The nursery is such a special place for you and your new baby – you spend countless hours, cry tears (both of you), and change diapers on diapers. Your nursery should be a space where you and your partner, and eventually your child, enjoy spending time.
Brooklyn Gordon has done just that, curating the perfect nursery for her 10-month-old son, Graham. She started with the place her and her husband love most, the beach, and created a serene, functional space that’s perfect for a growing baby boy. We chatted with Brooklyn about the special touches in this room, how she makes date night happen with an infant, and how she’s learning to trust herself as a new mom:
Name: Brooklyn Gordon
Current Title/Company: Stay-at-Home Mom
Square Footage: Nursery, 150 sqft
Rent or Own: Rent
City/State: New Orleans, LA
Children: Graham Connor, 1
During your 3 years in New Orleans, you welcomed your sweet little boy, Graham! How did you come up with a design plan for his nursery and what were the first steps in the process?
Honestly, the theme for the room came very easy to me. My husband and I are from a beach town in Florida and we started dating after playing beach volleyball on the same team. We’ve always felt a sense of calm at the beach.
I wanted the nursery to reflect the calmness we feel there and remind us of home as I knew we would be spending countless hours in the space. I also wanted to make sure that the theme was subtle; not too kiddie, not too nautical, and not too vacation-beachy (is that a word?!). After a lot of mood boarding, planning, and shopping, it all came together.
Beyond the theme, I knew that I wanted the space to have a lot of kid-friendly organization so it appeared neat but could easily be transformed into a play space for Graham when he gets older.
How would you describe your decorating style?
I think I would consider my decorating style transitional. I like straight lines and neutral colors and I like my space to bring some of the outdoors in whether that is through color, theme, materials, art or plants.
Were there any specific features you had in mind when you began this process? Was the end result different than you imagined?
My favorite piece in the nursery is the mobile from the ever-talented MerleyBird. It is handmade of hand dyed and hand spun wool. She worked with me to pick the colors and this was really the inspiration for the whole room. My next favorite piece is the rug from Lulu & Georgia. It reminds me of the ocean in a subtle way, and I knew it could grow with Graham as his room starts to take on his own taste when he gets older.
What I had imagined was a feeling and I think we nailed it.
Where do you go for home decor inspiration?
What was the reason for your move to your current location in Houston and what makes it home?
My husband works in oil and gas, and we followed his career to Houston. His career is the same reason we left the beach for New Orleans. My husband and my son make anywhere we go home — like that Edward Sharpe song says, “Home is wherever I’m with you”.
We did buy our first house in Houston, and we’re in the process of renovating and decorating to make it feel like a space we enjoy spending our time.
Do you have any tips for parents who are also planning to relocate with a baby?
Don’t renovate with an infant! Just kidding. If you plan on renovating with an infant, I suggest you plan on living in a rental during the renovations. Renovations always take longer than expected and even just the dust created from renovations can be too much. We planned on staying in our house during the renovations but ended up moving to a hotel and stayed there for a month. It was just too loud for Graham to nap well during the day and too dusty and fumey for him overall.
Although you recreated Graham’s beach-themed nursery, what unique challenges (if any) came with his nursery in Houston? How was the design process different than the one in New Orleans?
Our house in New Orleans was historic and had beautiful, thick molding, large windows that let in tons of light, and original hardwood floors. The house we bought in Houston was built in 1988 so we don’t have any of that historic character. We also have many more doors that interrupt wall space in our Houston nursery. Because of this, the bookcase I had in the nursery in New Orleans had to be stood up vertically to fit in the room. I actually ended up moving the bookcase to our playroom in Houston because I prefer is horizontal so that Graham can access all of the shelves.
How did you merge your design style with your husband’s to create a nursery you both love?
My husband really lets me take the lead on design throughout our entire home. If he REALLY isn’t feeling something I chose, he’ll let me know, but he usually waits until I’m done with a room so he can see the whole thing pulled together before judging it.
That said, I did keep my husband’s height in mind when designing the nursery. He is 6’7” so I made sure to get a taller dresser that doubles as our changing table. I didn’t want the dresser to be too short so that he had to bend over to change diapers – no excuses to not help!
The subtle hints of the beach in the nursery make it so soothing. Were there any design “rules” you followed to achieve this look without overwhelming the space?
I wish I knew design rules! I guess this is another instance of me following my gut instincts!
What was your biggest splurge in the nursery?
My biggest splurge was the mobile. It isn’t the most expensive piece in the nursery – the furniture and rug are – but to spend a couple hundred dollars on something you could get for about $50 elsewhere made it a huge splurge. As I mentioned though, the mobile was my inspiration for the whole space so it was well worth it!
