Best way to roast the broomstick. Must try. Five Stars.

Not Maria’s nursery

Last week we were finally able to put the final touches on the baby’s nursery after what seemed like months of living with piles of crap up to our ears. Because before we could even address the nursery we had to tackle sixteen other projects first, and in the meantime everything we were collecting for the baby started to stack up in wobbly mountains throughout the living room. Every time we had company over I had to give a rambling explanation of why the path from the front door to the kitchen was booby-trapped, why there was a stack of burp cloths plopped on top of a wad of crib sheets teetering precariously on top of a bulk package of disposable breast pads. FOR MY CRACKED AND LEAKING NIPPLES. AREN’T YOU GLAD YOU CAME OVER TO MY HOUSE?

One of the biggest things to check off our list was new carpet in the basement, something we’ve been planning to do since we moved into the house. The previous owners had a cat who lived primarily in the basement, and since we never had the carpets professionally cleaned before moving in, Jon’s allergies have made living his life nearly impossible. In fact, I may have brought up Jon’s allergies to our marriage counselor more than once, and she may have told me that OH MY GOD SHUT UP isn’t perhaps the most helpful reaction a wife can give to a husband who is complaining that his eyes have swollen shut.

So I took her advice, and the next time it happened I tossed a glass of water in his face and said SNAP OUT OF IT, FRANCIS. Much more instructive.

In the days leading up to the carpet installation I made a bet with Jon that it wouldn’t take more than 15 minutes for him to declare that his allergies had been cured. He has a habit of doing this, stumbling over cures for various ailments and announcing, “I’m healed!” before he’s even popped the pill or rubbed in the ointment. He will look at a bottle of vitamins and pronounce that he already feels better, and when I point out that I cannot take him seriously he will start listing off all the reviews he read about these vitamins, all the comparison shopping and painstaking research he did and A FIVE-STAR AMAZON RATING CANNOT BE WRONG, HEATHER.

And I am not even kidding, there wasn’t more than five square feet of new carpet on the floor when Jon handed me a twenty dollar bill and said YOU WIN. This is just another example of how well we know each other, how deeply we accept and understand each other’s various neuroses, and I’ll just go ahead and admit that I have the better deal here because I am not married to someone who is Southern.

Once the carpet was in we were able to assemble all the other moving parts, starting with an antique brass bed that my mother found at a flea market well over ten years ago:

Why do we have a bed in the nursery? One, this room will serve double-duty as a guest room for the next year or so. And two, Armstrongs are not known for their peaceful sleeping habits. If this baby proves to be anything like Leta, Jon and I will most likely take turns with night duty in this room while the other one gets some sleep in our room. So let’s just say that this bed will prove as vital as my Prozac to keeping the family intact.

Next we moved in the crib:

And then the dresser where all the baby clothes that Leta used to wear are now stored:

Jon schlepped down boxes and boxes of those clothes from the attic last weekend, and I spent three days washing and folding tiny onesies and nightgowns in between curling up in a ball and crying about how small Leta used to be. Where did that baby go? That irritable, chubby baby who screamed a lot every day with the screaming? I remember the moment she first discovered that she could fit both of her feet into her mouth, the delight on her face revealing that she had finally found a reason to go on living.

And then fast forward to last night as I’m giving her a bath and she goes, “These bubbles won’t melt, right? Because only ice and chocolate melt. I love science!”

Just to preempt any questions in the comments, here is where I got everything:

All bedding is from Target.

Crib is the Oeuf Sparrow Crib in white.

Lamp is the Twine Floor Lamp from CB2.

Wallpaper is Daydream in yellow by Julia Rothman for Hygge & West.

Dresser is from a local place called Specialty Furniture.

Magnetic flower art on the wall is from Chiasso.

Handmade bunnies are from Loobylu.

  • Erin

    just adorable. thank you for sharing.

  • Non-traditional and oh-so-gorgeous. I absolutely love the look and feel of Not-Maria’s room.

