Office-to-Nursery Makeover

I can’t believe I’m showing you this room.

I HATE this room.

It’s the middle room in our railroad apartment, and up until a few months ago was a sort of catchall storage room/office. It’s narrow, and pretty dark, and I tried all sorts of different things in it (including couches that never got sat on and shelving units that quickly became junk-depositories) before finally giving up on it and just letting Kendrick fill it with musical instruments and more or less shutting my eyes and covering my ears and singing “LALALA!” every time I passed through.


Narrow and dark though it may be, it technically counts as a second bedroom, and in Manhattan (and especially for the rent we’re paying), that is an extraordinary thing to have. So the moment we found out we were expecting, I immediately started making plans to transform this headache-inducing space into the nursery of my dreams.

I shot a segment on the redo with AOL and had been waiting for it to air, but I’ve been dying to show you pictures and finally got the go-ahead to do just that, so: here we go.

Up there, that’s the before.

Want to see the after?!?!?!?


I can’t tell you how much I love this room now, or how much it makes me feel centered and prepared for all the changes that are about to take place. I know, it’s just furniture…but the process of pulling together such a peaceful, beautiful space gave me confidence, and somehow made all this feel so much more real.

Here’s the inspiration board that my producer and I threw together before we got started.

I highly recommend doing this in advance of any major room overhaul – it can be as simple as paint swatches and a couple of pictures pulled from magazines (or you can do what we did and paste together images of the actual products we were thinking of using), and will do wonders in terms of giving you a sense of the overall look and feel of the space. For example, you may think that you want a bright rug…but then once you see the color juxtaposed against the chair you’ve chosen, it may just not work. And that’s a good thing to know before hauling large pieces of furniture up four flights of stairs. Just sayin’.

What we did:

– Added a rug for warmth and coziness, plus a dramatic light fixture to draw focus toward the center of the room.

– Replaced our rickety old CraigsList desk with a spiffy new corner desk and hung the instruments around it in order to streamline the work area and make it more efficient.

– Used wall decals (I love the one we chose from Wee Gallery) as an inexpensive way to add color to the room, and added a graphic black-and-white mobile as a modern alternative to more traditional styles.

– Rounded out the decor with some extra-personal touches, like an antique headboard we picked up on our honeymoon in Bali and a couple of paintings we did ourselves (not shown; we added those later).

– Made everything as functional as possible – storage under the crib, extra storage under the desk, shadowboxes that double as shelves (and have mirrored backs as a bonus, to make the room look bigger).

– Chose a warm honey wood color for the crib and changing table to keep things light.

– Created three distinct areas (Sleeping Area; Sitting Area; Working Area) to break up the room and make it seem larger.

– Focused on creating balance in the decor: we wanted the overall look to be bright and cheerful, but since the room is in the center of our apartment (we live in a railroad) we didn’t want to go too far in the “baby” direction – hence the pale greens, greys, and whites in semi-sophisticated patterns rather than, you know, rainbow-patterned sheeps and such.

More Shots:

Product Info:

Pottery Barn Kids Kendall Crib and Kendall Dresser & Changing Table Topper in Sun Valley Honey (color no longer available for Kendall Crib)

Antique desk chair (Salvation Army)

Antique Balinese headboard

Flea market books

World Market Duncan Corner Computer Desk and Jute Rug

Dwell Studio glider

West Elm Cluster Pendant and mirrored shadowboxes (no longer available)

HomeGoods storage baskets, side table, lamp, laundry basket, and bookends

World Market, Dwell Studio, West Elm & HomeGoods products generously provided to AOL/RG by manufacturer.

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