A New York designer expecting her first child, Lindsay MacRae thought she knew exactly how she wanted to design the nursery in her Manhattan apartment. Then, a glimpse of an unexpected wallpaper pattern flipped her plan on its head. "I had held onto an adorable monkey wallpaper for years in anticipation of our miracle baby," says the designer. "One day, while shopping for a client, I stumbled upon Dorothy Draper’s Les Fleures de Toulon wallpaper and everything changed."
She was so taken, in fact, that, thinking the paper would be perfect for a little girl, MacRae convinced her husband to forego their plan of not finding out the baby's gender—all to determine if she could use the wallpaper in question. Spoiler: Luck was on her side, and now baby girl Sloane is happy and healthy in her floral-swathed nursery.
While a monkey pattern may seem de rigeur for a baby space, the splashy, vintage floral was less expected. Still, MacRae says, "it was the most cheerful paper I had ever seen, and I couldn’t stop smiling when I looked at it."
Going with a more grown-up pattern led MacRae to reconsider plans for the nursery in general. "Just because you’re designing a nursery doesn’t mean it has to be light blue or pastel pink," the designer tells Natipernavigare. "There’s just so much more that you can do and you don’t need to design something that a baby is going to grow out of. You want to invest in some pieces that they’ll have for a long time and maybe take to college, and a space that other people in the family can enjoy."
In keeping with that mentality, MacRae invested in pieces like the Dorothy Draper chest (found on 1stdibs), a chandelier from Maitland Smith ("I had it for a few years and I just think it’s so whimsical and unique," the designer explains. "I can see myself putting it over a dining table one day."), and a slipper chair from Oomph, a more versatile—but equally comfortable—alternative to a rocker.
Given the richness of the wallpaper, MacRae went with crisp white trim, crib, and window treatments, "to make it more light and bright." And there's a practical reason, too: "We are in a rental, so that’s one less thing we have to paint back," she quips.
The designer accessorized the space with frames from Aerin's line for Williams-Sonoma Home, whose edges echo the trim on the dresser. Then, to balance out the more mature aspects, she added more childlike details by way of toys and books.
The furniture layout was meticulously planned to make optimal use of the nursery's minimal square footage (it's about 6 feet by 13 feet)—MacRae even devised a 3D model of the space to ensure everything would fit. "I almost did the whole room in IKEA because I thought everything would have to be built in there," she laughs. But some things are worth investing in, and we'd bet little Sloane will be happy in this space for years to come.
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