I had previously used this room for studio photography and never would I have thought that a year later I would be photographing the room itself and that it would belong to a baby.
Going into it, Martha and I knew that we wanted to keep it gender neutral; that was very important to us. We wanted the gender to be a surprise and we also knew that if we found out, we would be inundated with stereotypical and mostly awful (sorry!), pink or blue items. Good design has no gender! We did not want our child to be a product of gender stereotypes from birth as we felt he or she had the right to be his or her own self.
We have been on a Southwestern kick for awhile now, inspired by Austin Texas aesthetics and design. Martha found the cactus "contact" wallpaper on Etsy and funny enough, it looked exactly like something she would paint for her stationery business. A lot of our friends thought that she actually took the time to hand-paint it. The cactus wallpaper wall became the focal point of the room. We decided to only cover one wall because the pattern is quite busy. The rest of the room was given a fresh coat of flat Behr "Night Blooming Jasmine" paint. To break up the wallpaper a bit, we found a round, brass-rimmed mirror from Target and placed a sympatico modern brass floor lamp nearby. The wallpaper pattern played a role in our choice of furniture as we picked light, modern pieces (crib, rocker chair, and dresser) from Babyletto. Playing off the white / natural color scheme incorporated in those pieces, we found a boho-inspired flatwoven rug from Ikea as well as a stacked pair of rattan footstools and topped that with a faux sheepskin. Hanging above the crib is a beautiful, handmade-to-order cactus mobile in a similar color scheme.
A lot of the work in the room involved the wall with the doorway and the closet. Our home was built in the late 70's which meant the thin metal closet doors ran from floor-to-ceiling. I had to frame and drywall above the 47" wide closet and since the opening was a bit bigger than a standard 32" door, I ended up building my own 48" wide shaker door and mounting it on steel sliding door hardware. Fortunately the 8 ft rolling door hardware just barely fit on that wall but that air return did pose an issue. In the end I replaced the original return grille with a floor vent so that it would be almost completely flat and allow for the door to roll by without scraping it. For the room's entry door, I replaced the cheap hollow core door with a panel door and added a black modern door lever.
As for the window-side wall, we were very fortunate there was an existing built-in. The only things that had to be done were framing around the brand new window we installed and painting the entire bookcase as the previous owner had the genius idea of making them dark blue! Since the shelf just above the changing table doesn't have too much clearance, I do foresee cutting it out as an upcoming task.
The wall across from the cactus wallpaper is still a work in process. So far we've found a stuffed Lion trophy head which is a nod to our son's name-meaning as well as the fact that he's a Leo. Below that is a "Raise Hell Kid" inspirational pennant banner from Oxford Pennant and adjacent is a hanging textile with a color scheme that flowed with the boho aspects of rest of the room.
I think as designers, my wife and I will be constantly incorporating new pieces into the room and even making slight changes. I am happy that we did the whole project ourselves. Doing this "for him", we could feel a connection with him during the whole process even though he was not even born yet.
Growing up my father worked in a factory so building things and repairs around the home were his creative outlet. It's crazy looking back and remembering the things he would create like furniture or even these really well made wooden jack-o-latern and ghost cutout decorations, sans inspiration from Pinterest or the Internet. I was very fortunate to be able to learn from him and gain the confidence that I could create something out of nothing with tools, even though at the time I was probably less than thrilled being awake before noon on a weekend. Pretty sure he always reminded me that one day I would appreciate it and now that I'm 30 (and not a millionaire that can constantly hire someone like I swore up and down that I would be), I do. Thanks Dad.
My wife and I are both in the creative field. I have run a successful apparel business for over 10 years and she is a graphic designer who is up to her neck in wedding stationery projects.