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In the Toddler Room with Jodi Kendall

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.  

Jodi Kendall is a writer based out of New York City where she lives with her husband and toddler son Townes. You can find her writing online on various websites, such as National Geographic websites Wild, Nat Geo Dogs, Mysterious Science and Inside NGC, and online publications like Pregnancy & Newborn Magazine and Bare Essentials Magazine. Her book, a serialized middle grade story on Storybird, is called Some Pig in the City, and the talented Katy Betz is illustrator. The entire story is now live and free to read online!

Jodi’s talents don’t lie only in writing. She has also created a carefully curated, eclectic and special space for her toddler son, which she is graciously sharing with us today.

Jodi Kendall and Family - Project NurserySouk Wool Rug

How did being a writer impact the design of your nursery?

As a professional writer and avid reader, raising our son in an environment that encourages reading and creativity is extremely important to me. We have several cozy spots to curl up and read a book in his room, and there’s a wall-length bookshelf where everything within his reach is open game for discovery and interaction. My work as a writer has also taken me around the globe to study wildlife, so animals are a big part of his room, too!

Eclectic Toddler Boy's Room Bookshelf - Project NurseryWay Basics Madison Bookshelf (pictured are two systems side-by-side)

Tell us about your design process. Did you start with one central item or idea that served as your inspiration?

Our son’s Stokke Sleepi crib served as the main inspiration for the room. We bought it when I was pregnant and we lived in a small one-bedroom apartment in Manhattan. It’s grown with him through every stage of his life, from a mini crib when he was a tiny newborn, to a full-size crib when he was an active, energetic baby and now a junior bed, which perfectly suits his size, development stage and age. We love that his bed has always been a safe, familiar space for him, and it’s been a total space-saver for us over the years too! With its unique oval shape and Scandinavian design, the Stokke Sleepi was the first and absolute must-have piece when we brainstormed what the toddler room redesign might look like, and everything went from there.

Stokke Sleepi Toddler Bed and Unicorn Head - Project NurseryUnicorn Fauxdermy Head, White Brick Removable Wallpaper, Stokke Sleepi Junior Bed

Now that everything is finished, what is your favorite thing about the room?

The teepee. We play hide-and-seek, snuggle and tell stories, take naps, and play with cars and dinosaurs in there. It’s our little family fort!

Teepee in Eclectic Toddler Boy's Room - Project NurseryDexton 6′ Great Plains Teepee

What’s the first thing people notice when stepping foot into this room?

Usually the white washed exposed brick wall—which is actually fake! We live in a pre-war apartment building on the Upper West Side, and guests are always surprised when I tell them it’s removable wallpaper from The Wall Sticker Company. We even fooled the building super into thinking it was real! I had to explain that it peels off the wall just like a sticker.

Eclectic Toddler Boy's Room with Faux Brick - Project NurseryFaux Fur Stool (out of stock online), Pillows from Anthropologie on Bed

Did you have any unexpected obstacles when creating this room? How did you overcome them or spin them to your advantage?

The room is small and narrow, so we changed the floor plan a few times trying to maximize the space. All the toys, books, toy animals and cars can feel overwhelming at times—especially when they’re in a big mess on the floor—so I placed the bookshelves on the long wall to the right of the door. When you walk into the room, it still feels somewhat organized because of your line of vision, even if it’s total chaos right next to you. I also strategically placed various bins for toy storage and organization throughout the room. The radiator in the corner is an eyesore, so the tall canvas teepee helps mask that area a bit, as well as the massive honey-colored wood closet doors. As renters, we can’t change too much in our apartment, so using removable wallpaper and purchasing a large 8×10 rug helped make the room feel warm and more inviting.

Toddler Room Dresser - Project NurseryStokke Dresser, “Stuff” Bag

What did you enjoy most about the design process?

It was fun to curate objects meaningful to us and utilize our various design influences to bring it all together. A sketch drawing on my son’s bookshelf is something I bought at Brooklyn Flea—it’s of the beautiful Soldiers’ & Sailors’ Monument in our neighborhood, a city landmark that we see every day. The feathers in the glass jar are from guinea hens on a farm where my niece and her family were staying, and she mailed them to me because of a scene I wrote in my book Some Pig in the City. There is also a photograph of my husband when he was a little boy and a picture of us when we were young newlyweds (which is over eleven years ago now!). The little rocking chair and gray boy’s coat are both vintage pieces that were passed down in my family.

Feathers in Bell Jar - Project Nursery

Is there anything you learned when designing this nursery that will help you with your next room update?

We just bought a house out in the woods of Connecticut! We have truly loved living in Manhattan—it’s where I got pregnant, gave birth to my son and we’ve raised him since infancy—but we’re ready to move on and will be relocating our permanent residence after the New Year. Our new home is a mid-century modern deck house, with big windows and wooden beams… We can’t wait to move in!

Images by Forged in the North Photography

Do you know of a fantastic nursery or big kid’s room designed by a successful designer or business owner? Please send a photo of the room to for consideration.

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