Monday, July 7, 2014

Rerun's Room

Decorating a nursery is one of those supposed-to-be-fun-pregnancy-tasks that is really loaded for me. I never got to fully decorate Eliza's nursery. I was SO excited to put it together. I had a plan in mind, I had bedding and wall art and furniture. We'd put the crib together and purchased the matching dresser/changing table and I had a vision of what it would all look like.

But my plan was to get everything washed and sorted and put together as soon as I was finished with classes that fall semester. And instead we lost her the week before the semester ended. The nursery was half unpacked and totally unfinished. When we came home without a baby, I wanted everything baby-related packed away and out of my sight as quickly as possible. (It didn't help, but at least it gave us something to do). 

When I was pregnant with Zuzu, I refused to set up a single thing before we came home from the hospital with a live baby. I think I finally did a load of laundry to wash some of the newborn clothes, but even that was done with a sense of trepidation. I didn't want to fall for the crazy idea that a pregnancy was going to actually result in a healthy, live baby. I'd acted on that assumption before, and look where it got me. When careful preparation resulted in the death of a baby, this time I had to do the opposite: prepare nothing, and then figure it out once we actually had a baby to bring home. (I know there's a logic lesson here about correlation vs. causation but TRY TELLING THAT TO MY RAGING PREGNANCY HORMONES).

Zuzu was born and that stuff that hippie moms say about how the baby doesn't need anything but a place to sleep and a boob turned out to actually be true. Zuzu slept in our room for the first several months, but I did put together a nursery for her. And really, it was the nursery I had envisioned for Eliza. Same paint, same rug, same yellow and light blue color scheme, same baby duck decorations inspired by the adorable quilt my Nana made. 

The nursery looked really cute when it was all completed, but it was always bittersweet for me to be in that room that Eliza never got to use. I was so very grateful that Zuzu was there, and yet I'll never be able to wipe out the memories of packing away baby things after the baby we'd wanted and loved and prayed for was inexplicably dead.

As much as I loved our little yellow bungalow, moving to a new house offered a fresh start for nursery decorating and I was happy to take advantage of that. I created a nursery just for Zuzu, as bright and sweet as our second baby. We used the same furniture and I re-hung all of my favorite and most sentimental nursery art, but the arrangement and color scheme were different, and this nursery was color-coordinated to match the quilt Nana made just for her (seen here on Nana's lap).

I knew the moment we found out about Rerun that I wasn't going to be ready to transition Zuzu out of her nursery. After all, she's only been able to use it for just over a year! We're not ready to try the big-girl bed thing--not when she's sleeping so well and is still safely contained in the crib. I also knew that we'd want Rerun close to us for the first several months--partly because I like having the baby within an arm's reach when I wake up and want to know s/he is still breathing, and partly because I'm lazy and don't want to have to get out of bed to nurse the baby in the middle of the night.

So I quickly rejected the idea of transitioning Zuzu to her big girl room this summer and instead decided that we would make the most of the little sitting-room space between our master bedroom and our closet. It's a small space where we had stuck a chair and a lamp, but we haven't actually used that space at all. We've talked about making it an exercise room, a small office, and even someday converting it to a master bath, but for now it's going to be Rerun's little room.

We won't need a crib (due to the bassinet-by-the-bed situation), so I'm putting a changing table/dresser, a rocking chair, a bookcase, a laundry basket, and a few baskets of toys in the space. Rerun can share closet space with us (since the master closet is so ridiculous) and we'll make adjustments as needed.

Here is the space in its previously hodge-podge state. Please note that I'm totally keeping it real and we haven't touched this room since we painted it before moving in. Alternatively, you may assume I think rooms look great "styled" with cleaning supplies on drawer-less dressers, vacuum cleaners left out, chairs that clash with carpet and wall colors, and polyester curtains that are actually offensively ugly:

This is the view of the little room (and our closet doors) from the master bedroom. You can see the big red chair (which will find a new home), the dresser, empty of its drawers, and the vacuum cleaner, bringing in the purple end of the color scheme. Also, the paint color in this space is the same as the master bedroom, which is NOT as green as it appears here, but is actually a very pleasing blue/green/gray. WTH, iphone?
Hideous curtains (I can't believe I've lived with these up for over a year--they were left by previous owner and I've wanted to replace them since we moved in!) and comfy but not-color-coordinated chair.

