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The Sweetest Brooklyn Nursery: A Beautiful Before And After

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The Sweetest Brooklyn Nursery: A Beautiful Before And After

Despite our recent move out of NYC, our Park Slope, Brooklyn apartment was such a special place to our family. My two children were born in this apartment (ok, not literally in the apartment, but hopefully you get me). The nursery we created was such a happy, joyful space for their early childhood years. Read on for details!

A New Mama Craving Nesting

We moved into our Park Slope, Brooklyn apartment when my son Lincoln was four days old. You can read more about that experience in this post about our Brooklyn living room makeover. Because we were moving, I didn’t get to do any of the late pregnancy nesting that my body and hormones so deeply craved. So I threw myself in wholeheartedly once we moved in!

I wanted to create a relatively gender neutral space that felt bright, happy, and peaceful – but also had some fun personality elements. Admittedly I was in a bit more of a “boho” phase of my design preferences, but I think we ultimately created a space with character that didn’t feel too tied to trends, and instead felt just right for our growing family.

Nursery Before & After

Instillerie Park Slope Brooklyn Nursery Before

This room had a ton of natural light. This apartment was a ground floor apartment on a busy corner in Park Slope, Brooklyn. Luckily it was raised up a few steps above street level, but still needed top-down/bottom-up blinds to ensure privacy and avoid the fishbowl effect. The bones of this room were amazing, so really all we had to do was bring in the vision for the decor!

Instillerie Park Slope Brooklyn Nursery Reveal

Isn’t this delightful? We had such a blast bringing this room to life. So much credit to Cindy DeLuzuriaga of DeLuzuriaga Studios for pushing the fun element with custom pieces like the bookshelf robot and the Atari table. 

(Please excuse the fact that the after pic is from a different angle.)

Nursery Inspiration

As far as NYC apartment room sizes go, this nursery was BIG. Which was great – we really wanted enough space for guests to have a bed (aka a pull out couch) to sleep on when visiting. Working around the pull out sofa was the main design condition when approaching this room. A few other considerations included: keeping it relatively gender neutral, ensuring the room could get dark enough for naptime (hello heavy duty blackout curtains), creating space for a rocker (though admittedly, I didn’t use it very much), and preserving plenty of space for play and reading.

Below is a nursery I came across by Amber Interiors that definitely served as inspiration for the space.

Instillerie Brooklyn Nursery Inspiration
Instillerie Brooklyn Nursery Inspiration | Design: Amber Interiors, Photography: Tessa Neustadt
Instillerie Brooklyn Nursery Inspiration
Instillerie Brooklyn Nursery Inspiration | Design: Amber Interiors, Photography: Tessa Neustadt
Instillerie Brooklyn Nursery Inspiration
Instillerie Brooklyn Nursery Inspiration; Design: Amber Interiors, Photography: Tessa Neustadt

Starting With The Basics

We started with a few neutral basic budget pieces that were sort of necessary to just make the room inhabitable. Those items included: 

Sourcing Nursery Art

Admittedly I was really into the Amber Interiors nursery inspo so I looked into the source for the baby wolf picture and ended up leaning in hard. Sharon Montrose is the photographer, and she sells her work through her site The Animal Print Shop. I ended up purchasing the wolf print and also six other sweet prints for above the changing station (note to self: never hang frames right above the changing area because tiny babies soon become wriggling toddlers… we had to take on of the frames down and just had a blank spot on the wall for like six months until we got through that phase).

Instillerie Nursery Art, Sharon Montrose, The Animal Print Shop, Wolf Pup No. 1
Instillerie Nursery Art from The Animal Print Shop
Nursery Art, Baby Animals By Sharon Montrose from The Animal Print Shop

Sadly I don’t have a great shot of the side of the nursery with all the baby animals, but please enjoy this picture of me MASSIVELY pregnant, six days before my daughter was born.

Instillerie Nursery, Very Pregnant Mama

Rugs, Rugs, Rugs

After solidifying the basics, we focused on sourcing our nursery rug. Comfort was really important to me for this purchase, as I knew Lincoln (and eventually my daughter Bellamy) would be spending a lot of time crawling and playing on it. Anyone who knows me will know I really love Etsy for sourcing rugs. I whittled down our rug options to five rugs, four of which were from Etsy (none of the original options are still available, but this is one of the sources I was considering). 

Nursery rug options
Instillerie Brooklyn Nursery Rug Options

Surprisingly (given my love for Etsy-sourced rugs), I ended up leaning towards the blue rug on the top right from Froy (Zahra Cobalt/Poppy Area Rug). Here’s a glimpse at how I was envisioning everything coming together.

Instillerie Brooklyn Nursery Ideas

Ok, But Where’s The Personality?

Admittedly at this point, the nursery was still looking pretty vanilla (though lovely and serene). We needed to funk things up a bit.

My designer Cindy came up with some great suggestions. 

Custom Atari Table For The Nursery

The Dust-Gathering Atari
The Dust-Gathering Atari

My husband has a vintage Atari that had literally just been gathering dust in our Lower East Side apartment for years. I had no idea what we were ever going to do with it, and had basically resigned myself to lugging it around through all of our moves for the rest of my life. Le sigh. Cindy saw it and suggested we could turn it into a super fun side table, and I jumped at the idea to turn it into something useful! These were her inspiration pics: 

Custom Acrylic Table Inspiration
Custom Acrylic Table Inspiration
Custom Acrylic Table Inspiration

And a sketch from our custom carpenter. 

Nursery Atari Table Sketch
Nursery Atari Table Sketch

It turned out really fun, don’t you think?? (Even though we no longer live in this apartment, this table still has a spot in our home — actually as a side table in our living room!).

Nursery Custom Atari Table
Nursery Custom Atari Table

Custom Robot Bookshelf For The Nursery

The fun didn’t stop with the Atari table. We loved the idea of a custom bookshelf. I’m a bit of a book nerd and I’m so glad we made space for a lot of books because both of my kids have been really into books as well. 

Here’s a look at some of our inspiration:

Instillerie Nursery, Inspiration for Robot Bookshelf

I absolutely loved the pops of yellow, and thought the robot with the yellow head on the top left was fantastic, so we decided to lean hard in that direction.

The end result was the perfect touch for the nursery (and still lives in our playroom at the lake house today!).

Instillerie Nursery Custom Robot Bookshelf
Instillerie Nursery Custom Robot Bookshelf

Layering On The Final Touches

To finish off the nursery, we incorporated this lovely Crane swing light from Andrew Neyer (we went with 4 feet in length in grey, though it looks like grey is no longer in stock). Cindy had the great idea to source a paper lantern from Etsy (though I’ll be honest, it took me hours and hours to put the thing together). I am still obsessed with the throw pillows we sourced from Bolé Road Textiles (she no longer has the yellow in stock but there are other colors in the same Zelalem style).

Instillerie Park Slope Brooklyn Nursery Reveal

Nursery Design Tips To Share?

Would love to hear your ideas and tips! Let me know in the comments.

xoxox, A

Design: Me + Deluzuriaga Studios via Homepolish, Photography: Sean Litchfield 

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Ashley Patterson