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Charlie’s Nursery Progress + Shop The Look


Charlie (my 6 week old son) has very specific taste but so far he’s a dream of a client. He likes his room to be minimal (like his hair) but full of life (like his diapers). He wants a few huge ‘moments’ he says, with lots of vintage but in a clean modern way. He wants a gender neutral nursery so he can invite his girlfriends over without them being all, ‘Ugh, another baby-bachelor pad’. He can handle some color, but wants it to feel bright and light. He also really wants his mom and dad (who he loves soooo much) to be really happy when they comes into the room. He also thinks that his mom might be obsessed with him and would like for you to know that.

But when we first moved bought the house his nursery looked like this:

Charlie's Nursery

A pretty simple blank box with the same problems as the rest of the house – a painted wood ceiling, gross textured orange peel walls, and icky carpeting.
Charlie's Nursery

Charlie's Nursery

Charlie's Nursery

Charlie's Nursery

The problems all had easy fixes – skim coat the walls (see living room post for details on that), paint the walls (we chose Benjamin Moore Super White for the whole house) and lay down new flooring (more on that to come, but we bought our’s from BuilDirect).

So based on Charlie’s needs and wants I put together a mood board for him.

Nursery Inspiration

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So I started with the biggest splurge. Something that i’ve wanted ever since I started thinking about having a kid. Something that I told myself I could have if I worked hard enough and saved for it: That amazing animal wallpaper. It’s not a budget paper, sure. Its custom printed in Paris for each room, so its hard to say how much per roll, but I’d say around $200 a roll, so this room was around $2500. I know. But I saved so much money in so many other places, and I’ve loved this wallpaper for a kids room since i first saw it. It fits my mid century vibe, it fits my Scandinavian feel, it’s a total statement and at the same time large-scale enough that it’s not crazy busy. It’s just so exciting when you walk in. It has color without too much color, it is unique enough that I won’t get sick of it, it has a pattern without being too rigid – it just feels like a big mural on the wall. Every day it makes me soooo happy and I’m hoping that it will do the same for Charlie.  It will, god damn it, because it was too expensive to not …

Charlie's Nursery

1. Crib  Because where else am I going to lay down Charlie once we’ve stopped cuddling?

2. White linen lamp  – with a low-wattage bulb it acts as our night-light for night-time feeding and perfectly fits in that white bookcase.

3. Wallpaper  – Its my favorite wallpaper ever. That is all. This house doesn’t want wallpaper – it’s too open for it. So I figured I had one shot with this room and I wanted an easy transition from the rest of the house since you can see all the bedrooms from the living room. Well, tada folks. It looks totally amazing and instantly makes the room such a happy space.  If you want my wallpaper installers name email me and I’ll give it out, he’s amazing.

4. Pouf Because every room needs a little bit of leather. Duh.

5. Shelving I’m reusing my old living room shelves in here and they are perfect.

6. Artwork I love these embroidered pieces so much. Plus its neutral enough that if I wanted to move it to the living room I could.

7. White Panton Chair  Its vintage-inspired and mini, like Charlie’s heart … from the flea market.

8. Rattan Hamper  The whole set of baskets is super chic and simple.

9. Hopewell Quilt  – It was a gift and I think I’m going to hang on the wall as art. So graphic and simple, yet adds a lot of texture and softness to the room.

10. Rug (such a pretty color, super cozy and soft and generally a crowd pleaser for any room really.

11. Elephant nightlight  – another nightlight … because clearly we didn’t have enough animals.

12. Glider – Life has been so much more pleasant since I learned to glide in this bad girl. She looks good and we both love being in it. Its like sitting in a dream … a dream where someone rocks you to sleep every day. Oh to be able to remember that comfort … .

13. Dresser I’m using my vintage dresser (pics to come, don’t worry) but this one is close so you can get the idea. Its mid-century and wood to bring in warmth and work with the leather pouf.

