Tuesday, 11 September 2012

the church nursery

earlier in the year, i blogged about updating our church's lobby. it was well received by members of the church and so i decided to propose updating another area of the church: the nursery.

it's a small space directly off of the sanctuary intended for parents to spend time in with babies and toddlers up to age three. it has a live feed so that parents or guardians can watch and listen to whatever is happening on the stage in the sanctuary.

since it is our church's hope that new families from the neighbourhood would join us, myself and other moms included felt that it was time to update the nursery. it was dark inside, it wasn't inviting and it also wasn't safe. i was afraid that someone visiting our church with little ones could possibly turn around and walk out the door because of the way the nursery appeared. my intentions when redesigning the nursery were for parents, guardians and children to feel welcome, comfortable and safe in the space. i want little ones like lucy and her buddy 'e' to be excited to come to church and spend time with each other. i want parents and guardians to feel as though they are still a part of the meetings by being able to watch them live yet still be able to meet their little ones' needs. i also want mothers of newborns to feel that they can relax and take it easy when first coming out into a public space with their new little bundles.

i started by going through all of the existing elements: the toy chest had to go because it was difficult to maneuver and kids weren't able to help themselves to toys; the triple bed hadn't been used in ages for anything other than a jungle-gym or for changing diapers; the tv on the 'clubhouse' was an accident waiting to happen; to most people, the light coloured walls appeared to be 'white', but my eyes were always able to tell that in fact they were pink... they needed to be painted. a few pieces would stay: the 'animal clubhouse', the bookshelf, the couch, the rocking chairs and the carpet. even a lot of the existing toys and books had to go (there were small pieces, odds and ends, outdated materials).

so with my husband's and my dad's help, we got the place done in about a week's time.

everything now has its place and children are able to help themselves to easily accessible toys. a new tv has been mounted on the wall, far away from children's reach. the walls are no longer blank and natural sunlight now pours in from the windows.

(for more 'after' photos and details, please click on 'read more' at the bottom of this post)

my inspiration...

it's an ugly chair, but lucy and her buddy 'e' love it... 
so let them play with it... on sundays... at church...

contrasting black and white patterns for newborns to look at

whenever possible, i like to maintain the fabric designer's or print's name and year of production for reference

some great wooden toys and some classics

 to think: i almost didn't recover the rocking chairs... 
now i think it's one of the things that made a real difference

 does anyone recognise the green fabric art?
they're remnants of the original 70's curtains that once hung in the nursery ♥

very simple and inexpensive bird mobile made 
with pieces of scrapbooking paper, beads and an embroidery hoop.

 'esa niemi design - onion - an original hand print by zephyr fabrics, toronto, canada'

the fox bin stores all the soft toys and the hanging pockets store small books

the top of the clubhouse was originally designed to be used as a change table (not for storing a tv...)
black and white animal images for newborns to look at while being changed

most public nurseries now provide bottles of either vinegar water or oil of oregano water to safely clean toys.
the dusbuster is a great addition to our nursery (!)... it still needs to be wall-mounted though

 i made it into the clubhouse, no problem... but i almost didn't make it out...

the wooden blocks were a nice new surprise someone had left ♥
the wooden puzzles have been in the nursery since i was little...


 *** almost everything came from ikea: the fabric, toy storage, frames, hooks... it was the easiest for me to do one-stop-shopping with lucy; the bunting fabric is vintage marimekko; the green clock is from homesense; the fox bin is from superstore's jump kids world that i blogged about here; the trash can is from walmart; the change pad is from babies 'r' us; the tv and tv mount are from canada computers; the paint is benjamin moore (i believe it was 'cloud white' and the green started off as one colour, but ended up as another); i made the 'oh happy day!' and 'jesus loves me' posters on photoshop with mikko's help (♥); my dad and i stretched ikea fabric onto stretchers bought from desseres; the bird mobile is handmade; i made the covers for the rocking chairs and pillow cases using ikea fabric; the black and white animal images are free downloads from kal barteski's [i] love life; the mirror was originally from ikea, but i found it on the side of the road (!)

***update on oct. 17th*** guess who i just met at a photo shoot... this wonderfully adorable woman named ellen... she was just too cute: grey little bob hair cut with thick black framed glasses. she told me her husband was a textiles designer... in my head, i thought 'no... could it be...?'... i asked her what his firm was called... she said 'niemi design' (!)

so yeah, her husband was the designer behind the vintage 'onion' fabric i used for the green wall hangings... i had tried to research the history of the artist online, couldn't find anything, and now i met his wife! she showed me some old fashion show photos of clothing that used his fabrics, including this identical onion design. love that ♥

it has been brought to my attention that when people are looking for a new church to attend, the two most important decision factors regarding the church building itself are the nursery and... the bathrooms... humm... do i sense another project coming along?...


  1. GORGEOUS!!!!!
    LOVE IT...

    Have a lovely day...all the little ones will be so happy in that room!

    1. you did a wonderful job!!! I enjoyed looking at the before and after pictures

  2. It looks so awesome Jenny!! And I definitely support an upheaval of the bathrooms...! I bet all the kids love their new nursery :)

    1. what do you mean? you don't like the neon/lime/kakka green bathrooms??

  3. You did a fantastic job, Jenny! We'll have to come visit some sunday morning so that Lucy can show Liam around!

    1. that would be fantastic!! i bet she'll take him to 'the' chair first ;)

  4. Seriously. it's. so. GREAT! I need to get you to do my whole house <3

    1. ♥ thanks friendy :)
      you know, i could think of a few places where we could fit some of 'those' singing plastic chairs in your home ;)

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  6. Hi,

    Did you get the Curtains at Ikea? I am trying to find them and can't find them anywhere. By chance do you remember the manufacturer or what they were called?

    1. hi patricia
      unfortunately it looks like ikea has recently discontinued them :(

  7. So do you have nursery workers or volunteers? this is lovely!

    1. thank you!! we have lovely volunteers :)