Calvin’s Nursery

The nursery is ready! Let’s take a look, shall we?

Calvin's Nursery | Making it Lovely

The white walls are perfect. They keep the room from feeling weighed down by all of the wood, but there’s still plenty of color in the art, rug, bedding, and toys.

Calvin's Crib Bedding | Making it Lovely

The nursery was once a kitchen, from when our house had been split up into apartments. When we first started converting the space back into a bedroom, I was a little worried that the cabinetry would still feel kitchen-like, but now I’m so glad we kept them! I haven’t chosen shades yet for the windows, and I may make or buy a garland to hang over them, but even without those elements the built-ins add a lot of charm to the room.

Calvin's Nursery with Wood Built-ins| Making it Lovely

The changing pad is at counter-height (hello, former kitchen), and there’s plenty of room for everything I need within reach. The drawers below function as the dresser, a diaper pail and laundry basket are off to the right, and we have tons of storage. Board books, cute toys, and a few decorative pieces are displayed in the glass-front cabinet (which has a light inside, at the top).

Calvin's Nursery with Wood Built-ins| Making it Lovely

I wanted to be sure to include the the felt flowers that Eleanor made for Calvin, and my motto during pregnancy is in the nursery too. They’re to the left of the changing pad, by the lamp.

Nap All Day, Sleep All Night, Party Never

As much as I like the built-ins now though, they do take up full wall. The room is 10’x12′ but the floor space is only 10’x10′ because of them. A rectangular rug would have been OK in the room, but I was really hoping for something square and I found the 8’x8′ sky blue Eskimo rug at Lulu & Georgia, which they kindly provided for us. It isn’t super plush because it’s a flat weave, but it isn’t scratchy like some flat wool rugs can be, so it’s a nice surface to play on.

Play Table in Calvin's Nursery | Making it Lovely

Calvin's Nursery | Making it Lovely

The glider and ottoman are tucked into the little nook between the doorway and the built-ins. I thought about moving the diaper pail for the photos, but it’s a necessary part of the room and that’s where it is, so it stayed. It’s close to where I sit with the baby, but there’s no odor other than when you open it briefly to throw something in.

Nursery Glider | Making it Lovely

I had wanted to use the rectangular wooden play table that we’d had in Eleanor’s room at the old house, but it was too large so I grabbed the round one from the playroom upstairs. I know that it looks dangerously close to the radiator, but it’s fine. For whatever reason, that one doesn’t get as hot to the touch as the rest do (though the room stays comfortably warm). I had a bunch of art to choose from for that wall, and I thought about shelving too, but in the end I decided to hang that round mirror. It used to be in my office, in the old house, and I hadn’t found a good spot for it in this house until I tried it in the nursery. Also, I found the zebra on clearance and bought it as a nod to what the nursery could have looked like, had I gone with my original plan! (Which I still think would make for a very cute nursery.)

Play Area in Calvin's Nursery | Making it Lovely

There are baskets to the left of and beneath the crib are for toys. The room is definitely not wanting for more storage, but I think it’s nice to have some toys out and within easy reach rather than hiding all of them behind closed doors. Calvin is just starting to play with them (mostly bringing everything he can get his hands on to his mouth), but he’ll be interested in everything soon enough. Eleanor and August have been coming in to check everything out too.

Baskets Beneath the Crib | Making it Lovely

The crib is the same one that Eleanor and August both slept in, and I made that crib skirt when August was a baby. I bought the set of screenprints by Ryan Kapp five years ago at Renegade Craft Fair, and am glad I finally found just the right spot for them and had them framed.

Calvin's Nursery | Making it Lovely

So nice to have a sweet room of Calvin’s own, out of what was once a weird pass-through former kitchen. Yay!

Calvin's Nursery | Making it Lovely

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A Discount from Lulu & Georgia

They would like to offer my readers 20% off their order, from now until February 18, with the code makingitlovely20. Thanks, Lulu & Georgia!

Your Thoughts on Original vs. Mass-Produced Art?

I’ve talked a little about the vintage painting over my fireplace before. I like it, but it’s not my favorite. It doesn’t ‘speak to me’ or remind me of my time in Venice (seeing as I’ve never been). If anything, it reminds me of the painting that hung above my grandparents’ sofa. They had probably bought it in the late 60s or early 70s, and it was mass-produced to look like it was hand-painted. It was a cityscape, of Venice or maybe some vaguely Italian city, and it plugged in so the lights in the buildings’ windows lit up. It was pretty tacky, but also pretty fantastic.

I know that association doesn’t say much for my painting. I went for it because I liked the look well enough though, and I wanted a painting over the fireplace as opposed to a print or a mirror. It was the right size, color, and price, and I liked the way it was framed. I wouldn’t hesitate to sell it if the day comes that I find something else to replace it, but I’m not in a hurry.

Vintage Painting of Venice

I was walking through the art selection in a big store recently and I started thinking about how people approach art for their homes — more specifically, paintings, not prints. I do have some original art that I’ve slowly collected over the years, but paintings are expensive. I’m not saying they aren’t worth it (because artists should value their time and expertise and charge accordingly), but the fact is that they are typically pretty pricey and therefore often out of reach, especially for larger works.

Big box stores make art more affordable, but there is sometimes a snobbish stigma attached and I’m curious about it. Is it that you’re spending your money at a catalog or chain store rather than supporting an independent artist through a direct purchase? Is it that you may have the same art hanging in your home as many other people? Stores and sites like Z Gallerie, Ballard Designs,, One Kings Lane, Target, Crate & Barrel, Home Decorators Collection, and Pottery Barn all carry paintings printed on canvas that are mass-produced but aim to look like hand-painted originals. Some can be pretty generic, but there are plenty of interesting options out there too. How do you feel about them? Tacky or tasteful, or does it vary case by case?

It’s easy to advise people to eschew faux-original paintings and only buy the real thing (whether vintage or new), but that’s often easier said than done. So if you’re not a fan of mass-produced art, what do you choose? Will you save up until you can afford a one-of-a-kind (directly from the artist, through a gallery, or through sites like Etsy, Chairish, or Serena & Lily)? Paint something yourself? Search for a well-priced find at the flea market or a student art show? Maybe you tend to choose something else (like a mirror), go without entirely, or you make a distinction between canvas prints offered by independent artists vs. those from big box stores? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Progress in the Nursery

Calvin’s nursery is coming along! It’s fully functional now, but there are pictures to be hung, toys and books to be brought in, and maybe a light to deal with. We’re thinking of putting a ceiling fan in the room eventually, and I haven’t decided if I should take down the pendant that’s in the room now, or just leave it until we’re ready to switch it out. There are three recessed lights in the ceiling, so we wouldn’t be in the dark either way.

Parts for the Crib

The crib we’re using for Calvin’s nursery is the same one that both Eleanor and August slept in. It had a drop side originally, but we converted it to be stationary back in 2010 amidst massive recalls and changes in regulations. It’s safe and sturdy, and I still love the look of it.

The newly assembled crib was a novelty for the Balch children!

The Crib!


I’m wondering if I should bring in some shelving or bins for open toy storage. The room is definitely not lacking for storage with all of the built-ins, but it feels a little funny to be hiding everything away behind closed doors. Maybe a basket or two is enough though? It all spills out into the room as they get a little older anyway — maybe I should enjoy everything being out of sight while I still can.

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