We finished the nursery just in time for Baby Girls Yolo’s arrival!!! And I am excited to share it with you! We actually had 3/4 of it finished this Summer for a photoshoot with Country Living Magazine’s March 2020 issue (on newsstands now). I knew the angle they wanted to shoot, so we painted and wallpapered it, and set up the crib…but got busy so the other side of the room was left unfinished, ha! Since Baby Girl was 12 days late, we thankfully had a bunch of time to finish up!
The key with this space is efficiency. The room is not all that big (9 x 10.5 ft plus a 5×2 closet) and I wanted to make sure we fit in a crib, a changing station, storage for clothing, and a comfy slider for nursing. I am happy to say that after a couple weeks of having Baby Girl home, the nursery is functioning amazingly, and there is just enough floor space for the pups to lay around the chair during each feeding!
Let’s start with the concept for the room. After thrifting the big chalkboard, I knew I wanted a schoolhouse vibe in the nursery. And remember a while back when I was wallpapering the downstairs bathroom? I had gotten the “Around Campus” school building wallpaper from Chasing Paper for the bathroom, but it did not quite fit the vibe, so I switched to a tree wallpaper. When I was brainstorming the nursery, I measured the room, and had the exact amount of Around Campus paper needed to cover the top half of the nursery! Meant to be!
Even though we knew Baby Girl’s sex early on, I wanted the room to be neutral colors. If you have been following for a while, you know my love for Behr’s Silver Celadon. Note: Silver Celadon is chalk paint color that I ask to have turned into a matte paint. All the doors on the second level are painted this color, so I could get a little sense of what it would look like in the room. It is just prettiest, most calming color, so it was a no brainer to continue it on the bottom half of the walls. It reads a lot more sage in this room compared to the hallway, which I really liked, because it feels like a different color in the room (reminder, make sure to test paint in the room you are painting because light can really affect the color!)
I knew I wanted a chair rail to separate the bottom paint from the top wall paper. So we measured the height of one wall paper panel, marked that distance from the ceiling, and set our trim to that elevation. We used two pieces of wood for the chair rail; a standard chair rail profile for the top and a decorative band below. By combining two standard pieces, you essentially create your own, custom trim. It’s such a simple DIY; just cut the trim with a 45 degree angle at the corners, and use a brad nailer to tack it to the wall. Use a little caulk and wood filler to infill seams and cover nail holes, then paint. It’s a big impact upgrade for a low cost! Once the chair rail was up, we painted the base, wall, and chair rail with Behr’s Silver Celadon in a matte finish. Once dry, I hung Chasing Paper’s “Around Campus” wallpaper above.
The moment I saw this crib, I knew it was perfect for the room! The brass frame was exactly what I was looking for, plus it converts into a toddler bed so we can use it for a few years!
I am SO in love with the slider! When DucDuc reached out and offered to make me a custom piece for the nursery, I was so excited, because this linen buffalo check is gorgeous and perfect for the room. Yes, the Sully slider is pricey, but if it’s in your budget, the quality is impeccable. The pattern lines up perfectly from piece to piece, the craftsmanship is stunning, and the chair is beyond comfortable. Baby Girl and I have spent hours sitting in the slider and we just melt right in. The ottoman slides as well, which I wonderful when you need to put your feet up! Plus, it doubles as storage, so I can put my pump in there, so it’s out of sight, but within arm’s reach.
You know how much I love Loloi rugs! And this one was perfect for the nursery. Its so soft, and the colors tie together the room, while adding just a dash of peachy pink. I also love that the pattern plays well with the patten on the chair!
I can’t wait for Baby Girl to get creative drawing on this thrifted chalkboard! In the meantime, I chalked some of her stats on the board for her to sleepily pose in front of 🙂
Closet Changing Station
We maximized space by turning the closet into a changing station. Mr. Yolo and I were looking for a dresser at Goodwill to paint and convert into a changing table, and then we spotted this actual changing table for $25! It’s not an antique, but it was the perfect size so we could not pass it up. I covered up the faux mahogany “wood” by painting it with chalk paint (I mixed a few colors to get this dark blue/gray), then changed out the hardware to these brass handles. The changing basket I got fit perfectly in the top.
The Hanging rack was a quick DIY using a galvanized pipe and hanging brackets. Before hanging I used Rub & Buff to turn them gold! Supplies are in my Amazon Nursery Shop!