Overall Charlie is pretty happy. He’s asked me to re-style the shelves 3 times now and prefers his shoes to be displayed on the shelf instead of the closet, but generally he’s been a pretty adorable client. I do wish he could communicate better and was a bit more articulate, but he’s emotional which I’m assuming means that he’s passionate about design and I appreciate that.

Update: Ok, here’s a sneak peek. It did feel a bit cruel not to give one, but be warned that its not styled. Its just Brian and Charlie playing so I had to snap it the other day. We had just thrown that lamp on the shelf so that chord hanging just kills me.

nursery sneak peek

nursery sneak peek

More/professional pics later … but at least you get a glimpse into the final product. xx


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262 thoughts on “Charlie’s Nursery Progress + Shop The Look

  1. Can’t wait to see pictures of the final room! Also, you are hilarious. Thanks for making your blog such a fun read in addition to being inspirational and informational.

  2. I predict w/ absolute certainty that one day in the future he will color in some of those animals w/ crayon. I hope your heart doesn’t break! hahah
    Emo baby!

    1. No! I just posted a sneak peek, but I need to get a real photographer in here and style it all up – plus there are a couple things i’m waiting on … stay tuned .:)

  3. Looking forward to seeing Charlie’s finished room. When you gave us the glimpse of the wallpaper going up I knew it would be even more fabulous than you always deliver. Makes me wish for a Grandchild and of course, for you to decorate their room.

  4. Hi Emily,
    I love reading your blog, you are totally great and I love your design style. I was wondering how you get things onto Keep or Polyvore or whatever you use to make collages if they aren’t on the site. For example can you screen shot and import? Or is there another webiste you use for most of it.
    Let me know if you can, I know you are super busy.
    Thanks so much!

    1. We use photoshop actually. I have used polyvore and its so quick and easy for sure. But Ginny uses mainly photoshop and she helps me with most of those because i’m actually terrible at it 🙂

  5. Ever since I saw that wallpaper (probably in one of your Pinterest boards), I knew I want it for my baby girl room. I was pregnant at that time, moving countries and, obviously, houses but only rental so I did not want to pay so much money. My husband and I decided to draw the pattern on the wall. I love the result and the baby (now 20 months old) loves it so much that she says good night to each one of the animals every night 🙂

    1. CAN I SEE IT PLEASE??? I thought about doing that but basically just decided to throw money at the problem instead because I didn’t trust that I could pull it off. Honestly if I had more time I would have tried to do something, but things just got so busy so I was like, screw it, lets just buy my dream paper. But I do think there is a diy there, for sure. please show me!

          1. That is awesome, Marie! You are a very good artist! I have to admit, though, that I would buy the wallpaper like Emily…. 🙂

  6. What is it about babies and gender neutral Scandinavian design? I swear, I have had the same conversations with my fetus. My fetus has requested a slightly more rustic bent to his décor but I’m startled at the similarities.

  7. Hi ! The whole post made me smile, so first of all, thank you so much for that !

    I’m wondering how you dealt with the “orange peel” walls. Being French, I first thought that you were refering to the color of the wall, with an 70’s kind of vide, but this room isn’t orange at all, so I guess you are talking about the wall texture. I happen to have a HUGE amount of that kind of wall in my staircases, and absolutely no idea on how to make that orange peel just go away to the hell were it belongs.

    Can you recover it with plaster ? I’d like to paint those walls a warm white, no wallpaper here. HELP ! Thanks ! (and don’t worry about being technical in your answer,my dictionnary sidekick will help me if needed).

    1. Its such a process. you have to skim coat the walls with plaster and then sand down and then coat and then sand, etc. Its time consuming and therefore expensive. We had to do the entire house which cost about 7k (not including painting which was additional). But I have to say it was worth it, there was no way I could live with that texture and no, you can’t wallpaper over it either. Good luck 🙂

  8. Oh, that wallpaper made me want to get out my crayons and color!!! Charlie will have so much fun in his room and obviously already has designer genes. Can’t wait to see the final reveal. And btw, the binky on the table in the studio was a stylin’ touch of whimsy; love it!!! And you, and your designs; thx so much for the continued inspirations that are always sprinkled with humor. I look forward to your blog every day. Carry on!

