Live

How Designer Leanne Ford Transformed a Blank Box into a Playful Parisian-Inspired Nursery

published May 25, 2024
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Bedroom before being turned into nursery.
Credit: Courtesy of Leanne Ford Interiors

Designer Leanne Ford knows a thing or two about nursery design. After all, she pulled together a sweet space for her daughter, Ever, a few years back and has since launched a baby and kids line with Crate & Barrel, the latest iteration of which is just arriving in stores and online now. So when her sister-in-law, Ali, announced she was expecting a baby girl, converting a spare guest room into a welcoming nursery became a true family affair.

Credit: Courtesy of Leanne Ford Interiors
1 / 3

Every project comes with a challenge, though; in this case, Ford was working with a rental that didn’t have much architectural interest, and there’d be no room in the budget for construction. The trick, then, would be leaning into custom but reversible touches to take the space from blank box to playful pink Parisian nursery. “We wanted it to feel simple and neutral but full of fun touches for a baby girl,” says Ford, who essentially started from scratch with the project save for the walls, which Ali wanted painted in Behr’s Vintage Charm, a muted but pretty mauve-like pink. Ford suggested coating the inside of the room’s closet and the ceiling in the same shade, which would make the room appear just a little bit fancier. Her calling card for turning up the volume on ceilings in particular? Always going for a glossy finish. “The light reflection is stunning,” she says, and this choice helps to create an illusion that can make a room appear taller and airier.

Credit: Design by Leanne Ford Interiors, Photography by Erin Kelly

More fool-the-eye magic made a big difference in the space’s look and feel. Because she couldn’t bring in fancy paneling, permanent wallpaper, or moldings, Ford called up her friend Alexandra Mayr-Gracik. A jewelry maker and fine artist, Mayr-Gracik specializes in drawing with charcoal, which she used to create trompe l’oeil box paneling on the walls with “little Parisian flourishes” scattered about, including sconces with fluted shades and tiny elephants. To set the murals, Ford coated the whole thing with fixative. Everything can be painted over upon moving out.

Credit: Design by Leanne Ford Interiors, Photography by Erin Kelly

With the neutral pink palette and special wall treatment in place, the duo turned to furnishing the space. Fortunately, Ford’s Crate & Kids “Origins Collection” fits right in with the nursery’s French-inspired vintage vibes. She brought in the Lennox Carved Natural Wood Convertible Baby Crib to anchor the space and used the matching Lennox Carved Natural Wood Kids Armoire and Lennox Natural Wood 7-Drawer Dresser to provide extra storage. The latter also offers a sturdy surface to change diapers! 

Credit: Design by Leanne Ford Interiors, Photography by Erin Kelly
1 / 2

The Pantherette 8’x10′ Kids Rug adds cozy cushioning underfoot that’d be perfect for crawling and playing one day, while the charming Passport 20″ Kids Pendant Ceiling Light — Ford’s whimsical version of a Noguchi-style lantern — beckons visitors (and baby!) to look up. 

Credit: Design by Leanne Ford Interiors, Photography by Erin Kelly

Linen curtains from Etsy introduce a softness to the space that’s balanced out by the pitted texture of Ford’s Willy Faux Travertine Resin End Table, which sits next to a ticking striped chair and ottoman. Cute accessories, including Ford’s Zoo Animal Baby Mobile and Chillin Heart Baby Activity Play Mat, round out the room’s scheme. 

Credit: Design by Leanne Ford Interiors, Photography by Erin Kelly

To fake an extra little bit of old word charm, Ford installed a ceiling medallion from Amazon and painted it to match the rest of the room. But perhaps the sweetest touch comes from the family’s tiniest designer, Ever, who used ribbon to embellish the dresser’s simple round knobs. “Ever’s ahead of her time,” says Ford. “She’s been tying bows on everything long before it was a trend!”

This article originally published on Apartment Therapy. See it there: Leanne Ford Transforms a Blank Box into a Playful Parisian-Inspired Nursery