This is our interview series in which we bring you the nurseries and kid rooms of successful designers, entrepreneurs and moms. Through this series, our featured guests will divulge some of their design secrets and share stories of how their nurseries came to be.
Kelsey Nixon made her first on-screen appearance on Food Network Star in 2008, and now we know her as the host of her Cooking Channel show, Kelsey’s Essentials. The fun recipes she features on her show—like Cherry Pie in a Jar and Skillet Bacon Mac and Cheese—are enough to inspire even the most novice cook. But if you need that extra push, she has even published her own cookbook, Kitchen Confidence, which includes modern updates on classic dishes and essential tips for cooking anything.
We’re sure that Kelsey likes getting creative in the kitchen for her husband Robby and their two-year-old son Oliver (Ollie, for short), and no doubt the guys enjoy eating the food she prepares! Although we didn’t get to chow down on her chocolate sheet cake with peanut butter icing, Kelsey did send us some photos of Ollie’s vibrant and modern nursery and chatted about getting creative in the space.
What was your vision when planning your son’s nursery?
I work in television and film my show on a set with bright, eye-catching colors. Even though the palette on my set is vibrant, it still feels grown up, and that’s exactly what I wanted to replicate in Ollie’s nursery. I’m a big fan of color, but I made a conscious effort to use it in a mature way. I wanted this space to be filled with pieces that feel appropriate for this chapter of his life and will grow with him over the years.
New York City is represented in this room, and it looks like you have a special connection to the city. Why was it important to you to represent your city in the nursery?
We call New York City home—it’s where we live, work and play! My husband Robby and I fell in love with a Central Park print by the artist Matte Stephens. We loved the style and colors, and most importantly, it captures one of our favorite places in New York City. We decided early on that this print would be the inspiration for the nursery, and we chose to hang it above the crib. We felt like it was whimsical enough for a nursery but that it would also grow with our son throughout the years.
What’s the first thing people notice when stepping foot into this room?
The view! Ollie has a great view of Central Park from his big window. In fact, the view mimics the print that is hung above his crib. I remind him (and myself!) often that a view of Central Park isn’t something that should be taken for granted! We spend a lot of time gazing out that window and making big plans.
Did you run into any unexpected obstacles when creating this room? How did you overcome them or spin them to your advantage?
The window in Ollie’s nursery is quite big—it’s great when it comes to letting natural light flood in, but when it comes to darkening the room for a good night’s rest, it’s terrible. The first time we installed a blackout option, it went very badly. I was essentially using a spring rod with blackout panels, and they would fall down at least twice a day, sometimes during nap time! It would wake Ollie up and rob me of those precious nap time hours when I could have been productive. I literally taped black garbage bags to the windows at one point. After making those mistakes, I made the conscious decision to invest in really good quality and aesthetically pleasing blackout shades, and I’ve never looked back.
What did you enjoy most about the design process, and will you do it again when it’s time for a toddler room?
My little guy arrived at 28 weeks, which meant that he spent over two months in the NICU. His early arrival was totally unexpected and an unbelievably difficult experience to go through as a first-time mother. I initially struggled with not feeling like a mom yet, even though my baby had already been born. After I’d return home from spending time with him at the hospital each day, I’d focus on his nursery. It was one of the most therapeutic ways for me to feel like I was Ollie’s mom as I prepared a beautiful room for him to come home to. Whether it was picking out a paint color, ordering nursery furniture or finding simple ways to personalize his room, this was one of the only things I enjoyed doing while my sweet baby was stuck in the NICU. The room has always been very special to me as a result.
Now that Ollie is two and officially a toddler, I’d like to update his existing nursery just a bit to be more toddler-friendly. Because we live in a small apartment in New York City, I’d really like for his room to function as a fun play space as well as a sleeping space. When I initially designed his nursery, I spent a lot of time focusing on the aesthetics of the room, even picking out toys that were the right color! Now that his little personality seems to be out in full force, I have a better idea of his likes and dislikes and the types of toys and books that he responds to best. As I give his room an update in the coming months, I’ll focus more on incorporating age-appropriate toys and organizing the space so that it promotes play time. I want it to be a space that he loves just as much as I do.