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Nursery Makeover...from ugly man cave to fun, flamingo filled and fabulous (Before and After reveal)

Nursery Makeover...from ugly man cave to fun, flamingo filled and fabulous (Before and After reveal)

This is fun! I had such a lovely response to last week's Before and After of my living room that I've decided to go straight back in with another this week. This time it's the turn of the nursery. Though it's not so much a nursery anymore because my baby girl is growing up so fast. But it totally still works, which was the plan all along. I wanted to create a room which wasn't too cutesy and babyish and could grow as she does. And I think I have, because to be honest it's one of my favourite rooms in the house and I would quite happily move in there myself given half the chance. 

But I'm getting ahead of myself. First I need to tell you about where we started. When we bought the house I quickly established that the previous owners office/man cave would be Nellie's room. Mainly because it was next to the master bedroom and the other two rooms were on the second floor at the top of two flights of steep stairs aka not very baby friendly. Here it is...niiiiiiice.

I'll forgive you for thinking it's perhaps not so bad and that it just needed a lick of paint and a freshen up. I'll forgive you for thinking that, but I will also tell you respectfully that you are wrong! Because what you can't see is the lining paper on the walls bubbling and peeling at the edges OR the 35 (yes, really!) plug points dotted around the room. What you also can't see is that that odd little box thing jutting out from the wardrobe houses a CCTV system, and behind that is an enormous scrambled bank of aerial points, wires, ethernet cables, plugs....basically you name it, it was in there. If you read my previous Before and After you may remember we had a similar problem with the built in shelving in the living room alcoves and ended up having to rip it all out and start again. Well, same here.

After having all but the essentials disconnected. Once again we called in our friend Lee from Freeborn Carpentry to tear the existing wardrobe out and build us a lovely new one which stretches from floor to ceiling, therefore making the very most of the space available. The top cupboards are actually too high for me to reach (that's not hard btw, I'm 5ft 0) but we use them for storing spare bedding and other bits and bobs. I got the pretty pink and gold hand painted knobs from Oliver Bonas.

Once again we had to tackle the spotlights. There were 12 in total in here, which kind of made you feel like you were stepping into an operating theatre and that level of brightness is far from ideal when you're trying to create a calm, soothing environment for your little angel ;-)

So they all had to come out, and be filled and prepped again. One thing I have managed to do a fair bit over the course of these renovations is re-use pieces we had in completely different settings in our old house. So for example, the Vita Eos Feather pendant light in Nellie's room used to be in the hallway of our old house. And there's a rug in Raf's room which had previously occupied our former living room. Given my natural urge to start all over again from scratch when I buy a house, I'm quietly pleased that I've managed to recycle at least some of our furniture.

The flooring in the office was very cheap laminate floorboards and had no underlay underneath it so it was terribly noisy when you walked on it. So unsurprisingly, that went. I'm not generally a big one for carpet but I wanted Nellie's room to have that softness so I chose a hardwearing chunky knotted wool carpet. I'd still like to add a rug in here but haven't found the right thing yet.

Unfortunately, when we took the lining paper off to prep the walls for the lovely Cole and Son flamingo wallpaper I'd chosen, it was covering a multitude of sins and the wall was in really bad condition underneath so they all had to be replastered. Luckily I love fresh plaster. 

The wallpaper had been the original starting point for this scheme. As mentioned earlier, I knew I wanted to create a space which wasn't going to feel too baby-ish and date quickly. What I love about the Flamingo wallpaper is that while it's pretty elegant and understated, compared to some other flamingo prints on the market, it has pops of almost neon coral all over which make it feel much more modern, as opposed to baby pink which would have made the overall look a lot more cutesy. I plan to expand those coral and pink pops elsewhere in the room going forward. For example, when it comes to Nellie moving out of her cot and into a bed, I'll add coral cushions and more cool prints for the walls. I love the kickass Bad Ass Babes print and the gorgous felt flamingo garland (above) for starters.

For the remaining non-wallpapered walls, again, I wanted to avoid a sugary baby pink shade, so I picked out the biscuity colour from the wallpaper instead. I don't know about you but I find it a lot harder to choose neutral colours than I do dark colours. I am obsessive about paint colours and get such a buzz when I feel like I've found the perfect shade. This is especially true of the neutrals because it feels like more of a challenge to get it right. I realise that makes me sound like a proper sad case btw but it's true. Anyway, several sample pots later, I settled on Little Greene's China Clay. I'd describe it as a pale biscuity shade with a touch of pink mixed in. It's lush and I'd totally recommend it if you're after an alternative to an out and out pink in a little girls room.

I also wanted to bring some gold into the scheme case you didn't know by now...Gold is a Neutral. My lovely mum had offered to make me a Roman blind for the window if I could find the fabric I wanted. In the end it was her who came up trumps with a lovely ever-so-slightly off-white fabric with subtly shimmering gold polka dots. It was perfect, but quite thin so needed lining with blackout material first.

And that just leaves all the furniture and other bits and bobs which I've listed at the bottom of this post. The cot had been Raf's, as had the Ikea bookcase which holds most of Nellie's toys and books. I originally bought the sheepskin bench for our room but I didn't like it in there. However I couldn't bear to send it back and it just so happens to look perfect in that spot in Nellie's room so there it stays. White sheepskin is a totally practical addition to a toddler's bedroom I think you'll all agree??? Then there's Nellie's pair of beautiful Max Made Me Do It prints made by my good friend Carol aka Cazzer's own fair hand. The initial print was a gift from Cazzer, whose gorgeous house I recently gave you a tour of here, when Nellie was born.

I picked up the cute little rattan chair that the flamingoes are snuggled up in for £7 at a charity shop last weekend. It's the perfect addition to that awkward alcove down the side of the cot. And who doesn't love a charity shop find?

And last but by no means least, I am all over a bit of kitsch and it doesn't get much more kitsch than Nellie's I Love Flamingos sign. This was a souvenir from a lovely jet-setting friend who brought it all the way back from sunny Palm Springs. It's the closest I'll get to Palm Springs for a while that's for sure.  

Soooo, what do you think of this Before and After? Do you think I've succeeded in giving Nellie's room longevity? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below. 

J x


Flamingos wallpaper  - Cole & Son

FAB sign - Kempton Antiques Market find

Vita Eos Feather pendant light - Trouva

Bookcase - Ikea

Sheepskin bench - Maisons du Monde

Polka dot fabric -

Pom pom basket - bought in Morocco

Large belly basket - Ikea

Bad Ass Babes Club print - Society 6

Flamingo garland - Pearl and Boo

Ditsy floral print bedding - La Redoute

Initial and Numbers prints - Max Made Me Do It


Move over pastels, hello dark and dramatic modern florals (Inside my latest Cosmo column)

Move over pastels, hello dark and dramatic modern florals (Inside my latest Cosmo column)

Living Room I banished the bland and brought the glam (Before and after reveal)

Living Room I banished the bland and brought the glam (Before and after reveal)