A modern room for the modern baby | VailDaily.com

A modern room for the modern baby

Alexa YablonskiL.A. Times/Washington Post News Service
Lawrence Luk/Washington PostSandra Velvel, who owns a children's design boutique, Vivi, created a nursery with contemporary design for daughter Annabel Price at her Washington home.

Sorry, Winnie the Pooh. These days, parents are as likely to deck out Junior’s nursery with the jolly old bear as they are to get matching Barney tattoos.”Clients aren’t doing themes. They’re doing rooms that mimic the rest of their homes,” says Dana Evans, co-owner of Daisy Baby shop in Bethesda, Md.”Baby rooms look less and less like baby rooms,” says Tracy Hutson, a Los Angeles-based interior designer and author of “Feathering the Nest” (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2009).Products for tots have changed, much in the way maternity fashions have evolved from muumuus to elastic-waist Seven jeans and pregnancy-cut Hanky Panky thongs.”In the last few years, lots of imaginative people started having babies,” says Tiffany King, owner of the Pajama Squid, a children’s shop in suburban Washington. “They combined their experience and creativity. The cribs got better, the toys got better. Everything took a design-oriented turn.”You can also credit older, wiser parents for bankrolling the trend. “They’re more likely to have their own aesthetic,” says Ali Wing, founder of Giggle, a chain of children’s gear stores. “They aren’t putting in a nursery at the same time they are buying dishes. Their wallet isn’t competing as much in the decor arena.”Though Janet Bloomberg decorated her son’s nursery on a budget, she didn’t sacrifice design. “Everything we pick for Ian has an aesthetic criteria, even the books,” says Bloomberg, a partner at Kube Architecture in Washington. She chose timeless furniture, bright colors and minimalist toys from the Museum of Modern Art. “If he gets surrounded by quality stuff from Day One, he will understand good design,” she says. It seems to be working: Bloomberg reports the toddler prefers simple wood cars to rolling plastic ones he was given as gifts.Sandra Velvel, owner of Bethesda design boutique Vivi, wanted her daughter’s nursery to reflect her taste. “I didn’t want to do something really specific, because you never know what your kid is going to be into,” she says. “I wanted a room that could reflect Annabel’s interests as she got older.”The green movement has also invigorated and elevated kiddie design. Such thoughtful, progressive products can come at a price. But when children’s welfare is involved, some parents are willing to shell out. “If it just looks good, I’m not sure that’s enough to get people to spend their money,” says Lisa Mahar, owner of Kid O, a children’s store in New York. “If it looks good and it’s beneficial to their children, they may be still willing.”The toys and furniture at her shop not only boast sleek lines, they also reflect progressive educational philosophies. “People like Maria Montessori really believed that an environment with well-made materials helps children understand the importance of craft and hard work,” Mahar says.Of course, that’s not an endorsement of monogrammed cashmere blankets for your Baby Pukes-a-Lot. “If the nursery is a place you want to show off, then so be it,” says designer Hutson. “Just don’t expect the baby to appreciate it as much as you do.”

Support Local Journalism