A Simple Swap Meant This Guest Room Could Be a “Cocooning” Play Space, Too
And six more ways the London home became baby-ready.
Published Nov 11, 2020 1:00 AM
Finding out you’re expecting kicks a lot of things into high gear. For Lindsay Stevens and her husband, Dan, it meant the race was on to finally infuse their uninspired (her word) monochromatic London townhouse with a dash of personality before their son, Cary, arrived. The couple also knew that to not overwhelm themselves financially (and emotionally), they needed to break the project into two phases: pre- and post-baby.
To pull it all off, they enlisted Andrew Griffiths, founder of interior design studio A New Day, who reimagined the entire three-story home through a kaleidoscope of calming colors, mid-century furnishings, and a few clever DIYs—starting with the common spaces and wrapping up with the bedrooms and nursery. “We wanted to stop and really enjoy that first year together,” says Lindsay of their family-friendly timeline. Here’s how the trio made it work.
Live on the (Soft) Edge
In the living room, Griffiths brought in grown-up upholstery like nubby bouclé and marigold velvet to cover the cozy seating, as well as wall-to-wall geometric-print curtains to give the room’s grand view a modern, sweeping frame. He balanced out those parent-approved choices with accents as kid-friendly as they are stylish: a featherweight sofa outfitted in performance linen, so the Stevenses could easily push it to the edge of the room when Cary needs extra space to crawl around, and a low, circular pouf that stands in for a hard-edge coffee table. “I’m proud the white rug has made it as long as it has,” Lindsay says with a smile of the design Griffiths selected. Some things are worth the risk.
Make Subtle Updates, See a Big Difference
Griffiths tapped into his clients’ love for mid-century design in the kitchen by installing a mod motif tile backsplash—but only a single row, so as not to overpower the small room. Likewise new cabinet fronts keep things streamlined. “I didn’t want to add bulky hardware that would make the space feel too busy,” he says of his decision to forgo handles.
While Lindsay admits “nothing in life is truly babyproof,” a coat of Mylands’s Morning Blue—a highly durable spray paint—means the cabinets can withstand the occasional bump and nick of a stroller. Also blending style with function, the icy blue banquette flips open, offering an abundance of hidden storage for the growing family. Bonus: The soft nook will be the perfect spot for Cary to climb onto when he’s past the high chair phase.
Create Your Own Peaceful Sleeping Nook
The Stevenses weren’t initially going to redo their bedroom, but after letting Cary sleep with them for several months, the new parents caved. “We were ready to treat ourselves and make our space special,” explains Lindsay. In a bid to disguise the distracting rooflines in the top-floor room, Griffiths covered every surface—ceiling included—in Paint & Paper Library’s Truffle, an atmospheric hue. Now the room beckons the couple to unwind free from baby toys, blankets, and bottles. Well, almost. “I still step on the odd race car while getting out of bed in the morning,” says Lindsay with a laugh.
Give the Nursery Grown-Up Details
Griffiths isn’t a fan of kids’ furniture straight off the shelf—so he created his own when it came time to turn the dormant home office (the couple often works from a makeshift setup in the living room) into a nursery. First, he used Velcro to secure a changing table topper to an IKEA highboy (“The leather handles make it look more expensive than it is,” he notes). The designer then refreshed the piece using leftover paint from the room’s striped accent wall, so it would fade into the background and help the 65-square-foot space feel larger—a round mirror also helps. Next, he layered in mid-century decor (a geometric rug, Eames chair, convertible eucalyptus wood crib) that aligned with Mom and Dad’s vintage style.
Find Flexible Furniture That Makes Room For Everyone
To compensate for the nursery’s pint-size footprint, Griffiths turned the relatively unused guest room into a play area for Cary. It received new lighting and a coat of ”cocooning” green paint to match the garden beyond, but the designer’s most memorable move was replacing the existing full-size bed with a twin trundle, which he scored on Wayfair. This freed up floor space for Cary’s train set, while still allowing the room to sleep the same number of guests. As Lindsay says, “We are in here every day now, playing with the baby or watching cartoons in the morning.” They continue to enjoy the home well beyond their first year as a new family. “Cary’s growing up so fast,” she notes of her now 18-month-old, adding, “I want to make time stop.”
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