  9. You’re lucky to have such a good client. My 3yo is a tough one! He’s on my lap right now as I read this and after seeing the wallpaper he said: oh, that’s how many animals are sick? :/ He also tells me when my hair is “funky” or my legs are “ouchy and pokey”.

    I happen to think the walls look cool. Can’t wait to see the rest of the room.

    Love your blog!

  10. Hi Emily — Do you think BM’s super white will work in a room that isn’t super bright? It looks like you’re using it in your entire house but some of the rooms don’t get a ton of sunlight, kind of like my house. Thanks for your input. Love your blog. Mostly a lurker but a faithful one.

    1. So sorry to butt in, but I happen to have Super White in my mostly north east facing house. It looks awesome (if you like white walls). Like a clear blizzard. Everything looks technicolor against it. We have decorator’s white, too, which for some reason reads REALLY cool in our less bright rooms. Which I don’t love. Superwhite just reads clean white – not buttery or too cool.

        1. We used flat – just a personal preference, I guess. No real reason. Our painter did tell us that it would minimize reflection and therefore the appearance of texture, which we were definitely dealing with on the ceiling (yuck).

          1. Yup. I like it in most rooms, too. Unless its just totally a flat room light-wise. Eggshell will bounce light a tiny bit around. But we chose flat, too. easier to touch up as well. xx

  11. We’re currently designing a nursery for our little one (due in May) and definitely have a similar vibe going! Your glider was our number two pick, and we loved that wallpaper too (but we’re not going to splurge on it for our rental!). We’re currently debating window treatments – we ordered some gray and white patterned curtains from Pottery Barn, but didn’t like them when they arrived. What are you doing?

    1. I ordered a blackout roman from the company that is doing the rest of the house – decorview. Don’t do it for a rental because its expensive. We just have some huge windows that have to be customized. country curtains has some decent ready made shades, too.

  12. Your blog makes for such a fun read– I love your wit. I concur about the BM- Super White question in a poorly sunlit room. My studio soon-to-be-nursery gets minimal direct sunlight and I’d like to brighten it up without replacing windows, etc. Would a brighter paint do the trick? Thanks xx

    1. You just ahve to make sure you bring in enough life and contrast in the room. An all white room is beautiful when there is a lot of light bouncing around, and windows breaking it up. If i had chosen not to wallpaper this room I would have probably painted it a swedish gray/blue. The room is too dark to just handle white – it only has one small window.

  13. Love it!! Your posts are so fun and inspiring! I can’t wait to read them. They totally make my day!!

  14. Oh my cuteness!! That’s it. I want another. Charlie is the opposite of birth control, you know. Good lord he is adorable. And the nursery is awesome!! Cute baby = cute nursery….

  15. I find it refreshing that you showed us the unstyled pictures – makes me remember that you are a REAL new mommy, in a new house, etc. Thanks for the peek of reality – it looks fantastic!

  16. Adorable! Would love to get the name and number of your wall paper guy. My husband and I actually bought your OKL dining table from Craigslist (you sent an old quilt with us to cover the glass – thank you!!).

    Congrats on the healthy, beautiful baby and the new house! We have a 20 month old little boy – the whole experience flies!

  17. Cute!

    (For safety, make sure the shelves are securely attached to the wall so when Charlie decides he is, indeed, a climber he won’t be in peril … and he may be a climber before he’s a walker …)

  18. this post is hilarious, and Charlie’s nursery is just perfect! I’m collecting inspiration for my unborn boy’s nursery (due in May!), and those Parsons shelves would be the perfect addition!

