Today we are introducing a floral glam nursery for a pretty wonderful family. Sara Sugarman (founder of Lulu and Georgia) was pregnant with her first baby (a lucky little girl) and wanted a beautiful, happy, space in which to welcome that little dumpling home. I love designing nurseries (especially with like-minded design-oriented folk like Sara) so I jumped on the job pretty fast. Nurseries are my favorite rooms to design: they are so easy and fun. Sure, at times they have less decisions to make but they are always full of happiness, love and joy and the functional needs are easily addressed. I love this room, and hopefully y’all do to.
Here’s what the room looked like before:
It was their home office, obviously with tons of potential. It’s big, has a huge, pretty window and lots of built-in storage. She wanted a mix of regency and traditional, with pops of whimsy and she didn’t mind pushing it and doing something bold. She knew she wanted coral-y pinks and greens – a color palette we couldn’t be more excited about (and probably heavily influenced Elliot’s nursery which you will see next week).
With some direction and a color palate picked out, our amazing lead designer over here, Ginny, got to work pulling together an inspiration board – what we like to call ‘a look and feel’, calling out some pieces or ideas that we wanted to pitch to her.
Once she approved the general direction of what we had showed her, we got to work pulling actual product. The first thing that we needed to lock down was the wallpaper. We sourced and scoured the internet and found many florals that we liked, and then we realized that Sara has a whole surface design team at Lulu and Georgia and one of them (in this case Samantha Santana) could create a custom paper (which is of course available now at Lulu and Georgia). So why not do something totally new and unique?
We showed her some inspiration photos and she came back with this:
We liked it but for all four walls we thought that the peacock would be a bit too big/busy/distracting. We liked the florals though so we told her to go in that direction yet make it feel slightly more graphic and modern (so no aged paper). She came back with this revision:
This felt much closer to what we were thinking. It’s modern and graphic, yet had a definitely organic feminism about it. We knew there would be a lot of white in the space so we decided to go with it and put it on the pink background – which was certainly a bolder move but one that I’m so glad we did.
Once the wallpaper was figured out we pulled together the rest of the space.
This design plan and process takes a lot of back and forth, and what you see below is the final three mood boards. The truth is we probably have 25 different versions of each board before we even pitch one to a client, and in this case we edited this board three times. We trash most of them, but still had these three that were good enough to present to the client (and you).
Although we get approval on a mood board and products, often the pieces still change even after a final product board is approved. This happens because we might order a sample of something (like the rug) and realize the color is different or perhaps something isn’t available or maybe we change the layout of the room and realize we need a smaller changing table. Point is – we play and generally the overall style doesn’t change but often the individual pieces do.
As we were sourcing and coordinating the above product we started on what to do with the cabinet nook that clearly was the perfect place for a built-in.
This is where the story gets sad and uncomfortable. Alright… Sara, her huband, and their child are in a rental. Splurging on the wallpaper was warranted because Lulu and Georgia could sell it and we knew this would be professionaly photographed and would get lots of press love. But obviously nobody wants to spend a lot of money on things they can’t take with them. So when it came to the built-in we wanted to do it the least expensive as possible. Here’s some advice – TRY HARD NOT TO DO A BUILT-IN ON THE CHEAP. I estimated that a proper cabinet dude would cost $1200 – $1500, so we asked a furniture dude I know and he quoted $700 for the job. He had done one job for me before and I really liked him personally. So we said yes and he produced bench #1.
He had yet to add the drawers but I stopped him right there as the quality was already shoddy and you can’t do drawers in a shoddy way. Drawers and doors are hard – CABINETS ARE HARD. This is why there is a whole custom cabinet profession out there. You can paint your own walls, you can change our your own faucets, but you can’t build your own cabinets with working doors and drawers. So we cancelled this dude and hired Ramon, our cabinet dude who does impeccable work to do the job. He quoted $1500 and we said yes, just do it.
Since we stopped him half way through the job and he didn’t finish the built in completely the question becomes who pays for that $300 for the initial framework he built for the bench? I recommended the first guy so I felt like it was my fault, but I had told Sara that and we all knew that you get what you pay for. She knew there was a risk and she signed off on that risk. But I felt really bad – I knew we should have just hired a good person in the first place. So, I told Sara I would cover it and of course she was like ‘Absolutely not. I’ll Cover it!!!’ and now I don’t remember who actually did – I think we split it. I know I keep threatening to write a post about who pays for design mistakes (like these) but I’m still working on what the answer is (but getting closer).
The point to disclosing the built-in mistake is so you guys learn a few things:
1. You get what you pay for. Every now and again it pays off and you find a gem of a vendor (see story below), like a carpenter who is just not charging enough. But typically if it’s cheap, it’s CHEAP.
2. For complicated custom work where labor and expensive materials are involved, get a few quotes if you don’t have a go-to vendor or someone highly recommended. Then look at their work, and then choose based also on who was the nicest to work with and seems the most on top of it.
