Project Nursery: Here We Go!

A few weeks ago I started looking ahead on our calendar, and noticed that we had a number of busy weekends coming up –travel, visitors in town, and other fun local things that will eat up most of our afternoons.  As soon as I hit the 30-week mark (32 today, actually!) I started feeling the itch to get our place ready for this newest boy.  That meant that last weekend needed to be Operation: Start the Nursery

Here’s what we were working with…

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Amazing, right?  Lavender stripes!!  Luckily this was paint and not wallpaper.  Part of me sort of felt guilty for painting over it since someone clearly invested a good bit of time on it, but I couldn’t convince myself that this color scheme was going to work for us. 

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You can see that the room was also full of crap.  It has looked like that since moving day (um, two months ago) when it became a landing zone for things like extra luggage, miscellaneous things to be hung, items I’ve avoided hauling to the basement, etc.  So the first step was simply clearing all of that out and moving it to the hallway…

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Much better!

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It’s hard to get a good picture of this space because it’s a very small room.  In fact, I can’t really imagine it being used for anything other than a nursery or very young child’s room.  Luckily for us, we plan to use it for just that for quite a while!  My hope is to fit a crib, glider, and changing table in here and still have a few feet to walk around. 

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So the first step was prep.  I should add that our only window to tackle any of this was during Cullen’s afternoon nap.  Literally the minute he went into his crib, we started working.  Since the nursery is directly across the hall from his room, we put the iPad in there with white noise, cranked it up, and hoped for the best. 

I got to work taping while Casey took down the chair rail and removed the plug covers, shelving, and window treatments.  We also stretched a painting tarp over all of the (new) carpet and taped it around the edges, so we wouldn’t have to worry as much about drips.

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I guess I should back up and mention paint selection.  I don’t know how people with kids tackle things like house projects, because we really struggle to figure out how to fit in the prep and work with Cullen running around.  Any time we take him to Home Depot it is a nightmare.  The car ride is too long, and then he’s a squirm monster in the cart, and there is no opportunity for him to really get down and run around.  Not to mention it eats up our entire morning!

In order to avoid this, I actually got up at 6am on Saturday morning and headed to the store before the sun came up.  Armed with my crib bedding and a large coffee, my plan was to get the paint and be home in time for breakfast.  It worked out really well!

As far as color selection goes, we are just reusing Cullen’s nursery “theme” and bedding (you can see his first nursery here!) and carrying it into this new space.  So I used his bedding quilt as inspiration to pick out our colors.  Cullen’s first two nurseries (!) were grey, and his current room is yellow.  Hard to believe this is the fourth room we’ll be creating a nursery in in just two short years!

Even though we’re reusing the same things, I wanted to try something different so it felt special and a bit different for little brother.  I decided to keep the chair rail and do a bright green on bottom with a pale blue on top.  I also ended up deciding to do an even-paler-almost-white-blue on the ceiling and the walls that are angled, just to give the room a bit more dimension.  First coat going on!

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Painting while pregnant is not necessarily good because of all the paint fumes, so I picked up a few of these really attractive masks so that I could help.  We have tried buying the zero-VOC paint in the past, and found that the quality really suffers (and takes a million coats!).  So we opted for low-VOC instead, and despite looking like a serial killer, the mask was totally effective at blocking all smells and fumes. 

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We did the lightest blue on the ceiling and the green bottom level first, so that those could dry before doing the middle layer of blue.  With the room all taped and prepped, the actual painting part went pretty quickly!

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This is my reaction to Casey telling me to smile – funny, funny.

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I also somehow managed to SIT on the open paint can lid.  Oops!  Glad I changed into ugly painting clothes before we started. 

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At this point, Cullen woke up and all painting ceased.  But we made a ton of progress in just a few short hours!

Casey had mentioned earlier in the day that there was a big Mariner’s game that night (Ken Griffey, Jr. night!) and that it would be really fun to go.  I half-jokingly suggested that he and Cullen go to the game, and I would stay home to paint.  He is much braver than I am, and decided to actually go for it.  A few hours later, they headed out for a boys’ baseball night together!  So adorable!


I stayed home and worked on finishing up the final blue section on the top part of the wall.  I turned up the Pandora and enjoyed a rare night home alone – it was actually kind of nice, and I was so grateful for a few extra hours to finish.  Cullen had a blast at the baseball game and stayed out til almost 9pm – party animal. 

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I finished up just as the sun started to set.  I snapped a few pictures in the dark just to document the progress, but I was anxious to see how it would look in natural light the next morning. 

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We woke up early before Cullen was up, and immediately got to work rehanging the chair rail and clearing out all the tape and painting supplies.  It’s sort of hard to see the difference in the two blues in these pictures, but it’s more apparent in person.  I think I like it!

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It’s a lot of color for a little space, and I hope I didn’t go overboard.  I just wanted it to feel cheerful and bright, and to get away from the greys and light neutrals I have always safely chosen in the past. 

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I can’t wait to see what it looks like once we actually get some furniture in here!  And I hope it all fits – ha!

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I moved a few of the baby items from the hallway into the room and Cullen immediately reclaimed them as his own.  Ruh oh. 

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I also organized and sorted the disaster that was out in the hallway, and streamlined it into a slightly more organized mess.  I can’t really do much more organizing until we have a dresser and other furniture in the room, but this was at least a start. 

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And because I love them, here are a few before and after shots from similar angles.  We’re getting there!  Left wall…

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The back corner… (still need a new light fixture!)

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And a shot from the doorway…

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I can’t wait to see how the rest of it turns out!  The next step is figuring out exactly what we want to do in Cullen’s room so that we can move some of his furniture into this space.  I’m not going to rehash the whole thing here, but I shared some thoughts over on Babble yesterday about transitioning Cullen out of his crib into a “big boy” bed.  At this point I’m leaning toward starting him out on a twin mattress on the floor.  Whatever we decide, we need to do it soon!

I’m also planning to move the glider and ottoman that are currently in his room to the nursery, and (probably?) replace it with a big bean bag chair for his reading corner.  And since he has two dressers in his room, he’ll keep the taller one and we’ll move the changing table/dresser to the nursery.  My hope is to fill that wall space with a bookshelf, which will also help get some toys and baskets up off of the floor and create more play space for him.  But then where will I change Cullen’s diapers?  Arg.  Too many decisions for this painfully indecisive mama. 

It feels great to finally have some progress in the tiny room we’ve been ignoring for several months now.  I can’t wait for it to become a functional part of our house, and for us to meet the little guy who will call it his own.