Home is such a special place. This deep belief is largely why House of Verna began. It's why I love my job as an interior designer. It's why hospitality and family are cherished values. And it's why this year can most be remembered in this room. I spent countless hours in this space, learning how to be a mom. Comforting Lewis as he cried. Having him comfort me as I cried. Playing. Rocking. Changing diapers. Folding laundry. Watching the sun rise and the sun set. Eating dark chocolate and almonds at 2am pumping sessions. Reading "Night Night Farm" 10000 times. You get the idea.
Lewis turns 1 tomorrow, and it's been the fastest / slowest year of my whole life. The milestone finally pushed me to edit these photos and post them - honestly for myself more than anything. I want to have a place to look back at this space just as it was in 2021, our first year together!
This room is tiny in size, but actually took me until Lewis was about 4 months old to "finish." When my sister died, I was 35 weeks pregnant and officially uninterested in any sort of to-do list. I remember building the Ikea dresser at about 39 weeks pregnant, feeling like I just needed to survive this season and get at least one thing in his room. I took my time putting everything else together, and now I can say this is one of my absolute favorite spots in our house. The sun floods the room in the mornings and last winter it was my absolute favorite spot to sit, drink my morning coffee, and start another day with Lewis. It actually felt very healing to sit in this sunny spot with my baby when the winter was dark and cold in almost every other way imaginable. Like I said, home is such a special place.
Though it took months to actually call this room done, I began thinking about the space long before Lewis was even here. I knew I wanted the room to be fairly gender neutral and strike a balance between playful and timeless. I wanted the room to be appropriate for a baby, but live with Lewis as he grew older.
The room is small square in shape (9x9) and has a sloped ceiling half way through which makes it feel even smaller and cozier. When we moved in, this small room packed a punch with vibrant cobalt blue walls and white trim. I wanted to instead lighten the walls up in hopes of making the room feel as large as possible and add the contrasting color though the base and window trim. If you follow along on Instagram, you may remember my trim color saga. I originally painted it a deep green and…well…hated it. It was too dark and looked almost cartoonish next to the original wood door which has an yellow/orange hue. (Which really popped next to the dark green.) So I took the plunge and re-painted the trim this lighter green gray which I now adore. Alongside painting, we swapped the old-fashioned flush mount for a more modern black and brass mulit-shade fixture and these two things alone completely changed the space!
The first piece of furniture we had for the room was the crib. It's handmade (!) from our talented friend Josh (our sort of personal Ron Swanson). It survived his 4 kids’ crib days and still is in absolute prisitine condition. When he offered it for us to use, it was an easy yes.
With the size and shape of the room and now a pretty sizeable crib, the room layout options were fairly limited and the remaining furniture pieces came together pretty easily. The dresser is an Ikea find, and the rug came from RugsUSA. The chair was a Facebook Marketplace score. The corner was so tight so I needed something more compact than most rockers and gliders I could find. For this reason, I almost opted out of a chair all together, wondering if I’d use it that much. Oh my. I don’t know why I thought that, but if you are planning your nursery - invest in a chair that rocks!! It’s become invaluable between pumping, feeding, middle-of-the-night wake ups, reading stories and even playing.
The two “accent” things I knew I wanted in a nursery were books on display and a peg rail. Which worked in my favor, because those two things were about all that fit! Isaac built a peg rail himself and we painted it to match the trim. I love how it fills the wall space but can be styled and used for different objects and art that change with Lewis. We sourced inexpensive book shelves from Ikea and mounted them under an existing j-box. We added a sconce from Etsy, after painting the shade to match the trim as well. It’s the perfect little light to have on for bedtime bottles and stories.
Finally, a DIY mobile and a playful “Confetti” art print brought a childish, playful touch I felt the room needed. Layering these pieces in with light curtains (but still blackout!), brightly colored books, and a basket of toys made the space feel complete.
When I began working on our registry and thinking about creating a nursery, it felt like most people fell into one of two camps. The first being the picture perfect nurseries. The ones with a definite theme - full to the brim with toys, perfect artwork, special gadgets and products for every scenario, endless cute outfits, etc. This one is undeniably most found on Instagram and Pinterest. The second camp was the one I mostly heard from friends, which sounded a lot more like “your baby doesn’t need anything! You can stick him in a closet!” Which, honestly, I can understand where this comes from. I think it tries to combat the first camp I just laid out, which puts entirely too much pressure on us to craft these immaculate (and expensive) spaces that our kids will likely outgrow in a year. And babies don’t really need much. A few books and toys, some space to roll around. But neither camp felt quite like us, and the middle ground is almost always where I live. Creating the nursery was for Lewis, yes, but it was also largely for me and for Isaac. The first year of raising a human is hard work. It’s physically demanding and emotionally exhausting. I can’t overstate how much a calming and thoughtful space mattered to me. The dedicated space helped me feel more grounded as I navigated those physical and emotional demands. And now when I look at these photos, I truly can’t help but beam a little. Not because this is the most picture-perfect put together room (there’s no theme and very few gadgets) but because it is so *us.* Our family. It is simple and neutral. It’s cheerful. It’s sun soaked most of the day. And now it holds too many memories to type. Too many good and hard moments to explain. It’s now, truly, a sacred little space.
Cheers to one year into this motherhood gig. I’m ready for more!