A Navy, White & Gray Nursery…Take 2

Sweet baby Graham got a few tweaks to Peter’s Navy & White Rugby Stripe Nursery to make it his own. Peter was taking his crib with him to his new room (Tom and Pete’s shared room). So we pulled Nell’s turquoise crib out of the crawl space knowing we’d be painting it because the turquoise made the gray paint in the kids’ rooms read a bit turquoise. After keeping our baby’s sexes a surprise for rounds 1, 2, and 3, we found out that Graham was a boy at our 20 week ultrasound. So the turquoise crib went dark gray for baby boy McKevitt.

 kendall charcoal painted crib

We kept the navy and white rugby striped curtains my mom and I made for Peter’s nursery, the dresser I’ve used as a changing table for all four babies, and the paint stayed the same.

gray painted crib

If we could play a game called “Stupid stands stubborn Emily took that she should have just caved on in the beginning”, the glider in the nursery would be at the top of the list. Luckily, these are first world problems. But, really. When I was pregnant with Thomas, I was 25, married for a minute under two years, and having a baby a few years earlier than we “planned” in the midst of a bad economy. So I took a stand on not buying a glider and used the wooden rocking chair my mom rocked my sister, brother and I to sleep in in Thomas’s nursery. Two years later, Nell came along and I wanted to change the nursery up with more color and less brown, so I bought an IKEA chair that didn’t glide and used that in both Nell and Peter’s nurseries. When we announced that Graham was on his way, my mom said, “I am just buying you a glider, I love rocking your babies and it drives me crazy that I can’t rock them at your house.” Now, 2008 scarred me for life so I’m always going to be budget conscious and I picked the glider out when Target had a great baby sale in January, but that Caroline was right. Should have listened to her and let her buy me the glider 6 years ago when she offered the first time…or two years later when she offered again…or a year and a half after that when she offered the third time. Oh well, we’ll thoroughly enjoy it for this last sweet baby to make up for it.

gray glider in nursery

A new changing pad cover on the dresser I’ve changed all my babies on. I love this dresser (and the $30 price tag…told ya, that 2008-2011 Emily was scrappy with a penny).

antique dresser changing table

A sweet little magazine rack bookshelf right as you walk into the nursery.

pottery barn kids bookshelf

And the sweetest little pumpkin that occupies this room. Though we’re still working on getting him to occupy it all night long, he loves looking at his mobile and playing in his crib.

graham 3 months

And you all know I love a “big picture” picture to really give the lay of the land.  That’s our sweet Graham’s nursery.

navy gray and white nursery

To take a look back at all my nurseries: Thomas’s Brown and White Board and Batten Nursery. Nell’s Nursery with Painted IKEA crib. Peter’s navy and white nursery.

Peter’s Nursery: Gray, Blue and Rugby Stripes

You all saw the blank slate nursery that was ready for #3 to be born so we could personalize it based on the baby and their personality. I had no real clue what to do with the room if Peter was a girl, though I’m sure I would have figured it out, but I was ready to run with a boy nursery plan when Peter was born. It’s mostly done now…I have a few projects to finish up, but I figured I’d share it now and share updates later.


Peter’s nursery is very similar in shape to the nursery at our last house (here as a nursery for Thomas, here as a nursery for Nell), it’s just about 21 square feet bigger and has a wall in front of you when you enter, so we kept the furniture layout pretty similar because we knew it worked. Crib on the far wall, changing table on the opposite wall, chair floating in front of the big window.


The bookcases we bought to flank the crib in Thomas’s nursery are some of my favorite things in the house. I adore them. But I wasn’t feeling the same layout for them, so I chose to just install one on the wall as you walk into the room. I’m planning to add a giant P for Peter above it soon, but taking three kids to Hobby Lobby is torture. If they don’t have a cart that fits at least a car seat and a toddler, I’m not going there anytime soon. That’s why Costco and I are so close these days. And you guys know I’m frugal – if I can make it myself, why pay major markup for something? But I’m tempted to just order the giant Pottery Barn P already painted navy blue and call it a day…sometimes $60 is worth your sanity, right? I digress.