    As a side note… I am anxiously awaiting to hear what her name *actually* is!

  • Ah! We have the Oeuf Sparrow crib in white, and I just love it. It was one of our “splurges” and I don’t regret it for a second. And that brass bed is fantastic!

  • sallyjo

    I see you’ve already started on the nipple talk….ughhhhhhh do we have to listen to that shit again? We all get it, you’re going to breastfeed and your nipples will be sore and leaking…ok??? Get a new topic already, the kid’s not even here yet. Geez. I understand that it’s your blog, you can talk about anything, but try your hardest to be practical and spare us all the dirt. Save it for your other SAHM’s ok?

  • its just perfect heather! i love it! love love the birds.
    well done.

  • cmb

    Bed in the nursery=absolutely essential. So much more awesome to have to walk two feet to nurse a crying baby than to have to walk across the house.

  • This looks so amazing! So amazing in fact, that I may have to pinch some of your ideas and pass them off as my own. HA What are you gonna do!

    Really though, I love how non-annoying/just-the-right-amount-of-girly this room is. Great job, oh multi-talented one.

  • Sue

    Fabu nursery, Heather! Absolutely darling.

  • Not hating – just asking a ?

    Heather, thanks for the clarification. In my warped brain I had the beautiful, antique bed placed in the room because the other bedrooms were two floors above. Now this all makes sense! Personally I would probably call your lower level the ‘garden level’ rather than the basement.

  • Anonymous

    sallyjo 154-

    Heather can write what she damn well pleases and if you don’t like it, do us all a fucking favor and don’t come back. Bitch. Go back to your sad little life and nurse your jealous feelings, okay? I’m pretty sure would go on without your condescending and bitchy patronage.

    Jeez, you’re an asshole.

  • cat

    You have epic style. I am curious, however, do you and Jon really fight as much as you make it sound? Are you really that insensitive? Are you really that self righteous about things? I don’t believe it. Or he’s a sucker. Either way, you are a successful couple and have a bitchin’ life.

  • SarahW

    I also have the “birdie” bedding from Target! Our daughter is due July 10th and we’re naming her after a bird, so I liked the birdie things. I love your wallpaper too, but I wasn’t about to screw with wallpaper. Love the brass bed!

  • what a lovely nursery.

  • AB987

    Not Maria’s nursery totally rocks!

  • Oh, I am pretty sure the daybed in the living room of our tiny apartment saved our marriage. I used to hate the thing, but I am forever indebted to it now, as it allowed one of us a night of uninterrupted sleep during the more – shall we say – sleepless periods in our infant son’s life.

  • Megan

    It’s so beautiful! Good work!

  • linuxchik

    I took a nap in my room when I was about 4 and had an out of body experience where I flew through the hallway. It was awesome! The pictures of your nursery almost perfectly bring back the mood I felt then.

  • Ok – if you are done nesting, can Not Maria come out and play (burp, spit up, and occasionally cry)? The nursery looks great.

    Since it is June and you are going to have a new baby soon, may I suggest creating one masthead for the next several months (you could say something like, “Don’t bother me – I’m busy!”

    Happy Labor!

  • Congrats on creating such a warm and soothing space. I really like how the wall paper and the magnetic flowers create sense of movement. It’s playful, but still light and airy. I’m glad Jon is breathing better. And I hope you’re all getting a few minutes to really breathe in the next few weeks, as I’m certain much change awaits you.

  • Oh sweet mercy, that room is just so pretty.

    I’ve been working on my son’s room off & on… he’s about to turn 8… we live in an apartment and can’t really paint, but the colors are teal, red, and navy blue… it’s been a fun palette to work with!!

  • Becky

    VERY charming and cozy. I love it. I have a thing for those sub-level basement bedrooms. Always perfect temps and lighting.

  • Anonymous

    This is such a beautiful room. You did an incredible job.

