Twin Mom Carrie talks to blogger and twin mom Kelly McKee Zajfen about planning her twin nursery and finding her design inspiration.
Kelly! I was first introduced to your talents when I found your stunning nursery for your "twinsies" in Project Nursery's Monthly Best feature. I fell in love with everything about it right away!
Thank you! I was really excited Project Nursery picked our nursery for the Monthly Best! I put a lot of love into it and wanted to share my ideas on Project Nursery because I hadn't found many twin nursery ideas that were not overly gender-specific or totally yellow.
The nursery itself is calm and serene, educational, and even whimsical. What was your initial inspiration or starting point?
For starters, I didn't want to "over-baby" the room. It's going to be my room too for a little while, and I wanted it to feel comfortable and serene when I am in there with the twins. I started with the map. I knew that it would be good for both a boy and a girl, and I loved the bright colors. We had just painted the room, so I wasn't going to change the color and needed to find something that would go well with gray walls.
I then had to figure out a dresser and the cribs. I didn't have a ton of space because of the windows everywhere. I found the Stokke cribs and fell in love. The white was perfect with the gray walls and the aqua in the map. The dresser was very simple and modern with white and walnut wood that fit well. Then I needed somewhere to put books and knickknacks. I again stuck with a white that would really pop from the gray walls. It was the rug that brought everything together, I think. I started to notice everything I wanted was different blues. Aqua felt really neutral to me. I just kept going with it.
Having boy/girl twins of my own, I think one of the things I was instantly drawn to was the gender neutrality of the room. It is not too boyish, too girlish, or too gender-neutral—and by that I mean everything yellow! How did you tackle the challenge of finding the right balance?
I knew what I didn't want. I didn't want pink or yellow or the traditional baby blue. So I searched around for things on Pinterest to give me inspiration. I saw maps on walls and thought it would be perfect to start there.
I'm obsessed with Etsy and always find the coolest stuff there, so I Googled "vintage school map Etsy" and voila! What I found was actually an old pull-down map that I took the top layer off and framed. I still have the second piece, which is of the states and has amazing colors as well, to use in the future. However, I really loved the world and the color of the ocean. That's when I knew aqua, gray, and white had to be the main colors. Even the navy blue Monte rocking chair is gender-neutral. It's my favorite color!
I absolutely love your cribs! What are your favorite pieces in the nursery?
I think the cribs are my favorite too! I love that they can be used throughout babyhood and toddlerhood and can then become chairs. I think it's so economical, and the shape is really beneficial for the space. Not to mention they have wheels and can fit through any door. So I can use one in my room for a while instead of purchasing a bassinet or another co-sleeper.
My dear friend Eliza at If She Sleeps made the sheets for the cribs, and I think the coral, yellow, navy, and aqua colors in her amazing designs made everything come together.
I also really love the rug. It ties the whole room together with the pop of aqua.
Another favorite piece is the map. We are big travelers and my undergraduate degree is in Elementary Education, so the teacher in me wants the twinsies to know the world early on. And, our families are from all over the world, so it's important for me to show the twins and educate them on where, for instance, grandma and grandpa are from.
Can you talk a bit about your process for finding pieces and décor for the room?
Pinterest, Pinterest, Pinterest! What did we do before this? As I mentioned, it inspired the map idea. I also found the elephant head on someone's Pinterest board and followed the link to the Swiss shop. I thought it was so cute and simple. I knew that the elephant head and the map were going to be the only pieces of art on the walls, so I wanted them to be fun and sweet. I also saw the little flags in a Pinterest photo, Googled that on Etsy, and asked the shop to make it a big longer so it could fit the main wall.
The dresser was an easy find because I love Room & Board. We have a lot of pieces in our house from there, and I know I'm getting really great quality for the price. Not to mention at least one of the kids will use it in their future room. My husband wanted to use it in ours!
It took some work to find the rocking chair from Monte. My husband loves everything modern, and the cost of nursery room chairs is crazy! I wanted to make sure I could use this chair again in the future and we both could sit in it and feel comfortable. So after a ton of searching, we found the Monte. It is so beautifully made that we will have it for a long time.
Thoughtful accessories can truly refine a nursery's theme. We noticed Jonathan Adler's animals sprinkled here and there, alongside what looks like handcrafted wooden toys that both babies will enjoy. How did you acquire these pieces?
We are slightly obsessed with the playfulness of Jonathan Adler, so we have a lot of things by him around the house. The giraffe lamp was already in our room, so I just switched it to the nursery. We registered for the elephant bank; it went perfectly with the colors of the room and stayed very modern and playful.
We've told people we want to use wooden toys (ecofriendly, non-toxic) for the kids, so our family and friends have been buying them for us. Also, I can't stress Etsy enough. They have some great shops that specialize in wooden toys for really reasonable prices.
The other accessories that I love and that stand out are the bamboo mobiles. I thought they worked well with the wood in the dresser and added a unique theme for each baby. The little girl gets the birds (which aren't too girly), and the little boy gets the travel shapes (ties into the map). I just put up an origami star mobile above the rocking chair that has different blues as well so that when the babies are nursing, they can look up at the stars.
Because there are going to be two babies, I think saving space and having storage is top of mind for expectant twin mommies. Did you make any special considerations along these lines?
Oh man, did I! I sat in their room for weeks thinking about how two rectangular cribs and a dresser were even going to fit. That's why I chose the moving Stokke oval cribs instead of traditional style. They were not even as big as I thought they would be, and the two of them together coming out from the wall was perfect!
I had to buy a bigger dresser for the twins for more space because Mommy has her clothes in their closet! I put a few hanging racks on the back of the door for the things that need to be hung. It's worked out really well so far.
I also bought a "changing table" that I wasn't going to use as their actual changing table. Instead, I put a wipe warmer, lotions, brushes, nail clippers, diaper rash cream and other supplies on the top and stocked the bottom with Honest diapers and wipes as well as blankets, bibs, and swaddles.
Kelly McKee Zajfen is a wife and mommy of newborn twins living in sunny Los Angeles, California. Before mommyhood, she stomped down the runways for some of the most amazing designers such as Oscar de La Renta, Giorgio Armani, and Diane Von Furstenberg. She decided to take a little detour into Early Childhood Education and then grad school studying Social Work. However, life took her on a new adventure: mommyhood. Kelly and her husband were not surprised to learn that they were expecting a new addition to the family, but they were very surprised to learn that there would be two new additions to the family. Thus, grad school will have to wait. Kelly has been spending her time focusing on her little boy and girl—the best gifts of love.