House Tour: Arlo’s “Family History” Nursery

When Brent and I started brainstorming what we wanted to do in Arlo’s nursery, we kept coming back to the idea of incorporating elements that represented our family’s history.  We also didn’t have a lot of money to spend and wanted to repurpose and reuse as much as possible. The result is a mix of old and new with lots of items that hold special stories we can share with him when he is older.

I only purchased a few new elements for this room - the rug, which pulled in the colors and the patterns we had used elsewhere in his room, A steal at only $114 and available at (Note: it’s jute - so it’s not very soft, but it’s beautifully made & will last for many years in a rough and tumble boy’s room) I got the white toy box off zulily. Arlo’s room was originally the same muted tan color that our entire house was painted before we bought it. We chose to repaint it in a super light blue color called breathe provided care of Quiet Nursery.  We also repurposed a little 3 drawer dresser that used to be in our bedroom by repainting with Quiet Nursery’s no VOC, organic paint color Splash. The floating shelves (from IKEA) were last used in Everly’s very first nursery in San Francisco. The framed print over the changing table was from the children’s shared nursery in our previous house.

Arlo’s room is really small and doesn’t have a closet, so I was excited to be reunited with the wardrobe that my grandfather, Blaney, built for me in high school. It sat in storage for years as I move way to often in my 20’s to attempt to bring it along. I wanted to do something to it to pull in the room’s vibe, so I decided to paint a pattern on the doors using Splash from Quiet Nursery. I got my inspiration from a picture I saw of a door on Pinterest and tweaked it a bit to my liking. I’ll post a separate how to, but it was really easy. Arlo’s crib was originally Everly’s (The Pottery Barn Harper Crib ). The rocker was from the children’s previous nursery (you can find them for cheap on amazon!)  We also reused his previous bed linens (crib skirt is from Target and the gorgeous quilt was a gift from the super adorable etsy store Rooster Legs) The framed prints in his room were gifts or purchased on zulily.

We hung this little collection of dream catchers in his room for a few reasons. In keeping with the family history theme, we wanted to send a nod to my father’s family Creek Nation roots.  I had a dream catcher in my room as a child and it holds really fond memories for me. I really love the meaning behind the dream catcher - the purpose of the web is to catch the bad dreams while letting the good ones pass through.   The large one and the smallest one were give to us as gifts (one handmade by a neighbor). The  medium sized dream catcher, I purchased while pregnant with Arlo from a Native American woman at a market in Ottawa, Canada. If you’d like to purchase an authentic dreamcatcher and support Native American art, here is a good place to start

Yes, that’s an actual bomb in this photo. It was carried on a plane flown by Arlo’s great grandfather, John, during WWII. Since it was not dropped, he brought it back, removed all of the “guts” and painted his name and rank on the front of it. Brent’s father and Brent himself each kept matchbox cars and special “boy” things inside of it in the youth, so it seemed only fitting that it get passed down to Arlo for him to do the same. The green hanging storage is from IKEA. It’s usually not visible when the door is open but is great for holding cloth diapers, bibs, hats, etc.

There are a lot of special pieces on this shelf. Toy military figurines that belonged to Brent as a boy. My beloved velveteen rabbit from my childhood. Two little framed owl prints that Arlo’s great grandmother purchased many years ago on a trip to California. We put out some of Brent’s favorite books that he kept from his childhood (Swiss Family Robinson, Treasure Island, Huckleberry Finn). There is also a lantern handed down by my father, and several other little items with special meaning.

We have plans to add other family mementos, put up a fabric covered cornice over his window, and hang his felt mobile over his crib but for the most part, his room is complete.  Nearly every item in this room already has a story in some way - from the furniture to the details, and I look forward to many years of watching my son grow within its walls.