Sponged Alphabet Wall
Baby Girl came 12 days after her due date, so I was filling my days with random projects while we waited. I was walking around the hardware store one afternoon, and the idea hit me to cut the letters of the alphabet out of sponges, dip them in paint, and sponge the ABC’s onto the closet wall. It was the perfect busy work to channel my nesting energy into. It definitely took longer than I thought, ha! First, I cut out one letter per sponge. I just freehanded it, but you could use a Sharpie to draw the letter on the sponge before cutting it. Then, set aside a chunk of time for the painting part. Once you start, you are going to want to finish because you will need to reuse each letter, and you don’t want the paint to dry on the sponge. I dipped each letter in paint, blotted it off, and then pressed it on the wall.
The question I get most often is “what paint color is that!?”
Paint is one of the best ways to incorporate color and personality into a space. But, walking into the paint store staring at the wall of tiny paint squares can feel like the most daunting choice you make in your home! Paint colors are one of the questions I get asked most because they can be so hard to choose. Filters, lighting, and time of day all affect how colors will look.
Typically Mr. Yolo and I are renovating an entire house from top-to-bottom, so we have a blank slate. It can be super overwhelming to know what color you want in EVERY room during the renovation process. To combat this, we start by painting the entire house some type of white before adding accent colors. In the Barnhouse, we painted the whole house Behr’s Swiss Coffee — including the ceilings. This is a very approachable white with some warmth to it, because I did not want the house to feel too stark. It’s a really cozy white, that I love and use in every house now.
Pro Tip: We use a sprayer, which makes the process so much quicker. And I could write an entire post on paint sprayers (which I might just do!) because I get a ton of questions whenever we use one. In short: Spraying takes ALOT more prep time, but the actual painting is super quick. I would recommend a sprayer if you are painting a whole empty room. If you are only painting your walls or an accent wall, rolling it is the way to go!
I went a shade darker than the walls on the trim, Behr’s Cotton Knit, so there would be a little dimension. In most of my photos the trim and wall read the same, but in real life it’s a subtle difference that is really pretty. It’s SO FUN to see a bunch of you use this same combo and love it! We use a different paint sheen on the trim than on the walls. This also helps add dimension to the room. Typically I choose an eggshell finish on the walls and satin on the trim — but not always depending on the look I am trying to achieve.
Paint with a sheen tends to repel fingerprints and wipes easier than a flat paint on trim. So it’s often recommended to use a semi-gloss on trim, but I am not a huge fan of gloss, so I stick to a flatter sheen. Behr also recently came out with ULTRA Scuff Defense that has the look of a flat, but the durability of gloss, which we tried in the Duplex. So far so good, but I will follow-up in a future Duplex paint picks post to let you know how it holds up.
With hundreds of shades of white, how do you choose?
Pick a white paint, easy, right!? Nope! There are SO many whites!
At I SPY Abode I used HGTV Home’s Pure White, which really is one of the purest whites I’ve ever seen. It worked with the design of that house, but it wouldn’t have worked at the Barnhouse because I wanted a more cozy, inviting feel. Behr’s Swiss Coffee is my go-to. It’s white, but it has a little bit of warmth that doesn’t feel too stark. After using it in The Barnhouse, I became obsessed with it. I’ve recommended it to friends and fam that are looking for a white, and it’s looked SO GOOD in ALL of their homes! We also used it in our Duplex renovation, which has more blue accents in the tile and accent walls, and it still looks fantastic!
Tip: Cooler is more blue tones. Warmer is more yellow tones.
Both whites and accent colors can take on many different shades. You’ll want to select samples and paint them on your walls. Try them in different spaces of the room and look at them during different times of the day.
My top tips for choosing paint colors are:
Start with a couple of inspiration pieces like a pillow, blanket, or art that will hang in that room. Take your inspiration pieces with you to the paint store and select paint swatches that pull from the hues in those items. This is a great place to start when you’re feeling at a loss for what color to use.
Never go off of how the tiny paint square looks in the store! I beg you! Choose a few paint swatches you like based on your inspiration pieces and then buy a few tester cans and paint them on your walls. Remember to look at them in different light and on different walls. Or you can try the Peel & Stick samples that you can order online for a couple of bucks. These actually work pretty well because you can move them wall to wall, but nothing works better than painting a swatch on your wall!
Look at paint samples that are a shade lighter and a shade darker than you think you like. That will help you find your true favorite.
