Ann F.’s Whimsical Nursery Design Story, Part I

Time Several Hours

Budget $ $$$

Skill Level

WORDS BY The Havenly Team

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Published on August 8, 2016

Among new or soon-to-be-new-parents, the to-do list is king. Yet there’s a shining indulgence nestled within that list of otherwise mundane tasks: designing the nursery.

Because the nursery is special. It’s the room where a parent’s hopes and dreams will become real. It’s where they’ll make their first memories with their child. In some small way, it might even leave a mark on the kiddo’s personality.

So when we learned that Havenly designer Ann F. was designing her own nursery, we begged her to give us a sneak peek into the design process. Luckily for us, Ann was delighted to share her nursery vision. And like every diligent Havenly designer, she had even completed design concepts and renderings of the space-to-be.

Ann’s Classic, Collected & Whimsical Nursery Project, Part I:

A Havenly nursery design story

What was the first step in designing the nursery?

Figuring out the walls! I knew the design was going to revolve around what I did with the walls, whether it was wallpaper or paint. I decided to go with wallpaper because I haven’t done that in my home, and I wanted to step outside of my own design box.

The Wainscot panels are such an enchanting touch – are they original to the room or did you have them installed?

They were there when we moved in. Aren’t they wonderful? I believe that the previous owner installed them himself. He did most of the beautiful woodwork in our home. It was a big selling point for us.

A Havenly nursery design story

Which of the room’s existing elements were you most excited to design with?

The wainscotting and the windows. We live in a neighborhood with so many large trees, so when the windows are open, the tree wallpaper looks like it’s a continuation right into nature. I wanted our baby boy to experience color and wonder. I want him to have a a sense of wonder and a curiosity for adventure.

How would you describe the nursery’s style?

Classic and collected with a hint of whimsy. Is that a real style? Well it is now! Haha!

A Havenly nursery design story

How did you source your furniture?

I started looking at Pinterest to see what styles I liked in a nursery since this is our first child. In general I like really clean lined and neutral pieces of furniture and then I add in the character with accessories, art, etc. Our furniture is a mix of Pottery Barn Kids, Ikea, and items we already owned. The lamp is from Arteriors, and I have been eyeing it for 5 years just waiting for the perfect place. I love antiques, so I knew I wanted to incorporate some of those pieces such as the antique suitcases. I didn’t want the room to feel too “babyish”. I want him to be able to take some pieces with him to a big boy room, and should we have a girl at some point, I wanted the base of the room to be gender neutral. That’s why we decided on the white furniture with the white and black ceiling fixture and the layered rugs. With regards to the hamper, I wanted something that looked cool, but I wanted it to have a liner so that I could just throw the whole shebang into the wash. Style and practicality were the most important when creating this room.

What was your budget?


What was the biggest obstacle in this nursery design?

It’s a pretty small room, but we’re used to small spaces since we lived in Chicago for 8 years. We just had to be a little creative with the layout. Also, the shelf above the crib was daunting at first just because we were unsure what we could put on a shelf over the crib and not worry about anything falling. However, I have a very handy husband who secured everything safely to the wall.

Shop The Look


Marlow Convertible Crib – Pottery barn Kids $399

Merstun end Table – Wayfair $113

Lohals Rug – Ikea $80

Leather Pouf – CB2 $199

Shag Sexto Faux Sheepskin $850

Robert Abbey Brass Ceiling Light $335

In part two of Ann’s nursery design story, we’ll share photos of the completed room! Don’t miss out – Subscribe to our email list!