Monday, April 22, 2013

Project Nursery- The Behind The Scenes Footage

So yes, we've been featured in a magazine...But please don't go thinking we're all fancy-like now. No, no. Turns out we're totally average people, who experience some moments of completely bizarre awesomeness.

For some reason, this little nursery has gotten quite a lot of press. We loved creating it (except maybe the wallpaper scraping part), and it's been so much fun to share our work, and see other people fall in love with this little space of ours. But I feel compelled to get all "Show Your Real" about this (like all things, lately) and give you the real story behind the glossy photos.

You see, I always see magazine spreads or blog tours of people's perfect houses, and pristine rooms, and think how wonderful it would be to live like that. All white kitchens with an oversized bowl containing an entire orchard of lemons....Kid's rooms with all the vintage collections placed just so... Bathrooms where the tile gleams and the small bud vase of fresh flowers reflects brilliantly in the flawless mirror...

But now that a little snippet of our home has been posted and published, I realize that these picture perfect moments aren't the full story. Any story or home that we see is just a piece of the whole. And after the photography crew rolls out (or in my case, when I finally allow Dustin to take down the clamp lights and go back to whatever he was doing) life resumes and the photographic perfection is nothing but a snapshot in time.

I love the nursery we created. There are some beautiful elements, successful projects, and inspiring details in this room. But outside of photo-day (and now, a year and a half later) there are also some rough edges, some undone details, some things we'd like to change (and some things we did change).

Because as it tuns out...we don't live in a magazine. Or even in a blog post. But we live in this room, and there is more to its story than some organized still-lifes can capture.

So now, one and a half years (as well as several hundred naps, and over a thousand diaper changes)'s a more accurate day-to-day shot of our room: 

See that mess? Looks a little bit like pictures you've seen before....with a big fat layer of life on top.

First addition to our nursery-design-canvas? Toys. Everywhere with the toys. Bears, and dolls, and blocks, and books and who knows what else are constantly strewn about. And as much as I love this rug (and I do still love this rug!) I can also tell you from first hand (and foot!) experience that it hides toys realllllly well. I've stepped on enough blocks and puzzle pieces over the last few months to last me a lifetime. (We actually started covering up the rug with a giant blanket during playtime from the early days. Back then it saved the layers of rags from potential spit-up, and now it serves as a blank canvas to corral all the tiny pieces that would otherwise only be found by my toes.)

We try to rein in the toys with baskets and bins, but somehow, they still find there way back to the floor.

Oh- and the book wall? You might not have noticed (ok...I'd actually be shocked if you noticed), but the color order shown in Parents', wasn't exactly how we have it every day. For the shoot, I switched up the bottom shelf's books from red to yellow. The yellow group is my favorite, so "in real life" it's on the right side of the room so it's visible from the hallway.  The red collection is actually my least favorite (the books themselves are fine, the colors are just a little jarring compared to the rest), so it's usually in the bottom far corner. So when I was asked to photo just that nook, I switched and swapped everything until it looked perfect. I figure it's no different than when MTV Cribs rolls in, and celebs have their assistants rearrange their fridge to make sure all the labels are alphabetized and facing forward....
(and for what it's worth, I'm pretty sure Parents' photoshopped out the top row of art in order to fit their headline. No biggie, but it's a sign that in every magazine spread there could be a multitude of sins edited out, or placed just out of frame.)

Related story: The cords. And the humidifier. And the nightlight. All things we definitely use, but didn't want to show "on camera". And full disclosure: the clock doesn't work (never's actually a replacement for the first clock that never worked. After two I just gave up.) Oh- and the lamp doesn't have a bulb in it. The bulb broke at some point (not burned out...broke...I suspect little hands dropped a book on it somehow) and since we never used it, I just never bothered to replace it (or plug it in.)

The opposite side of the room has had its fair share of updates since its Project Nursery hey day. The crib mattress has been lowered and filled with the 3 B's of bedtime (Baby, Blanket and Bla-Bla the Sheep). The crib skirt could use a good ironing, ever since it went through the stomach flu (and associated washings). Under that pile of blankets in the corner is a basket that is supposed to hold the blankets..... And the mobile has been removed since we used this wall for Piper's birthday photobooth.

As for the bookshelf. Pre-baby, it was pristine little display case....And helps keep the junk off of the floor. Once Piper could toddle around, it became a lost cause to have a shelf of off-limits stuff at her eye level. We compromised, and the top shelf is mostly books I'd rather her not touch (like photo albums, my mom's pregnancy journal etc.) and the second shelf is all hers for books, puzzles, and toys.

The bins on the bottom have actually worked out extremely well. For some reason, Piper has never even touched them, so I use them to store the more practical items that we'd rather not stare at every day (outlet covers, daycare paperwork, extra nipple know...the usual.) And speaking of practical- make way for Diaper Genie. That guy became an utter necessity around the six month mark, so we swapped it in to replace of our old-fashioned Ikea trash pail. If you look closely you can still see the second-hand price sticker on it. Because we're classy like that. (True story- I just removed it last year. Apparently my threshold for that kind of thing is around a year.)

And the famous chalk wall? (I use "famous" loosely...but it has made the rounds a bit on the internet and pinterest). Well....recently, its been in need of some love. I erased it all, (maybe in January?) with the plan to update it with some new art....But I got through one frame before Piper needed some more hands on attention, and I just never got back to it. So it sat for a few months in (Oh, and I took down the bottom embroidery hoop about a year ago, because someone figured out how to get it off the wall and couldn't resist playing with it every time I changed her.)
(Bonus trivia: Did you notice the "P" in place of the ampersand? We had that little beauty for a while but were waiting until she was born for the big name...and initial...reveal)

Oh, and don't forget the changing table itself. I'd like it to be all bright white and pristine, but the reality is it's a poop station. So design goes out the window, in favor of a garish but functional water proof pad. Add a side care of medicines, lotions, and wipes, and throw in a bonus of day old jammies hanging on the door knob, and you've got yourself a real live diaper assembly line.

So there's the story behind the story. It's still a beautiful room. It could maybe even be ready for its closeup again, given a few minutes, a big hamper and a box of Swiffers. But if you were to stop by, trust that it would be in relative shambles- hopefully a sign that we love the stuff that goes on in that room much more than we love the stuff that's in it.

And real-time update- I finally got it together enough to update her chalk wall last week. We're working on our P's...... (oh- and the "Pony" art will go back in that sketched soon as I can find the magnets for it. I'm hoping no one ate them by accident.)

And let's be honest...That poodle is pretty busted, no?


If you're interested, I've compiled all things nursery into one page (you can also check it out by clicking the button on the sidebar.)


  1. I love everything about this post. Thanks for always keeping it real.
    Have you already thought through how you will decorate my children's rooms someday? Because you will be called in to consult now that you are famous...and you will have to do it for free because we are friends.

    1. I'm sure I can whip something up. But please hold off on the babies until I'm done with your crib, k? :)

  2. Such a fun post! I'd never seen the chalkboard walk with frames cool! You are really creative!

    1. Thanks Becky! It was a bit of trial and error to get there, but I love how it turned out (and that we can change it as much....or as we want!)

  3. Love. It might be an even better room when it looks lived in. And loved in. :)

    1. Isn't everything better with a big layer of love on top?

  4. the pig at the top of the chalk wall {favorite}. sooooo cute!

    thanks for keeping it real. We have a whole heck of a lot of real going on over here ALL THE TIME.

    1. The pig is my fav too. But he makes the poodle look even worse. If that's possible.