baby hayes / the nursery design options

Even before we knew whether we were having a boy or a girl, I had already come up with a nursery design I loved (below). The throw pillow is actually what inspired the whole look, and was the first purchase I made for the nursery (I know - NOT clothes! Who am I?!). Without intending to, the look I gravitated toward most was gender neutral and full of happy, bright pops of color. 

colorwhirl nursery design

Going into the nursery design process, I knew I didn't want a traditional "theme" or for it to be traditionally "boy" or "girl". We are planning on having more than just one baby, so I want the big pieces function for both genders and most importantly, fit the aesthetic of the rest of our house - white, wood, calm blue tones, and texture. While I love nurseries that go all out with a theme, it just isn't us and I didn't want to open the nursery door every morning and be assaulted with colors that don't exist anywhere else in our home. 

Because I'm impatient and jump into passion projects headfirst, I was working on the nursery design at 15-18 weeks - prior to knowing what we were having. As soon as we found we were having a baby girl, I reassessed the original design (above) and pushed it a little further.

I loved the overall look of the original design, but wondered if a blue rug was too much color. I didn't want to overwhelm the room with pink but wanted to bring in a few pops of pink to match the pillow, the mobile, and her ever-growing wardrobe ;) (all thanks to generous gifts from friends and hand-me-downs from family! I have only purchased one pair if itty bitty jeans so far, and I'm pretty proud of it). I scoured the internet for baby blankets and quilts that fit our playful vibe, and for rugs that were neutral but cozy that would pair with the quilt or blanket / mobile / pillow.  

After feeling stumped for a week or two I finally found things I love, but now I can't decide and I need your help! While I'm leaning toward one look, I love them all for various reasons...

colorwhirl nursery designs

Each design incorporates all of the same pieces of furniture, swapping out the rug and the blanket / quilt. Here is a breakdown of each...

colorwhirl nursery design

Option A: This Serena & Lily blanket is sweet, and I love the color palette. This rug looks so cozy, and I love the oversized tassels at each end. It's neutral and will not only work in a boy or girl's room, but can grow with either - or move to the guest bedroom and still work with existing decor. It seems like the idea of having a shag rug in a baby's room is somewhat polarizing, as they can shed like crazy, toys can hide or get stuck (who has stepped on a LEGO before? The WORST), they're hard to clean, etc. Can anyone chime in and agree / disagree? I love the idea of a cozy shag rug for our little peanut to lay on and learn to crawl on, but I also don't want to be kicking myself as I vacuum the rug 10x a day in order to avoid shag hairballs everywhere.

colorwhirl nursery design

Option B: I adore this sweet little blanket from Spearmint Love, but it is a little pricy for a simple knit blanket. This rug was my favorite and was in the original design, but I'm hesitant for two reasons: the blue might bring in TOO much color, and the shag issues I mentioned above do worry me. 

colorwhirl nursery design

Option C: This quilt is from the same store as the pillow I am obsessed with; Petit Pehr. They work nicely together for obvious reasons and I love the playfulness of the patterns. The jute rug also features tassels / fringe (I guess it's an ongoing theme?) but is woven and MUCH easier to clean, avoiding all of the shag rug issues mentioned above. Although the texture is soft, I worry that the jute might not be very forgiving on little baby knees and elbows. 

colorwhirl nursery design

Option D: This Land of Nod quilt is ridiculously sweet and I love the playful floral illustrations, although I'm not sure how well the quilt pairs with the mobile. I love this flat weave wool rug because it brings a sense of maturity to the room, making it feel more seamless with the rest of the house. However, like option C, I worry that the wool texture won't be super cozy on baby knees and elbows, and the flat weave is really thin. 

Since I posted the nursery update, we've made some progress. The stain and (water-based) polyurethane are down and the trim and doors are painted. One step closer to a furnished room...!

Now that my hunt for nursery decor basics is over (for now), I'm pretty excited about the options above. Which one is your favorite, and why? Help us choose!

baby hayes / nursery update

As of this past Sunday, I am officially in my third trimester! One minute I'm ready, the next I'm not AT ALL. Thank goodness I still have three months to go - there's a LOT of preparation that needs to happen before November 6th. 

I mentioned in the last baby bumpdate post that the nursery plans are coming along, and I wanted to share our progress. Since we bought our house in 2012, the 3rd bedroom has never been used for anything purposeful. It was an office for a short period of time until it became the dumping ground for all things wedding... and never really recovered (even though we're nearing our 3rd wedding anniversary). Clearing the room out was daunting but it feels amazing to be able to leave the door open for once, and not have to shut the door out of embarrassment when guests come over. Finally, all of the bedrooms in our house have a purpose and I'm so excited to transform this underutilized space into a sweet, cozy nursery. 

