P&N’s Nursery Tour: A peek into fabulous baby rooms across the country.
Jodi Kendall is a writer living with her husband and toddler son, Townes, in New York City. Her clients include the National Geographic Channel, Nat Geo Wild and Wanderfly. You can learn more about Jodi and follow her blog via her website jodikendall.com.
1. What was your vision for the nursery? Usually I gravitate toward neutral color palettes, but we live in a rental unit in a Manhattan pre-war building where all the rooms are painted a bland white color. So I wanted my son’s room to be a playful, inviting, cozy and bright space that would encourage his imagination. Reading has always been an important part of my life, and I want my son to grow up surrounded by books, so I knew I wanted a reading nook in the nursery. I also just really like horses! So when we discovered the wallpaper, we pulled together the new-and-vintage equine elements, playing off a color story of aqua, grey and white with pops of walnut brown and dark navy. But overall, our vision was to create a space where our little boy would be comfortable, happy and inspired.
2. What would you consider your most essential piece? It’s amazing how the aqua horse wallpaper accent wall dramatically changed the tiny room, making it feel bigger and brighter, more cheerful and modern. The best part is that it’s temporary and removable, so whenever we want to change it or if we move apartments, it peels off like a sticker! This particular design is by Curio & Curio and sold through The Wall Sticker Company.
3. Is there a history or a story behind any of the pieces you chose? The portrait hanging above my son’s crib is a photograph captured by a friend (Nicole Rosemarie Photography) when Townes was just two weeks old. It makes me smile every time I look at it, remembering the way his tiny hand would curl around my finger, the smell of his perfect newborn baby skin, his trusting nature, the sound of him sighing in his sleep. We have a morning routine when we say hello to several things in the nursery, and Townes loves it when it’s time to “say good morning to the baby.” Now he’ll point at the photograph with this wide, toothy-gummy grin on his face. It’s priceless.
4. What are your favorite pieces and why? We adore the nursery furniture. The crib and changing table are both made by the Norwegian brand Stokke and have an innovative, grow-with-your-child design. The oval-shaped crib was originally the bassinet before we extended it out and, down the road, it can be converted into two chairs. The facing-forward changing table has removable cubbies, so it can serve as a dresser or bookshelf, but it also converts to a small or large-sized desk when the child gets older. The J.Schatz star egg nightlight is also special to us—in the darkness of the room, these little pockets of light beam from the egg’s hand carved holes and across the walls and ceiling. It’s magical. We love the wall decal (by Shanna Murray) on the door. But my favorite things in the room are the books! We have a bookshelf in the closet and rotate the books on the shelves every week or two. Right now we’re loving When Blue Met Egg by Lindsay Ward, Along A Long Road by Frank Viva and Abe Lincoln’s Dream by Lane Smith. I also have a lot of books from my childhood in the nursery… It’s special to pass on my worn, treasured copies of Sylvester and the Magic Pebble (William Steig), Imogene’s Antlers (David Small) and other beloved books to my little boy.
5. Where did you find these pieces? All over the place! We bought the Stokke nursery furniture and J.Schatz star egg nightlight at Giggle, here in the city. I discovered the big furry pouf in a random Pottery Barn Teen catalogue that showed up in the mail one day. I was so excited because I wanted a corner chair for nursing and reading, but there wasn’t enough space for it, and the traditional bean bag didn’t fit our aesthetic preferences. The curtains are from West Elm, the rug is a custom FLOR design, and the unicorn head is DwellStudio. I found lots of nursery pieces just by perusing shops on ETSY—the handmade cloud mobile (Made by Mosey) is one of my absolute favorite things in the room. My son cracks up laughing when we “make the clouds dance.” The framed horse lithograph picture is actually from a 1937 French dictionary, and the navy blue light switch plate cover was upcycled from a ruined copy of the children’s picture book, Blueberries for Sal. I found both of those items on ETSY too. You can check out the full source list on my blog.
6. What is your best tip for decorating? Don’t be afraid to play with color, pattern and texture to make the space something of your own vision and execution. I was inspired by color combos that I found on Pinterest, Apartment Therapy and in Domino Magazine and Pregnancy & Newborn Magazine, but I just had fun decorating the room as something all our own. It might not be everyone’s taste, but it’s all our design, and that makes the nursery perfect in our eyes.
7. What is your biggest secret confession? Oh, I had grand plans for a DIY light fixture that never happened. I’ve looked around at every store imaginable and still haven’t found a chandelier or pendant that I like (within my budget of course!). We had two main design challenges with this particular space, things we couldn’t do anything about, which continue to drive me crazy: the room is small and narrow, there’s an eyesore caged heating unit in the corner that you can’t block for safety reasons and a window A/C unit that reduces the natural light in the room. We had to play around with the nursery floor plan, moving the furniture around several times, to make it work for our needs. Also, it’s just short of a miracle I was able to capture photographs of the room when it was tidy. With an active toddler running around all day, things can get messy very quickly!
8. What is your baby’s favorite spot in the room? The big corner bean bag pouf, for sure. Townes climbs up in it to drink a bottle, pets the fur with his little hands, lifts and tosses the pillows, and cuddles with me on it for story time.
9. What is your favorite spot in the room? The same as my son’s! And my husband would vote for the furry pouf, too. It’s crazy comfortable. And this little reading nook has become a special part of our family bonding time. We’ve been reading to Townes since he was born, and he’s now almost fourteen months old. He recently picked a book off the shelf, walked across the room, handed it to me, and climbed onto my lap for the first time by his own initiation. It brought tears to my eyes! Now if I say, “Townes, want to read a book together?” he’ll come running.
10. What would you like to add about designing a stunning nursery? I guess not to sacrifice function for design. Our nursery carpet is modular FLOR tiles so that we can just clean or replace a tile if there’s a stain. We have plenty of pillows for all the time spent playing on the floor. It’s amazing how fast the nursery can transform from clean to cluttered, so some storage bins and shelves for quick cleanups are essential. Also, work with the space. I would have loved to have a glider in the corner of the nursery, but the room is teeny tiny and several pieces of furniture would’ve overpowered it. I never would have guessed that a bean bag of all things would become a favorite part of my son’s room! Ultimately, a nursery should be comfortable, safe, and inviting for a little one, a loving environment where a family will bond, a baby can explore, learn, and grow, and where memories will be made and cherished forever. So have fun with its design!