Before and After: A Dreamy Nursery That Doesn’t Scream “Baby”

published Jul 10, 2021
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Some rooms have a million flaws that need remedying; the problem with this nursery-to-be was there was no real there there. After months of sanding, painting, ripping out, and replacing by a very pregnant lady and her crew, this room was lovingly decorated for its tiny new occupant.

The word for this nursery, created by Bridget Matkovich of The DIY Playbook, is dreamy. The subtle creams and whites, the soft blues and greys, the gently filtered light, the cozy materials, and the lively plants all add up to a room that’s perfectly soothing for a baby — and exhausted parents.

The dresser is a sophisticated take on a changing table, the crib is so beautiful, the mirror reflects daylight while providing the baby with something to gaze upon, and the many lovely lights provide options for every situation.

Nice-sized closet, plenty of windows — this room will be perfect for a growing child. Here’s how it — and the whole house — were transformed into a family’s first home:

We bought our house when I was almost 5 months pregnant and raced against the clock to totally gut and remodel it before our Baby Boy was due to arrive on Valentine’s Day. We tore out all of the baseboard, installed new trim, doors, painted the walls, and resanded/stained the floor before decorating the space to personalize it for our first baby! Spoiler alert … we finished the construction with one weekend to spare! It was a crazy few months, but so rewarding to bring our little guy home to a house we put so much love into before he arrived!

We originally decided to move so we had more space for our growing family. We also got lucky and found a house in our dream neighborhood. Even though it needed lots of work, we had heart eyes for this house right from the start and could see ourselves raising a family there.

Finishing a gut-job remodel one week before giving birth sounds like a total nightmare — Bridget deserves several tiaras and/or vacations. Congratulations to the whole family on beating the clock and completing their new love-filled home just in time.

I love the style, color, and scale of the rug — and the fact that it will protect the freshly refinished floors. And that little shelf unit fits its spot perfectly. Bridget is — thank goodness — happy with the overall results:

My favorite part of the after is that this space isn’t super “baby” and still flows with the decor of the rest of our home. Honestly, there isn’t much we would do differently yet but I’m sure as our little guy grows, we’ll be able to adjust the room to fit his needs!

I totally agree — no need for a nursery to look like a Gymboree, especially right off the bat. It’s more important that it be practical and peaceful; as the baby grows, the room will surely gather more and more toys and art that reflect the little one’s personality and preferences. My niece’s nursery could have been wall-to-wall teddy bears paintings and tumbling kitten wallpaper, but as she’s grown a bit, it turns out she loves dogs, flamingos, and the moon. So much better to have a beautifully simple palette that can be customized. I will never be down with worrying that a nursery doesn’t have enough kid stuff: it will come.

Here’s a little more behind-the-scenes insight:

The remodel took about 4 months. My dad, husband and I worked tirelessly to DIY as much as we could and called in the pros for projects that were outside of our expertise (like resanding and staining the floors!).

Keep in mind they were doing the rest of the house, too!

I love that the most prominent decorative items are books. These shelves allow a baby to gaze upon the colorful, fascinating covers and will be irresistible and in-reach for a toddler. This is basically an ever-changing gallery wall custom-curated for one very special visitor. Once the child is old enough that their books won’t fit on those slender shelves, they could be used to hold framed art and tiny mementos.

Another genius move is that every piece in the room (except the crib) can be repurposed in other rooms in the house if and when they no longer suit the kid. The rug, dresser, baskets, lamp, and rocker are so elegantly simple, they could work in a dining room or adult bedroom someday.

Bridget has a bit of advice for anyone facing a similar project:

My best piece of advice would be to stick with it! Sometimes the mess feels overwhelming and the layer of dust will never go away but I promise it will and when it does, it’ll all be worth it. Hang in there!!

If you’re interested in making any part of this look your own, The DIY Playbook has a full resource list.

Thank you, Bridget and The DIY Playbook!

This post originally ran on Apartment Therapy. See it there: Before and After: A Dreamy Nursery That Doesn’t Scream “Baby”