Designing Ada's Modern Nursery

Designing Ada's Modern Nursery

This past summer, in midst of all the 2020 wildness, our family grew a little bigger with the addition of our daughter, Adelaide Emerson Proby. Ada for short.

At the same time Ada was born, we were finishing up building our new home. Let me tell you: the nesting instinct is real. We spent the first couple of months after she arrived moving between different apartments waiting for the build to finish.  And what I wanted more than a laundry room or kitchen or the ability to hang clothes in an actual closet, was a room for my daughter.

As a new mom, you romanticize the nursery a bit. You imagine it as the magical space full of snuggles and sleeps and that little cooing sound only babies can make. I was so looking forward to creating a place for us to build first memories. This is where she will learn to crawl, walk talk. 

But when we finally got into our home, and as I'd gotten the tiniest bit used to motherhood, I also had a little more clarity to realize something very simple but true: babies are babies. As much as we wish, they don't fully yet appreciate how much time we spent picking out the perfect mauve-not-pink rug. They haven't fallen in love with tea parties or monster trucks, and they don't know if you went gender neutral or princess pink. They only know that they're hungry. Or tired. And most important, that you're there.

So creating a nursery, in so many ways, isn't really about designing a space for your baby. It's about creating a space for you—a comforting landing spot while the baby is crying (again), eating (again), or sleeping (again). You'll have the rest of their kiddo-hood to follow their princess whims and truck fantasies. For now, for this period, it's OK to create a space that inspires and revives you. Heaven knows as a parent to a newborn, you can use all the rejuvenation you can get.

For Ada's nursery, I wanted to create a room that was warm and feminine without being frilly. Typically, I love a good moody space and adore anything with a pop of black, but for this room I wanted to deviate and create something light and bright. A space full of adventure and budding memories and possibility. My husband and I love to travel, and I wanted the room to give her that same sense of exploration—even in her tiniest, earliest moments.

I also, wanted to invest in pieces that were transitional—furnishings I could repurpose later in other areas of the home. So many things for a baby are temporary and fleeting (and expensive!). How much better to discover pieces that can work for the long haul. 

We are still in the process of polishing off the space. We'll be adding wall paper behind the sofa, textured shades in the windows, and a few other tweaks I'll be sure to share. But in the meantime I wanted to include a little peek into our baby girl's world here. I hope you find some adventurous inspiration in its four walls. It's become such a respite for our family, and I'm so thankful for this little corner of our home. 



Nursery Selects

Mid-Century Convertible Crib
The heartbeat of the nursery: the crib. For this essential piece, I wanted something clean and basic but with a polished edge. While a crib is key, I wanted to make sure to invest in a convertible model that would grow as Ada grew. I found this Mid-Century Convertible Crib, which can transition from crib to toddler bed to full bed. I knew this would be a good, investment base that I could liven up in her different stages by refreshing linens, pillows, and details. 

Sonora Rocker
I don't love the look of traditional gliders. They feel a little heavy and conventional. They also are very rooted in "baby" phase, and I wanted something that was more transitional. The Sonora was the perfect fit. Warm and tailored, it could satisfy both my aesthetic and functional hopes. I added a plush pillow, throw, and a fur ottoman for comfort and a touch of texture. Also, who can resist a baby lamb?

Conan Accent Table
I was on the hunt for a side table for the rocker that could add a little personality, but would be substantial enough to serve as a landing spot for all the million random things you seem to need as a new mom. This has quickly become my favorite furniture piece in the room. It adds an adventurous flair that I wanted, and one that I knows will transition well to other areas of our home in the future. The dual levels is also surprisingly handy.

Prescott Sideboard
Storage is so key. Between diapers, wipes, books, toys, and the continual carousel of baby clothing, you are always up to your ears in small items. This sideboard had a lovely textured finish with the caning, but also was immensely practical from a storage standpoint. I popped some plastic storage containers with labels on the inside so I can easily shuffle between bows and hats to bloomers.

Pilston Sofa
This sofa has been an all-time favorite. A muted clay leather with a high back, it's comfortable, durable, and has already been around the block with our family for a while. When we were pulling together all the pieces for Ada's room, the earthy aesthetic felt just right. This sofa is discontinued, but this grey leather number could also do the trick.

Delaney Chandelier
This was my touch of whimsy. Something about having a daughter makes you want to believe in magic and delight, and this wooden floral chandelier felt like it captured all that joy in a way that was a beautiful and subtle statement.

Malina Rug
I knew I wanted a feminine touch in the room, but I also wanted to find something could satisfy this sensibility without being too frilly or dainty. The Malina Rug provided that feminine base perfectly. A soft dusty mauve with a subtle, vintage-style print. Soft enough for baby crawling, but not plush enough to lose a cheerio in the crosshairs. Win, win. 

Gathre Mat
Gathre might be my favorite brand I've discovered so far on this kids journey. I've had such a hard time understanding why more companies don't have a reiminaged approach to baby products. Gathre is exactly what I was hoping for. Something so practical, so functional that I'd use it every day, but also something that felt like it made sense in our home and existing life. I bought a Maxi Circle Mat to keep at the studio, and a Midi Mat to keep at the house. We tote them from room to room so there's always a good landing spot for our little one.

Saarde Baby Blanket
I love a good textile and was on the hunt for the softest baby blanket in a color palette that felt more neutral and clean. This was such a keeper, I ordered it in multiples. Even better news: they make adult products, too. We have one of their olive bed throws on the end of our master bed.

Gallery Frames
I figure if there's a place in the home to just go all out on the family photos, it's the baby's room. They are changing so much, and every moment (well, most moments) feel so fresh and tender. To elevate the gallery wall a touch, I went with uniform silver frames and black and white photos. I plan on swapping out photos progressively as Ada grows up, showing all our favorite memories from her sweet stages.

Kinetic Mobile
Since I went with more of a statement chandelier, I was on the fence about including a mobile. From a design perspective, you don't want too many competing things at the same sightline. But I love the movement and magic a mobile brings to a room. I found a beautiful brass, kinetic mobile and hung it a little less traditionally over the corner of the sofa. When Ada's fussing and I'm walking her around the room, she'll spin it with her little finger and her eyes will light up. (The one I bought is discontinued, but I linked a similar one here.)


* PS: If you're on the hunt for baby recs, check out our 16 Simple, Modern Essentials for the newborn.