Blog by Beebe Cline

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Pint-Sized Design: Charlie's Owl-tastic Nursery

About seven years ago I took on my first residential decorating job: a boy's nursery. Scared to death that the new clients would utter words like "jungle mural" or "baseball bat decal," I was pleasantly surprised when they preferred a few colorful nods to the Manhattan skyline (both mom and dad were from NYC, then relocated south to raise a family). Why just a few nods? Well, motifs and references go much farther in kids' rooms than does smacking them over the head with explosions of firetrucks and tiaras. The perfect example: Charlie Kopp's nursery.

When mom Alyssa and dad Dan looked at colors for their tot's digs, both preferred taupe and orange to more expected combos like blue and brown. The taupe was tame enough to work with almost any other color, and the orange was gender-neutral. If Charlie one day gets a sibling, the space would be equally fit for a little sister or brother. 

To fill the space, Alyssa opted for a plethora of different textures and a consistent owl motif. Dan definitely had his say in the room's decor as well; the handy daddy made a few pieces from scratch and also worked alongside Alyssa to refurbish an old hand-me-down into a one-of-a-kind changing table. 

Take a look at the hoot that is Charlie's owl-tastic nursery. Perhaps some of these ideas will make it into your own Houzz ideabooks. As far as baseball-bat-and-firetruck wallpaper is concerned, here's a tip: Just say no.

by decordemon
First up is the sleepy area which friends and family can't get enough of, especially since daddy created the walnut "Charlie" name plate himself. Alyssa and Dan agreed to go more modern with their crib picked up from Babies R Us as well as their graphic brown/taupe/orange bedding from Litto Kids. The tree decal was part of a set from an Etsy vendor. There is also a teency weency bird involved, but he migrated to another area of the room as you'll see later.

by decordemon

by decordemon
Meet Charlie, an observant fellow very concerned with the placement of his books and — as the expression on his face in this photo shows — the inner workings of professional production lighting. Mom Alyssa is a TV producer and dad Dan is an I.T. guy. This mix of skills may explain (a) why he was so good with a camera and (b) his interest in all things technical.

by decordemon

by decordemon
Once the walls became a neutral backdrop, thanks to a Sherwin-Williams paint color called Tony Taupe. Alyssa brought in pumpkin accents with linen drapery panels from Pottery Barn paired with a sheer white/taupe print from IKEA. The brown corduroy rocker was a money-saver picked up from Babies R Us. 

Personally, my favorite types of savers are (a) ones that leave more cash in my pocket and (b) Lifesavers, the candy, but only the red ones. I will go out of my way not to do as much as touch those nasty yellow ones — blech. Just in case anyone was wondering what kind of savers I like here amidst a decorating article about a little boy's nursery.

by decordemon

by decordemon
See that triangular table sitting pretty next to the window? Daddy Dan made that. While most dads enjoy sitting on the sofa and watching TV shows involving dudes chasing each other with guns and driving fast cars, this dad heads down to his workshop and whittles original pieces of furniture for his son. Just sayin'.

by decordemon

by decordemon
Two things I especially enjoy about Charlie's room are (a) the fact that it promotes children to be kind to others (as suggested by the adorable graphic art framed with IKEA's RIBBA frame) and (b) that is has lots of owls. 

Why? Well for one, I prefer kind children to awful ones, and two, owls are super cool and sport graphic shapes babies can easily identify. Speaking of identifying things, the white shelf and the orange box are both from IKEA.

by decordemon

by decordemon
Not only is this a wooden name plate sporting Charlie's name, it is a wooden name plate sporting his name which was made by his paternal grandfather. Clearly, The Kopp family must be known for (a) their extreme productivity and (b) a fascination with wood. 
by decordemon

by decordemon
Back to the aviary motif. Something I particularly enjoy about Alyssa's decorating skills is her juxtaposition of organic and handmade things paired with the mass-produced, made-by-machines-and-computers types.


This pairing of birds is the perfect example. See that little vinyl guy atop the door molding? Although tons of decal manufacturers carry birds these days, he's an Etsy score. 

Oh and that original owl artwork, you wanna know about that? Too bad. I have to go to lunch now. But you can read about it in the next caption box anyway.

by decordemon

by decordemon
TV producer Avelino Pombo creates lifestyle-based series during the day, then paints birds at night. Wait, now that I think of it, owls are not the only motif happening in this room; there are also touches of TV producers throughout its DNA. Not only is Alyssa one, so is Avelino and so am I. Perhaps the three of us should open up an Etsy store where we sell owls, name plates and original furniture, then shoot it all as a reality series. 

But I digress. If you love the Pombo art as much as we do, you can look into bringing one home yourself here.

by decordemon

by decordemon
I know what you're thinking: Wooden blocks in a kids' room, how ground-breaking, right? Well, Dan made these himself from scrap lumber that otherwise would have ended up in a landfill. That kinda changes the angle a little bit, wouldn't you say?

by decordemon

by decordemon
Back to mass-produced things paired with more one-of-a-kind ones. The periwinkle/blue elephant is a handmade children's toy from Asia given to Alyssa by her former co-worker/friend, designer/architect Vern Yip. 

Included in Charlie's collection of books are Alyssa's old Shel Silverstein classics. If you are unfamiliar with the work of Shel Silverstein, well then I am sorry. Those of you who do know of his work may be familiar with one Mrs. McTwitter the Babysitter who may be a little bit crazy since she thinks the actual job responsibilities of a sitter are to literally sit ON the baby.

by decordemon

by decordemonInstead of buying a brand-new changing table, Alyssa grabbed a mid-century modern hand-me-down from her family in Tennessee, then she and Dan gave it an update by painting the insets of the door fronts glossy white. The stainless steel hardware and modern furniture legs were also added.

by decordemon 
by decordemon
Not only does the hand-me-down look pretty, but it's packed with storage for everything Charlie could need from baby-changing needs to blankets and towels.

by decordemon

by decordemon
This image is what it is: a photograph of a photograph of Charlie framed in a stainless steel frame. 

You know the saying, "Never work with children or animals"? Well, that's hogwash. This entire shoot focused on an 18-month-old and owls. And guess what? It was a total blast to shoot and write. 

PS: Any idea how hard it was not to end this ideabook with the word "hoot"? Torturous. 

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