Child’s Play

A Washington Park nursery is sweet enough for a baby—but sophisticated enough for Mommy and Daddy, too.


Photo by Rangefinder Photography

Elephants. Giraffes. Bears. Pigs. Puppies. If you want to know where the wild things are, take a peek inside this Washington Park nursery.

The space, part of a new contemporary townhome owned by a young couple with a newborn, was initially inspired by framed drawings of baby animals (you can see them on the wall above the bookshelf), as well as the Italian modernist gray-upholstered crib from Restoration Hardware. There are no pastel pinks or yellows to be found anywhere.

“Nurseries are taking on more of a sophisticated aesthetic, and the longevity of nurseries is also becoming more important to clients,” says Corinne Ekle, owner and principal interior designer at c2Design. “This couple knew they were having a boy, but they wanted the nursery to be gender neutral so it was a room that he could grow up in or that could be used for a second child as well. They also wanted to invest in really great pieces; for example, this crib can transform into a taller crib and ultimately into a full-size bed.”

To give the small space a sense of grandeur, elongate the room and add a bit of softness, Ekle added a long, upholstered valance cornice. For feeding times, she included a C.R. Laine custom chair in a neutral linen-like fabric that not only swivels but has a glide mechanism; Mama can put her feet up on the faux-leather ottoman from The Land of Nod now—and their baby can climb on it once he starts walking and exploring.

“I don’t like to do collections where everything looks the same and you go out and buy the whole room,” says Ekle, so she mixed and matched the espresso finish of the crib with two other painted finishes, a blue-gray on the changing table/dresser and a gray on the bookshelf. “I think of them as neutrals—they’re not fighting each other,” Ekle says.

To add a little more interest, she painted subtle stripes on one wall— same color, but different finishes, one eggshell and one high-gloss.

The final touch? That Sputnik chandelier. “It just draws your eye up; we put it on a dimmer so there’s a lot of flexibility. It feels a bit masculine, but it’s also fun.”

Ultimately, Ekle advises for those planning a nursery, “Think outside the box in terms of color palette; instead of just pinks and blues and yellows, pick a fun color—we did the grays and aquas—that is soft enough to have a baby feeling to it, but also sophisticated.”