Calvin's Room The Victorian 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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  • Sara
    January 21, 2015 at 8:19 am

    Please let us know if you find out the name of that green color – cause it is gorgeous! I think it would look great with the build-ins – the rug, maybe not so much. Good luck finding that perfect color!

  • Laura @ Rather Square
    January 21, 2015 at 8:44 am

    I’m not sure about the black wall color with a black crib, maybe more contrast would be better. I do like that mossy green! Or the classic white that you can accessorize with anything.

  • Donna
    January 21, 2015 at 9:12 am

    How about a color that’s a little more cheerful than black or olive drab? He’s a baby! Let him paint his room black when he’s 15. ;-)
    How about the bright green of the background in the Summer Chicago picture?

  • Katie
    January 21, 2015 at 9:43 am

    I agree with Sara, that green is gorgeous and could be very versatile – but I’m not sure how it’d look with a sky blue rug. The room is coming together wonderfully! I can’t wait till the furniture is moved in to see it all together.

  • Romy
    January 21, 2015 at 9:50 am

    Go white!! No doubt!

  • Jane
    January 21, 2015 at 9:53 am

    I seriously love an unexpected color in a nursery! The black or mossy green with all the lovely built-ins would be gorgeous!! And he is a baby. He will probably love anything ;)!

  • Kelly H
    January 21, 2015 at 10:01 am

    Next time you are at Lowes, check out an Eddie Bauer Valspar color called Pecan. We ended up using it in our bedroom and I love it. We have similar colored dark bamboo floors and the Pecan looks so nice with it. When we first painted it I hated it because it looked really “fleshy” but once it really cured, I loved it. It is warm and cozy yet seems to be a good neutral base for color. And it isn’t babyish at all.

    Just a suggestion. I’m sure Benjamin Moore or another paint would have a similar match too.

  • Lisa
    January 21, 2015 at 10:04 am

    I couldn’t imagine your black walls would look so fabulous! I’d say go for the mossy green and the other items in the room will brighten it up.

  • Betsy C
    January 21, 2015 at 10:05 am

    That green is luscious! Moss green and light blue/sky blue look incredible together (think the sky and a dark forest). Go for the green!

  • Jessica
    January 21, 2015 at 10:12 am

    I vote green. Your home is such a wonderful balance between deep rich colors and soft light ones that I feel like the green would fit in wonderfully and balance out the lighter color in the hall. Plus I like to live vicariously through your bold styling choices.

  • Adrian
    January 21, 2015 at 10:16 am

    I love both colors, but weirdly am drawn to the black. I like the idea of the crib blending with it, especially since the duvet is pretty busy.

  • Stephanie
    January 21, 2015 at 10:19 am

    The mossy green, hands-down! It would look amazing with the wood and not compete with the bright textiles and art.

  • Jen
    January 21, 2015 at 10:58 am

    So many changes in that room! I love the idea of the mossy green. It would look so good with the woodwork and the art. Lucky Calvin!

  • DDU
    January 21, 2015 at 11:05 am

    I must be the only one who looked at that green and thought: Wow! Same color as baby poop!

    • Making it Lovely
      January 21, 2015 at 11:07 am

      Nah. Baby poop is much closer to the mustard yellow I was considering!

  • Jess E
    January 21, 2015 at 11:43 am

    I’ve had that same moss green picture pinned for a bit. I love the color of it in shadow, but didn’t like how it looked when the sun hit in (in other pictures from the designers site). If you can find a color that mimics the green velvet in shadow, you’d be my hero forever.

  • Carol Paczolt
    January 21, 2015 at 11:45 am

    Love the chandelier and its beautiful color.

  • AnnMarie
    January 21, 2015 at 12:12 pm

    My vote is for the green – with plenty of light, it would look so gorgeous with the warm wood tones, and it’s an unexpected choice for a nursery. I can’t wait to see how this space comes together, especially those prints, they look great!

  • Ellen
    January 21, 2015 at 12:30 pm

    Go with the dark moss green. I painted my nursery the same color, and I have light sky blue accents as well as mustard yellow accents, so I can confidently say it would look great with the other items and woodwork you have.

  • Megan C.
    January 21, 2015 at 12:42 pm

    I vote white and let the items in the room do the talking. Farrow and Ball has some beautiful whites.

  • ryan
    January 21, 2015 at 12:46 pm

    Those old walls are giving me flashbacks to the demo work we did in our house. I really like those prints although I’m no longer convinced we have four seasons in Chicago. What does the sun feel like? I have no idea.

  • Elaissa
    January 21, 2015 at 1:21 pm

    I like the moss green the best, probably because I am gravitating towards green in general right now. I painted my son’s nursery in grey and accented it with bold rainbow colors with real/turquoise as the main accent. Love the idea on non-traditional nurseries! Have you ever used American Frame to frame your own artwork?
    I love them and have been using them for years to frame all sorts of stuff!
    Looking forward to seeing what paint color you pick!

  • Tina Slocum
    January 21, 2015 at 2:37 pm

    When you create a color theme, it always looks so amazing when the process in finished. You really have the ability to envision a room. I also love that you make choices based on your own taste, rather than being a sheep in the designer/decorator also think and create outside of the box, yet make it all work in a Victorian.
    The moss green is divine. I love the depth and way the color envelopes the room.
    Black in a nursery just seems too serious and defeating for a liitle chap. But, if anyone can pull it off,it’s you.