This is what the room looked like when we bought the house (apologies for the low-res screen shot, it's from the house listing):

I painted the walls bright white (Benjamin Moore White Dove) and as I was painting it, I envisioned the room as the nursery. I was nowhere near pregnant but we always knew this room would be the nursery, so I painted extra meticulously for our future baby girl / boy. Here is what we are working with now:

You'll notice that the carpeting is terribly low-grade office carpeting, aka the kind that will give you an immediate rug burn. We hated it. Each bedroom on the 2nd floor has totally different (read: BAD) carpeting, and we were so desperate to update it all with new carpeting. Since we're pinching pennies it wasn't realistic to redo the whole 2nd floor, so we decided to rip up the nursery carpeting on a whim (sound familiar?) knowing that we could afford to re-carpet the small room. 

To our surprise, we discovered hardwood floors in near-perfect condition. They were covered in a tacky residue but it was nothing some elbow grease and a good sanding (hours upon hours of sanding - Tim is earning his Great Dad badge!) couldn't fix. In fact, a friend of Tim's from CIA volunteered many of his weekend hours to help us sand the room and teach Tim how to refinish wood floors. I cannot say enough about the generosity and selflessness of good friends - Tim and I are pretty lucky. The floors are almost fully sanded, and here is what they look like today:

Even through the dust, the floors look beautiful. Once the floor is stained and sealed, the trim will be painted white. (Yep, we're doing it! Sorry, natural trim diehards. The stain is orange in person and it's the only room on the 2nd floor that hasn't been painted.) Then, once the trim is painted we can start decorating! It's been really humbling (aka frustrating) to sit back and watch while all of the hard work happens. I'm used to getting my hands dirty and doing my fair share of work, but this little lady is keeping me from exposing myself to dust and other harmful toxins. Instead, I hang out downstairs and twiddle my thumbs while Tim gets to work ;)

The room is small (9' x 10') so we are limited to a few key pieces of furniture, some of which need a dual purpose. We don't have space for a changing table and dresser, so we found a vintage dresser that is the height of a changing table and we will use it for both. To stay on track while planning the nursery, I created a floorplan to scale so that we could nix pieces of furniture that wouldn't fit within their designated space. I highly recommend it, especially if you are thrifting vintage pieces. Having measurements with you (I kept mine in my purse) helps you narrow down what will and will not work. The decor is a work in progress, much like the floorplan. Here are three options:

The doorway is in the top left corner with the closet on the lefthand side. One window on the bottom wall and one on the right make for tricky furniture positioning, especially given the small room. The recliner, crib, dresser and some sort of storage (whether it's a bookshelf or a cube storage system) will be the main furniture pieces, and a large rug will cozy up the newly finished floors. 

That's it for the nursery update, at least for now. We have less than three months to go and a lot left to do, but we're making steady progress. We'll have a decor-ready room in no time! Do you have any small-space living tips or ideas on how to maximize a teeny tiny nursery? I'd love to hear. 

Stay dry and have a wonderful weekend!

before & after / our guest bedroom

Back in the spring, I pulled together inspiration to re-do our guest bedroom on a tight budget and a tight timeline. I went all HGTV on myself, got 80% of it done in the timeline, then a failed DIY headboard attempt slowed me down and I decided to focus on our front porch re-do instead. Nothing like a classic case of design ADD!

The guest bedroom has sat untouched since May, so I figured until I finish the last 20% of the project, I'll share what it looks like now. Here is a little recap of where I started:

The room was dark and heavy, the walls were textured like sandpaper (why do people do this?!), the decor was recycled from our rental days and felt pretty masculine. It didn't fit the overall aesthetic in the rest of the house and was begging for white walls. White paint = game-changer, always.

I set a budget of < $300 and pulled together this inspiration:

Overall, I wanted the room to be light, bright and calming with minimal color... various tones of blue and white to blend the room in with the rest of the house, with little pops of color here and there. With < $300 to work with, I am pretty pleased that the room is 80% complete and I still have $90 to work with, thanks to IKEA, CB2 and Target for their affordable decor!

I saved money by DIY-ing a lamp that we already owned - see the Rebecca Atwood-inspired DIY here - and used the furniture that was already in the bedroom, that was my moms as a child (and the rocking chair she used when I was a baby!). With the remaining $90, I will make a headboard and shelf that will go above the bed to hold art and plants.

Here is what the guest bedroom looks like today:


Check out the abstract artwork courtesy of my talented nephew... one for me, and one for Uncle Tim! I can't wait to hang these.


I painted the walls in White Dove by Benjamin Moore and straight-off-the-shelf high gloss ultra bright white paint for the trim. It was the most rewarding, refreshing paint job ever to cover up the hideous brown and I learned how to properly caulk and paint trim for the first time. I even bought a trio of special paint brushes that I will reserve for trim only... I'm taking my new skill very seriously! I haven't painted the doors yet, and I'm still debating between the ultra bright white or a pop of color... thoughts?