The bright mobile in the nursery is beautiful! Why did you decide on it, and how did it influence the design of the space?
As I mentioned above, I knew I wanted a beach theme but I didn’t want it to feel nautical or vacation-beachy. When I was searching for decor, almost everything I found was nautical. I knew I was going to have to piece decor together to achieve the feeling I wanted. I honestly stumbled across MerleyBird’s Etsy shop. I am originally from California and I loved that she is located there as well. It just spoke to me! It’s the piece that made other things I had seen start to come together in my head. MerleyBird worked with me to pick the exact colors and suggested combinations she thought worked best together. I love that it adds color to the space when the rest in mostly neutral, earth tones, which was necessary to achieve the calm feeling I wanted.
What’s your favorite part of the nursery and why is it special to you?
I have two favorite parts of the nursery and they’re special to me for different reasons. The first is a canister that we have collected sharks teeth in from different beach vacations and trips home we’ve taken with Graham. I am a terrible sharks tooth finder but my husband is a pro. It’s fun to watch our collection grow with Graham.
The second is the rocking chair. Many hours have been spent in that chair with a crying baby, a sleepy baby, a snuggly baby, a hungry baby, a sick baby, and more. It has seen Graham’s tears and my own. I’ve cried in that chair over the fact that I couldn’t believe I was holding my very own perfect little baby and I’ve cried there because I couldn’t get him to stop crying. That chair has seen it all.
Where are you go-to shops for baby/nursery decor?
I’m obsessed with Anthropologie, Crate and Kids, Pottery Barn, and Etsy. But, I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on everything in the nursery knowing that we would only be using many of the items for a few years. Instead, I opted to save a little money and purchase his furniture from Ikea and Wayfair and splurge on a few key items that gave the room personality and on things that touch his skin (sheets, blanket, etc.).
What’s the best motherhood-related advice you’ve ever received? And what advice do you have to give to new expecting moms?
Listen to your gut instincts. This advice didn’t feel like the best advice before I had Graham or even right after I had Graham. I felt like a book surely had a “correct” answer rather than my gut. After reading several books on the same topic (for example, sleep) I felt more confused than before. I had to take a step back, listen to my gut instincts, pull bits from each book and listen to my baby to make a routine that worked for us.
When it comes to being a mom: what are you most insecure about and what are you most confident about?
I think I’m most secure and most insecure about the same thing: our schedule. Before Graham, I was a very scheduled person. When I had him, a lot of stress was derived from the fact that I wasn’t in charge of the day anymore. It took a lot of work to learn Graham’s needs and build a schedule around him but it was well worth it. It keeps me sane knowing when I can make plans and I know that his needs are met.
I would say our schedule makes me insecure too because I know that not everyone thinks it’s the correct way to raise a child. I feel judged sometimes but I remind myself that it works for us and everyone has their own way of doing things.
If you could only pick one, what has been your favorite memory from motherhood so far?
If I can only pick one I guess I will choose when he rolled from his belly to his back for the first time. It was the first big milestone he hit and it felt like I had taught him something. Since then, there have been many milestones and many cute things learned and they are all so wonderful, but the joy I felt with the first milestone was incredible!
Brooklyn Gordon is The Everymom…
Favorite children’s book to read out loud?
I’m Going to Give You a Bear Hug
Perfect date night?
Date night? What’s that? Haha. We have lived in two cities in the last 10 months since having Graham without any family. We have had a couple date nights out, but our favorite is staying in. When we were new to Houston, my mom came to visit and she offered to watch Graham for the night so we could go out. We went to dinner and then didn’t know where to go or what to do since we were new in town so we went home and had our own party in the garage. We had so much fun! We were missing New Orleans a lot at Mardi Gras so we had a garage party again complete with costumes when we figured out the baby monitor still works out there!
Favorite app on your phone?
Amazon – I can buy anything without leaving the house and have it in two days, what’s not to love?!
Best part of being a mom?
The endless snuggles and watching him learn new skills; in the last week, he has learned to wave and has started crawling!
Most embarrassing mom moment?
The first time we flew with Graham, we were nervous because we weren’t sure how he would do. As we boarded the plane, he started grunting and I knew he was pooping. We got to our seats and I took him out of the carrier and I had poop all over the front of my shirt and he had it all the way up his back. I had plenty of diapers and wipes, a new outfit for him but no new shirt for me. Needless to say, I cleaned it off the best I could but I chose to wear him with a burp cloth in between us to cover the poop spot on my shirt the rest of the day.