We just recently toured the lovely nursery of Jackie Hempel’s youngest son. Now we have the pleasure of peeking around her playroom designed for both her sons to draw, play and let their imaginations run wild. This space is colorful, playful and just begging for you to get down on the floor and spend some quality time with your littles. We love how she blended the space for quiet playtime and get busy and roll around the room in your toy car playtime. We’ll let Jackie tell us how she made the magic happen in this space, and you can read more about her creative ideas and her family life on her blog Finding Lovely.
Design inspiration can come from anywhere—what inspired your nursery/kid room design?
My love for the ocean can be seen throughout our home, but that doesn’t always mean nautical. Coastal style offers serene colors, a relaxed coastal vibe, and an earthy loveliness I can’t help but embrace—a little bit of California in a very New England place.
How did your design evolve when you transitioned from the planning phase to the execution of your vision?
For all my design projects I use what I call a launch point. Whether it is a color, fabric or piece of art, something has to inspire the rest of the room. It is usually fabric, but in this case it was a color palette inspired by the cover of a kid’s book. I knew the room needed to flow with the rest of the house—grays, soft shades of white, aqua and navy blues, but in this space, we added a pop orange for whimsy.
Did you have any unexpected obstacles when creating this room? How did you overcome them or spin them to your advantage?
This room was essentially square and lacked defined areas. By realizing the disadvantages in a space you can firmly outline the direction you need to go. I made a list of what I wanted my boys’ playroom to have—a reading nook, lots of storage and a play table and then designed accordingly. Be purposeful about the planning stage.
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?
Well, for one, we uncovered my husband’s hidden talent for hanging wallpaper. Design win for me! Now that it is complete, I love that it feels good to be in this room. Adults love it as much as the kiddos, and that’s important. There’s space to sit and stay, and it invites you to linger. I spend a whole lot of my day in here, so it had to be lovely, inspiring and a joyful place.
What is the one thing that you would tell other parents to consider when they’re starting their own nursery design projects?
Find your inspiration, realize the disadvantages of your space, write out a list of your wants for the room and then give yourself time for it to come together. I think we’re programed to want instant gratification when it comes to room design but a gathering and collecting of finds takes time, and in the end, adds a loveliness that only time can offer.
Now that the room is finished, what do you wish you had known when you started?
Sometimes the best finds, the ones that make a room feel complete, are right under your nose. I had the barn wood letters spelling PLAY on the wall for quite some time, but they always seem wrong, insignificant given the height of the room. One day, while nosing around our garage, I looked up and spotted a stack of old shutters original to our home. They were the perfect shade of aged teal. I hosed one off and glued the letters on. This was a good lesson in scale for me. The addition of the shutter grounded the letters and provided the foundation those poor letters needed.
What is that one thing that everyone mentions when they step into this space?
The wallpaper. Usually you see the Cole and Son’s woods wallpaper in a black and white, and I really wanted that colorway but I could not shake the feeling after putting all the samples up that the taupe was calling to my heart. Always listen to that. It grounded the space, added whimsy and yet was subtle enough to allow the details of the room to come together in a beautiful chorus.
Images by Ruth Eileen Photography