Before and After: This Home Office Turned Nursery Kept the IKEA KALLAX Shelves — But You Won’t Believe What They Look Like Now

published Feb 6, 2023
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Credit: Courtesy of Katherine Thewlis
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Like many designers and content creators that came before her, designer Katherine Thewlis of Haus Matter joined the popular, six-week-long One Room Challenge (which she took on during her first trimester of pregnancy, nonetheless!) to transform her former office into a nursery that’s so much more than just a place for her youngest to sleep.

Before she lifted a finger, though, she had to come up with a spatial plan — and that proved to be trickier than she thought. “This room is tiny, and there just wasn’t space for a large crib and stand-alone changing table,” she reflects. “So I had to be picky about what I brought in here.”

Credit: Graham Yelton for Katherine Thewlis

When her older daughter was a newborn, Thewlis longed for a comfy chair for nursing and opted to make that a priority this time around. She also learned from previous experience that an oversized crib just isn’t necessary in her family, so she opted for a small, convertible crib instead.

“I much prefer a bassinet on wheels I can roll from room to room for naps in the early days,” Thewlis notes. She shopped for pieces that would fit and figured out a floor plan that would work: The splurge-worthy bouclé Babyletto chair and ottoman would go into one of the room’s corners, and the crib would be angled opposite of it.

Credit: Graham Yelton for Katherine Thewlis

To set the scene for a happy baby room, Thewlis took her former white walls a beautiful robin’s egg blue by painting them Clare Paint’s Views. Next, she turned her attention to her trusty IKEA KALLAX unit, where she used to stash design samples, swatches, and the like. Figuring she’d still need storage for her baby’s things (check out those diapers in the diagonal shelves!), she chose to keep the two-shelf unit, which happens to fit perfectly under one of the room’s windows.

She gave the entire piece a coat of the same color Clare paint, added in baskets and some drawers fronts from IKEA for a little bit of closed storage, and even sourced fun, semicircular pulls for the closed cubbies, which makes the whole piece feel like a custom built-in. And instead of bringing in a separate changing table that would take up precious floor space, she opted to place a changing pad here, too.

Credit: Graham Yelton for Katherine Thewlis

To zhush up the space even further, Thewlis installed picture frame molding on the nursery walls with stock pieces of trim and wallpapered the ceiling with an aqua, almost ocean-wave looking pattern. For some extra polish, she used a bit of the leftover wallpaper to cover the room’s switch plate.

To truly finish off the space, Thewlis hung a variety of art pieces, including a vintage swan print and a colorful moth print from Artfully Walls. The transformation took about a month-and-a-half, but she couldn’t be happier with how it turned out.

Credit: Graham Yelton for Katherine Thewlis

Though this space primarily serves as a nursery for her second child, it’s truly a room the entire family enjoys spending time in. “My husband comes in here to read, my daughter plays on the soft rug, I store my interior design samples for my e-design clients in the closet,” Thewlis says. “It feels so peaceful in here.”