Renovation update: nursery

Cardigan: ARKET (sold out). Jeans: £49.95, Gap. Banner: Happy Sunday Studio. Paint colour: ‘Pink Ground’ by Farrow & Ball. Polka dot wall stickers: Happy Decs. Photographs: Christopher O’Donnell.

Shelves: from £5, Ikea. Rocking chair: £107.50, Maisons Du Monde. Cushions: Jonathan Adler (‘Tokyo’ is old and the ‘P’ one was bought at a sample sale). Bench: House of Fraser (old).

This post isn’t 100% accurate, as there was about a year interim when this room was finished and used as a bedroom for myself and Chris whilst our bedroom was being done (you can see what that room looked like in this post here). But I spent most of my pregnancy being sick in that room and once Peggy was born we decided to repaint it and now it is in its final form.

When we first moved in, we didn’t take many photos as again, this was used as a room for boxes and storage. There was a built in cupboard (which was removed – you can see its outline above) with an electricity meter inside, which took MONTHS to get sorted, as it had been long disconnected so we didn’t know which electricity company needed to remove it, and neither did they! At one point, we think, this house was two flats or occupied by lodgers (we still get letters for ‘upstairs’).

There was a 1950s tiled fireplace which took up a lot of room, plenty of pipes coming out of the ceiling which seemed to go to nowhere and a lot of cracks. But apart from that, this room was honestly one of the simplest ones.

We installed pipes and radiators within the first month, an my dad plastered behind the wall which was covered in cracks.

The room existed as a bit of walk-in wardrobe for me for a while, and then when we were sorting the study downstairs (see the post here) and removing the chimney breast, we decided to remove the chimney here at the same time as it was the room directly above.

So by default, this room could be finished relatively quickly and cheaply. And we realised there was an opportunity for us to sleep in a clean room and we got very excited.

The chimney breast removal was quite a long job for our builders but we were so pleased they did it, it brought back so much space and has given us a lot more wall space. They also knocked out a ledge that was under the window and found it was hollow! So they filled it back in for us reusing bricks from the building work downstairs (our builders have actually saved all the salvageable bricks from where they knocked down the extension downstairs, and they are in our garden should we need them later – as they can be very pricey! If you think you might need bricks at a later date, ask your builder to save what they can).

They then plastered everything and we painted the walls originally Farrow & Ball ‘Manor House Grey’ – it was our old front door colour at our flat and we loved it and were desperate to use it somewhere else.

Once we had painted, we had to think about the floor – we wanted wood floor but because there were literally open holes in the floor and now a gap in the floor where the fireplace had been, we couldn’t have the original floor. So we saved the boards which were there (Mick used some of them to replace broken ones in our hall and we have a few spare in the loft) and laid our own wider floorboard.

Chris laid it himself! He went to the local timber yard, bought some boards and watched YouTube videos on how to lay it! And he said he’d feel confident doing it again (but only when I said we wouldn’t need him to!).

We painted the floor Leyland ‘Nimbus Grey’ which is a paint we have really made use of – we bought a big tin and used it up here, down in the kitchen to make it clean and liveable and in my office, too!

We thought it made a difference to white, which has often been my default choice in the past. Then we added the skirting boards, coving (both Wickes) and ceiling rose (WM Boyle) and pretty much moved in.

We didn’t put any pictures up whilst we lived in here, as we knew one day it would be Peggy’s room. And we also didn’t change the door or the windows for budget and time constraints.

But once the builders were back to do the hallway after about 8 months (I was already 5 months pregnant by this point), they were moving doors and making all the doorway architraves consistent, and we addressed the fact that the door to this room was tiiiiiny compared to all the other doors. So the builders made the doorway much higher to match the others which ruined so much paintwork in the room, we knew we might as well repaint it altogether.

The day I told Chris I wanted to paint this room a different colour, he was not impressed. But we still wanted to change the window as well into a timber sash (we still had a broken, leaky, aluminium window) and this would ruin even more of the paint. So this helped convince him.

Paint colour: ‘Pink Ground’ by Farrow & Ball. Door: Doors World (which doesn’t seem to exist anymore). Handles: Saxon Locks. Architraves: Selco. Drawers: £65, Ikea. Leather handles: £10 for 2: Ikea. Polka dot wall stickers: Happy Decs.

I have a Farrow & Ball paint obsession, yes, I know. But I just love their colours and because we’re doing everything on a budget and have to spend ages shopping around online for everything, I feel that paint is the one place we can be less frugal, and indulge.

I had seen this colour loads on Pinterest and was so ready to try it somewhere. I loved it immediately but I also wanted to ‘toughen’ it up a bit. We had loads of ‘Railings’ in eggshell from the hallway anyway so I thought it might be nice to paint the picture rail. Straight away it felt more ‘us’, and with lots of monochrome prints it worked straight away.

