Secrets of Celebrity Nurseries
OK, so we couldn't sneak you into any celebrities' nurseries. Instead we did the next best thing: We talked to their nursery designers and picked up advice on the hottest hues and the coolest trends
Pick Your Linens First
“A lot of people jump the gun and paint the room first,” says Wendy Bellissimo, who has designed nurseries for Brooke Shields, Kelly Ripa, Poppy Montgomery, and James Denton. “Then they’re stuck with the wall color and trying to match the linens. The fabric drives the whole feel of the room.” Besides, it’s much easier to bring a swatch of fabric or a blanket to the paint store than to repaint after you’ve found the perfect crib linens.
Take this home: Look for Bellissimo’s new collections in argyle, black medallion, zebra, honey bee, and raspberry and lime patterns at Babies”R”Us. (Poppy Montgomery had a bee-themed nursery like this one.)
Don’t Be a Wallflower
“Don’t be afraid to use your walls to help blend all your colors,” says Katy Mimari, the designing mom behind Caden Lane® and the owner of Nursery Couture®. “So many parents tend to pick only one color for the wall, and by accenting with other colors, and incorporating a design into your wall painting, you can add so much character and style into your nursery design.” Mimari has pulled together modern nursery looks for Tori Spelling, Brooke Burke, and Samantha Harris.
For Mary Bauer, of Bratt Décor, “the number-one, must-have item, and the focus piece for which to build your nursery around, is your
crib. This is one item that will set the tone for your entire space.” Among the celebrities who’ve adorned their nurseries with Bratt Décor cribs: Halle Berry, Heidi Klum, Charlie Sheen, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Samantha Harris.
According to Bauer, the crib is the single nursery piece “that should be purchased new and never handed down, due to changing safety regulations and the importance of this space.”
Take this home: Halle Berry bought two Brat Décor Chelsea Sleigh Cribs in espresso for Nahla’s nurseries in Malibu and the Hollywood Hills.
Photo Credit: Shalena Smith of Ga Ga Designs
Pick Your Seat
For Shalena Smith, of Ga Ga Designs, “a comfortable chair for breastfeeding, story-reading, and bonding is really important.” As proof, she points to the hours new mothers and fathers spend feeding their newborns and rocking them to sleep.
“When you’re pregnant, you don’t realize the value of a sleeping baby,” says Smith, who has designed a gliding chair and ottoman set that’s roomy enough for celebrity dads like Sean “Diddy” Combs, Wayne Brady, and Sean Patrick Thomas. She laughs, “Who wants to see a big man trying to squeeze into a tiny chair?”
Think Beyond Pink and Blue
“Pink and blue are always the fashion favorites that never seem to change,” says Bel Bambini boutique manager Dalena. (Jessica Alba, Brooke Burke, and Christina Aguilera are among the celebrity mamas who have registered at Bel Bambini. Other star shoppers? Britney Spears, Salma Hayek, Halle Berry, Gwen Stefani, Linda Evangelista, Sheryl Crow, and Courteney Cox.)
“But this year saw a lot of orange shades coming out. Orange seems to be the current fave for items like the Svan bouncer, the Stokke stroller, and the Peg Perego car seats. We also sold a lot of bedding in orange and chocolate.”
Pick What’s Yummy
For Poppy Montgomery’s nursery, Wendy Bellissimo selected cool greens and warmed it up with yellow. She defines inviting hues and textures as “yummy—what makes you feel good, what makes you feel safe, what makes you feel at home.” It’s a sensual experience, from the richness of a fabric to the delicious colors on the walls. “Just because a space is modern doesn’t mean it has to be cold,” Bellissimo says.
“We’re seeing a lot of modern design right now,” Bellissimo says. “I like to create a look that’s forward but still homey.”
Take this home: Bellissimo loves the intimacy of a Moses basket because it serves as a kind of nest and environment for baby—and can be placed on the bed between parents. Her Moses basket has “a sweet little bee inside the bassinet for the baby to focus on.”
Make a Soft Landing
So what’s overlooked? “The crib mattress,” says Bel Bambini’s Dalena. “Most of the time people forget about this important essential. Also, a changing tray mattress pad, for
changing the baby on something soft on top of the changer.”
