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written by SHANI SILVER
photography by JULIE CHRISTMAN & MARK LOHMAN
Nick Carter, yep–your favorite Backstreet Boy, is a new dad. Better still, he’s a new dad with amazing taste in interiors. Below, explore the nursery that welcomed the Carter family’s first child, Odin Reign, in a home built in 2015, boasting panoramic views from a secluded hilltop in Hidden Hills, CA (swoon). We spoke with designers Stephanie Avila & Tori Swaim, as well as Nick’s wife (and new mommy!) Lauren Carter, who all shared their thoughts and memories on the making of this cozy haven for a family’s adorable arrival.
TELL US A BIT ABOUT HOW THIS PROJECT CAME ABOUT.
I was referred to Lauren and Nick by his bandmate AJ McLean after designing the nursery and playroom for his daughter. AJ’s wife Rochelle put me in contact with Lauren and I jumped right into another Backstreet Baby nursery project! Designing children’s spaces is my specialty so I was excited to come up with a unique design for Nick & Lauren to welcome their newest addition to the family. I’m so happy with how the room came together and I hope you all love it too!
Lauren saw several crib bedding items on our website that she thought would work for the nursery. We connected on the phone, and then set up a time to meet!
HOW DID YOU BEGIN YOUR DESIGN PROCESS? WHERE DO YOU START?
Before our first meeting, I browsed through a pinterest inspiration board that Lauren put together of rooms and items she loved, which gave me a better perspective of what she was drawn to. Lauren already has such a great sense of style so it was fun pulling this room together to reflect her classic taste. The room is big with beautiful hardwood floors in a light finish and has a large pretty window that brings in so much natural light, it really was the perfect room for their nursery. After Lauren and I discussed the general direction, I got to work pulling actual product and began space planning to determine placement of every piece that was being presented to her. Knowing that she already had the Novella crib by Nurseryworks picked out (which was a sweet surprise baby shower gift from AJ & Rochelle McLean!), I made sure that the furniture and accessory selections would work with the style of the crib, keeping in mind that we were aiming for a timeless and sophisticated feel. Our first major task was locking down the wallpaper selection since that element alone would carry a lot of weight in terms of the overall style of the space. After going through numerous wallpaper options, Lauren and Nick narrowed it down to two and ultimately decided on the steampunk flying machines paper. This pattern on every wall was such a great choice and really added a sense of playfulness to the space. With each thoughtfully selected piece, the room transformed into a beautifully serene space that Lauren and Nick can both enjoy with Odin. Although designed for a baby, Odin’s room has a timeless and sophisticated feel that will grow with him through the years. This was such a wonderful project to work on and the whole process went smoothly. The results are a product of the love and fun that went into creating it.
Lauren sent me some ideas via Pinterest, and also shared the wallpaper that she was thinking of using in the room. I put together a selection of neutral fabrics, and I met with both Stephanie and Lauren at the Carter home. After looking through tons of fabrics, we narrowed down the selection to several gray and taupe colored patterns and solids. Lauren wanted some texture in the crib bedding, so we incorporated linen (in the crib skirt) and a soft faux fur fabric (in the blanket and rocker pillow).
WHAT WAS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE THIS PROJECT PRESENTED?
The room has so many doors! Four to be exact. Which doesn’t sound like a lot, but when trying to space plan for furniture placement and wall decor I was getting a little worried. Luckily the room is pretty large so it didn’t turn into a major issue. I just had to be aware of enough clearance in front of doors. Other than that, this project was smooth sailing.
We had such a large selection of amazing fabrics to choose from, it was difficult to eliminate many of them.
WHAT DID YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT THIS PROCESS?
Nurseries are always full of happiness and joy that it just makes this process so rewarding. Lauren was terrific to work with and always provided positive input. It is clients like Lauren and Nick that really make me enjoy what I do.
Lauren Carter’s sense of style was amazing, and she was a pleasure to work with. She made quick decisions, knowing exactly what she liked and didn’t like.
ARE THERE DESIGN ELEMENTS HERE THAT YOU’LL DEFINITELY USE AGAIN?
I am a repeat offender of using wallpaper. I will never present a room design without at least one option. It’s a design element that I feel can instantly transform a space with big impact through a minimal effort.
It’s always fun to include different textures of fabrics. I think we often simplify the linens in a baby’s room, but luxurious textured fabrics can be beautiful in a nursery. I will definitely design future baby bedding collections using a variety of fabrics and textures.
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WHAT IS ONE THING YOU WISH EVERYONE KNEW BEFORE DESIGNING A NURSERY?
Everything in the room doesn’t have to come from the baby department. Make selections that will grow with your child in both style and functionality. For example, Odin’s dresser is not specifically a changing table, however by adding a changing tray topper it easily serves a dual purpose. The style of this dresser is one that can easily work in another room in the house and have an extended life after the nursery.
I agree with Stephanie in that nurseries are often designed with only baby or kid’s furniture in mind. I love the concept of incorporating other furniture items, not just pieces designed for a baby’s room. The dresser in Odin’s room is to die for, and a great example of adding in adult furniture for a glamorous look!
Nick & Lauren Carter (And Baby Odin Reign Carter!)
WHAT KIND OF SPACE WERE YOU HOPING TO CREATE FOR YOUR NEW ARRIVAL?
We really wanted to create a peaceful loving, plush space for our baby boy.
DID YOU HAVE IDEAS IN MIND BEFORE YOU BEGAN WORKING WITH YOUR DESIGN TEAM?
I knew I wanted textures, neutral colors with modern/retro finishes and furniture.
WHAT WAS THE BIGGEST SURPRISE THROUGHOUT THIS PROCESS?
I was surprised how well different patterns that don’t match actually work for the look we were going for.
DID IT TEACH YOU ANYTHING NEW ABOUT INTERIOR DESIGN THAT YOU’LL APPLY IN OTHER AREAS OF YOUR HOME?
I learned you don’t have to use baby furniture for everything, that you can incorporate regular size items and customize them for your needs.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE MEMORY OF THIS DESIGN PROCESS?
My dad doing all the drywall and installing for the nursery.
WHAT IS YOUR PERSONAL FAVORITE PIECE OR DESIGN ELEMENT IN THE NURSERY?
I love the sting ray mirror over the changing table as well as the crib which was a gift from AJ and his wife Rochelle McLean.