Peter’s crib is the same one that Thomas slept in. Thomas likes to tell Peter that a few times a day. “Your crib used to be my crib Peter. It was never Nell’s crib.” Siblings, man. Pete got his own crib sheets though. 3rd baby has to have a few things that are just theirs.


We moved the IKEA Jenny Lund chair from Nell’s room to Peter’s room before his arrival, but I bought the pouf for an ottoman the week after he was born when it was on sale at Target, and I’m smitten with it. My mom made Peter a gray and white strip quilt just as she did for Tom and Nell.


My absolute favorite piece of furniture I own is that $30 vintage dresser I found on Craigslist when I was pregnant with Thomas. It’s been the perfect changing table for all three of our kiddos, and I always remember putting Casco in my little red bug and racing to South Denver to pick it up after work one day. I’ve realized that I like at least one piece of old furniture in every room. Not beautiful, ornate antiques…I’m not fancy enough for that. Farmhouse style, simple, sturdy antiques. That dresser will always have a place in any home I live in, hear me now. I’m looking for a small scale, industrial-esque shelving unit to go above the dresser. I know exactly what it looks like in my head, just haven’t been able to find it in reality yet.


The whale changing pad was just fun, so I bought it. It’s from the same collection of sheets that he has and was his baby gift from my parents, but I like that they’re not matchy-matchy…just coordinated.


And although I love everything in the room, I think the rugby stripe curtains make it. Caroline and I made them when Peter was one week old. Because we had nothing better to do with our time. We cut a king size duvet in half and hemmed the edges. Peter’s window has a shade that pulls down that darkens the room, so we didn’t bother blackout lining the curtains, but I can always add blackout liner later if needed.

So that’s Peter’s nursery. It’s come along way from the bright blue make-shift guest room it was when we moved into the house 11 months ago.


Paint Color: Benjamin Moore Gray Owl color matched in Behr paint

Bookshelves: Target circa 2010 (but knock-offs of these Pottery Barn shelves that are still available)

Crib: JCPenney 4 years ago

Sheets and Changing Pad Cover: Land of Nod

Crib Skirt: Pottery Barn Kids, no longer available

Chair: IKEA Jenny Lund

Ottoman: Target

Rugby Stripe Curtains: DIY from king size duvet cover (available at Target)

The Nursery: A Blank Slate

On Monday night, B came home and was ready to get the rooms moved around for the baby. All of Nell’s furniture, except for her crib, were slated to be moved to the baby’s room, and I wanted to get that done enough in advance of the baby’s arrival for Nell’s sake. It didn’t go so well. As B moved furniture, Nell stood in the door and screamed, “Mine. My seat. Mine. My table. Mine. Mine.” So here’s hoping that her new, colorful room, a big new bed for her to grow into, and the safety of her turquoise crib help her come around to her room’s new look in the next few weeks. This morning she walked over to the baby’s crib and threw her favorite, “Mine” at it. To which her sweet, loving brother informed her, “Actually, Nell. This was never yours. This was my crib.” Gotta love older siblings.

But anyway, the baby’s room is a blank slate. Freshly painted white trim, freshly painted gray walls, a crib, a changing table, a chair and bookshelves. It feels so stark to me right now, and I’m itching to add color and personality, but I’m making myself wait. I’ve learned my lesson – I’ll want color and personality as soon as I know who will be living in this room, and I’m going to hold off to meet him or her before I make those decisions. So in the meantime, we have a very blank slate nursery. I can’t wait to watch this room evolve – I have a few ideas in my head of directions I’ll take the room depending on the baby’s sex, but the truth is that within days of knowing Nell, I wanted to change her whole nursery. And it wasn’t just because she was a girl, it was because she needed a room that fit her. I’d sit in the chair during midnight feedings and imagine how I could splash her sweet, but already big, personality all over the room. So that’s what the plan is in here – keep the room a blank slate until we know this sweet little one in a few weeks.

nursery blank slate

It’s far from a perfect photo, but I like to have a record of the process of a room. Consider this your “making progress” before. Not quite as before as the neon-y cobalt blue that we started with, but nowhere near as personable as it will one day be. And, you know, we’ll probably take the diaper box and other random things out of the crib and replace them with a baby.

