Sam’s “Into the Wild” Nursery

When I was pregnant with Sam, I thought a TON about the possibilities for his room. I finally landed on the idea of an adventure-themed nursery with a modern flair and black and white accents. My goals were to design 1) a space that Sam would be able to see and enjoy from the time he was born, working off of the idea that babies can really only see strong contrast when they’re tiny, and 2) a bright, grown-up space that I wouldn’t mind hanging out in every day for the next year. My first step was to deal with our horribly cluttered junk room (I didn’t even take a picture, it was so embarrassing) by selling stuff on Craigslist. Once I had tackled that gruesome project, I had a totally fresh canvas to start with. I’m very excited to finally share the finished product, which I worked on in fits and starts during naps after Sam came home. I had been so proud of being on track with my nine-month project timeline, so I definitely had some moments in my hospital bed in Florida, in labor six weeks early, thinking, “BUT THE ROOM ISN’T DONE!!” In the end, though, I fully enjoyed being able to put the finishing touches on Sam’s room with him there, adorably snoozing in the crib, and me NOT being third-trimester-preggers.


We swapped out a ceiling fan for the white Ikea pendant and added a ceiling medallion from Home Depot to customize it a bit. The deer skull painting is from World Market. It’s an unusual choice for a nursery, but I love the bold contrast in it and that it reminds me of Georgia O’Keefe’s paintings, which I loved looking at as a kid. The Babyletto Hudson crib (my dream crib) was a top-secret team surprise from our moms after Sam was born, the clock and side table are from Target, and the “Venture Out” canvas print and pillow are from Urban Outfitters. 

My big splurge was the Graham glider from West Elm (okay, hugest splurge ever); my Craigslist selling binge helped to fund it, and then it went on sale on one of the Atlanta ice days and I risked my life to go pick it up (don’t worry, it was actually just that purely rainy day when everyone freaked out for no reason). It’s the most comfortable thing I’ve ever sat in, and I intend to keep it forever. I love that it would look good in any room of my house. The charcoal velvet curtains are from World Market, the lamp was thrifted, and the silver side table is a West Elm look-alike that I found in the scratch and dent section of TJ Maxx for a song (like, to the tune of twenty bucks). The ottoman was a $5 thrift find that I covered with an Ikea faux sheepskin. 


I’d never attempted a gallery wall before, and I hated every minute of making it. I tried all the Pinterest tricks, and even though I traced it all out on kraft paper on the floor, I still rearranged it (and added and subtracted pieces) a hundred times and probably half destroyed the wall. But I’m FINALLY happy with it, and Sam loves it! He’ll fixate on it while I’m changing him or holding him nearby. I’m especially happy with the two little round geometric doodads, which are just small embroidery hoops covered in felt, with tiny felt triangles stuck on to them. The dresser is from Ikea and the metal cart (our diaper station) is from World Market. The stereo is a must; we always have Spotify playlists going…everything from U2 to Mozart to Mark O’Connor. The zebra head was one of my first purchases; it was on clearance at Home Goods, probably because it was u-g-l-y, and I re-painted it.


I made the mountain pillow during Sam’s second week home during an extra-long nap when I desperately needed to zone out and tackle a creative project. The monogrammed stuffed critter and the “Sam I am” burp cloth were handmade gifts from friends. 


I created a little grab-and-go “mom station” near the door for my favorite baby wrap and diaper bag. A girl’s gotta do something to counteract the lumberjack vibes happening in this house! I’m outnumbered.


When Sam came home from the hospital, healthy and happy, after 20 days in the NICU, I hung up the “Venture Out” print and then laughed out loud. I never thought that our first adventure with our baby would be an emergency out-of-town birth, or that his first flight would be on a medical jet…but those are the gritty, real-life adventures, and they count just as much as visiting national parks, discovering our city, and exploring museums. Although I have high hopes that we have many of those sorts of adventures ahead, too.  

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