Nadine’s Nursery

Nadine’s Nursary started as our guest room:


From what we can tell (and heard from our neighbor), this was the former’s owner’s bedroom and they were heavy smokers, so the whole room smelled like cigarette smoke, even after a couple years.  Also, there was a sliding door where the window was originally, which isn’t ideal for a nursery.  Not only did it take up a lot of wall space, we knew our future children will be sneaker-outters like their father and we didn’t want to facilitate that.

We began the renovation of this room in January 2013 when we found out I was pregnant.  Our first step was removing the drywall.  On the wall between this room and the hall bath there was a lot of mold due to a leak in the shower, which led to renovating the hall bath.  For a few months, this room was just a storage room for all of our bathroom contractor’s tools.  Once that project was complete, we were able to focus on this room again (though we were able to do some things in parallel like replacing the sliding door with a window).

23 Weeks (5-19-2013)

We also had to demo the tile floor in preparation for painting the concrete and replace the sliding door with a window.  We used this opportunity to reinforce the exterior walls with Simpson Ties which should make it safer in an earthquake.  We also discovered that the previous owners ran electrical wires UNDER the DOOR (which is a HUGE hazard) so we had to re-wire the whole room (the old wiring was old and not grounded anyway, so we’ve re-wired every room we’ve renovated so far).  While we re-wired, we also make sure we had electrical access for our new lights.

Once the infrastructure was in place, we hung new drywall, re-finished the floors, added crown molding and baseboards and painted (using the same color as the hall bath- I got really sick of picking out paint colors and thought it was gender-neutral and pretty enough).  Before painting the ceiling, we caulked the grooves in the tongue-and-groove wood, which over time separate and become uneven.  We think it looks much better caulked and that also makes it a lot easier to paint the ceiling (which still needs to be done with a brush and roller).  Then we hung the lights which are great (although the do buzz slightly from time to time).

34 Weeks (8-4-2013)

Given that the floor didn’t work out exactly great, we got a large area rug (from here, no longer carried) which looked great when it arrived but it’s only held up moderately well.  There is some slight staining (totally our fault, but it’s so light that it doesn’t hide anything) and it still sheds after over 2 years.

One of my favorite projects was adding a custom organizational system to the closet.  Previously, it just had a hanging bar and shelf.  But given our general lack of storage, I devised my own shelving system based on some similar plans I saw here.  The cost was about $150 (much less than pre-made systems and I think it looks a lot better and is better quality), mostly for lumber.  For the sides of the shelving unit, we purchased two pieces of 18″ wide pre-drilled ply-wood from San Rafael lumber, which was the most expensive part- the rest was mostly ply wood, 1×4’s that we already had, and the existing closet rod and hardware.  We could have saved some money by drilling the holes in the ply wood for the shelf pegs ourselves, but it didn’t seem worth the time (I was already 8 months pregnant, so time was not on our side).  I measured everything and had Andy cut the pieces for me with his circular saw and chop saw.  Then I added edge banding and painted all of the pieces in the garage.  Given all of the prep work, it only took about 3 hours for Andy and me to install it.  After installing, I caulked and added another coat of paint to everything but the shelves (they went in last).  Having lived with this for over 2 years, I can say that I really love it.  Now that Nadine can do things herself, she really likes the ability to pick out a jacket from the low hanging rod, and as you can see, all of the shelves are being utilized.  I’ve thought about adding some storage bins to better organize some of the toys we keep in there, but it’s nice that they’re all accessible to Nadine this way.

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For doors, we really wanted sliding doors since this is a tiny room and bi-fold doors take up more space.  We also had to factor in some support for the light system.   Andy wanted to make sure the doors went to the ceiling so that we could use every inch of storage space in the closet and still be able easily to access it.  The cost of ordering custom sliding doors of that height was really high, so Andy made his own using ply wood, pine 2×4’s, and some hardware from San Rafael Lumber.  I think they look really great and somewhat resemble the birch doors in the hall pantry.  The only issue is that they slide very easily and are on the heavy side… so I’ve already crushed my finger in the door (we need to add some stronger bumpers).