The headboard and shelf still need to be made and will fill the void above the bed. Art will hang on the wall opposite the mirror, and it will finally feel like a calming, cozy retreat - and a finished space! I have issues finalizing rooms in our house as they're always evolving, but since the guest bedroom is rarely used, I'm hoping that once it's complete I'll be happy to leave it alone. That would be a first ;)

And since I'm such a sucker for a classic before & after (or, 80% complete rather than "after"), here it is:

Although I didn't stick to my original HGTV-style timeline, I really enjoyed the challenge of keeping everything within a tight budget and focusing on one room at a time. Now that the guest room is almost complete, we're deciding among the master bedroom, the kitchen or our dreaded post-flood basement to tackle next. While the basement requires the most attention, it's also the most out of sight, out of mind room. I'll be sure to share what's next!

In the meantime, how do you stay focused and avoid design ADD? I need some tips!

catching up...

It has been a BUSY summer, and now all of a sudden it's basically fall. Ah! #seriouslywheredoesthetimego

Between sprucing up the exterior of our house, our day jobs, our side jobs and commitments, it's been a non-stop whirlwind of to-do lists and meetings (with a little bit of sunbathing and downtime mixed in). I've never been one to thrive on a continually busy schedule; it's not sustainable for me. I tend to thrive on those bursts of busy times that come few and far in between, where an all-nighter might happen and you're back to your regular routine in no time.

That said, all of the things keeping us busy have been really enjoyable and rewarding, so there's nothing to complain about! Here is a rundown of what I've been up to this summer...

// Tim and I joined forces to re-brand his company, Cardboard Helicopter! The re-branding process is really easy when you live with your client and decisions can be made quickly ;) I can't wait to show more of the process and the full brand as we roll it out this fall.

// Our basement flooded! Mother Nature threw us a curve ball and I sort of hate her for it - but, really, my anger is directed toward the previous owners. They carpeted the basement as a selling feature when we bought the house, not indicating that the basement collects pools of water... fast-forward almost three years later and we're sloshing around in soaking wet carpeting. So disgusting. So frustrating. Redoing the basement was nowhere near the top of our "to do" list, and since we don't spend a lot of time down there, it's NOT money I want to spend right now. We ripped everything up, decided to take the summer off, and we'll deal with it in the fall/winter (maybe). Screw you, basement!

// We hosted a Christmas in July party / open house, prompting us to cross 7,238 things off of our to-do list. The front porch and yard got a makeover (see the before & after here), and the back yard got a little makeover, too. The backyard isn't finished by any means, but I hope to post a few pictures of the work in progress soon. (Note to self: if you need an extra push to get things done, host a party!!! There is nothing like the stress of hosting to get your butt in gear.)

// I teamed up with several of my high school friends over the past few months to plan and design our 10-year (!) reunion weekend. I can't believe it's been 10 years, but at the same time, I can't believe it's ONLY been 10 years... think about who you were at 18. It's kind of hilarious to see how far you've come. We toured the school, caught up on life at Around the Corner, and had a family picnic at Lakewood Park on Sunday. There's nothing like playing a pickup game of volleyball with people you haven't talked to in 10 years to bring back SO MANY memories. I couldn't stop laughing at how easy (or creepy) it is to reconnect, all thanks to social media... "I know I haven't seen you in 10 years, but I saw that you took a selfie with a baboon at the zoo 2 days ago and you looked really cute!"... haha. Social media is so weird, but it does make potentially awkward situations so much easier.

// I wrapped up a beautiful gold & blush wedding invitation suite for an old coworker and friend, and I am soo in love with how it all turned out. Their wedding is right around the corner, and I can't wait to see it all come together. Congratulations, Michelle & Dave! (Stay tuned for photos of the invitations in the next month or so!)

// We celebrated Colin's 5th and Mary's 2nd birthday last weekend, and if you don't remember or know... they have the SAME birthday. I'm still not over it and it's been two years, ha! It's an interesting challenge to come up with a birthday invitation design that suits both kids and isn't too gender specific, but I love how it all turned out. I'll be posting those soon!

// I am in the midst of working on some fun branding projects that I can't wait to share in the coming months, so suffice to say, it has been a busy summer! It flew by in the blink of an eye, and I can't wait to rest a little bit to enjoy the last bits of summer weather before the cold hits.

All that said, it's basically my excuse for completely neglecting my blog and only posting about 4-5 times this summer... :) I will have a lot to share, soon! I hope you stick around.

In the meantime, have an amazing weekend and ENJOY SUMMER!