So that’s that – we’ll get the bookshelves rearranged a bit and attached to the wall, I want to replace the globe for the ceiling fan light, and then we’ll just wait. But in the meantime, Nell’s room is so close to done and I’m excited to share that with you! Hopefully next week.

Nell’s Nursery: Bead Board Wallpaper

Nell’s room is a work in progress, and is going to remain that way until we move the double bed into her room in early 2014 to get the 4th bedroom ready for baby Peyton Manning.

I always had a game plan for this room, but since I found out within minutes of our move that we were expecting #3, my painting and projects kind of came to a sudden halt. It drove Caroline crazy – every time she suggested she come up to help me paint a room I made an excuse for why I didn’t want to do things too quickly. When we finally told my my parents that #3 was on his or her way (we wait to tell everyone until the first trimester is in the rearview mirror), she finally understood my sudden heel dragging and immediately asked if she could come paint. I readily accepted her offer.

On Move-in Day:


So, Caroline and my sister came up while we were in Florida and painted Nell’s room. The top half above the existing chair rail went Gray Owl, and the bottom half they just primed white in preparation for bead board. I have a personal preference for chair rails that serve a purpose, rather than just chair rails that break up a room, so I knew I wanted to add bead board underneath the existing chair rail. But adding real bead board meant taking off the chair rail – and the baseboards – and waiting for Mr. B to have a few weekends to work on the project either with me or while I occupied the kids. And since B’s been super busy between work, finishing up his Master’s (one more semester, friends!), a non-profit he’s involved with and everything else I volunteer him for, like coaching T’s soccer team because history has made me not trust anyone else with my kids, I was pretty sure adding bead board to his plate in 2013 was going to push him over the edge.

Painted and primed (please excuse the terrible lighting that makes this gray paint look yellow-y beige).


So, I started researching paintable bead board wallpaper. And the reviews I read told me to go with the Allen and Roth version from Lowes. So, I picked up two rolls, and while B was in DC last month, Caroline dug up her old wallpaper tools and the two of us relearned how to wall paper. It’s kind of fun! Everyone I mentioned this to was skeptical, but in the end, everyone was really impressed with the results.


The process of putting up the wall paper was really easy. I just cut everything to the right length and followed the instructions on package – soaked the paper for 30 seconds, let it set for 5 minutes, and we applied. Caroline and I took turns squeegeeing out the glue – this wall paper had a ton of extra glue. We opted not to paint the wall paper. We were prepared to if we needed to, but it was actually really white and matched the trim in the room. The seams aren’t noticeable, but we were very careful to butt two pieces right up against each other to avoid any seams. And can I just say? Using scissors to cut around outlets instead of a dremmel? Heaven on Earth.

Finished product the night we wrapped this project up:


When B got home he was shocked that it was actually textured, and he said he’d wished he’d known about this when he did bead board in our old powder room – cutting around all those appliances was a pain. So anyway, bead board wallpaper gets my seal of approval. I wouldn’t use it anywhere that’s going to get a lot of abuse – like under our kitchen island, just because I do think it would be prone to tearing under foot kicking circumstances – but I’m a convert. We took this picture just as we wrapped up the wallpaper, and since then the bookshelves have been styled (as much as you can style an 18 month old’s bookshelves), pillows have been added, and the room is coming along. I’ll share progress photos soon, but:

Now I need your advice. I’ve still got to figure out window treatments. What would you do? The window seat necessitates either shorter panels or a roman shade (I’m not going the valance route). Would you go solid or patterned? The ikat fabric on the window seat I’m in love with, and I have pillows in coral chevron. The chair and ottoman are moving to the baby’s room – and will be recovered when I meet him or her – so ignore that stripe that doesn’t work with the room. The bed we bring in will likely have a quilt or patterned duvet on it, and in the long run the scheme here is gray and navy with pops of sea glass and coral. I was leaning toward a solid navy or white roman shade, with maybe some grosgrain ribbon trim, but I’m just not sure. I’ve thought about a subtle pattern, but being so close to the larger scale ikat I’m not sure. So, help me friends, what would you do if that was your daughter’s window? Panels? Roman Shade? Pattern? Solid? What color? Thanks a million.


