How to Decorate a Vintage Nursery in an Historic Home

by Dani
(Knit, Stitch, Click)

Vintage Baby Nursery in a Craftsman Style Historic Home

Vintage Baby Nursery in a Craftsman Style Historic Home

I have some ideas to share on how to decorate a vintage nursery in an historic home. I was given the job of decorating a vintage nursery for a soon-to-be born baby in an historic home after making a quilt for the mom who loved the fabrics and their colors so much.

The beautiful combination of tones brought her to the decision that "vintage" baby decor would be just right for their craftsman style house.

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She told me that she felt that I was more than up to the task at hand and that she felt very comfortable with me making selections for the project.

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What is My Favorite Feature in this Vintage Baby Nursery?
I love the artwork that was chosen to be displayed in the area above the crib that features pages that were cut from a book "Guess How Much I Love You" by Sam McBratney.

Custom framed nursery wall art prints made from pages taken from the book

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We used green fabric from Joann's that was used in other pieces in the room as a matte for the pictures and then attached a ribbon tie at the top of each frame to use as a hanger. To create the matte, I used spray starch to stiffen the fabric so that it wouldn't sag and then attached it to the picture using double sided tape. The fabric was just the perfect shade of green for the artwork.

They work perfectly in the space above the crib and with the color scheme of the room.

Decorating Goals
My clients had a few ideas of what they wanted for the nursery but ultimately left the details up to me. Their only requests were that the project be completed within their budget, that the space would be capable of function as a guest bedroom if the need arose and be ready for the next baby should one be in their future.

The homemade crib quilt that inspired the vintage nursery design for the historic craftsman style home

The Walls
We knew that we wanted to maintain the old, textured wallpaper that had been hung directly over the original lathe and plaster but it needed a fresh coat of paint. The paint that we chose was Hancock Green HC-117mfrom Benjamin Moore's historic collection.

Original antique ceiling light fixture circa 1900 in the nursery of The Davis House Craftsman Style home

Were there other features in place that you wanted to keep?
We knew that we wanted to keep the amazing, original light fixture and that the basic location of the furniture in the room would stay the same, but pretty much everything else changed.

Details About the Historic Home
The craftsman style house was built around 1900. The exact date of construction isn't known but the homeowners have a photo dated 1920 that shows full sized cedar trees on the front lawn of the home. Taking into consideration the length of time it would have taken the trees to reach the stage of maturity in the picture; their best estimate is that the house was built about 20 years before the picture was taken.

The house was build by a gentleman named Lector Davis and his wife, and thus the home is known as "the Davis house". Like many older homes, previous owners had not maintained the home and it had fallen into disrepair by 2005. Some of the major repair work was done just before the current homeowners had moved in. They have continued to work on their home to make it their own while keeping the original architectural design and historic significance intact.

Red and blue homemade tie-top nursery window valance

How the Vintage Nursery Window Treatments Were Made
I didn't use a pattern to make the red valances. I simply took a rectangle piece of fabric that I folded in half as though I were making a pillow, and stitched the sides together with the blue ties inserted in the top seam. The red and blue fabrics used to make valances are both from Joann's. I chose this style of window treatment over full length curtain panels since the nursery window is so close to the baby's crib and I was afraid that she might pull on them.

Vintage baby shoes and handknit sweater above the changing table.  The changing pad's cover matches the crib quilt made from Moda's 3 Sisters Glacé fabrics.

The Changing Area
I picked up a curved changing pad and made a patchwork cover for it using the same fabric that I chose for the crib quilt from Moda's 3 Sisters Glacé line. I didn't have a pattern for the changing pad cover, I just winged it!

To decorate the walls over the changing table, I hung the vintage shoes that had belonged to one of the homeowners' grandparents and a handmade sweater that was knit by the homeowner for her first child on a simple wall hook that I had painted. I thought that this would be a great place to hang little things when the baby gets older.

Well above the changing table, we created three vignettes that display the most meaningful vintage items.

Finishing Touches
An area rug that was relocated from elsewhere in the home was put in place, a sketch of the baby's namesake was hung and to personalize the room we added framed pictures from the baby's photo shoot in the corner of the nursery.

And that is how to decorate a vintage nursery in an historic home on a budget! If you are local (VA) and would like something similar in your own home, KSC Designs is now available for design consultations. I would be happy to come to your home, help you with a design and help you create the nursery of your dreams. If you would like to see more pictures of Whitney's baby girl's nursery that are larger than the ones here on Unique Baby Gear Ideas please visit my blog, Knit, Stitch, Click!

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Antique Quilts for a Nursery
by: Lou

I have a number of old quilts that I want to display in my daughter's room but I am concerned that that she might react to dust or mold in the vintage fabrics. Does anyone know how I might go about eliminating allergens that might bother a baby?

Vintage Toys
by: Cindi

Does anyone know if the paint on old toys contains lead or other chemicals that might be harmful to a newborn?

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