Kennedy's Nursery

Photography by Tiffany Piotrowski

Posted on Aug 20, 2015

Designer Lindsay Mens Craig takes us inside her daughter's nursery and shows us how to create a soothing space equally suited for both mom and baby. 
Kennedy's Nursery

Leave Room to Grow

When designing Kennedy’s nursery, my goal was to achieve a look that was as much for my daughter as it was for me. Decorative nursery themes that are overtly juvenile have an expiry date in virtue of the fact that little ones don’t stay little for long. So I wanted to create a space for my daughter that had all the cozy, soft and feminine elements of a baby girl’s room, but with the sophisticated furnishings and design details that a grown-up would love. By following this formula, you can easily transition your baby’s nursery into a kid’s room with fewer updates and minimal spend along the way. After all, new moms spend a considerable amount of time with their baby in the nursery, so it makes perfect sense to create a sophisticated space that’s equally as calming for you as it is for baby. 

Play with Pattern

In my books, there’s no such thing as too much pattern! The key to combining multiple prints in a single space is to use them sparingly, and in similar tones and colour densities. In this nursery, floral, zig zag, leopard (my favourite!), stripe and polka dot patterns all make an appearance and become harmonious when applied in soothing shades of lavender and grey.

<< Sarah's Tip

Want to create a dramatic wallpaper effect? Add a decorative finish by installing a chair rail 20” from the ceiling. Rolls of wallpaper are traditionally 21” wide, which allows you to run a single width of paper around the perimeter of the room with the fewest number of seams. Choose a non-directional wallpaper pattern; this way, you can run the roll either vertically or horizontally for utmost flexibility. 

Kennedy's Nursery

Make it a Family Affair

I must admit - in retrospect, leaving the nursery project until the last minute worked in my favour. It was really special to have my friends and family rally around me during my pregnancy to help out with whatever I needed, whenever they could. Creating Kennedy’s nursery was no exception! Being 8 months pregnant meant that I couldn’t do any laborious tasks, so my family stepped in to help with the big stuff, while I concentrated on sourcing the materials and accessories. My brother Greg, a carpenter, installed the chair rail and crown moulding as a shower gift to me. My father-in-law installed the wallpaper, my husband painted the ceiling, and my mom painted the trim and lower walls. I got to be site manager and do all the fun shopping! I highly recommend making your nursery project a team effort. You could even make it the theme of your baby shower for a select bunch of close friends and family who are willing and eager to lend a helping hand! Do I smell a new trend in baby showers?

Think Outside the Box

When outfitting the nursery, remember that your options go beyond what is readily available to you in the baby department at your local big box retail store. If you’ve got the will, there’s always a way to score high style with a custom look just by thinking outside of the box. For instance, I wanted a series of shelves with a slightly patinaed look that would complement the vintage iron chandelier. After an unsuccessful search, my husband and I made them ourselves. All it took was a piece of lumber cut into two halves and two pairs of iron brackets painted to match the trim (CC-40).

Not loving the look of standard change tables? Know this: change table toppers are sold separately, which means you can convert any solid unit (approx. 36” high) into your ideal change table simply by adding a topper. This change table is actually a media console. The drawer layout allowed for optimal organization and extra clothes storage, and the open space for TV components was the perfect spot for a basket filled with diaper essentials.

Kennedy's Nursery
Kennedy's Nursery

Be Artfully Eclectic 

Don’t overthink your choice of artwork. As long as they share a common characteristic such as colour, mood, or frame style - you can easily end up with a wonderfully eclectic mix of art. Kennedy’s nursery features fine art photography by Tony Koukos, a vintage abstract watercolour painting and a few alphabet prints by Charlene Serdan from Canvas Gallery, each sharing muted colours with grey undertones.

Kennedy's Nursery

Perch Playthings 

Some toys are too special to keep hidden. Display gifts, stuffed animals, and books on open shelves. The pair of glass elephants is a treasured gift from Sarah when Kennedy was born. And I love displaying Kennedy’s favourite books, including “On the Night You Were Born” by Nancy Tillman.

Kennedy's Nursery
Kennedy's Nursery

Go Natural

Always choose natural fabrics, especially for a nursery room. This space includes a mix of cotton, linen, and wool – nothing synthetic. Natural fibers are easier to clean and healthier for baby and the environment.

Kennedy's Nursery

Strike a Balance 

When designing any space, it's good practice to incorporate a few contrasting elements to provide balance and interest. This geometric mobile from Ella + Elliot ties in nicely with the modern zig zag rug and is a welcome contrast against a feminine backdrop.

Kennedy's Nursery
Kennedy's Nursery

Pull From a Single Source 

Whether you choose to create a nursery that’s soft and soothing or colourful and lively, pick a single source of inspiration to help you determine the design direction and narrow down your options. The paint colours for Kennedy’s nursery were pulled from the floral Osborne & Little pillow fabric. The drapes, rug, wallpaper, and Benjamin Moore paint colours on the ceiling, crib (2115-60) and wall (OC-28) are all different shades found in the fabric. Pulling coordinates from a single source of inspiration is an easy way to make a cohesive style statement.

Enhance your Surroundings 

“Out of the box” furnishings are great for their convenience factor, but they’re not always up to par when you consider how they fit into the bigger picture. Don’t be afraid to kick things up a notch! Look for subtle ways to make enhancements so that your space will take on a more custom look and feel.  I added a ruffle trim to the French pleated linen drapes, replaced the existing drawer pulls on the change table with snazzier crystal knobs, and spray painted the oval Stokke crib a soft lavender to match the ceiling paint colour (2115-60). These little enhancements collectively improve the quality of your overall design. 

<< Sarah's Tip

If you want your paint palette to have maximum impact and be easily noticed, make sure you paint your baseboards, trim, chair rail and any crown molding white. The brightness of the whiter trim will highlight even the most subtle colour variations in your paint scheme and make it feel crisp and fresh!

Source Guide: 

Wallpaper, Farrow & Ball | Mirror, Vintage, Decorum | Crib, Stokke | Mobile, Ella + Elliot | Chair, Custom Sarah Richardson Design | Foot Stool, Vintage | Lamb RockerRugbaskets, Change Table Topper, Pottery Barn Kids | Chandelier, Vintage Fine Objects | Media Console, Side Table, Owl Bookends, Change Table Basket, Homesense | Bird Hooks, The Door Store | Growth Chart, Etsy | Quilt, Toy Briefcases, Elte | Crystal Knobs, Lee Valley | Mouldings, Lowe’s | Alphabet Prints, Charlene Serdan from Canvas Gallery | Black & White Photos, Tony Koukos Photography | Abstract Watercolour Paiting, Vintage | Fabric: Pillow - Osborne & Little, Chair, Drapes - DFO, Foot Stool - Schumacher | Paint, Benjamin Moore