Board and Batten Nursery: Source List

Thanks for all of your sweet comments on Nell’s nursery. I got lots of questions in the comments and in my inbox about sources for things, so I thought I’d do a quick source list for you all.

Crib: IKEA Sniglar, painted Mermaid Net by Behr (color matched with a child safe, non-toxic, no-voc paint at a local paint specialty store).

Cribsheet: DIY, made from Amy Butler fabric from about 5 years ago.

Crib skirt: Hobby Lobby Fabric

Chair: IKEA Ektorp Jenny Lund

Ottoman: Target, slipcover made from Hobby Lobby Fabric

Curtains: Hobby Lobby Fabric

Gallery Wall: N, mirrors and orange frame: Hobby Lobby
                      Turquoise frame: Michael’s
                      Other frames that I pulled from around the house and spray painted.

Bookshelves: Target, not sold anymore, but a copy of these from Pottery Barn Kids.

Dresser: Craigslist

Changing Pad Cover: SkipHop Alphabet Zoo

Mirror above changing table: My basement, painted Mermaid Net.
Paint Colors: Brown: Chocolate Swirl (Behr); White: Ultra White (Behr); Crib and Mirror: Mermaid Net (Behr – but color matched at a different store).
That pretty much covers it! Let me know if I missed something.

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Board and Batten Nursery: Nell’s Edition

Okay, so we’ve established that when we were waiting for Thomas to arrive two and a half years ago I wanted a monochromatic brown and white board and batten nursery. And when I was pregnant with Nell, I wanted to add color to the nursery: namely turquoise and orange. But, not knowing if we were having a Nell or an “it’s a good thing Nell was a girl because we might still be trying to find a name” boy, I held off on doing too much with the nursery until the baby arrived. And the thing about holding off until the baby arrives? A lot less time on your hands. But I knew this. Which is why you get to see Nell’s room now…on her four month birthday.

The gallery wall above her crib will be added to, but if we waited for it to be done, you’d be seeing this post on her 18th birthday. So here’s how it stands now.

Live Your Life on purpose…if I could pick one phrase for my daughter (and my son) to carry with them, this might be it. When I saw the free printable on the Sarah Jane Studios blog, I printed it immediately for my own bulletin board. But due to the fact that my printer was out of yellow, the green printed turquoise. Happy accident, it immediately got added to Nell’s room. There’s so much in life that’s out of our control, but we get to decide how to handle the things that come up. As babies, they’re loved and cuddled and learn so much from us as parents – we can guide them in certain directions and teach them. But, I want my kids to know that in the long run, they are ultimately responsible for their own happiness.

I really wanted to keep the brown paint because the fabric choices I made before she was born tied the turquoise and brown together. After Nell was born, the brown felt too masculine to me, so I decided I had to bite the bullet and put things on the walls. I wanted to steer clear of pink. I like pink, don’t get me wrong, I just didn’t want a pink nursery. So, I figured bright colors and intricate shapes and frames would feminize the brown enough.
The dresser I scored for $30 on craigslist when I was pregnant with Thomas is probably my favorite piece of furniture I own. I adore its character.
The alphabet changing pad brings the colors from the other side of the room to the changing table side of the room. I love it so much more than the stark white cover I chose for T’s room. Good thing I got a do-over :).
The library style bookshelves were in the room when it was Thomas’s – I love forward facing bookshelves. We put a regular bookcase in T’s new room, and it’s nowhere near as convenient for him or for me. Nell’s Aardvark is just waiting for her to be old enough to sleep with a lovey.

And the room’s newest occupant. We think it suits her.

On first glance, I thought this was a picture of Thomas. She’s looking more like her brother everyday…of course, the fact that I make her wear her older brother’s hand-me-downs might have something to do with that.

One last look at the nursery, a comparison of how it looked two years ago for Thomas and how it looks now for Nell. I still love Thomas’s brown and white nursery – it was perfect for him and it was perfect for me at the time. But I adore what a little color and pattern did for it, too. It’s perfect for Nell and perfect for me at this time. Amazing the difference two years can make in your style choices!