  • Christine@DecorumDIYer
    January 21, 2015 at 2:56 pm

    I am loving everything about this. I must say, I am in love with the idea of the dark, mossy green.

  • Nicole
    January 21, 2015 at 3:31 pm

    I love the mossy green and I think with light blue it would be great. BUT… I think that the art you’ve chosen and the bedding is much more modern and pop-arty. That mossy green seems a more traditional color, which would be great for a boys room with Pendleton blankets and a retro scouts type theme, or maybe Ralph Lauren preppy style. I just think that the art dictates and so the paint needs to be a bit more primary colored. My first instinct was to suggest taking the blue-gray that you like and finding a deeper version of that color. maybe something like one of these
    I think it would look really good with ochre yellow and woodwork;

  • G
    January 21, 2015 at 4:43 pm

    i love that you kept the beautiful woodwork. We have built our dream home and my husband is painstakingly assembling all of the door and window trims complete with headers and mouldings. If you choose a green, pull out one from your prints in ord to tie everything together. Such a beautiful space for s nursery!

  • Aoife
    January 21, 2015 at 5:09 pm

    I had real reservations about your black walls downstairs until I saw them and suddenly I wondered why I have never known anyone to paint walls black in Ireland. It looks great. But you probably get much brighter light than we do here. With all our grey skies it would probably lead us to a national depression if the trend took off here! Now I do love the look in the parlor and I do think moody can be nice in a nursery too, pastels are too overdone I think but I wouldn’t choose black. I just think it would be too dreary for a nursery. I think white would make the crib pop and highlight all the other great colours you’ve chosen so well.

  • Amie
    January 21, 2015 at 7:37 pm

    Looks great! It will be wonderful to see the room put together. I’m really glad you ended up creating this room as the nursery for him. You have done a great job keeping your changes to the house with the integrity of it.

  • Sarah
    January 21, 2015 at 10:39 pm

    I like the idea of navy blue or a teal color! I’m excited to see what you end up doing!

  • Michelle
    January 22, 2015 at 2:02 am

    My parents painted their guest room a mustardy color that worked surprising well with their cedar trim – sadly I don’t know the exact shade. I also think that deep olive is great. And if you are interested in a deep teal/navy blue we just painted our bedroom Ben Moore Blue Danube (but with glossy white trim) and am loving it – but I suspect between our lighting and trimwork, the color might be quite different.

  • Katrina Berlin Design
    January 22, 2015 at 8:10 am

    I LOVE the idea of the bold green with the sky blue rug and have wanted to do a room in those colors for a while… It is a classic outdoor combinationI think – sky blue and grassy green. The white would work too, there is a lot of colors and that would allow them to pop. But the green, that would be a bold, fun choice – I say go bold!

  • Erin
    January 22, 2015 at 10:12 am

    Oh! Do black! It looks so lovely with the wood. And seriously, nurseries are basically for sleeping, right? A dark cozy place to snooze would just be perfect. Though would you then paint the crib a different color?

  • Stephanie
    January 22, 2015 at 10:29 am

    We inherited kitchen cabinets in the home we bought that are about the same color as the woodwork in your room. We painted the walls in Behr’s Swiss Coffee – a creamy white that plays well with the oak without making it look even more orange. If you want a true white, you may not like it, but it really works with the oak.

  • JC
    January 22, 2015 at 11:03 am

    I love all the primary shades in your nursery choices! Maybe a yellow accent wall? Or even a navy accent wall similar to Eleanor’s room? I’m sure it’s easy to conflict with the wood and maybe an accent wall can give you color but allow it not to be overdone.

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  • mary beth
    January 22, 2015 at 1:32 pm

    how about the blue/gray on every wall except one. And one wall a black blackboard wall and draw some trees and birds and Calvin (on a street sign or something) and cute stuff like that. The girls can contribute to his art wall too. Personally, not liking the moss green with the wood unless the wood was white. Reminds me of my Catholic grade school back in the day.

  • Kristi
    January 22, 2015 at 1:51 pm

    White. Please do white.

  • Amanda
    January 22, 2015 at 6:07 pm

    What about an inky navy? There’s a bit in the fabric with the houses, and I think it could be a nod to downstairs but an exact repeat. I think the prints would look great against it, too. I know whatever you choose will be great!

  • Amanda
    January 22, 2015 at 6:09 pm

    Doh! Forgot about E’s room! Well, I vote for the green then. Maybe a little more olive-y shade?

  • Leah
    January 22, 2015 at 7:25 pm

    Maybe a purple/brown-gray? I’m looking at the bottom strip of the summer scene in your set. It would tie in nicely with the purples and pinks in the duvet…also works with your brown chair. The right one would be great with the blue rug too.

    • Leah
      January 22, 2015 at 9:03 pm

      Actually, it’s the ground color in the “spring” picture.

  • Jessica Hite
    January 24, 2015 at 6:23 pm

    I LOVE the green! It would make all of the colors in the prints and the light blue rug just pop with freshness! Did I miss your choice of window treatment? Maybe a black & white stripe (like the pillow) roman shade?

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