  19. I really love these candid shots of Charlie’s nursery. I know you must feel a little anal about the “imperfections”, but I love the glimpse into your everyday life. Of course, professional, styled pictures are gorgeous and so pretty to look at, but I love reading your blog for your personal “voice” as much as your design and the candid shots are an extension of that. (Especially with such an adorable baby!) I’d love to see more. ^_^

    Also, I want that pouf. But as a starving student, I have neither the means nor the room for it. ~le sigh~

  20. Emily,
    I read this post slowly, like I did not want to finish reading. I want a baby now.
    It is really inspiring.
    You are my número uno blog.
    Much as gracias,

    Katia from Ecuador

  21. Girl, you don’t have to convince us why you should spend that on wallpaper. You work your butt off, you deserve to stare at what you want at 3am – and that paper makes the space! I’m a big believer in splurging on your loves and saving elsewhere…great job. It’s so dreamy, and I can’t wait to see the whole reveal.

    And thanks for sharing your fab writing skills with us. Some blogs I skim to just see the pretty pictures, but I know I’ll always enjoy reading what you have to say too (and get a few laughs in).

    1. Thank you for your support. I was so nervous people were going to hate on me for spending that kind of money and not being more diy/creative about it. So thanks. I couldn’t be happier with it. xx

      1. I know our range is expensive, but it’s very good quality, and designed and printed here in Paris. That said, you don’t have to wallpaper your entire 4 wall room like Emily did, and we also offer a ready-to-hang pack option available through our distributors, and Animals is about 320,00$, for that price you have enough to cover a surface of about 6ft 60in x 3ft 30in…i hope this helps.
        we’re so happy you like it : )

  22. gulp. thanks for your honesty about the cost of the wallpaper. i can’t wait to see the big reveal.

  23. Not a cooler Mom in LA…Charlie is a lucky boy! All his friends will want to hang out at your house. 🙂

  24. I like the room, I have always liked you and your style, Charlie is adorable and is a gift from God. Why must you say that Charlie “god damn” better like the wallpaper or something to that effect? Can’t you get your point across without using God’s name in vain? I don’t know if you have a religious preference or not. I remember reading in a post that you grew up Mormon. Obviously, it’s none of my business and it’s your blog and you can say whatever you want. Maybe I’m the only one in blogland who cringes when you speak of God in this way. Just putting it out there. “May the Lord bless you and keep you.”

  25. What do those girl babies know anyway? Psh.

    Also: I usually dont like wallpaper but you nailed it. I can see what you mean about flowing with the rest of the house and a bit of color but not too much.

    Maybe if you do a good enough job he’ll let you decorate future rooms of his 😉

  26. I read your blog regularly – like a bit of sunshine in my day, everyday! I’m an artist, and just love to follow your creative process! I love, love, Charlie’s room and it brought to mind decorating my son’s room 22 years ago. What a treat – artistic inspiration and good memories.

    I have to share an incredible coincidence with you. This afternoon, in the process of revitalizing my family room, I pulled out a handmade Amish quilt, stored in the back of a closet, that we purchased when our son was born. The quilt was made of vegetable hand-dyed fabric in the deep colors of the Lancaster Amish in a very modern interpretation of a ladder pattern. After I unfolded it, anticipating how and where I would use it, I was devastated to find spreading ghost-like stains on the quilt, with fading around the rims of the stain. I wracked my brains to understand what was going on. This quilt always hung on the wall and was only taken down and used once when we photographed our son on it. Oh, now I remember…..he spit up on the quilt, and since they suggested I not wash it for fear of the dye bleeding, I spot treated the stains. And now it seems like those areas have reacted and faded over the years forming yucky green cloud-like memories of the original projectile. So in an attempt to ignore my dismay, I sat down to read your blog, thoroughly enjoying and savoring every word, until – Oh no, Charlie’s on the quilt! I trust your quilt is washable, but I have to come back from the future to tell you – don’t leave stains on the quilt! They’ll come back to haunt you 22 years later!

    Enjoy this wonderful irreplaceable time of your life!