And now that Nell’s room is pretty much done, I’m planning to redo certain elements of Thomas’s big boy room (but I will wait for him to be out of the crib before I do too much). Shhh. Don’t tell Mr. B, I haven’t broken that news to him, yet.

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DIY Crib Sheet

Nell’s 10 weeks old and I still don’t feel like her room is ready enough to share. But, yesterday I had an hour to myself and I sewed her a crib sheet. I knew I wanted more than a white sheet for the baby’s room, but I decided I’d wait on that until the baby was born so that I could go more masculine or feminine with the sheet I picked. But Nell’s room is turquoise and orange (with some brown, green and yellow in there, too), and I didn’t find anything I loved that worked with the more gender neutral fabrics I’d already used in the room. Then I stumbled across an Amy Butler print I bought years ago in my fabric stash that I never used that happened to be the perfect colors and decided to give making a crib sheet a whirl.

When I first saw the tutorial for this (even before I was pregnant with Thomas), I remember thinking: Why bother? How hard can it be to find cute crib sheets? Answer: It can be hard. So I decided to give this a shot. And it was the easiest project, ever. I used Dana’s tutorial and it was a cinch.  And I love the difference the large print makes in Nell’s crib. It makes it hers…not generic McKevitt baby #2’s crib.

And here’s what the crib looked like when it was waiting for Baby McKevitt to arrive 11 weeks ago with just a plain white sheet (the quilt my mom made has been moved to the chair for safety reasons – and the aardvark in the picture above doesn’t hang out in the crib when Nell’s in it, either, don’t worry).

I love the bold crib sheet. So much so that I want to make more. And changing pad covers. This little project might have been just the push I needed to get the rest of the room up to snuff.

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DIY Slipcovered Ottoman

One of the things that I desperately wanted in the nursery when we were in the early stages of nighttime feedings with Thomas was a side table – to put all the glamourous new to breastfeeding accessories on. We picked a small dresser for T’s changing table, and there wasn’t a ton of room next to the changing pad for my massive water bottle, lanolin, a book or my phone for when I finally got him attached so I could read something, etc. But I never found a table small enough to work in the small nursery.
So for nursery version 2.0, a side table/footrest was on the agenda. I intended to make a pouf, but then I realized that if I found an inexpensive cube storage ottoman I could slipcover it and use the storage…and it would probably be more solid for my water bottle at 3am. I found this brown square ottoman at Target for $25. It was small, a good height to work as both an ottoman and a side table – and a climbing gym for T – depending on my needs at the time, and inexpensive. And being brown, it would have technically worked in the room, but it felt stark to me and I wanted to soften it a bit.
Please excuse the bathtub Lobster taking up residence on the chair arm. “Obster” wanted to read stories with us the other day.
Slipcovers for ottomans are so easy – same process I used with the living room ottoman, though my sewing skills have improved since I made that (ever so slightly, but improvement is improvement). This 15 x 15 ottoman took me about an hour because I was being precise with my pinning and measurements (something new for me). Aside from a little bit of fenagling at the corners, it’s pretty much straight lines. I love that the stripe brings the turquoise, green and yellow of the pillow and cribskirt together, but ties the brown of the upper portion of the wall and quatrefoil on the curtains in, too.
We’re nearing the end of the the nursery re-do – crib’s next on the list, and then I have to figure out what to put on the walls – but I think we’ll wait until McKiddle arrives for that and let their sex/name/personality influence that. Though, that was my plan when I originally did the nursery for Thomas – and that never happened. We all know wall art’s never been my strong suit.

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Nursery Chair in lieu of a Glider

Back when the nursery was in transition from guest room (if you could even call it that) to McKiddle #1’s nursery, I was anti-glider.  I took an anti-stance on something mainstream and totally normal, how new and different for me :). Let me clarify that stance now – I’ve never loved the traditional hardwood cushioned nursery glider (though they’ve improved them vastly in the last couple years and I love the revamps I’ve seen on blogs of late), and I really liked the looks of upholstered gliders, but this mama’s just not about to spend $1200 on a chair that only works in a nursery. So I borrowed the hardwood rocker that was in my nursery as a baby from Caroline and everything was dandy…for about six months.

