A nursery is a unique and exciting space to design – it’s part of the simultaneous terror and delight of preparing for your child, whether your first or fifth. This space you’re creating will be their little home for the next who knows how long, and you’ll be spending lots of time there, too, of course. Stay at home mom and Rodan + Fields consultant Gina George decided she wanted to bring one of her very best friends along for the design journey – The Everygirl Media Group cofounder, Danielle Moss!
They collaborated on one of our favorite nurseries to date, and we spoke to both Gina and Danielle to get all the details. Read on for their surprising inspiration (if you’re expecting neutrals, get ready for this), how to make a bold statement that won’t overwhelm a tiny room, and how their friendship made designing the room such a sweet experience.
You were previously a project manager at CDW, a technology and services provider, for more than 10 years. What skills from your career have helped you as a mom?
As a Project Manager, I had to constantly juggle budgets, timelines, and customer expectations. I made it a point to over-prepare, to research everything I could, come up with contingency plans, and execute within the smallest margin of error possible. I approached my pregnancy this same way and thought that if I read all the books, did all the research, and prepared the best I could that everything would go exactly as planned.
Looking back, I have to laugh. Motherhood is the biggest exercise in letting go that I have ever experienced. Nothing could have prepared me for challenges we faced initially with nursing (thank God for my lactation consultant). I make mistakes every day and learn as I go. In my previous job, errors costed money and were to be avoided as much as possible. Now, I learn from my failures and am humbled daily. Everything is constantly changing, and I am learning to take things as they come!
You left your role at CDW to become a full-time mom to little Vivian – a big life change! Walk us through that transition.
A multitude of factors went into the decision. My husband and I felt that it was the best fit for our family for me to stay home, and when we sat down and mapped out what we wanted our family to look like long-term, this choice made the most sense. The transition was easier than I thought it would be. I previously worked from home most days, so I didn’t have that initial shock of going to an office daily and then being home. The only difference is at the end of the day, I could turn my computer off and put work away for the night – as a parent you are never off the clock!
Being a consultant for Rodan + Fields, I have built up a residual stream of income, which was also a factor in the decision to not return to Corporate America. The income I earn allows me to contribute to our family and work very part-time hours, while still being able to be present with my daughter. To me, it’s the best of both worlds!
What is the most rewarding and challenging thing about being a full-time mom?
The most rewarding thing is being able to be there for my daughter as she grows and learns. Every time she figures something new out or says a new word or hits a new milestone, it’s so exciting! Seeing her personality develop is so fun! I want to be the best version of myself for her. She is watching and absorbing everything right now, and I want to be the person who sets an example for all the virtues that are important. It’s a lot of pressure, but it’s a role I’ll proudly fill as her first teacher.
The lack of structure, especially in the beginning, was a big challenge for me. As soon as we got into a groove, things would change – naps shift, feedings drop, teeth pop, it’s a constant moving target! Once again, letting go is my new MO. I find that if we have one planned activity every day, whether it is a music class, playdate, or errands, it helps me feel like our day is structured better. Vivian is still taking two naps so it is hard to get out for longer than a few hours at a time.
Sometimes, especially in the winter, it can feel very isolating when you are spending your entire day with someone who can’t talk to you. Branching out and making new “mom friends” has been a lifesaver. Not only is it great to have other moms to bounce things off of, but these women have also become incredible friends! I also have an amazing network of women who I work with at Rodan + Fields that I talk to daily. It’s so nice to have something that is both personally and professionally fulfilling, to set goals and achieve them, and also know that I am setting a great example for my daughter to watch!
You’re close friends with The Everygirl and Everymom cofounder Danielle Moss – she even helped design your nursery! Tell us about the collaboration process. Was it helpful that you two were already such good friends?
Danielle is one of my dearest friends, and I always ask her opinions on design-related choices because she has impeccable taste. Our styles are very similar (neutrals all day, every day) and working together on the nursery was so much fun! I originally wanted a very neutral space, no pink, and to keep things very simple. Once we found the bunny wallpaper, that plan went right out the window! What started as me sending her links to this crib or that chair and asking her opinion snowballed into mood boards and photoshop mockups!
I have never designed a room so quickly (or with a deadline) and having Danielle’s help made it so much easier. I tend to suffer from decision fatigue, and Danielle always seemed to know what would work best for the room. We used the bunnies as the jumping off point and everything else was informed by that. It was also so much fun to share my excitement over the nursery design with one of my best friends!
What design lessons did you learn working with Danielle?
The nursery is pretty small, and it was hard for me to prioritize what would work best for the space. Obviously, we needed a crib and a dresser with a changing table, but I went back and forth on if I wanted a bookshelf or a glider chair in the room. We had a really hard time finding a chair that would both fit the room and the style, but I’m so glad we made it work.
I have spent many hours in that chair during the past year and I’m so glad we decided to fit that into the room instead of a bookshelf. Danielle came up with the floating shelves so we could still display some special things but save on the space that a bookshelf would take up. She also encouraged me to make more fun design choices for the nursery!
When you first got pregnant, what was your vision for the nursery? How does the finished product compare to what you envisioned?
When I look back at the initial images that we used for inspiration, they look very different from what we ended up with. Everything I liked was feminine but very neutral, full of beiges, whites, and greys. Once we saw the bunny wallpaper from Chasing Paper, everything changed! Knowing that we would likely move before she would be out of her crib, we decided to really go for it with the whimsy since we didn’t need to worry about it transitioning the room from a nursery to a little girl’s room.
