When PR maven Connie Wong set out to design her agency Moderne Press’s new office space, she didn’t know she’d soon be decorating another room to spend even more time in: her first child’s nursery. Toward the end of her second trimester, Wong and her husband set out to renovate the home office of their San Francisco Bay Area rental condo, adding patterned wallpaper and white paint to make the room a cheerful and light-filled space for their now 1-year-old Kate. The Bump spoke with Wong to learn the inspiration behind her soothing color scheme, custom artwork and chic mix of budget-friendly and splurge-worthy furniture.
What was your vision for the nursery?
During each of my prenatal appointments, my ob-gyn said she was only 80 percent sure I was having a girl—Kate’s legs were crossed and she was moving around a lot so it was hard to get a good look. We decided to err on the side of caution when designing the room. I’m not a super-girly-girl so I didn’t want to bring in too much pink, but I still wanted the room to feel a bit feminine.
Where did you get your inspiration from?
I was three months pregnant when we finally finished the [Moderne Press] office space. It’s open, loftlike and mostly white, but the interior designer I worked with convinced me to add a bit of color to bring some life into the space. It made me realize how much color could do for a room, so I wanted to do the same for Kate’s nursery, since color is supposed to be good for babies.
How did you start shopping for the room?
We’re thoughtful on what we choose to bring into our our home; we want everything in the nursery to be kid friendly but still practical. Even if it’s bought for and goes in Kate’s room, it has to be something we personally love, and might move into a different room someday. From the beginning, I wanted neutral furniture, so I was thinking white or brown. But to me, it was important to decide on an accent color before choosing which direction to go in with the furniture.
What made you go with mint and turquoise?
It all started with the herringbone baskets—I found them when I was around five or six months pregnant and decided to build on the mint and turquoise color family. I use one for laundry and the other toys. The overflow are stashed in her closet or a contained area of the living room.
What gave you the idea to do an accent wall?
When we moved in, the wall was a mauve-purple color. It was fine but I didn’t love it, so when I was pregnant, I decided it had to go because it didn’t work with the color scheme. I wanted to keep it as an accent wall rather than paint it white because I knew a lot of the furniture was going to be neutral. I wanted to do something that would go with the baskets. I started working with Chasing Paper, a removable wallpaper company, around the time we started decorating the room, and I liked how this pattern reminded me of watercolors. It’s sweet but not too girly.
What was your biggest splurge?
The glider—we tested out a few of them, but I’m very glad we went with this one because we didn’t want a rocker that looks like a rocker. Several friends pointed out that I’ll spend a lot of time in the chair so it’s important to get something that’s comfortable.
What do you use the other chair for?
The white Eames chair was originally in another part of the house. We didn’t use it much at first, but it’s worked out well because Kate now uses it to pull herself up. It’s a center point to help her cruise around the room to get to her toys.
Tell us why you went with two small dressers instead of one large piece.
We originally looked at a bunch of six-drawer dressers, but decided to go with two three-drawer chests and put them together. We don’t own our home, so if we decide to move, the flexibility of two smaller pieces will be a good idea since Kate’s room size may change. And even if we do stay long term, there’s the possibility of reconfiguring the room layout as she gets older and her needs change. [Ed Note : make sure to anchor your dressers to the wall!]
Tell us about the artwork?
I knew Kate would be spending a lot of time in the room but I would too, so I chose things I personally love that aren’t necessarily baby-centric. The photo above the glider is from a Hawaii-based photographer, which is where a lot of my family lives and is one of my husband’s and my favorite places, so we thought it would be a pretty and meaningful addition. There’s another print by artist Britt Bass Turner (I have a piece of hers in the office as well), and we mixed in a few others from Honey & Bloom and Zak Noyle that I thought seemed kid-friendly. I got the idea for the Good Morning/Good Night pieces on Pinterest, and designed my own version in Photoshop. Since the room has so much white space on the walls, I knew I wanted to use a lot of artwork.
Looking back on Kate’s first year, is there anything you wish you did differently?
That we babyproofed our home prior to her arrival! A lot of people say you can do it as you go, but then you’re left scrambling to get it all covered as baby gets into things—we definitely felt that. All of a sudden she was scooting along and crawling. There’s never enough time to do everything you need to do once baby arrives, so I’d recommend [getting] it all done in advance.
Shop the look:
Artwork: Abstract print, Britt Bass Turner; alphabet print, Ink In The Ozarks; Makapu’u beach photo, Zak Noyle Photography; “Sunset by the Seashore” print, Honey & Bloom; “Dream Big” print, Paper Source; kites print, Linda & Harriet; “Good Morning” and “Good Night”, Wong designed, printed on Art.com and framed with Framed & Matted
Baskets: Aqua herringbone woven hamper and floor bin, Land of Nod
Bedding, blanket and changing table pad: Super Star Scout print, Aden + Anais
Cart: Raskog utility cart, Ikea
Crib: Hudson 3-in-1 convertible crib with toddler bed, Babyletto
Dressers: Malm 3-drawer chests, Ikea
Glider: Graham Glider, West Elm
Lamp: Ranarp floor/reading lamp, Ikea
Mobile: Luxe Star + Moon Cloud mobile, Baby Jives Co.
Plush animals (changing table, panda on chair, basket): Bunny; Jellycat; cow, Anthropologie; dog, Jellycat; panda, Wong’s husband’s own; sheep, gift
Pouf: Threshold pouf, Target
Wallpaper: New Moon print, Chasing Paper
Chair: Eames side chair, Design Within Reach