My daughter is nearly 7 months old, and I just finished her nursery. Truth be told, when you know you have a sick child coming, all of the preparations that normally go into getting ready for a baby come to a sudden, somewhat awkward, certainly painful, screeching halt. I knew exactly what I’d wanted a baby girl’s nursery to be before I even found out I was having Jonah three years ago, but then “she” ended up being a “he,” so the pinks and frills turned in to blues and stripes. I would suspect a lot of Mamas visualize their baby’s nursery in their heads before the bundle of joy arrives. But once we found out Anabelle was sick, and at that point, thought she may not be with us very long, I avoided her room. We were in the process of house hunting at the time which gave me an excuse anytime someone would ask the common question, “Are you all ready for the baby?” I would say that we were “just moving,” “getting settled,” or “hadn’t gotten to it yet.” Those were all true…well sort of. The real truth was, I didn’t want to get Belle’s nursery “all ready” and then have it as a painful reminder if something happened to her. So… I didn’t. We brought her home to an empty, white room with only a crib and a dresser full of hand me down clothes that I didn’t even know if she were going to get to wear. My vision remained, however, and after we got settled, I was able to enjoy the sweetness of creating her little shabby chic boutique. One of my many hobbies and interests is frugal living, so you better believe I designed Anabelle’s nursery on a dime. While I have the design vision, I certainly don’t have the DIY skills. Lucky for me, I’m surrounded by people who do!
Belle’s room isn’t like your “normal’ baby nursery. Not only is it her room, it also serves as a medical treatment room and as her nurses’ quarters. However, I didn’t want it to feel that way for her. My goal was two-fold. I wanted it to be functional for her medically, yet comfortable and “normal” for her at the same time. I wanted it to be a place we and her nurses could care for her in a clean and/or sterile way, yet still not feel like a hospital room for her. With some tweaking, I believe we were able to achieve those two goals.
I’m a sucker for shabby chic. My whole wedding was filled with soft pinks, lace, and “oldish” things. I knew I wanted Belle’s room to have the same look. So without further ado, welcome to Anabelle’s “Shabby Chic Boutique.”
(Disclaimer: I suck at taking pictures. I’m (sort of) a writer. I’m definitely NOT a photographer.).
Piece by Piece
The entire design for Belle’s room started with this dresser. My mom bought me this refurbished dresser as a shower gift when I was pregnant with Jonah. It came from a furniture refinishing store in Bridgeville that has since closed down. I just loved the turquoise color and the antiqued look. These sweet ruffly curtains came from a sale rack at a small country store last summer on our Deep Creek vacation. We did find we needed to put a valance curtain behind them because the green shining through made it look like an alien’s bedroom from the outside of our house, so we chose a lace curtain for behind the turquoise sheer.
Belle’s crib was a hand-me-down from my Mom and the same one my brother and I used. Although you can’t buy them in stores anymore, it has the drop down sides (sorrynotsorry) which are absolutely perfect for us when needing to have quick and easy access to Belle. We did all of her care in her bed for the first six weeks. It was not ideal and I refused to put her bedding on until we had a different arrangement because I didn’t want it to get ruined. Speaking of bedding, this was the one area I splurged on. My incredibly creative and talented Mom and Grandma sewed all of Jonah’s baby bedding, but with all of the unknowns with Belle, I couldn’t bring myself to ask them to make hers. I decided to purchase a custom made dust ruffle and sheet. After lots of research, I found that most beautiful fabric online and designed my own custom order. The company I chose was great to work with and everything came exactly as I had pictured. I ordered extra material for my Grandma to make a quilt as she has done with each great grand child. A few months after Belle came home, my 80-something and still-killing-it Gram made her a beautiful quilt. It was well worth the splurge as the quality of the fabric is fantastic and the pricing is well aligned with most custom baby bedding.
The next piece of furniture is most certainly, my favorite piece of furniture to ever exist… in the world… ever. Caring for Belle in her bed was not working out very well. My husband and I decided to design a large piece of furniture that would store all of her supplies and serve as a medical changing table of sorts. However, it had to be totally cute and not look anything like a piece of medical equipment.The next step was to find someone to create our vision. It didn’t take us long to decide on our good friends Ben and Jen Kimmel of Broken Arrow Creations. We had seen some of their reclaimed barn wood pieces and they were all so beautiful and of high quality. They had just the look I envisioned. Joey spoke with Ben and described what we wanted, and gave him the measurements, and asked for the piece to be finished with this pink Rustoleum chalk paint. It is very comparative to more expensive chalk paints for a fraction of the cost. We used it on her table and on picture frames, and so far, I have been very happy with the quality. I gave the paint to Jen and asked her to use it on the piece. We were so excited to see what they would come up with. Some of the piece’s features are an extra large top that can grow with Belle and where we can have additional room to create a sterile field, a separate section for supplies we use most frequently, and although you can’t see it, a “drop top” (I made that term up) garbage so we can drop waste in without having to touch anything. Additionally, it has extra large drawers that hold all of her supplies and pull-out completely so we can reach supplies that get pushed to the back.