All of the main pieces of furniture we chose to be easily transitioned, though. The crib would work for a future baby girl or boy, and so could the chair. The changing table top comes off of the dresser and can be used in Vivian’s room when she is older. The room doesn’t necessarily have a theme, but we included a lot of animals, such as the llama print, the poodle head, and the stuffed animals. If it was “slightly awkward,” even better. I love stepping into my daughter’s nursery. It’s a fun departure from the rest of my home.
What’s your favorite part of Vivian’s nursery?
It’s so hard to choose, but the print above her bed is a lyric from the song my husband and I had our first dance to at our wedding. Every time I walk by and see it, I smile. From a practical standpoint, I have logged many, many hours in the glider. It was important to me to have something both beautiful and comfortable. Between nursing, bedtime stories, and just hanging out, that chair gets a lot of mileage, and I know it will for years to come. Also for some reason, she is obsessed with her light fixture, pointing to the tassel until I lift her up to touch it after every diaper change. It’s become part of our routine, and she loves it!
You’re known for your love of neutrals! How did you decide on the pink color scheme?
I usually opt for neutral hues, but both Gina and I loved the idea of bringing a touch of (soft) pink into this space. It’s not that I’m against color, but I’ve found that if the big pieces are neutral, it’s so easy to bring color and pattern in without feeling like it won’t all work together. I actually used a similar palette in my own daughter’s nursery, which I’ll share on The Everymom in the next few months!
We love the rabbit wallpaper you’ve chosen, it definitely adds personality to the space! What tips do you have for incorporating wallpaper or other statement wall pieces into a space?
Wallpapering one wall was a budget-friendly way to make a statement without overpowering Vivi’s tiny room. Had we wallpapered the whole room, I probably would have opted for a smaller pattern. We used paper from Chasing Paper, which lasts up to five years and is completely removable – a great option for rentals and nurseries!
What was it like collaborating with such a good friend on this space? How did you go from initial concept to finished product?
I can’t remember if Gina asked for help or if I offered. Either way, I was so excited to help design this space for my friend’s first baby! I put together some ideas, she placed a few orders, and we had so much fun looking at all those tiny (and adorable) details together.
What were some of your favorite pieces or touches to work on in this nursery?
The bunnies obviously make the room, but the fluffy unicorn and the art are probably the most special – at least for me. The quote above the crib (a line from the song they danced to at their wedding) was drawn by my friend Jenna Kutcher, and the unicorn was my shower gift to Gina. When she found out she was having a girl, I asked if I could get her the unicorn since I had loved it for years.
How did you and Gina combine styles? Were there any ideas that you had to sacrifice to make her nursery dreams come true?
It was really easy! We agreed on everything except the light fixture that she had chosen. It was cute but wasn’t what I would have picked. Strangely enough, it ended up making the room look red, so she changed it out.
Where are your go-to places to shop for baby and nursery furniture? What pieces will you splurge on?
Babyletto cribs are really simple and budget-friendly. I just couldn’t justify splurging on a crib when it’s only used for a few years, and from what I’ve seen and heard (my daughter is only a few months old) babies chew on them. Fiona Walker England makes the most wonderfully weird animal heads – they’re so much fun! MegMade is a great source for dressers and changing tables. I also love Serena and Lily, Pottery Barn Kids, and Crate and Kids.
How did you make this a space that Vivian can grow into? Did you pick any particular transitional pieces?
It was actually never the plan to Vivian to grow into that room. This was a home Gina knew they’d move out of while she was little since it was too small for a growing family and on the second floor of a walkup (not ideal with a baby). But I did choose a dresser I knew would last throughout her childhood, and a crib and glider that would work for future baby boys and girls.
When designing a nursery – or any space – what do you think is the most important step in the process? What’s your favorite part of any design process?
I would say to find the one thing you really love first and plan the room around that. For us, this was the wallpaper and dresser. Once we had the dresser (which is a bit more detailed) picked out, it was easy to choose a simple white crib with clean lines.
Gina George is the Everymom…
Go-to date night? Dinner at a place we haven’t tried before.
Best way to end a long day? A hot shower, a glass of wine, and something travel or food-related on Netflix.
Favorite brunch spot in Chicago? Beatrix
Dream vacation destination? Anywhere in Italy
Kids show you wish you never had to watch again? I love Sesame Street but Elmo’s voice really irks me.
Most embarrassing mom fail? I went grocery shopping with a hungry toddler and realized my wallet was back home.
SHOP GINA’S NURSERY // PRODUCT SOURCE LIST
Crib, Serena and Lily
Dresser, Restoration Hardware Baby and Child
Bunny wallpaper, Chasing Paper
Chandelier, Restoration Hardware Baby and Child
Rug, Rugs USA
Wall Sconce, Serena and Lily
Llama art, Minted
Botanical art, Rifle Paper Co.
Flamingo doll, Anthropologie
Pressed glass frame, Anthropologie
Poodle wall decor, Fiona Walker England
Basket, Serena and Lily
Alpaca doll, Bla Bla Kids
Dog doll, Bla Bla Kids
Art above crib, Jenna Kutcher
Unicorn rocker, Restoration Hardware Baby and Child
Pillow, Caitlin Wilson
Mirror, West Elm
Wall shelf, CB2
Crib sheet, Pehr Designs