The Antiqued Nursery

The Antiqued Nursery

I love nurseries. I don’t think I will ever get tired of nurseries. So far I have only gotten to do two…..one for a boy and one for a girl. In this post, I would like to show how well antiques can be used and incorporated into the nursery, while still maintaining that soft, clean feel you desire for your little one. The “antiqued nursery” is not one that is stuffy or impractical, but one of timeless elegance that blends the old, the new, the vintage, and the comfortable.

My wife and I got married our senior year of college and were pregnant a month later (Yes, I know….what!?). As we were eight months pregnant, studying for final exams, and packing up our house in Athens, there was little to no time to plan for the nursery of our June arrival. Much of the nursery décor and planning was done by my mother, as she prepared our apartment for us back in Jacksonville. It was, of course, lovely and you can see a glimpse of it here, but five years later with the impending arrival of Baby # 2, my wife and I were excited to get to do one ourselves….and we’d had plenty of time to think about it.

As you know if you read my last post, my wife doesn’t always appreciate my hunter-gatherer skills and as she puts it, “the way I invent new corners in our house to put things.”  So, when we found out that we were going to have a boy, William V (I’m just a little proud), I could sense the fear in Leanna about what I might do to the nursery. I wanted it very masculine, while she was hoping for something clean, soft, neutral, and sparse. I think she was afraid I was going to go all Gaston on her and put antlers everywhere. Or want something like this….

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Truth be told, I was actually thinking more Versailles for the little guy. Sort of like a more masculine version of this…

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My wife reminded me that she was going to be spending the most time in there and that I should go focus my attention on somewhere like the hall bathroom. One thing was for certain….we were both determined to try and use what we had and incorporate antiques into his nursery. Then we found A Country Farmhouse and received our inspiration from this room. 

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We were able to compromise on the idea of creams and whites, complemented by more primitive, rustic, and dark, masculine furniture. This was the result.

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A plain, 19th century oval mirror from my mom’s first apartment (one of her first purchases from the good old Lamppost Antiques) is centered over a rustic, pine sleigh bed with a waxed finish. The mirror over the bed not only helps to open up the room but will serve as great fun for a bouncing toddler after bath time. Four vintage illustrations from Beatrix Potter’s stories are stacked on the wall and matted in a soft brown to complement the brown floral drapes. (She got her flowers…I got my brown). I finished the drapery rods in a warm English chestnut and gave them a waxed finish.

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I found this primitive American, black walnut side table circa 1840 and immediately thought it would make the perfect bedside table. I can also see a little boy doing his homework here one day. I bought this pair of Alabaster lamps circa 1940 and dressed them up with box-pleated shades. My wife indulged me in my love of dogs and let me weave a subtle English, hunting dog theme through the room.

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This little country Sheraton style pine nightstand, circa 1820 was perfect for the small space between the closet and the bed and centered perfectly in the very narrow window of this Avondale house.

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I painted an ugly 1960’s dresser in this quail egg color and distressed it with a dark, English paste wax to make the perfect changing table. The lowness of this mid-century piece actually lends itself to changing diapers. I also replaced the modern hardware with antique Hepplewhite style pulls. I painted the old, nondescript pine mirror above in a soft grey blue and applied a coat of the same dark English wax to antique it. I think my favorite part of this nursery may be the 19th century French carriage lamps on either side of the mirror. We had a ton left from my dad’s old inventory and I’m always looking for cool places to use them.

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The blue and white chevron pillow modernizes the room just a bit and the chocolate lab will remind him of the one that lives in this house

To me antiques are not just something for living rooms and dining rooms and your grandmother’s parlor. They are things to be used and appreciated. They’ve been through everything. They can handle your kids. By incorporating antique pieces into your nursery, you not only give it a unique and special look, but you give your young children an exposure to them. You invest in something that lasts. How special to be able to one day present your children with some nice pieces from their childhood for their children’s nursery, as opposed to a cheap pine glider and particle board changing table. Expecting a little one this year? Why not consider the 2013 Art & Antiques Show in your quest for the perfect nursery.

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