Unfortunately for Broken Arrow, when Joey gave Ben the measurements, he neglected to measure the width of the hallway. The day they brought the beautiful piece to my doorstep, I nearly cried happy tears. Up until that point, we had piles of boxes and zip lock bags full of disorganized medical supplies covering Belle’s floor. This new piece was so perfect. It took 5 guys to get it in the house and up the steps. Just as they were about to turn it to put it in Belle’s room, it became evident that it was too large to make the turn. Joey was seriously considering cutting the wall open so we could fit it in (we felt terrible!), but thankfully Ben insisted he would take it back and figure out what to to to fix it. I’m so thankful he did because his plans were even better than what Joey and I first imagined. He and Jen are incredibly talented and creative. They were able to cut off the bottom section of the beautiful table they just spent countless hours creating (SO, SO sorry guys :-(), and use the two drawers they cut off to make an additional piece of furniture. This side table has a perfect little opening for the nurses to store their paper work and gives them a hard surface to write on. I added a lamp from Home Goods, and this cute glider from a Facebook sale site to finish the “Nurses Corner” section of Belle’s room. I can’t imagine not having Belle’s medical table. We literally use it, at minimum six times per day/night. I have to give a huge shout out to Broken Arrow Creations for making these two pieces even better than we could have imagined. They are fully functional for Belle and just the perfect level of cute to fit nicely in her Shabby room. If you need a custom piece built, Broken Arrow has my highest recommendations! (If you are a parent of a child who needs a lot of medical care, I’d be happy to share our custom plans with you for her medical table).
For Belle’s walls, I had quite a few pieces of art given to me. I picked up the picture above Belle’s crib (pictured above) with a coupon from Family Christian. (I’m so bummed they are closing. I loved that store!!!). What is so amazing about this one is that it had the verse I kept hanging above Anabelle’s hospital bed for two months. Not only was it the right verse, but it was also designed in the correct color scheme. I also snagged the vintage birds on Belle’s dresser and both of the pillows in her room at Family Christian, both at a 50% off sale. Another beautiful piece (at left) was painted by my good friend and fellow teacher, Melissa. I love this verse and it fits beautifully with the theme of Belle’s room.
Another wall features a vintage style shelf from Kirkland’s and another beautiful creation from Broken Arrow. These chalk painted mason jars were attached to barn wood. I described what I wanted to Jen, and of course, she and Ben made it even better than what I’d had in mind. I just adore this little snow globe from our friends Susan and Gary. They got one for Jonah when he was a baby and he always called it his “Twinkle” since it plays “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.”
My Mama always told me design is all in the details. So this little piece, purchased from Etsy is all for her. How sweet is this vintage, distressed light switch cover? I think I have a weird obsession with light switch covers ever since I was a child and my mom used to paint flowers on mine.
Belle’s last wall is made of a picture collage. The “Anabelle” sign was crafted by our church friend, Leslie. The “Enjoy Every Minute” sign came from the 20% off sale at Big Lots, and the frames were repurposed from my 95 year old Aunt’s pictures, with chalk paint and used buttons. These frames (pictured below) were the only DIY project I actually did in my daughter’s room, and that was with my Mom’s help.
And last, but not least, Anabelles IV pole and nursing calendar. I thought about leaving them out as there really isn’t a way to make them “less medical.” But, for all of the medical mommies out there, I don’t ever want to be fake. Belle’s daddy hooks up her IV nutrition at 7:30 every night and she is hooked to her pole until 7:30am. And that’s okay. She has 5 nurses and it takes some magic to make sure we don’t cross schedules, so I picked up this dry erase calendar in the clearance aisle at TJ MAXX. If you have multiple home nurses, I highly recommend a large board like this. My nurses even color code it to keep it more organized!
So there you have it. A fully functional, adorably sweet, nifty thrifty, DIY (or have all of your friends and family do it for you) “not so medical” nursery. Not too “shabby,” if I do say so myself!