Raffia animal head: £36, Atelier Buffo. ‘Love’ print: £19, Atelier Big Jon. Cot: £40, Ikea. Mattress: £129, Eve Sleep. Sheet: Coco & Wolf. Canopy: £92, Oskoe Living.

Cot top changer: £32.49, Kiddies Kingdom. Change mat: £13.99, Amazon.

We kept the floor grey and used matte black light switches and plugs to match the rest of the house. We have a playmat at the moment for Peggy to move around, but I love the idea of the room evolving over time – a desk, a bed, maybe a reading nook…

Peggy wears: The Bonnie Mob. Star print storage basket: £40, My 1st Years. Playmat: Totter & Tumble. Beanbag: Scandiborn.

Shelves: £3 each, Ikea. Light switch: £6.99, Amazon. Print: Max Made Me Do It.

Most of Peggy’s toys have been gifts from family and friends, and we store them all in baskets which makes tidying up so easy. I saved a few toys from my childhood, such as my favourite trolls (!) and I love that her room is filled with our memories, too – the Monchichi my sister and I grew up with, and a record belonging to Chris’s nan hangs within the gallery wall.

Shelves: from £5, Ikea.

Ceiling rose: WM Boyle. Light: BHS (old).

Print: Max Made Me Do It. Fawn light: £12.95, Lapin & Me. Clock: £22, Newgate.

The spots were a idea I stole from my sister – she used them in my nephew’s room and I love the idea of them filling a bit of a redundant space behind the door. they’re peelable too, so it doesn’t matter if you make a mistake – just peel off and go again!

Wardrobe: £199, Dunelm.

For the wardrobe, we went quite simple but changed the handles to make it feel a bit more unique. For us, it does the job and I didn’t want a big, overpowering wardrobe in this room. I wanted something I could put some ‘stuff’ on top too – the one room in the house where clutter looks cute!

Hooks: H&M Home (old but the new version is available here). Tee: £15, Mutha.Hood. Teething necklace (Peggy has just got into this and LOVES it): £9.99, Uki Be Teething. Muslin: Molly & Moo.

Totoro print: Society 6 (you usually have to pay around £15 customs charge when it arrives but it is worth it!). Linen print: Wonder & Rah.

We love spending time in this room now, and our whole house is now beginning to feel like home. We will be tackling the rest of the hallway over the christmas holidays but for now, we’re enjoying being able to wear the same slippers throughout the house – previously we had to change shoes between almost every room because of all the dirt/dust so that is quite an accomplishment!

You can watch our renovation video via IGTV here.


  1. The room looks great. I’m thinking of starting a blog and wondered how it works if you are gifted items? I can’t see anything in your post that suggests that any of the items featured were gifted or part of a paid campaign. Is that because you bought everything yourself? Or because you don’t need to say that if it’s in your blog? Or have I just missed something really obvious? There isn’t much info out there so would be v useful to know how you do it. Happy New Year xx

    1. All my paid campaigns here are in the title of the post (such as the Microsoft one before) – I buy most products myself especially with renovations. Sometimes I get gifted product, I mention when it’s gifted within stories and when I feature but if it is now a product in my room and has been there for some time, I credit as usual. I have never promised credits to any brand in exchange for product (which would deem it sponsored) and I have never asked a brand for a gift – I actually did a post about blogging an authenticity here if you’d like to read:

  2. This room is just beautiful and such a great space that will grow with your little one!
    Can I ask about the rocking chair, I’ve been pondering it but don’t have a store I can try it, is it comfy?
    Thanks so much,

  3. Wonderful looking nursery. May I ask about the cot please? It doesn’t look like the sides come down, has this been an issue at all when lifting Peggy in and out?

    Thank you

  4. Hi Alex,

    Peggy’s room is lovely, and thanks for all the book pictures, they are always one of my favourite parts of room posts. Thank you also for all the fun and interesting content this year, I have really enjoyed reading. Have a happy holiday and hope 2019 is a wonderful year for you.

  5. Hi Alex,
    Love Peggy’s nursery so much and had been hoping for this babe to be a girl so I could steal the Pink Ground colour idea 🙂
    I know you’ve mentioned where you find your frames so many times but I’ve forgotten – is it Heal’s? Love the ‘Love’ print and the linen Wonder and Rah.



  6. Hi Alex,

    Does the rocker squeak at all when you’re sat on it?
    Sounds strange but I need to get a chair without arm rests to feed my 8 month in before bed so a squeaky chair might be an issue!
    Beautiful nursery. I love the harder edges with the blacks runnng through it. Not twee but still so pretty.

  7. I love the art gallery wall you got going there! It’s playful yet not too babyish. And I think it’s absolutely marvelous to expose young fresh eyes to different kinds of art! Great going!

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