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The Nursery, as a Clean Slate

I had been considering a few colors, but I decided to go with white walls for Calvin’s nursery. It just felt right.

Calvin's Nursery / Former Second Kitchen

It’s creamier than the stark white that’s so prevalent today, but it works nicely with all of the wood. (The color is Crisp Linen White, by Glidden.) Without white trim to contribute to a light airy feeling, white paint that was too bright would have fought with the woodwork and made the room feel cold.

Calvin's Nursery / Former Second Kitchen

Before and after time!

This is the best angle to look at the room from, to understand the changes to the hallway and relocation of the doorway. The sink is gone, and you no longer have to walk through this portion of the house to get from the front to the back.

Second Floor Kitchen
Calvin's Nursery / Former Second Kitchen

Our Victorian was originally a single-family home, but it had been converted to apartments long ago (sometime around the Great Depression, I believe. We have some old paperwork and census information that I ought to write about!). Getting rid of this kitchen and turning it back into a bedroom is in line with how the house was originally designed.

Second Floor Kitchen
Calvin's Nursery / Former Second Kitchen

The radiator was not moved, but we did get rid of each of those three doorways you see here. We relocated one of them to a new wall that was built and reused the door and trim.

Second Floor Kitchen
Calvin's Nursery / Former Second Kitchen

I’m not in love with the cabinetry, but it is staying and will function as a closet, dresser, and additional storage space.

Second Floor Kitchen
Calvin's Nursery / Former Second Kitchen

Now that the new room has been painted, I can finally get started on the fun stuff!

What’s Black and White and Red All Over?

Yesterday I shared the early plans for Calvin’s nursery, but today I thought I’d share what could have been.

What's Black and White and Red All Over?

Months back, I was looking through my wallpaper samples while thinking about what I was going to do in the nursery. The Scalamandré zebras have been a favorite for a long time, and Eleanor had even requested ages ago that we use them somewhere in this house. So I thought, hey! Maybe for the nursery! But then, perhaps you remember what happened with a certain little boy and his wallpapered room? I was not eager for a repeat.

Soon after scrapping that idea, I’d spotted a really cute zebra rug. Maybe the room could be inspired by the wallpaper instead! I already had those pillows elsewhere in the house, so I gathered them together and brought them up to the nursery. I found a red that was similar to the background of the wallpaper, and I went out to pick up the rug.

It wasn’t coming together though. The room would have needed a lot of art on the walls to break up all of the red, since I wasn’t going to have the pattern of wallpaper anymore. I could have switched to a different wall color of course, but the bigger problem with the plan was that I wasn’t a big fan of the rug in the room. The wood floor isn’t in the greatest condition (some discoloration from water damage, wear and tear from when the room functioned as a kitchen), and the rug only called attention to it. Back to the store it went, and back to the beginning for the room. I had Calvin not long after, and now that we’re past the newborn phase, I’m finally feeling ready and able to take on the design of his room again.

I still think the zebras could have led to a great nursery, but it wasn’t right for our house.

Starting on Calvin’s Nursery

Calvin is three months old and still sleeping in our bedroom, but I want to finish his nursery so it will be ready for him when we transition him to sleeping on his own. Let me give a quick recap here of how we created his room, which started as a kitchen that was leftover from when our house had been split into three apartments.

Second Floor Kitchen

Second Floor Kitchen

There was no stove or fridge, but the sink was still there. The hallway on the second floor was divided by a built-in next to the bathroom, and you had to walk through the kitchen to get from the front half of the house to the back. We opened the hallway back up, closed off a few doorways, added a new wall, and relocated one of the existing doors to create a new entrance for the room.

Removing the Hallway's Built-in Storage

The Hallway, Newly Opened Up

Hallway Progress

Framing for the New Hallway Section

This was all super-fun chaos to live through while very pregnant and with two little kids underfoot! But now the room is done, the wallpaper has been stripped, and the walls are primed, which brings us to where the room is today.

Kitchen to Nursery Conversion

The Nursery, Before

Calvin's Nursery, Primed

I have made a few choices for the nursery that I’m keeping in mind as I decide on a wall color. We’ve had a set of four prints by Ryan Kapp, 4 Seasons in Chicago, for years. They’re a funny size that don’t fit in standard frames, and I never had a specific spot for them so I hadn’t gotten them framed professionally. I want to hang them on the wall behind Calvin’s crib, so I finally brought the prints to a local frame shop and I’m looking forward to getting them back and putting them up in the nursery.

4 Seasons in Chicago, by Ryan Kapp

The crib will be the same black Jenny Lind that Eleanor and August slept in. I have a light blue rug already picked out for the room, and the bedding too (a polka dot crib sheet and a toddler duvet in this print).

The Nursery's Fabrics, Art, and Rug

The windows let in a ton of light, but with wood flooring, wood trim, and a wall of built-in wood cabinetry, choosing the wall color has been tricky. I like our blue/gray bedroom color, but I also used it in the hall and I don’t want to use it in yet another space. I’ve been really drawn to a mustard/ochre color, but it’s too similar to the wood with its yellow undertones. I’m also not looking for a typical baby pastel. I’m considering black (like the parlor downstairs), maybe a deep, mossy green (like this), or white. I just need to choose so that Calvin’s nursery can be painted!

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