    And for the record, talk about whatever the hell you want. It’s YOUR blog. Anti-nipple readers can do us all a favor and close their browser window.

  • Tracy

    This makes me want to have a baby. Not Maria is very lucky to be welcomed into a wonderful (kooky) family with such a lovely nursery and awesome big sister. Well done, Armstrongs!

  • Suzy

    Beautiful room, Armstrongs. Such a happy, peaceful room for not-Maria to wake up to, or scream in.

    Now, I’m not a hater, and I’m not trying to make you lose sleep; I’m just curious. Most building codes call for two egress routes from bedrooms in case of flood, fire, biblical swarms of locusts, frogs, etc. Friends building basement bedrooms have had to dig/install big windows and construct elaborate stairways in the window-wells so their kids can open a window and escape from the frogs up out of the room to the back yard or wherever (and, yeah, people, I know it’s a nursery and she won’t be opening windows any time soon, anyway). But all I see in non-Maria’s room are fairly high-ish and small-ish basement windows. So, well… what’s the plan, my dear?

  • Amy (not the FB crazy)

    ohhhh cat! (161) Did you really just accuse Dooce of being self righteous and insensitive via a RUDE and NASTY comment?? You really are that unaware.. ?

  • Ama-za-zing! You should be very proud of yourself. Yes, toot your own horn! I am expecting this August and your description of mounds of baby crap in the living room highly resembles our own. I’m 29 weeks and we still have to refinish the crib! What the crap was I thinking when I accepted that thing with the intentions of sanding and repainting it!?!

  • Melissa

    beautiful beautiful beautiful

    i adore your style.

  • So, so gorgeous! I am obsessed with re-doing my kid’s rooms every year or so. My daughter Marah (rhymes with Sarah) is just about to turn two and needs a more mature room. I’m using some of your designs for inspiration! Especially the wallpaper… *swoon*.

  • soleremedy

    Love it! I am so glad you have unveiled the nursery! Can you tell us where your inspiration for this room came from? The first picture I looked at I was all, Ohhhh.. it’s.. wonderful!! So pretty!! Excellent work!

  • Alexis

    At $690.00, I hope that crib is made of angel farts and comes with a good-sleep guarantee. Good grief! I’ll just wait for the therapy bills when my 3 decide that a safe but inexpensive crib ruined both their senses of self worth, and their appreciation of all things aesthetic.

  • Lisa

    Ahhh…..done….finally. Pack your bag for the hospital. Go have sex with Jon one last time for a while and break your water!!!!!!! Let’s have that baby!!!

  • April

    We had a bed in our nursery too! It was our marriage saver! Our son was very congested and snorted all night long. It drove us nuts. We would take turns caring for him in his room while the other tried to get some sleep. Those were the days. LOL! Love the room!

  • JoAnne

    Okay, duh, I found the bedding. Dwell Studio (should have guessed) “Birds.” I couldn’t find it when searching for bedding for girls, but did see it in the Animals section. Lovely. 🙂 I love how the pink is balanced by a more sane color scheme throughout the room, as opposed to everything being matching hot pink.

    Also: regarding the haters and “lover-protectors:” I don’t agree with Heather on every opinion she holds, every life choice she has made, etc. Far from it…but I appreciate her talents and strengths (especially graphic design, photography, and home design) enough to read her blog and comment on things like this nursery, which I will file in the back of my brain for when/if we have a girl. I really don’t get why people have to leave horribly phrased (usually also horribly spelled) disparaging comments… and especially why they are so chicken as to never leave their names. I disagree with the anti-bumper crusaders, but at least they are usually brave enough to own up to their comments.

    That being said, I don’t think Heather needs her “defenders” to rise up on her behalf with equally poorly-phrased (and usually also equally crude) responses to the trolls/haters. Everybody knows a troll when they see one. The worst thing to do, in my humble opinion, is to give them your time and energy in responding.

