Jennifer Ramos is an artist in NYC, and her abundance of creativity shows in her son Noah’s nursery. You know we are all about the nursery eye candy, but you are going to love this interview, too, because Jen is just bursting with great advice for parents planning their nurseries, including her innovative way of dividing up the room to include her office space. When you live in NYC, you have to find ways to make your space work for you, and Jen sure has!
Besides selling her art on Made by Girl, Jen is expanding into the apparel business with screen printed tees for littles that you’ll love. Check out Cocoa and Hearts—you can sign up for a discount code before the collection launches. Alright, now let’s get down to business, and check out this beautiful nursery!
Design inspiration can come from anywhere—what inspired your nursery design?
I take bits and pieces of ideas from a lot of places and combine them to create my own space. Noah’s nursery is actually also my office—in NYC you sometimes have to get a bit creative with your spaces—and it created both challenges and opportunities when designing the nursery. We ended up dividing this space into two sections and separating them with large bookcases. I tend to work there when Noah is awake.
How did your design evolve when you transitioned from the planning phase to the execution of your vision?
Because I share the space, even the layout was in flux until we actually got to making the room. Outside of that, most of the design matches fairly close to what I envisioned. The “neon” sign on the pseudo-wall was actually supposed to be a smaller mounted piece, but due to a series of unexpected events, we were able to make the sign much larger and more prominent. During the planning phase, I really wanted to make sure that we had natural lighting in both of the spaces, and the amount of windows in the space made it easy to execute this vision.
How did your personal style influence your design choices?
I always like to have a lot of interesting pieces along with some bold statement items, and this is the style I carried into the nursery. With the limited space, the statement pieces were created by integrating them into the walls like the star decals, the neon sign and the ledge shelves. Using elements that weren’t too bulky was instrumental because I didn’t want to take away from the size of the room.
Did you have any unexpected obstacles when creating this room?
Splitting the room so that I could also have some office space was a huge obstacle. I wanted Noah to have a decent amount of space to play. What I ended up doing was hanging painted fiberboard on the back of two tall rolling bookcases, which allows me to adjust the size of the room and also provides storage space in my office.
Now that the room is complete, what was your favorite part of the process? And what do you love the most about the finished design?
I still love seeing a vision in my head and then making it come to life. One thing I really wanted was a wall of displayed books because I love reading and wanted to pass that on to Noah. I found some great ledge shelves, which I stacked to create the wall, which I filled with books. Purchasing the books and seeing them displayed on the shelves is what I love most about the finished design.
What is that one thing that everyone mentions when they step into this space?
Most people are surprised to find out that it’s also my office, which is hidden from view when you first step in. Aside from that, most people mention the brightness. The room already had a ton of windows with one wall nearly all glass. In order to take advantage of this, I kept the color scheme to light shades of white, grays and muted colors for a bright and airy feel.
If you had to choose one aspect of the design that is uniquely you, what would it be?
I’d have to say the neon sign that says “You Are Loved.” I always like to find ways to express my heart, and this is something I felt really fit what we wanted to convey to our son.
What were your nursery must-haves when you started?
The bookcase was a must-have. Noah is itching to get to the books, and I can’t wait until he is old enough for that first day we take one down and read it together. The books are a piece of me that I share with him.
Now that the room is finished, what do you wish you had known when you started?
One thing I wish I’d known is to choose items with practicality, as much as style, in mind. From the start, I’d had my eye on one particular patterned rug, but when I had it shipped to me, the fibers kept pulling out, and I kept finding tufts everywhere. Knowing this would be unsafe later on, I sent it back and found a great, inexpensive alternative that worked out much better. I also ended up choosing a thicker rug pad, which made a big difference.
What is the one thing that you would tell other parents to consider when they’re starting their own nursery design projects?
Have a vision, source your items, but look high and low for alternatives—not only to keep within your budget but also in case something doesn’t work out. Be willing to prototype—I’d had the idea for the stars in mind, but before spending the money to get the decals, I had my husband cut out a bunch of stars and tape them to the wall so I could get an idea of what it would look like first. That helped cement the idea. I also drew out the entire room layout, so that I could get a better feel for what the space and the items would look like in it. This helped out a lot.
Photography by Jen Ramos