New York based Amanda Moore launched her sustainable design firm re:place in 2001 by taking a holistic approach to interior design. When pregnant with her son Ryder, Amanda used her talent for developing environmentally-sensitive commercial and residential spaces in the nursery. In 2006, first:place was born: “A nursery design consultancy with the mission of guiding parents in making smart choices for their children’s rooms without compromising modern aesthetic or fun“. As a successful interior designer and mom, Amanda’s eco-chic nurseries honor family rituals, health, and all the senses as much as the need for a good changing table and safe crib.
Project Nursery is delighted to shares some of Amanda’s tips for creating a nursery that mother and baby will love to live, rest and play in. It’s no wonder that those who work with Amanda often share that the nursery becomes their favorite room in the house…
1. Tread Lightly On The World They Will Inherit: Use natural materials, mix local and used goods with the new Italian sofa you must have, bring nature indoors with plants, water or stones and turn off lights and appliances when not in use.
2. Take a Holistic Approach: Good design doesn’t stop at furniture and wallpaper. Add meaning to your child’s room with family photos that reinforce their larger support system, examples of their school artwork so that they always feel creative, something from nature so they imagine the world at large, and something inspiring that represents their dreams for their future.
3. Have it Both Ways: With today’s trend for children’s furniture with a more contemporary or bespoke aesthetic you can create a room that is both fun and soothing for a child and in line with your personal design preferences. With companies like Duc Duc, Nurseryworks, and Netto Collection, contemporary options are dominating and redefining the juvenile category. Wall murals and playful rugs, collections of prints and piles of toys, all look better with this cleaner aesthetic. If you are more traditional you might like a shaker style in natural wood that can beautifully straddle the border between modern and traditional, depending on how you outfit the rest of the room.
4. Paint With Love: The Volatile Organic Compounds found in most conventional latex paints break down or vaporize, and off-gas into the atmosphere. Some VOC’s are suspected carcinogens while others are only confirmed to contribute to poor indoor air quality and respiratory problems. Others still are suspected to contribute to causes of global warming. I use Zero-VOC options such as Benjamin Moore Eco Spec and Aura, Glidden’s Spread 2000 and Safecoat, as well as milk and clay based paints (available through www.annasova.com).
5. Quality and Safety Go Hand in Hand: Quality is worth saving up for, especially in children’s rooms because they are bound to abuse furniture but also benefit the most from its quality and safety. The world of non-toxic, sustainable children’s furniture is rapidly expanding and there are so many beautiful options, especially in the contemporary realm. A few of our reliable favorites are Argington, Oeuf and Duc Duc. These designer brands often feature thoughtful touches such as safety hinges and natural woods.
6. Go Organic: Growing babies’ bodily systems are still forming and are most sensitive to the toxins and off-gases emitted from many conventional products. For crib bedding, I love Harmony Art’s designs as produced by Cotton Monkey, available through many locations including a Mini Jake’s. For kids and teen bedding, I rely on Gaiam or Amenity Home (available at www.2modern.com) for great organic cotton solids and patterns.
7. Go With Your Parental Instinct: When shopping for your child’s room it is a safe bet to come from intuition and love. Over-thinking a lamp or a dresser is a waste of time because chances are you will end up with the first one that caught your eye. This principle changes slightly when shopping with an older child whose opinion ultimately matters because their tastes are likely to be ever-evolving and they haven’t mastered intuition yet. Stick to basics and let them express their love of horses through a print or a set of sheets rather than a wall mural that cannot be changed without great effort.
8. Work With a Pro: What better time to pamper and treat yourself than when you are pregnant? Working with a professional interior designer can be fun, educational and very rewarding. Not only with you save yourself stress, work and precious time but you can also end up with a nuanced, thoughtful room that reflects your tastes for art and good design.
9. Have Fun and Take Your Time: Being a new or expecting parent is bound to be stressful, however it can also be fun and a great time to explore. What are your values? How do you want to decorate your living space now and in the future? Is being eco-conscious important to you? Is saving up for high end contemporary furniture a new goal for the year?