Abe’s Ocean Nursery: A Blue, Orange, and Gray, Not Overwhelmingly Sea Creature-y Nursery Reveal

This nursery has a theme. I know that I’m supposed to be all, “no way. I’M a grown-up, and I’m going to spend plenty of time in this room, too, and the sooner my kid learns that the world doesn’t owe him a whimsical bedroom, the better off he’ll be.” But I am a grown-up who appreciates themes. Seriously, I’m about five minutes away from permanently recreating Miss Havisham’s wedding feast in my dining room. I did try to keep the theme somewhat….restrained, however. I am very mature like that.

We first found out we’d be needing a nursery at nearly exactly the same time we moved into this house. Sadly, pretty much the only thing on our wish list that the Boxy Colonial lacked was a fifth bedroom. Milo and Gus are content to share a room for the moment, but the fourth bedroom was being used for a guest room/office, and we weren’t ready to give that up just yet. Β So, ultimately, the solution we landed on was dividing our ginormous master bedroom in two and using half of it for a nursery for the time being. Eventually the baby will likely move into the guest room, and either we’ll be guest room-less or we’ll be ready to finish the basement by then.

I’ve had a pinterest board with nursery ideas for quite awhile, and a lot of the plans I made way back then actually came to fruition in some form or another. You can read about my nursery musings back in October here to see how things have evolved. But we didn’t start actually DOING stuff until Thanksgiving. Which means we went from this:

Pretty much a storage room for stuff we didn’t know what else to do with….to a finished nursery in about seven weeks. We seem to work well with a deadline. And without a newborn. We’ll see how things go from here on out. More slowly. Is my guess.

A few notes before I share the overabundance of photos with you.

*I feel like I should say meta things about what aesthetic I was going for or whatever. But I have no such things to say. I wanted the ocean/sea creatures theme to be there, but not overwhelming. I wanted something that worked with the other half of the room, which is our bedroom and not as whale-heavy, but I still wanted whimsical and fun for the nursery side.

*I am always a little surprised at how rooms come together when I start them from scratch. They seem to wind up more modern and streamlined than I would expect myself to make them.

*This room was a beast to photograph. It finally occurred to me that this is probably mostly because the paint color is so dark. So my method was to take WAY too many pictures, at different times of day, with different lenses, then spend forever sorting through them to find the least awful ones….and hope for the best.

*Nurseries are so much fun. I think I need four more babies just so I can keep decorating nurseries. Just kidding, Dave. No more babies. I’m sure a toddler room will be almost as fun to decorate. Sigh.

So on with the tour! I’ll note where all this stuff came from and give links to individual projects (there are a LOT of projects) as I go along.

Here’s a view looking straight in from the master bedroom side of the room. Dave and I made the no-sew curtains with gray and orange see saw fabric from Carousel Designs.Β I talk about making them here. The paint that made the room so much trouble to photograph, but which I love anyway, is Benjamin Moore’s Newburg Green.

The bookcase was a garage sale find many years ago. We gave it a fresh coat of paint for its new life in the nursery and covered a piece of cardboard cut to fit the back with squid fabric from Spoonflower. Read about the bookcase project here. The lamp is from Target (ordered online). The prints above the bookcase are from Studio Tuesday via Etsy.

I found the fish at TJ Maxx. He’s supposed to hold a votive candle, but open flames and babies don’t really mix, so he’ll just sit around looking cute instead.

The stuffed seal is from Ikea. The kids bought me the Alcatraz snowglobe when they (and Dave) went to California last spring and left me home to paint the kitchen cabinets in the old house. Gus thinks it’s too scary for the baby, but I think he’ll be okay.

Moving right along…it’s the next wall! Along with the corner. The rocker is a Poang rocker from Ikea. The dresser was Dave’s dad’s, then Dave’s, and then has been in all of our kids’ nurseries or bedrooms. We repainted it and gave it some fancy new whale drawer pulls from D. Lawless Hardware. I talk more about that here.

I can’t remember where I got the paper lanterns. Uhh….I googled “paper lanterns” and ordered them from one of the online stores that popped up. Originally, these were supposed to go over the changing table. But then I had to move the mobile there so that nothing would cover up our friend the whale, so we put these here instead.

I found the “Seals & Sea Lions” book at the thrift store. The Nantucket book is from the real Nantucket, where Dave and I went on our honeymoon. Gus bought the plush sea lion for me/the baby for Christmas (aww!). The starfish were at TJ Maxx. The lamp is from Target; it used to be in Milo’s room at our old house. And the diver’s mask was a happy find at Hobby Lobby. I kind of love it. And it was half off.

The photos (in Ikea Ribba frames) are ones I’ve taken over the years on our family trips to Cape Cod. More about them and better views of them here.

Gus’ sea lion again. Aww!

Continuing on….here’s the room divider curtain. The curtains are from Ikea, with ceiling mount curtain rods from Wal-mart. More about how we did that here. And the dresser started out ugly. Read about how we made it prettier (and added the legs to it) here.

I made the mobile and talked about how I did itΒ here.

The hardest part to photograph, because that whale wants to blend right into the wall, particularly once the camera is finished dealing with all the white board and batten. Anyway, it’s the last wall of the nursery! The crib is the Sundvik crib from Ikea. The lamp is the Stella Floor Lamp, on sale from Urban Outfitters (there’s no overhead light in this half of the room, hence the three lamps). You can’t tell, but the crib sheet is very soft. It is from Target’s website.