Take this home: Naturepedic mattresses and pads, in the crib or on the changer, will keep your baby comfortable.
Don’t Forget to Look Up
“Babies spend a lot of time looking at the ceiling,” says Shalena Smith, “which makes it the perfect place to hang a beautiful chandelier or paint a sky mural.” Her sky murals often begin with bright daylight colors at one end of the ceiling and then gradually fade into deeper, duskier hues at the other.
Photo Credit: Katy Mimari of Nursery Couture
Indulge in Chocolate
“A few years ago Caden Lane introduced the pink-and-brown and blue-and-brown color combinations,” reports Katy Mimari, the brand’s founder. “Three years later, they are still the #1 requested color combination among celebrities and modern moms.” This summer, Caden Lane will debut new patterns with pink and gray, and blue and gray.
Whether you’re looking for a nursery that’s gender-neutral or just fashion-forward, chocolate is a solid color choice.
“Gone are the days with overstuffed toy boxes and overstimulating environments. Parents are paring down and opting for
clean, fresh, simple rooms,” says Bratt Décor’s Mary Bauer. “One way to achieve that is to de-clutter. Americans accumulate lots of stuff, and it seems kids have the most stuff of all.”
As for a palette? “Use soothing, neutral colors, and soft hues, rather than bold bright colors, which add energy and noise. Clearing out spaces, opting for a few, select special toys, and simplifying your walls and window treatments are a great way to get this feel. Best of all, you don’t have to spend any money!”
Take this home: Jennifer Lopez ordered Bratt Décor’s quietly elegant Casablanca cribs for her twins, Max and Emme.
Green Is Gold
What’s driving one of the biggest and fastest-growing trends right now? Organic product lines. “Concern for the earth,” says Bel Bambini’s Dalena. “And global awareness in the home. Organics and green living is the focus of everyone who comes through our door.”
“The nursery lines we feature are all environmentally conscious,” explains Dalena. “They incorporate the green philosophy in their sustainably harvested hardwoods, and nontoxic paints and stains.” And fewer chemicals in the lines mean fewer chemicals in your child’s nursery.
Bel Bambini stocks organic sheets and bedding sets by Sage Creek Naturals, Dwell Studio, Pixel Organics, and Argington, and organic clothing lines such as Imps and Elfs, Green Sprouts, Happy Green Bee, and Empress Baby. They also offer eco-friendly soybean clothing by Babysoy.
Beige Doesn’t Have to Be Boring!
“Neutral and natural is hot!” says Mary Bauer. “I’m seeing a lot of organic fabrics, soft, soothing tones, and classic design.” Cream is the elegant and muted color for the nurseries of Jennifer Lopez and Jamie Lynn Spears. For the nursery of Fred Savage, Wendy Bellissimo created a safari look, incorporating soothing earth tones.
Take this home: We love Robbie Adrian’s luxury organic blanket in natural.
Collect Your Favorite Ideas
Bellissimo recommends that clients collect photos of designs they like and create a scrapbook or portfolio of their favorite looks. Not only does this save time but it helps clients pull together a more unified look or vision.
Take this home: One place to start looking: Wendy Bellissimo Nesting, in which the mother of four girls shares her secrets and tips for creating inviting family spaces.
Go for Longevity
Invest in furniture that will grow with your child and have a longer shelf life past its original purpose. “If you’re going to splurge on something, an armoire, a bureau, or a dresser will have life beyond the nursery,” says Shalena Smith.
For Katy Mimari, it’s a convertible
crib. “To get the best bang for your buck, make sure your crib converts to a toddler bed! So many moms focus on the look of the crib, and forget to ask if it converts to a toddler bed. Without that conversion kit, you might find yourself purchasing a new bed for your little one just months after you put them in the crib! A convertible crib will even expand the life of your crib bedding, making your important purchase last even longer. Most kiddos will still fit in their converted crib until they are 3 or 4 years old.”
Take this home: Bratt Décor’s 3-in-1 Venetian crib is not only sophisticated but versatile, offering three distinct looks for the crib, and adapting into a toddler bed in the future.
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