I recently received three different quotes for us to add a teeny-tiny bathroom in our guest suite downstairs. One was $25k, one was $11k and one was $7k. I had worked with the $7k dude before and I liked him a lot. He is always affordable, courteous and very fast. Was it the best work ever? Nope, but it was always pretty darn good. I took the risk and went with him … and it turned out AWESOME. So every now and again you are surprised which then makes you ballsy and take more risks, which ultimately fail. Hopefully the bathroom doesn’t fall apart next year …
Here is what $1500 gets you:
A beautiful built-in bench with stunning dovetail drawers and detailing. Nice job, Ginny for designing and managing that project. In case you were wondering those simple brass knobs are from Schoolhouse Electric.
Ginny also convinced me to paint the cabinets that very light green paint color. They were beige and needed to be freshened up but I have to admit I was skeptical about the green. It looks so soft and pretty and keeps that side of the room from looking and feeling too stark.
Now for the rest of the room:
It’s a floral wonderland that feels modern and young, but old hollywood enough to work in their regency-style apartment (and Sara’s style). We went with white furniture to keep it feeling open and bright, since the walls were busier. We loved the chartreuse yellow in the wallpaper and wanted to bring more of that into the room – plus this pink/chartreuse is a color combo that we are obsessed with right now. Those curtains (and the bench cushion) were custom from velvet that we sourced from Mood Fabric. We bought yardage and had her friend sew them instead of having them professionally sewn. Typically having them sewn is $80 + the cost of lining, but lining isn’t always absolutely necessary and you can take fabric yardage to a dry cleaner and often they’ll sew it into panels for half the price.
They came back longer than we expected, but we actually were into the puddle and thought that it suited the style of the room.
The campaign changing table was one that Sara had been eyeing for a while. It’s also just a dresser if you don’t need a changing table – the top is removable.
Inside that nook we added gold plug-in sconces with pink cords so it could be a reading nook, and also to pull light over there as I hate half lit rooms. Here is a tip – Lights should be evenly peppered around your room – and the more fabric shades the better as those create diffused and ambient lighting in the space.
As I was designing this I was also designing mine so there are a lot of color similarities and it was hard not to do the exact same thing twice (I didn’t, don’t worry).
There you can see the wallpaper up close. Samantha and Ginny did a beautiful job coming up with the perfect pattern and repeat.
The rug is from Lulu and Georgia and its so pretty. It’s a soft pink Persian style rug that will last forever.
The bookshelf is a simple inexpensive piece from Target. We had intentions of painting the back or putting it on feet or doing something to dress it up, but then it just looked good as is.
We accented the room with gold and rose gold – a perfectly legal mix of metals. I promise.
The glider is from Land of Nod and I’m pretty sure that it’s the same as mine – except my base is different. It’s big, comfortable and while I love the look of my midcentury rocker in Elliot’s room, this glider is just insanely comfortable. And that adorably cute sheep mobile is from Etsy.
There you have it. A floral glam nursery that went from office to wonderful in just a matter of months.
Ready for some satisfying before and afters? Here you go:
Suited for grown ups before, but now happy for the whole family. (They moved both their offices to exterior spaces).
I LOVE this nursery and in fact was highly influenced it by it for Elliot’s (color-wise) which I can’t wait to show you next week. We are a bit nursery heavy over here, but It’s just what is happening in my life right now so therefore it’s reflected on the blog.
All in all, it was a wonderful project, the whole process went swimingly and the end result reflects the fun and joy we had creating it. Look at the happy family 🙂
But seriously, look at those two. Vivian is now 6 months, only a couple older than Elliot and I’m pretty sure she enjoys the heck out of this room.
Now you, too, can get this look:
1. Tasseled Throw Pillow (available in June) | 2. White Elephant | 3. Cacti Print | 4. Candle | 5. Wallpaper | 6. Bear Container | 7. Sconce | 8. Glider (no longer available in white and copper) | 9. End Table | 10. Gold Urchin | 11. Pink Fur Pillow | 12. Dresser | 13. Wire Basket | 14. Picture Frame | 15. Tie Backs | 16. Washed Velvet Curtains | 17. Gold Elephant | 18. Crib | 19. Gold Giraffe Figure | 20. The Best Is Yet To Come Print | 21. Herringbone Throw | 22. Bookcase | 23. Paint in Tunsgate | 24. Bree Madden Print | 25. Floor Lamp | 26. Leather Pouf | 27. Rug (available in June)
Craving more nursery eye candy? Be sure to check out: Charlie’s Nursery, Elliot’s Nursery Update, Elliot’s Nursery Moodboard Option , A Rejected Nursery Design, The Shelter Nursery, Rustic California Nursery, Oh Joy’s Nursery/Office, Modern Glam Nursery, Cup of Jo’s Nursery, Venice Loft Nursery
*A huge thanks to Ginny Macdonald for being the project manager and for leading the design on this nursery. She killed it, per usual.
**Photographs by Jess Isaac for EHD and Monica Wang Photography