Truth be told… this nursery for Harriet is actually no longer. In the past few weeks she has moved into Eleanor’s big girl bedroom – now The Sister Room. But, as I am wont to do, I got all nostalgic and emotional about the passing of the baton. The end of an era. Don’t get me wrong – the girls sharing a bedroom together is great (fabulous!) but… it meant I waved goodbye to and diligently packed away all of the little treasures which made Harriet’s first bedroom of her very own. A nursery for ‘baby’ Harriet…
So before I did all that packing away and storing of memories and mementos, I needed the nursery documented. Not only the hard work of the replastering, the new cornice, the newly laid carpet, the behemoth effort of the new built in wardrobe… but all those hours spent in here feeding and feeding and feeding my little tongue tied Peach. The patting and shushing to sleep leaning over that cot. The endless (endless!) nappy changes on that change table. Actually, those are still happening in here as we kept the change table where it was!
For Harriet’s nursery, I ended up playing along to a loose moon and stars whimsical dreamy theme. Since before she was born I had envisaged the star lanterns hanging above her cot, with grey and white freshly painted walls and trim. We already had the Schmook’s artwork featuring a nighttime owl and moon (from Eleanor’s nursery, one fo the first ‘pink!’ things I added in this room) so I took my lead from there. Clouds, moons, stars, sleepy eyes… ironically enough for the baby who was allergic to sleep – ha!
The spare bed was always a feature in this room, originally when I planned Eleanor’s nursery I thought it may be handy if I ever slept in there…but I never have, even with Harriet who never slept (co-sleeping never worked either, not much worked!) Despite having never slept in the bed, now I can simply not imagine a nursery without a spare bed in it though. I highly recommend to new parents to keep the spare bed – often the spare bedroom becomes the baby’s nursery, that was the case for us, and the bed is so handy for dressing wriggly little bodies, putting piles of folded (and unfolded) clothes, nappies (I would lie a fresh nappy out on the bed and put the liner on it whilst Harriet was on the change table) , endless ‘things’ that need another surface to sit upon. At night I would feed Harriet on the bed, and it was an easy transition straight across to her cot. In such, I’ve never had a feeding chair in a nursery – more like a feeding bed! The bed has still been handy when we have guests, Harriet simply went into a portacot in our room, or even more handy to have a bed and a cot in the room when our besties who live in the Mallee come to stay, as they have a baby Harriet’s age too, so they’d just take over Harriet’s nursery. Easy. If you’re planning a nursery and can fit a bed in (this is a double), I highly recommend it. The bed itself is a gorgeous antique iron head and foot, which we got sandblasted and repainted white – it used to be a forest green.
The layout of the room works well, even with the cot sharing a wall with our lounge room! Living in a tiny house, my babies have just had to learn to live with a lot of noise. The cot itself, and the change table, were my sisters for her three babies. White, classic, practical, I’m not precious with them as they are very much handmedowns, perfect. On the change table I store cloth nappies, wipes, nappy rash cream, bottles (which Harriet never took!), nappy liners, the usual baby ‘stuff’. Special stuffed toys usually sit on the bed, along with the cloud and moon cushions. Now that Harriet is older she often sleeps with a few special toys, like her Lucy the lamb Cuddle and Kind toy, and a doll or two. I try hard for my girls not to have ‘special’ toys. They should all be well loved and well used. What’s the point otherwise? Handknitted bunnies by Grandi, Daddy’s worse for wear ‘Lamby’ he got in the UK, custom made doll’s for first Christmases, little ducks delivered to the hospital when Harriet was born – they all make the grade.
Adorning the nursery’s walls are some new and old treasures: the Schmook’s artwork, a Kmart ‘moon’, a handprinted watercolour banner with some rather apt words for our Harrigirl, some simple felt bunting in the rooms colourings, an Alison Lester original of ‘Noni the Pony’ (a gift from Matt’s parents when Harriet was born, Eleanor also has an Alison Lester print from ‘Kissed by the Moon’) and Harriet’s very special ‘possum print’ – a gift from her fairy godmother/scientist Aunty Louise on her baptism. The ‘Harriet’ wire word, wrapped in gorgeous Liberty floral lawn, was a gift from my Insta/blogging friend Jane.
The drawers I had grand plans to paint before Harriet was even born…but am quite glad I waited anyway, to paint them a very girly blush tone (a full blog post will be coming on how I went about this – my first foray into chalk paint!) The grey colour for the nursery was decided upon before Harriet was born, and I was well prepared to go down a navy and grey theme should the need arise – turns out it was pink again! Fine by this pink loving mama. The drawers themselves obviously serve their purpose, all those neatly folded singlets and jumpsuits in the top drawer in the early baby days – but also are another handy flat surface, I tried to keep the top of the drawers fairly clear in case I needed another ‘spot’ during a tricky nappy change scenario! The Ikea shelves (which used to feature in my sewing room and were one of those ‘Ikea bargain corner’ discoveries) found a new lease of life in a nursery. Shelving is important in a nursery I think, you seem to accumulate a lot of special little treasures and trinkets, it’s nice to have somewhere to display them – as well as put them up high once the baby starts growing and grabbing! Now in the girls new room I am missing the handy shelves atop the drawers…
Harriet’s nursery was a lot of things: whimsical, dreamy, a bit calming, a bit pretty…but mostly, and most importantly, it was very functional. Feeding on the bed to the cot, cot to the change table, storage for the necessities, wall space for the pretties – it served lots of purposes and was exactly what I had in my mind for a baby girl’s grey and white nursery. I didn’t want to go too bananas with a ‘theme’ – so the stars and clouds and moons dotted about were a simple touch to tie it all together, without even realising I was really doing it!
Now my ‘baby’ isn’t such a baby anymore, she’s growing up and her needs are changing. Soon she will be out of a cot, won’t need a change table anymore – I don’t think I can quite even wrap my head around that (but let’s not get ahead of ourselves…) But for a short while in time, she was a baby. I have the photos and blog post of her nursery to prove it. A sweet little baby girl with spiky hair and a wicked chortling laugh, who had an equally sweet little space to call her own. Even if she won’t ever remember her nursery, I’m so very glad that I took the time and stretched some creative muscle to build a special sanctuary just for Harriet – because: second child syndrome! It would have been very easy to not make an effort for a nursery for Harriet…but I’m so very pleased that I did. A place where she sought comfort from me time and time and time again, within the (now insulated!) walls of this room holds such special memories for me with my girls, but that would have been the case whether there were hanging star lanterns or perfectly placed cushions, or not.
Star lanterns above cot: local $2 shop / Star light: Adairs / Owl light (on shelves): Bunnings / Owl light (on wall): Kmart / Owl and moon artwork: Schmooks / Noni the Pony print: Alison Lester / Possum print: Block Party Prints / Watercolour banner: Daydreams and Dandelions / Sleepy eyes: Pretty in Pine / Liberty wire ‘Harriet’: Planet Joy / Felt bunting: Kmart / Change table mat cover: Baby Bunting / Change table storage boxes: Kmart / Pink moon cushion: H&M / Cloud cushion: Kmart / Doll (in cot): Piggy Hates Panda / Lamb toy (in cot): Cuddle and Kind / Pig toy (in cot): Ikea / Cot doona cover: Kmart / Leopard print shoes: Fawn and Finch / Yellow shoes: / Tan shoes: Hubble and Duke / Pink blouse (hanging): Next / Shelf (on drawers): Ikea