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Hugh’s Modern Nursery


Creating a nursery for our first child made for an exciting DIY project in our newly adopted city of Charlotte, North Carolina. As architecture and art enthusiasts (Mom is an architectural historian), we favor clean lines, abstract forms, and neutral hues with pops of color. Using many items we already owned, including artwork and textiles by family and friends, and a few newly-purchased “baby” items, like a crib and changing table accessories, we created a cool, modern space that any child (or adult) would love. The best part of the room? We managed to stay within our $1000 budget!

Design Inspiration

With a background in architectural and art history, we tend to gravitate toward the Modern aesthetic and pieces that have a "story to tell." We wanted a stylish space that was comfortable for the entire family and blended with the decor of the rest of our 1946 home.

Decorating Style

MCM and maybe an "Art School Aesthetic."

Project Details

We started with neutral basics- grey walls, a natural jute rug (World Market), and white furniture, but the real stars of the room are the colorful pieces of art that give the space character and were lovingly created by family and friends. An abstract piece by Hugh’s grandfather hangs over the modern crib (Babyletto) giving the room a fun, colorful vibe, while a geometric mobile (Artenica and Clara von Zweigbergk) adds dimension and whimsy. Generous handmade gifts, including the “Waves” print by family friend and NYC artist, Amanda Salvaggio Fenlon, a black and white cross quilt made by Hugh's great aunt, and a pair of elephant drawings (also by Grandpa) provide unique accents to the neutral space. Nods to the mid-century aesthetic found in the rest of the house appear in the rocking chair, side table (salvage store in Charleston, SC), and patterned fabrics of the window seat. Hand-me-down furniture, like the old oak dresser and bench, gets new life with brass hardware and a fresh coat of paint. Other accessories like the white faux leather ottoman (Land of Nod), wide white shelf, shiny lacquered tray (West Elm), and textural storage baskets (The Container Store) are practical additions to the room.

Favorite Items

We love the room's original art!


For an affordable and distinctive take on Modernism, mix classic favorites from big box stores, like West Elm, IKEA, and CB2, with one-of-a-kind pieces from antique and salvage stores. And always try and shop the attics and basements of loved ones!

Allie J

Monday 19th of December 2016

What color did you paint your walls?