I made the curtains using this fabric.  I was still hemming these while I was in labor and they didn’t end up getting hung until Nadine was a few weeks old.  That was fine since we had the black-out shade purchased from Home Depot.  My sister and I painted the chevron pattern on it using 2 coats of regular eggshell latex paint with masking tape as a guide (and a lot of precise measuring).  Unfortunately, the residue from the tape has attracted dust over time and it looks a little dirty (but not dirty enough for me to bother with replacing it!), so I don’t recommend this technique, but the latex paint has held up well, so I presume free-hand painting or painting the whole thing a solid color would turn out well.


I LOVE this glider.  It’s so beautiful, modern and COMFORTABLE.  When we travel, especially when I was nursing, it was the thing I missed most about home.  It also cleans up pretty easily (using resolve carpet cleaner spray and a scrub brush or baby wipes for small messes).  It was pretty expensive, but I think it was worth every penny.  We ordered it through baby world in San Rafael (it came in the day Nadine was born and my brother-in-law kindly picked it up and delivered it to our house so it was there by the time we got home from the hospital).  They’re no longer in business, but I think you could order it through the Oakland store.

Originally, I had a DIY stump table (like this) as a side table in here, made from the oak tree we had cut down in our back yard.  Unfortunately, it was infested with bugs, so I threw the whole thing away- so the lesson learned is to check wood carefully for bugs before bringing it into your house!  Eventually, we got a nice piece of cypress (which I was assured did not contain bugs) from a reclaimed wood place in Petaluma.  Andy used most of it to make a sign for his parents’ cabin, but I claimed a small piece to make into a side table.  The legs are from here and I spray painted them teal before attaching them.

The dresser is a vintage dresser we got at an estate sale when I was about 6 months pregnant.  We got a matching one for our bedroom (for about $100 total) and I refinished both.


The storage unit was the old Expedit unit from Idea (which has since been replaced with a similar Kallax series).  We got 6 Ikea Drona storage baskets and I added the animal appliques to them using animal shapes I found on the internet, some leftover fabric, and heat-n-bond.

The crib is the Gulliver crib from Ikea and we’re very happy with it.  We got the organic crib mattress from my mother-in-law as a baby gift.  We got some supre cut Aiden+Anais muslin sheets as a gift, but they are VERY TIGHT and difficult to get on.  I recently ordered this sheet and I love it, it fits perfectly- I just wish it came in more patterns!

I was obviously in full on nesting mode because in addition to doing the drywall, closet built-ins and curtains and dressers while very pregnant, I also took on a lot of craft projects (many of which didn’t get finished until after Nadine was born).    I made a version of the bird mobile shown here for over Nadine’s crib (which eventually fell on her in the middle of one night since I hung it with normal sewing thread… given the trauma (but no injuries) of that event, we didn’t re-hang it).  I also made an astronaut mobile using these patterns (Nadine’s nickname was “the astronaut” before she was born because her head was so big in all of the ultra sound pictures).  I also made 2 changing pad covers (with matching Boppy covers) and 5-6 “mats” which were really helpful in catching the bulk of any accident without having to change the entire cover.  They’re also helpful now that she sometimes insists on being changed on the floor.


It’s interesting that the nursery started out completely gender neutral (we didn’t know Nadine was a girl until she was born) and still remains that way.  I think the only girly components are her dolls and tea set which are generally in the toy boxes.  I still love Nadine’s room (not sure if we can call it a Nursery still since she’s 2…), it’s very peaceful and surprisingly organized for a kid’s room (though granted, we’re still doing most of the clean up for her… if we didn’t it would be a disaster).  I also think this will hold up for a while.  Nadine loves animals, so the toy bins and curtains are still really appropriate for her.  The only change I foresee in the near future is converting her crib to a toddler or twin bed.



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