    Anywho. Like I said, I love the nursery, though I doubt my husband would dig on me sleeping anywhere other than by his side, even if baby number two is as horrible a sleeper as baby number one, who at sixteen months still wakes up several times each night. 😉

  • Jennifer

    Dooce – love the nursery. Do you have a chair/rocker close by? Just wondering where you will nurse/feed Not Maria in the night.

  • wow! so prepared =D congrats on getting everything together, it looks wonderful 🙂

  • Too cute! It turned out really great – not that I should be surprised, because everything you show us ALWAYS looks great 🙂

  • Jess

    Good thing it’s not Maria, I was thinking this morning about how horrible that name is just because of that song from West Side Story. EEK! Oh and nice job on the room, I can’t wait to have an extra bed where I can sleep without anyone else.

  • 160 Anon:
    Your comment just rocked my world. You took my thoughts and typed them out…

    And SERIOUSLY sallyjo154… um, yes. A lot of people who read this blog ARE SAHM looking for tips and someone going through the same sh*t they are. Obviously you’re not, so why are you reading (and commenting) again?

  • Congratulations on finishing up Not Maria’s nursery! That must feel like the cherry on top of the nesting instinct sundae.

    I can’t wait to get to that point =)

    Also, good going on finding the magic cure for Jon’s allergies. STRANGE HOW THOSE THINGS WORK. And by “things,” I mean “men,” because the one I married does THE SAME THING. Right down to the reviews.

  • Amen, a regular bed in a baby’s room is a must! And everything looks totally presh. I love the combination of the antique bed with the wallpaper especially.

    And do you think the wallpaper would work in an adult space, or is it to child-oriented? I am considering it on one wall of our master bedroom.

  • Brook

    so pretty!

  • Anonymous

    Wishing I had my bedroom butted up into a hill as I monitor this tornado watch we have going on down here in Texas! Bet it is nice and cool in the summertime, too! What I would have given to have a bed in my babies’ nurseries. You are one smart mama!

  • It’s beautiful. You have such amazing taste in decorating! I love all the birds. Just picked up your book and am enjoying it immensely– sorry to have missed you at Powell’s.

  • Ok so didn’t you find that the last time you had a baby half of the stuff – clothes, burp cloths, etc you never used??? I did not use half of the clothes for my son…..he grew so fast as well that he just grew out of it in about a month too – he is still growing – 8 months old this week…If I had known then that I would not have needed nor used half of the stuff we had, we too would not have lived with stuff everywhere…..eventually we moved and then I got smart….and gave the stuff away. I swear I am in Childrens Place about once every 6 weeks. He is a growing machine!!!!

  • Melissa

    I *heart* Loobylu! I have yet to win a marshmallow bunny! What a lucky little girl this will be!

  • Sarah

    wow ..gorgeoooooooooooooooous!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Sigh…just beautiful.

  • dooce

    I removed comment #196 because she fits my definition a stalker. And when she comes back and leaves the same comment that she has left seven hundred times I’m going to delete her again.

    #197 Cassy, your Where The Wild Things Are nursery looks fantastic! Love the mural. Excellent job.

  • I got home from school (I’m a culinary school student) so exhausted that I nearly nodded off looking at that sweet bed.

    If the power of suggestion works on me, just imagine what it will do for your little ones!

    (What do you mean that stuff doesn’t work on kids? Bummer!)


  • Hi Heather,
    I’ve never commented on here, but feel compelled because I’ve been lurking so long. I’m right behind you in my first pregnancy, just over 36 weeks now, so it’s been fun to check in and see what you’re going through. And just finished your book (which I both loved and was totally freaked out by…what have I done?! and I can’t wait! all at once). I love your nursery, especially the wallpaper.
    I just finished my son’s nursery with a Where the Wild Things Are theme (you can check it out here,, and it makes me feel like I’m totally ready for him to come. Though I wish it was big enough to fit a bed in now. Brilliant!!
    Good luck with the rest of your pregnancy. Can’t wait to follow how it all goes down.

Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

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