Image: Stacy Van Berkel / Styling: Christine Hanlon
A mom teams up with a trusted designer to create an adorable nursery that sweetly blends elements both girly and grown-up.
A mother’s instinct is always right, so Raewyn Fahlenbock followed hers when she teamed up with designer Margie Doyle White to decorate her one-year-old daughter’s nursery. “There was never a doubt in my mind about what to do for Olive’s room,” says Raewyn. “It had to be pretty, dreamy and cloud-like.”
That was the look of Olive’s previous nursery, before Raewyn and her husband, Charlie, purchased this Victorian in Toronto’s Cabbagetown neighbourhood in 2014 with plans of growing their family (Olive, now 4, has a little sister, Juniper, who is 20 months). Raewyn was determined to recreate that airy style, but before the fluffy white clouds could breeze in, the room’s stormy appearance needed work. “It was dingy and dull, and had ugly carpeting – it was the furthest thing from a little girl’s room.”
Luckily Margie, who designed the rest of this home, was there to help pull it together. The carpet was the first thing to go; Raewyn and Margie replaced it not with hardwood, but with more carpeting. “I truly think it’s the best floor covering for a kid’s room,” says Raewyn. “I’m all about comfort, and we spend a lot of time playing with the girls on the floor, so it had to be soft.”
Wallpaper was also a must. “This paper has delicate watercolour flowers and gives the space a magical feel,” says Raewyn. It’s also sophisticated enough to grow with Olive: "Replace the crib with a bed and remove the toys, and this could easily be an adult’s room,” she says.
Raewyn automatically agreed when Margie suggested the sweet pink drapery, but some of the designer’s other ideas pushed the envelope. “Margie helped me think outside the box,” says Raewyn. “I would never have chosen black curtain rods or a black pendant light, but they really work! I love that the light’s shaped like a bird’s cage.”
Little Olive loves her room, too, but perhaps not as much as her mom does. “This truly is my favourite room in the house!” says Raewyn. We count that as more proof that mothers know best.
"This is a room that will suit Olive for a very long time,” says her mom, Raewyn Fahlenbock. “The crib converts to a toddler bed, and when she outgrows that, there’s plenty of space for a full-sized one.” A mobile of pompoms and stars adds colour from a distance and texture when viewed close up. A neutral area rug layered over the broadloom carpet protects against potential spills – the rug can be easily spot-cleaned or removed for full scrubbing if necessary.
“I knew I’d be spending many hours in here nursing and reading, so a comfy armchair was mandatory,” says Raewyn. Custom drapery and a leather pouffe provide shades of pink that complement Olive’s collection of rag dolls and other stuffed toys.
A vintage cabinet, which was a hand-me-down from Raewyn’s mom, provides practical storage as well as a pretty display area. Olive’s collection of books and toys all share a similar colour palette, making the arrangement charmingly cohesive.