    1. OH NO! I think you are right. i have so many other blankets i can lay him on. But that one is just so good for photographs! I’m sorry to hear about your quilt. that is very sad, but at least you have something to remember his spit-up by … 🙁

      1. Spit up stains do reappear on fabrics in storage over time even if the item was washed before storing. I have found that laying the freshly washed and damp stained item in the bright sun for the day takes the spit up stains or many other stains away. Or a good long soak in an oxy clean solution works wonders too (especially on stains from the newborn yellow poop blowouts). 🙂

    2. Dona:

      Don’t give up on restoring your quilt yet! When I was pregnant with my first born (Shawn – my son), the girl I worked with embroidered a quilt with all of the Wizard of Oz Characters for me. I, too, kept it hung in the nursery to be enjoyed. Eventually it got stored in my grandmother’s cedar chest, where it stayed until my son and his wife were expecting THEIR first baby! So I took it out of the cedar chest and saw it had brown stains – although I’m not sure from what. So I took it to a local dry cleaner who was recommended to me (and also cleaned/preserved my daughter’s wedding dress). They are very experienced at cleaning delicate fabrics. I was so thrilled to pick it up clean and good as new! Try someone who specializes in wedding dresses who can be recommended to you first. I’m sure they will be honest in their confidence in being able to clean it. If they can’t do it, I would find someone who restores/repairs vintage fabrics. Antique stores are a great reference. The memories will be well worth the money 🙂 Good luck!

      1. Thanks for the advice, Rebecca,

        I am going to give it a try. The stain looks more like fading than staining,(yellow stain on deep blue) so I wasn’t sure anything could be done – but it’s worth a try.

  27. I love the pillow on your glider in the first picture, stripes with a heart, where is it from?

  28. Charlie, hide your crayons and markers, cuz those animals are gonna want some color sooner or later once they’re on safari (and your Mom and Dad aren’t looking)….. and keep up the good work giggling with your Dad and keeping your Mom in a pickle!!!

  29. What a beautiful nursery! Now to see if he’ll end up using it:) I have a question that has nothing to do with decor. HOW ARE YOU HANDLING HAVING A 6 WEEK OLD SO WELL?? Most women are a wreck at this point in motherhood. Or was that just me? Your tired, overwhelmed and still adjusting to a massive life-change. And don’t even get me started on hormones!
    Can you tell I just gave birth? I have a 2 week old right now and a 28 month old. I assure you, I’m not in the blissful state you seem to be in. I wish I was though! Keep doing whatever it is that you’re doing, it’s obviously working great for you!

  30. The wallpaper is incredible! Would love to create wallpaper for kids one day! Cant wait to see the rest of the nursery. Charlie will grow up having an amazing imagination. 🙂

  31. Ha! When I first saw the ‘before’ pics I thought that room had a concrete floor. Ugh. That’s some nas-tay carpet.

  32. I saw your mention about the orange peel walls? How do you feel about the very light/fine orange peel?

    When we were building — our builder only offered hand textured (fine for the ceiling, but I despise a heavy hand texture on all walls) and a very fine orange peel. We went with the fine orange peel, but now wish I would have contracted out for flat, smooth walls. Drat . . .

  33. That wallpaper is amazing!!! The scale makes it. My dream nursery wallpaper is the Higge & West Daydream. If I don’t have a bambino, I’ll have to use it somewhere else.

  34. the room is beautiful. I love everything about it,especially the wall paper.

    Question –tell me about the mat on the floor .Where can I find one ?

    Thanks,pat white

  35. The only thing cuter than that room is Charlie! Love that wallpaper. It makes me excited to see the rest of your house. I was getting a little worried that it might be just another super serious white take on mid-century but after this post I remembered why yours is my favorite blog!!!
    Oh,by the way thanks for naming him Charlie. I know you did it just for me!!

  36. Also, I forgot to mention that I love the fact that it looks like you wallpapered all the walls, or at least more than just one, which is what I feel like most people would do . It always looks better that way to me I feel like if you are going to wallpaper you should go for it. Can’t wait to see the rest!

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