I will say, Thomas wasn’t a baby that needed to be rocked to sleep – we put him in his crib awake and he fell asleep on his own – so our time in the rocking chair was limited to about 3 minutes of cuddling before bed. And when T was a newborn and still waking up to nurse in the middle of the night, feedings took a long time, so I usually camped out on the sofa in the living room with the Boppy and Design Star on DVR at 3am for those early, nursing-takes-45-minutes days.

But Thomas had a bit of a sleep regression at 15 months and I did a lot of Kumbaya singing from that rocking chair at 2am – and I was newly pregnant and T was much heavier than he had been in previous rocking chair stages. And I told myself in those September days, “When I turn this into this new baby’s nursery, I’m buying a flipping glider”.

So, I started looking on Craigslist for gliders to revamp and went to look at a few, but just couldn’t take the plunge. They either weren’t as comfortable as I expected or just didn’t have the right bones for being revamped. So I turned to my good buddy Shannon who ditched her beautiful Pottery Barn glider for the easier to get in and out of and comfortable IKEA Ektorp Jenny Lund when she redid Gabe’s nursery. And if it’s good enough for Shannon, it’s good enough for me. So to IKEA I went for a $200 chair that I can use anywhere when we no longer need a nursery chair. I like multi-purpose furniture. And the beauty is that if McKiddle #2 is a baby who does need rocking, I now know thanks to my Boulder area neighbor Freckles Chick that I can turn the IKEA Jenny Lund into a glider. Perf. 

Enough chatter, here’s the chair in the nursery.

The beauty of this chair? It matches my sofa. Not that I do the matching set furniture thing, but if I ever wanted to, I could. And it’s darn comfortable, too. The cube ottoman that’s holding Tom’s favorite books right now will serve as a side table/ottoman/T’s jungle gym – and I’m in the process of slipcovering it.

I have short legs, so I needed a pillow to help my feet touch the ground. And since I now bow to Sarah Richardson, design goddess, I wanted more fabric in the room. Sarah likes lots of fabric. And I loved this polka-dot with the exact turquoise to pull in the nursery curtains, a little bit of my signature green, and some yellow.

So that’s the chair situation in the baby’s room – I’ll be sure to let you all know if I end up turning it into a glider, but I’m betting on it remaining stationary. Time will tell!

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Nursery Curtains

When I decided that McKiddle #2 would get a new take on the nursery, I also knew that I wouldn’t be changing the basics – namely the board and batten and antique dresser we use as a changing table were definitely staying. I also figured we’d keep the chocolate brown paint.

But in the 2 years since I decorated the nursery for McKiddle #1 (now lovingly called Thomas), I’ve developed a greater appreciation for color. And since we don’t know if the baby is a boy or a girl (truly no clue – last week I was leaning girl, this week I’m leaning boy), we’re still aiming for gender neutral here – so I picked dark turquoise as the main accent color – with a few other colors, which you’ll see soon. And I figure dark turquoise can be made feminine or masculine depending on the other colors in the room.

I stumbled across this turquoise and brown quatrefoil fabric in January and snatched up every yard they had for curtains. Now that Thomas is happily down the hall in his new room and actually goes to the new room when we ask him where his room is, I felt safe starting to call the nursery the “Baby’s room” and making changes to it. Not that Thomas has any clue that the curtains got changed, but it makes me feel better.
Caroline came up this week with her sewing machine and we set up shop at my dining room table, each of us in front of our respective sewing machine. We cut the the fabric to size, lined it with blackout lining, hemmed them and clipped them up on the curtain rings. We gave ourselves an hour to get it done and we were successful. I might be the only person to say this, but I love sewing with blackout lining – the weight and structure it adds to curtains feels substantial.

Still to come: a new crib and crib skirt, a new chair, and I’m going to get over my minimalist fear of artwork and add something decorative to at least one wall. You heard me color and artwork, it’s about to get crazy, people.

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