This Award-Winning Writer’s Tiny Nature-Themed Nursery Tells So Many Stories

published Jun 16, 2021
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Credit: Jacqueline Mellow

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Names: Jacqueline Mellow, husband Christopher, and Baby Mellow

Location: Denver, CO

Size of home: 1,700 square feet

Even before she became a mother, Jacqueline Mellow was a storyteller. An award-winning author of several books written under the pen name E.J. Mellow, Jacqueline conjures otherworldly tales and weaves them into her eager readers’ lives. But her own, very real, world also tells a story. Her baby’s nursery tells the tale of who he is, where he comes from, and those who love him. 

The story of Baby Mellow’s nursery begins with a kismetic honeymoon road trip. Jacqueline and her husband lived in the “concrete landscape” of New York City when they met, but found themselves taking every opportunity to escape it. When they married, they took up van life for a month, winding their way through national parks all the way to Canada and fell in love with the Colorado area, which they made their home in 2019. 

Credit: Jacqueline Mellow

On a natural design inspiration:

About a year later, in the midst of the pandemic, they found themselves designing their son’s nursery. They began with a feeling they wanted to amplify: their love of nature. “We started with a lot of earth tones to set the overall feel and vibe we wanted to cultivate. Based off these colors, we picked out the rug first, which was a really helpful first step before buying any furnishings. These hues could then carry over into the art and the style of furniture we sought out.”

Earth tones and nature themes fill the room, from the pops of rust and sunshine mustard to images of nature scenes and adventure tropes. As befitting a home in Colorado, mountains play a prominent role. They’re seen in several prints featuring the distinctive topography in iconic renditions. From suggestive lines in the gray zigzag of the rug, to the road shaped like a mountain leading up up up that adorns the wall above the changing table, the nursery celebrates a locale purposefully chosen. 

Credit: Jacqueline Mellow

On the calming energy of the nursery:

In a room lovingly rendered, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. While each item is meaningful in its own right, whether through its origin or as a part of the white and wood-toned backdrop, Jacqueline’s favorite part of the nursery is how the room as a whole sings. She says, “The atmosphere and energy is our favorite part. With the warm earth tones and natural wood feel, it truly is a very calming space, and as we all know, calm is a welcoming feeling at those 1 a.m., 3 a.m. and 5 a.m. feedings of newborn life.”

I also love that we can walk around the room, telling our son the story of how each item came to be.

In addition, Jacqueline adds, “I also love that we can walk around the room, telling our son the story of how each item came to be. It feels very special to us and hopefully when he’s older he’ll come to feel this way too.” 

Among these items is the stunning mobile created by Jacqueline’s sister, Phoenix Mellow, an LA-based costume designer. It depicts Colorado during the day and at night and during rain and shine. The pieces above Baby Mellow’s crib are also special. They were commissioned from the couple’s illustrator friend, Julie Reiters, who drew some of Colorado’s animals and landscape features. 

Another favorite piece is the one hanging behind the rocking chair. Painted by Jacqueline’s father, Emil Mellow, during his MFA program, its contrasting colors are a favorite focal point for Baby Mellow during feedings. 

Credit: Jacqueline Mellow

On the challenge of designing a small space:

Jacqueline describes the biggest design challenge as fitting the necessary furniture into a small room that has the added challenge of windows and two door frames that take up a good deal of wall space. “We had to get creative with the size of the furniture,” she says. “We specifically looked for a dresser that was small enough to fit in a specific corner, but was big enough so it could also function as a changing table.” 

And that wasn’t all. “The placement of the crib also took us a bit to figure out for the same reason, but in the end our Tetris abilities won the day.” Both pieces are from IKEA. 

Credit: Jacqueline Mellow

On furnishings that could grow with baby:

Jacqueline and her husband looked ahead when selecting pieces for their baby’s nursery. Hoping the room would grow with their baby, they “tried to find as many modular items as possible so they could either be added to or reconfigured to fit him as he grows.” The crib transforms from a newborn crib to a toddler bed with a lowered mattress and can also be made into a bed. In addition, the baskets that now hold blankets can be easily repurposed for toys down the road. 

Leaving some empty space is also an investment in the future of the room. “Not every nook and cranny is filled (yet), so he can eventually decide how he’d like to add to his room.” Jacqueline’s husband has a great idea: adding a climbing wall. It fits perfectly with the theme! 

Credit: Jacqueline Mellow

What it’s like to be a prolific writer with a newborn:

Jacqueline says, It’s a bit scary, in all honesty. Books take a lot of time to write. More specifically, a lot of uninterrupted time. As every parent reading this knows, that concept goes out of the window very quickly with a newborn.

If you follow my Instagram, I share these anxieties with the age old worry of ‘juggling multiple identities.’ I’m still at the beginning of my motherhood journey and luckily done with writing my two books that come out this year, so I have a bit more time before I have to sit back down to work on a new project. And while I don’t have the hindsight to clearly answer how I’ll do it yet, I know, like every other time I’ve had multiple jobs and responsibilities to manage, I’ll find a way. It might not be at the same speed, but the stories always find their end.

As for me, Christopher, and our son’s story, I’m excited to experience the whole tale.” 

Thank you for sharing this part of your story with us, Jacqueline! 

Do you have a beautiful space we need to check out?

Send us an email with a link to your space to Can’t wait to see!