a garage sale. It was painted peach and lavender, colors I wouldn’t have wanted even if I had ended up with a granddaughter. I painted it white instead and added a burlap “backsplash.”
I hung a section of an old barn door to the wall and attached locker baskets from a city pool that went out of business. I use the baskets to store blankets and diapers. I like the texture of the old wood and the industrial touch the baskets give the room.
I made a shelf to hang over the play kitchen from some very old corbels I found at an antique store and a board I bought from Home Depot and then stained. I broke the glass out of the old window above the shelf and stapled chicken wire to the back. The vintage lamb cut-out came from my sister as did the tractor to the left. The baby toy next to the tractor cut-out belonged to my sister who died when she was eleven.
An old grocery cart acts as a toy box. I like that it’s easy to see what’s in it and that I can move it around.
I can never get enough of vintage locker baskets. My sister gave me this one. Inside are books from my childhood. In the center of the nursery is a wool rug I bought from Overstock and a child’s play table (from the same sister) and two old children’s chairs.
I really couldn’t be happier with this nursery. I knew when I was designing it and putting it together, that we would make a lot of memories here.
John Michael is now two and understands that he has two rooms that are his, the one at his Jilly’s and the one at his house. He already knows the stories behind some of the things in his room, and he knows that they are old. It might be time to teach him the word vintage. That sounds better.