In preparation for their first baby, Modsy CEO Shanna Tellerman and her husband, West, were in need of a nursery design. Like all expecting parents, they knew it would be a project that required time and attention. But, between life and busy work schedules, the project quickly began to feel overwhelming.
Enter our Modsy design team, who swooped in to help Shanna and her husband with the heavy-lifting. The challenge? Designing a space that worked for all their needs – from devising a layout inside what was previously their breakfast nook, to finding perfect-fit furniture.
Here, Shanna shares her nursery design journey as an expecting mom and a few lessons she learned along the way while working with the team to create a petite and charming nursery nook in her home.
Given their home’s odd layout of rooms, Shanna and her husband decided to turn their breakfast nook into the nursery for their new baby.
Lesson 1: Every Space Has Design Potential
“We live in a San Francisco cottage-style home on a very steep hill, which means it has an unusual layout. Our bedroom is on the first floor and there are two more bedrooms one floor below. We definitely did not want to put the nursery downstairs as it would be too far from our bedroom. Of course, this left us with very few options for where it could go…
We have a breakfast nook next to our bedroom, but it is fairly small and has an awkward shape with tricky dimensions. Given that, we hadn’t considered it seriously as a possibility for the nursery, but after giving it some thought, we realized this nook was the perfect spot all along.
Not only was it right outside our bedroom, it also has great windows and gets beautiful light. So, despite the unusual shape and size, we decided to figure out the best way to make use of the space as our new nursery. It’s a good thing we didn’t rule it out from the start!”
“This felt like the perfect room for Modsy since we wanted to envision how an unusual space with tricky dimensions could go from a functioning kitchen seating area into a cozy nursery.”
Above left: A Modsy rendering of the breakfast nook-turned-nursery with furnishings that combining Shanna’s rustic style and her husband’s more modern taste. Right: After photo of Shanna’s real-life nursery now, fully furnished.
Lesson 2: You Can Have a Vision And Still Struggle With It
“Like many new moms-to-be, I spent my fair share of time gathering inspiration on Pinterest. I found that I really liked all the gender-neutral nurseries with gray tones, but my husband and I also wanted some splashes of color to keep the space bright and lively.
That’s when I realized we didn’t actually have a strong vision for how we wanted the space to look. As much as I thought we knew what we wanted, it became clear to me that we needed help finding products and pulling the actual space together. After all, this is our first baby and first nursery!”
Struggling to design your nursery? Modsy designers can help you imagine the possibilities for your space. Click here to start your project.
Lesson 3: Trust (And Enjoy!) The Design Process
“When our Modsy team stepped in to help with the nursery design, I was reminded how designing a space is never an instant journey from zero to perfection. It’s not about everything being exactly the way I want, right from the start; it’s about being open to fresh perspectives and surprises. And as it was, I wanted all the input I could get.
The next thing I knew, the team surprised us with an initial 3D design that was so sweet and spot-on, that my husband and I immediately fell in love. In particular, we loved the baby animal prints on the back wall. These were not part of our plan, but seeing them in the space (virtually) helped us decide to give the nursery an animal theme.”
“[My husband] West was involved at every step. There were moments when I got really hung up deciding between the different options for our space, and he was always good at making a final call.”
After seeing baby animal prints in their 3D design, Shanna and her husband decided to go with an animal theme in their nursery design.
Lesson 4: Finding The Right Furniture Is Worth Your Time
“I’m not going to lie, I did a TON of research on baby furniture because I wanted to ensure the pieces we chose would be safe and functional. But I was nonetheless amazed to learn that we really only needed to purchase three key pieces: A bassinet, a recliner, and a changing table. This actually made perfect sense for our small space and was really everything we needed.
One of the first things I learned as an expecting mom, which may be obvious to everyone else, was that babies don’t sleep in cribs until they’re six months or older. This was actually a relief given our tiny space. So instead, we purchased the Halo Swivel Sleeper bassinet that can easily be moved from our room to the nursery (we’ll hold off on tackling the crib until we set up the baby’s downstairs bedroom).
Recliners are very much a personal choice, and my research really helped me understand which features most people appreciate. We knew we wanted one with a footrest and a tall back that we could lean our heads against. I was able to pass this information on to the team, and they helped us find an option – the DaVinci Olive Swivel Glider – that perfectly fit our needs.
Knowing what furniture we needed really helped things come together quickly. Then, we were able to focus on the fun part – accessorizing the space!”
“Safety and functionality concerns are a big part of the decision-making process for many new parents when designing a nursery. I realized that the more I was able to communicate my ideas and hesitations about the design along the way, the easier it became for my designer to understand what the perfect nursery was for me.”
Lesson 5: Personal Touches Make All The Difference
“Our parents sent us a big box of all the books they read us when we were young (some are even the original copies). We filled the bookshelves with them to make it a prominent part of the space.
We love that our nursery is filled with memories from our own childhoods. It’s the perfect special touch that helps personalize the space.”
Lesson 6: Always Leave Room to Grow (And Redesign!)
“We definitely hope to keep several parts of the room throughout our baby’s childhood. And we specifically picked pieces that would have longevity beyond the nursery years.
The changing table is actually the Ever Simple Wide Dresser with a perfectly fitted changing table topper from Crate & Kids. We really liked this option because we can secure and remove the topper as needed, and even convert the whole thing into a regular dresser once we move beyond the diaper phase.
We chose the Denim Rag Rug from Dash & Albert because it’s especially durable (it can withstand traffic and is easy to clean) and it added the right color and warmth to the space. The side table, animal prints, and bookshelves are all super versatile and will also likely make the move into a toddler and, eventually, big kid room as well.
Ultimately, everything we chose for this room could be used again if we have a second child in a few years because we’ve kept it so gender neutral – and we love that.”
Shop Shanna’s Nursery Look
- HALO, Bassinest Swivel Sleeper Bassinet, $199
- DaVinci, Olive All-Purpose Swivel Glider with Ottoman, $299
- Crate & Kids, Ever Simple White Wide Dresser, $599
- Crate & Kids, Ever Simple White Changing Table Topper, $99
- Summer Infant, Contoured Changing Pad, $17
- Dash & Albert, Denim Rag Woven Rug 5×8, $214
- The Crown Prints, Animal Prints, $25
- RH Baby & Child, Minimalist Book Display Shelf, $99
- Elephant Bubbles Nursery Decal, $26
- Crate & Kids, Teal Adjustable Floor Lamp, $79
- Neelan Round Accent Table, $69
- Crate & Kids, Safari Giraffe Throw Pillow, $19
- Pillowfort, Sun Round Decorative Throw Pillow, $13
- Pottery Barn, Ubbi Diaper Pail, $79
Need help finding the perfect nursery design for your space?
Starting at just $59, we can help you envision your little one’s nursery in an exact 3D version of your space. Modsy designers can show you how different layouts and products will look in your space, and you can shop your look all in one checkout, knowing exactly how everything will look and fit in your space.