Empty corner. I plan to put the bookcase where the vacuum is sitting. (The vacuum actually lives in a closet, I just felt like photographing it for the pleasure of the internet. You're welcome.)

View of the master bedroom (and half-ass made bed) from the little room. You can see my reflection in the mirror and the closet doors are directly behind me. The color of the wall by the dresser mirror is more accurate. It's Sherwin Williams Sea Salt.
Now we're looking forward to Rerun's expected arrival (in FOUR SHORT WEEKS OMG) and I'm trying to balance my superstitious anxiety (Don't prepare anything--it worked last time and you don't want to jinx that) with the more practical reality (Assuming things are likely to work out this time around, do you really want to be scrambling to do laundry and set up a nursery when you could just be soaking up a sleepy newborn--or chasing an active two-year-old?).

At the same time, I'm making an effort to be frugal (yeah... guess we'll be living with that teal carpet for a while...) and versatile with what I put in this space as it's a temporary situation and I expect we'll be shifting things around somewhere between 6 months and a year from now (and maybe getting new carpet or refinishing the hardwoods hiding underneath?). 

This means that my requirements for furnishing decorating this space are as follows:
- I want pieces that would work in other places in the house, should we decide to do something completely different with this space later.
- I don't want to spend too much money because GAH two kids in daycare (see carpet issue).
- I want the space to blend with our bedroom so that it's not jarring or ugly.
- I still want it to feel like a "special" little nook I'm creating just for Rerun.

So far, that means that I plan to use a regular dresser and having it double as a changing table (which I think is a brilliant idea anyway and really what I should have done for Eliza/Zuzu). I bought one for $60 off Craigslist and repainted it with Annie Sloane chalk paint. I still need to finish that project (I'm going to lightly distress it before waxing) but I'll post about that later this week.
This is the BEFORE.
In addition to the dresser, we were given a Dutailier glider & ottoman that is by no means new or exciting, but it has been very well cared for, is neutral-colored, and is a nice size for the small room. I ordered a tall, narrow bookcase (from Target, the same line as our nightstands) to put in one corner that I expect will mostly hold baskets/accessories for now, but can obviously be repurposed later. I picked up a small side table for $10 at an estate sale (and painted it to match the dresser). And I have a laundry basket with a lid that can sit in one corner. 

I still need a rug, a lamp, and curtains, plus some art for the walls. I hope to have the time and energy and optimism to seek those things out before the end of this month. And of course I'll post pictures as the room comes together (if only to prove to the internet that I actually have better taste than the current photos of this room would suggest). 

There's something really scary about setting all this up before the baby is here, but I really would like the experience of bringing a baby home from the hospital to a room that is all ready to go. It seems like such a simple thing, but it's something that I will never take for granted.


  1. I'm sure it will be beautiful! I know it takes a lot for you to be able to do this.

  2. Good idea. I'm also in no hurry to rush Frostina out of her room or her crib. I plan to keep her contained for as long as possible.

    I have been doing a bit more prep for this new baby but like you I still have my hesitations. I have painted the room but the furniture won't arrive until after she does. And really I only painted because we just moved into our new house and I was painting all the rooms. Somehow it still feels like tempting fate.

    I have yet to wash clothes but I'm 37 weeks now so I will probably wash at least enough to bring to the hospital. Ugh, this is all still so hard.

    Hang in there. We both only have a few more weeks to go before we are balancing life with active toddlers and sweet squishy newborns.


  3. I love your little nook. I am going through your archives now to see how you've survived these pregnancies. Can't wait to meet this new little one:)

  4. As you know I was able to prepare a nursery for Mary which was special and I'm glad I could (emotionally) and glad I did (logistically) despite her being in our room for nearly three months.

    I'm excited to see this little space for rerun. And excited to hear your thoughts on the Annie Sloane chalk paint!

  5. I can't wait to see the after pictures!! I'm sure it will be wonderful.

  6. This nursery topic is something I think about a lot. I hand't prepared one when we lost L, but I had a bunch of stuff for it, including a cradle my Dad made for her. I think I'll be doing what you did with Zuzu and waiting until I have actually given birth to a living baby... it is just too much emotionally to handle (rational or not). I'm looking forward to seeing Rerun's new digs!