When rooms are in eyesight of each other, make sure you pick colors that complement each other. Try to achieve an overall cohesive look choosing colors that play well together instead of clash.
Here’s a roundup of all the Barnhouse paint colors:
When we purchased the Barnhouse, the stairs were wood and had varnish on them. I quickly found that stripping and sanding them was going to be a big undertaking. So instead of trying to stain them, I decided to paint them. I used Kilz oil-based primer in a gray tone (if you’re painting with a dark color use gray primer). KILZ primer will stick to anything with a finish (I did do a light sand before priming) and it won’t chip. After the primer, I used exterior paint on the stairs for durability. This paint has been amazing. We didn’t have a stair runner for almost a year, and the paint still looks great even after lots of feet and paws have been up and down thousands of times!
Walls: Swiss Coffee Finish: Eggshell Accent Color: Blue Metal Finish: Matte
Behr’s Blue Metal is one of my absolute favs! I saw this at one of their events and just knew I had to use it somewhere. So in this room, I started with the color and built off of that instead of using an inspiration piece. In the bathroom, I painted to the bottom of the wall and then used Chasing Paper wallpaper on the top, which has become my go-to in bathrooms! If you are using a dark color in a small room, this can be an excellent way to make the room lighter and brighter while still using a dark paint color. And this is definitely one of those colors you want to test. On some walls it looks blue and others greenish/gray. Then I picked decor in that space that would work with both, no matter which way the paint was reading on a wall. I picked landscape paintings that had grays and greens and blues so they would all play together. I chose a matte finish for this paint because I wanted it to look rich and have no sheen. I didn’t want it to look modern, but as though it had been there for years.
Silver Celadon was a happy accident! The walls on the landing are Behr’s Swiss Coffee (you know, like the rest of my house!), and for some reason, the area was reading pink. I couldn’t figure it out because this wasn’t happening in the other rooms. I think it had something to do with our red house reflecting off the neighbors white house and bouncing in through the bay windows. I played around with a ton of different colors to get an accent color on the doors to tone down the pink. and the greenish undertones in Silver Celadon worked! It’s a beautiful soothing gray that I’ve used in a couple of other spaces. In some rooms, it reads more green, and in some, it’s just gray, so just make sure it works with the vibe you are going for.
Chalk paint on a door!? Yup, I did it. But would I do it again, probably not. You can see fingerprints on the doors, so I would try the matte Scuff Defence next time. Pro tip: remember you can color match to a matte paint, which will be less expensive than chalk paint.
Why did you pick carpet for the bedrooms? This is actually the first time I have put carpet in one of my home renovations, and a few factors played into the decision. First, I really thought about how this house would be used. The plan for the Duplex was to rent for a bit and then turn into an Airbnb (More about why here). After I started decorating each room, we decided to Airbnb it right away. Either way, it was super important to have durable flooring throughout the house (we are actually seeing some chips and other wear and tear on our non-LifeProof laminate flooring in our other Airbnb…). If you missed the post about the LifeProof Vinyl Flooring we installed in the rest of the Duplex, check it out here! I decided to transition from vinyl flooring to carpet in the bedrooms for a couple reasons: 1) Since the upper and lower units in the Duplex will often be rented to different groups of people, I wanted carpet to muffle footsteps on the second floor when guests are in their bedroom at night. 2) The basement under the Duplex is unfinished and not heated, so the floors on the first floor can get chilly in the winter, so I wanted to make sure guests’ feet were warm at bedtime!
Why that color carpet? I went back and forth A LOT on the carpet color. The rooms are not that big so I did not want a dark color that would feel heavy. And I also wanted the transition from the lighter Beacon Oak LifeProof flooring to carpet not to be too stark. The Twine color was soft and worked well with the flooring and the wall color (Behr Swiss Coffee and NYPD). And my thought process on the lighter color is that guests will be more cautious of walking on it with shoes seeing that it’s a little lighter, which will help keep it looking great!
Why did you pick PetProof Carpet? Keeping in mind that there would be a lot of foot traffic in the house, I needed something durable! Plus, we allow pups at our other Airbnbs, so wanted to make sure that if we do the same at this one, the carpet would be able to withstand pet stains and smells. PetProof Carpet checked all the boxes because it has a lifetime pet stain warranty, superior softness and exceptional durability! Plus, it has a spill shield technology for built-in stain protection that will never wash off or wear off, and is easy to clean, making it great for guests with children and pets.