Baby Girl Nursery
One family, two rooms, with the aim of keeping a touch of South Africa Part 2
You’ve moved from Cape Town to England with two daughters and a baby due in a few weeks. Don’t worry PIA Design to the rescue and they create two fantastic rooms just in time for babies arrival.
Our clients are from Cape Town, South Africa, and wanted their home to be inspired by the textures and colours of their home – they were also interested in designing sustainably, so we looked at natural materials like cork and 100% natural fibre fabrics and started by using the furniture the client already owned.
This gorgeous riverside property was in fantastic condition having been refurbished with a minimal colour palette not too long before our clients moved in, but the client felt the rooms could be re-decorated to add some interest and personality to suit their own taste.
As the family already live in the house with their two young girls and new-born, we tackled the design a few rooms at a time. We started with the design of the little girls’ room and nursery, which were finished just weeks before the baby arrived. Here’s the Nursery, you can see the girl’s shared bedroom in Part 1 here.
Our brief was to design a gender-neutral room for the baby that had a calming and light atmosphere. We often start brainstorming a project by looking for inspiration on furniture websites that we love, in our design library for wallpaper and fabric samples, and Pinterest for scheme ideas. We were seeing a lot of jungle themed rooms which we thought could be fun but did not quite line with the client’s vision of the room. We pitched scheme ideas in warm and neutral colour schemes that paired well with the client’s existing rattan cot and nursing chair.
The nursery was heavily inspired by the colours, textures and materials associated with South Africa, where our clients are from. We started by creating mood boards featuring fabric, wallpaper, and hard finish samples such as grass cloth wallpapers, natural cork panelling and thick, textured fabrics in rustic tones. This helped us create a tactile and organic impression of what the room would feel like. The client really loved our suggestions, and it was a mutual agreement that we would select samples for this room that had a soft and warm vibe, with lighter wood tones and layered soft furnishings.
The scheme generally came together easily, we did have some back and forth about wallpaper options to use on the feature wall behind the cot. We tried a few fun prints from Cole & Son as well as geometric printed patterns; these felt too flat for the look we were trying to achieve. It was not until we began trying textured wallpapers that we felt we were on the right track. In the end, a stunning woven chevron wallcovering from Arte was the right solution that the client loved. We trial and error these design changes by editing visuals of the rooms that we create in Photoshop and sharing wallpaper samples with the client to approve. This process makes testing lots of options very quick, the end result is exactly how the visual suggests.
To make the storage in this room adapt with the new baby as they grew, we suggested bespoke joinery that we could design the internals of, rather than an off the shelf product. We discussed all of the storage requirements to make sure we were designing exactly what the client wanted. By incorporating adjustable shelves and hanging rails into the design, the these can be moved when clothing requirements change over time. The gold leaf and whitewashed cork panels we had inserted into the shaker frames of the wardrobe doors add a touch of timeless luxury that should stand the test of time and adapt with any changes made to the room scheme over time. Anthropologie leather and brass handles added an extra touch of luxury to the beautiful wardrobe.
For the window dressings, we used a layered approach of over-length linen curtains with a subtle chevron pattern, as well as a blackout roman blind with a black and white embroidered motif for contrast. As well as being a beautiful design feature that felt luxurious and comforting, it was practical in blocking out as much light as possible to make sure the baby could sleep as soundly as possible!
We didn’t want the room to feel too refined and neutral (it’s a kids room after all!), so we popped in some fun accents like the African animal prints on the wall and the funky Pooky floor lamp with a contrasting black and white pleated shade. We added some natural textured accessories with the elephant head wall hanging, rattan mirror, seagrass storage baskets and leather footstool.
We have since worked on other rooms for this family’s home and their feedback from spending more time in the Nursery is that it’s become a popular room to come together and relax on the giant sheepskin rug!
When we were signed on to the project we had an 8 week deadline to work to before the clients baby was due, we wanted to make sure the room was finished and ready by this time. This offered some challenges with fabric and wallpaper lead times, coordinating the joinery and decorating works to finish on time, and of course enough time to go through design changes. However, it all came together nicely in the end and the client loved the soft nature of the room with natural accents that reminded them of their home in South Africa, the light and warm atmosphere of the room has a calming effect.
PIA Design’s objective is to interpret the style preferences of each client and develop something tailored to them. As a result all projects take on their own, unique direction, but there is also a common thread that underlies each one, apparent in the use of natural materials – wood, stone, cork, metal etc, that can be used to add texture, but also colour to a scheme before simply specifying paint.
A love of nature is at the heart of PIA’s designs and her philosophy is that the best form of sustainability is a carefully considered scheme and the use of quality materials – natural materials have a timeless quality about them that surpasses trends whilst also standing the test of time: some materials even grow more beautiful with age.
Photography credit – Anna Yanovski
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