Turning an empty bedroom into a soothing, restful nursery is an exciting design challenge for every new parent. Luckily for Debra Kanabis, who works in communications at Ralph Lauren Home in New York City, her job provided plenty of inspiration. Even before her son, William George Rizzo, now 1, was born, Debra imagined decorating his room in signature Lauren shades of light blue, cream, and white.
But Debra's firsthand knowledge of fabrics and wallpaper didn't make the job any easier. She laughingly admits that it took a full year to complete the nursery, even with the help of architect Stephen Miller Siegel of the Manhattan design firm Jackson Siegel Aaron. Together, they planned a room that can grow with William, choosing traditional furnishings and a blend of muted patterns inspired by a sweet ribbon stripe from Lauren's new collection of classic wallpaper for children.
First Step: Furnishings
Debra and her husband, Michael, began the design process by choosing three pieces of convertible furniture that William can use for years to come: a cherrywood crib and changing table from the Simon Horn Nursery Collection and an upholstered daybed designed by Stephen. The sleigh-sided crib converts into a toddler bed and later a small sofa, and the changing table becomes a chest when its flip-back top is closed. Outfitted with a twin mattress and throw pillows, the linen-covered daybed -- now used as a comfy place for Debra to relax and read with her son -- will eventually become William's bed.
Surprisingly, the crib and daybed -- two rather large pieces -- look fine together in William's bedroom. Stephen's secret: "I always balance soft and hard things. Curtains frame the crib, and upholstery keeps the bed soft. Balancing fabric and wood makes a room look clean and fresh." The designer applied the same principle when placing a fabric-covered memo board in the indented panel of William's closet door. (It's easy to make: Cut a piece of homasote fiberboard, available at lumberyards, to fit the space, cover it with a layer of thin padding, and then stretch your favorite fabric on top and staple in back around all four sides. Tack on 7/8" ribbon in a crisscross lattice pattern, as shown in the photo at left. Debra chose the same nickel-plated nailheads used on the daybed.)