My Best DIY Home

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DIY Nursery in Pink & Grey

Awhile back I had the opportunity to design a nursery for a very dear friend's newest little girl.  I came up with the design and she did the work, turning my pictures into her reality.  Now, it's finally finished and I am SO EXCITED to show the world the final product!  It turned out so very beautifully, and illustrated so well, how anyone can do this with the right direction!  So often I hear from people: "That's so beautiful, but I could never do that."  Rubbish!  Yes you can - my friend, an ordinary mom, just proved it!

I love my daughter's nursery.  I love my daughter's nursery. 

She is my fifth child, so I've decorated four previous baby rooms.  I've tried to make special and beautiful places for the little people who were coming to live in them, but for all my efforts, they were not what I hoped they would be.  They weren't terrible, just not the end result that I had wished for.  I had an idea of what I wanted, and jumped in and painted, papered, stenciled, and hung curtains.  So why didn't I love what I'd spent my time, energy, and money on?  I didn't know, but it kept happening.

Happily, that was not what happened this time.  And I know what the difference was.  This time  I had help. This time I had a complete vision. This time I had a plan.

Abby, of Metz Interiors, came over to my home, measured my daughter's room, and asked me some questions about what I was looking for in a design.  What styles did I like?  What kind of money was I planning to spend?  Was there anything special from a grandparent or loved one I wanted to include in the room?

In other words, before a design was even started, there were some fundamental questions I'd never asked myself.

When Abby came back with the design plan, it was breathtaking, and beyond what I had hoped for.  But it was completely and utterly intimidating.  I would never have planned something of such scope.  

The Plan.
I had done a little painting before, and can do some very basic level sewing, but this would require furniture restoration, sanding, staining, re-upholstery, some creative sewing, and power tools.  Oh my.  I expressed my concerns, and Abby reassured me that she had indeed kept the plan within my level of ability, and expressed her confidence in me.

So I began with what I felt least intimidated by, and began sewing.  It seemed to be going well.  Slowly, because of my inexperience, but well.  The curtains turned out just like the design plan and the ruffled crib skirt made me giddy. 

I moved on to making the decorative pillows, and that was just plain fun.  By that point, I was more comfortable with my sewing, and I was able to get a little bit creative with my new skills. I was having fun. 

 Still intimidated by the framing and chair rail I loved, and that made the room so sophisticated, I postponed doing the walls and did some little projects: The butterfly mobile, and the rose covered lampshade.  Neither were too time consuming, or expensive, or particularly difficult.  But I still got to feel a sense of accomplishment as they were completed, and as each entered the room, they made it so much more feminine and beautiful.

Honestly, this is the point where I would have quit if this was just me making the room up as I went.  I had matching curtains and a crib skirt, and a couple pretty touches.  It is probably a step further than I would have gone, since I'd never made decorative pillows for any room, ever.  And I was still scared to try the walls.  I knew that this is where a chunk of my baby room budget was going to go - it was a lot of trim to buy - and if it went wrong I would hate to have wasted all that money.  I'd already painted the walls grey, and they did look nice just like that. So I delayed. For months.  But - here is where having a design plan made all the difference.  I'd seen how great the room could be.  I knew exactly how short of the goal I would be if I didn't do it.  And I wanted the room I had seen in the pictures.  I wanted it bad.

Deciding that the only way forward was to just go ahead and try, I bought my trim and jumped in.  Shockingly, it wasn't that hard at all!  Abby showed me how to use a mitre saw, walked me through my first few cuts, then left me to it. And I could do it!  She really had kept my skill level in mind as she created the vision for the room, but she also incorporated ways for me to stretch those abilities and acquire new ones. And once I painted the trim and put the frames up on the walls, (first time using a nail gun) the room was utterly transformed.  I was so proud and pleased!  It was really coming together, and I was doing it!

The next thing I did was the canopy, which like the trim, had lots of glamour and looked more complicated to make than it actually was. The room was almost done.

All that was left was the furniture, which I'd been putting off because I knew it would be such a huge undertaking.  My experiences with the sewing, the trim, and the canopy had taught me that I could do difficult things, even things that were unfamiliar, but somehow the furniture still seemed daunting.  I had found inexpensive pieces on my local kijii listings for the chair and the dresser, but they were in pretty rough shape and needed some real TLC.  I started with the chair, and it went so well, and looked so beautiful in the corner of the room, that I eagerly tackled the dresser.  It was an antique from the 1930s that had been living in someone's garage for the last twenty years, and needed some repair as well as cosmetics.  It was a trickier task than I had anticipated, but I found it so utterly satisfying to watch something that was old and worn, restored to it's original beauty.  And when it was finished and moved back into the room, I could not stop looking at it.  It was a stunning piece of furniture.  The last thing to do was to sand down and stain our crib.  I debated it.  The chair and dresser had taught me how time consuming restoration could be, and all the spools on the crib would require individual attention and time.  My little girl would be moving into a toddler bed in another six or eight months or so, so would it really be worth my time and energy? Back to the design pictures for a little motivation boost.  I was too close to making those pictures a reality to quit now. I had to finish!  So my babe went into a pack-and-play, the crib went into the garage, and I went back into my work clothes.  And again, I was so glad I had stayed true to the plan that was designed for the room.  The room was beautiful, complete, and exactly what I hoped it would be at the conclusion of all my work.

So after five babies, I finally had a nursery that was entirely what I hoped for. Because this time I had direction, I had a plan and I had a goal. This made the difference for me because:

* The design began by considering the function and the feeling that I wanted to get out of the room.  Then the plan deliberately reflected those desires, rather than assuming they would be included in the end product.

* Having a visual to work from not only gave me the direction of what to do, but provided me with the motivation and drive to keep going when I was running out of steam or confidence.

* The design plan included a much greater scope of what could be done in a room than I would have considered on my own.  I would have made my own plans based on what I already knew how to do.  Rather, this design plan was based on what I could do, even if I didn't yet know I could.

* Having a design plan completed before I began working gave me a definite starting and ending point. In previous rooms I had done on my own, I would see something I liked on line, or in a friend's home, or in a magazine. I'd do that, and then not know where to go from there and the room would be stuck. Because of this, my rooms sometimes felt like they weren't quite done, or that something was missing.  But with the design plan everything had been planned out to fit together to achieve one complete look.

My daughter's room is my favourite room in the house.  It is my favourite room in any house, really.  I am so glad that this time I got it right and worked from a plan.  That this time I knew where I was going so I didn't get lost and never arrive at my destination.  It is the perfect room for my little girl and I will always be glad that I put in the time and effort to get it right.

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