DIY projects on this wall include the no-sew crib skirt to match the curtains, which I talk about here, the board and batten, which I talk about at great length here, and the whale, which there is not yet a separate post about, but that’s coming up. Her name is Martha.

The pillow is from Ikea. Oh, and you can kind of see how nice and soft the crib sheet is. If it would only get below 70, it would be very cozy for the baby to sleep on.

What the whale actually looks like. It was the last thing we did in here (less than a week before my due date! Cutting it close!), so it’s the thing I’m currently the most in love with. I’ll write up a separate post about how we made it either later this week or, if I have a baby soon, then….just….later and tell you how we made her. It was easier and less fraught with worry and trouble than I expected.

I don’t want to stop writing about the nursery, but I think I’m all finished now. I still can’t quite believe it all actually came together before the baby was born. And I don’t know quite what to do with myself now that it’s finished. I really can think of LOTS of things to do with myself (and my house), but none of them seem quite as fun or gratifying right now as making, say, a big wooden whale.

Sharing with:
Under the Table and Dreaming’s Sunday Showcase Party
Tuesday’s Treasures at My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia
Tutorials and Tips at Home Stories A to Z
Hookin Up with House of Hepworths
Somewhat Simple
Design, Dining, and Diaper’s Inspiration GalleryΒ 
Chic on a Shoestring Decorating’s Flaunt It Friday
The Shabby Nest’s Frugal Friday
Lovely Crafty Weekend @ Lovely Crafty Home
Tatertots and Jello Weekend Wrap-up Party
Funky Junk Interior’s Saturday Nite Special
Classy Clutter’s Spotlight Saturday
Creating with the Stars at East Coast Creative
Before and After Competition with One Project Closer


Abe’s Ocean Nursery: A Blue, Orange, and Gray, Not Overwhelmingly Sea Creature-y Nursery Reveal — 63 Comments


    Actually, I love the whole thing!! Congratulations on getting it finished before Davtchen actually gets here- Please have Dave put up an update once you pop!

    • Hee. We’re VERY SLOWLY making our way through Great Expectations with the kids, so I’ve been thinking about Miss Havisham a lot for the past….10 months or so.

  2. WOW what a room. So pretty! Love all your elements.

    That diver’s mask is so perfect. I love it.

    LOVE your corner of rice paper lanterns. Fabulous!!

    I already gushed about the rest, and boy does it look great all together!!

  3. I love it! And I too can’t wait for this Miss Havisham dining room. I have a couple of questions: Is the rest of your master bedroom also painted in that color (and funny that it has green in its name when it seems so very blue)? How do you get into the nursery? Do you slide the curtain to the side? Do you keep a part of the curtain pushed back at all times as a sort of doorway? Or do you keep it closed and push it aside when you want to enter?

    • Yep, rest of the master is the same color (and, yes, Benjamin Moore is funny about naming paint. I think they’re trying to make people feel inferior….”well, if YOU can’t tell that it’s really green, you can call it blue.”) The curtains are on three separate rods, with a total of 6 panels, so you can open them pretty much wherever, but the natural place for doorways is on either side of the dresser, so mostly we do that. I don’t know whether it will end up staying mostly closed or mostly open…..I mean, it’s easy to move, so it’s not a big deal to move them back and forth.

  4. Everything is gorgeous, Gretchen! That is one lucky baby! I love the curtains the best, mainly due to the orange πŸ™‚

  5. GASP. Jaw on floor.

    I love every STINKIN detail! That whale: I need something just like that. Not sure what shape yet, but it’s happening somewhere. That diver’s mask: killing me. LOVE. And the paint + curtain fabric is pure perfection.

    THIS is how you do a theme. PINNING.

  6. Love it! Love how you did the curtain divider. Very creative. The wood whale is very nice! Love the colors. I am partial to them since my little guy loves orange. lol I just decorated his bathroom, if you are interested in seeing.

    Your little one will love his room. Very serene. πŸ™‚


  7. Hey! Thanks for linking to D. Lawless Hardware! Your dresser looks great!

    I tried to find some contact information, but couldn’t. Would you mind if we used a picture of the finished cabinet as an additional image on our product page? We would credit your blog of course.

    Thanks again!

  8. What a perfect room! I am in love with all of the little details! I am expecting and would love to do a nautical themed room as well! Thank you for all of the great ideas and inspirations! And thank you for linking up at the Inspiration Gallery!
    Jaime from crafty scrappy happy

  9. Holy Cow!!! I am just popping in from the link party at Crafty Scrappy Happy to say that I adore this room! The color combination is amazing and the tone of the colors are really pleasing to the eye. I love the wall color against the board and batten and the octopus style backing on the book case is wonderful. Such great attention to detail!

  10. Fantastic room! I found your blog doing a search for “gray and orange see saw curtains.” I fell in love with the fabric for my preschooler’s bedroom, and this post solidified my decision to make curtains out of it. Thanks for sharing your master bedroom/nursery!

    • Thanks so much, Leeann! I really hesitated about the fabric (my original plan was plain gray and white chevron), but a friend convinced me to go for it, and I’m really glad I did. I still love the fabric! Have fun doing your little one’s room–kid rooms are so fun πŸ™‚

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