How Two Design Pros Created a Nursery Baby Can Grow Into

This Beacon Hill office-turned-nursery kept mom's taste in mind while leaving plenty of room for her daughter's.

By Karin Vandraiss February 25, 2020 Published in the March 2020 issue of Seattle Met

A Serena and Lily convertible crib is a design investment, seamlessly transitioning from crib to toddler to daybed.

Sara Knowles and Cassandra LaValle became creative partners soon after Knowles moved to Seattle in 2013, blending their respective styles—where the former leans eclectic, the other goes chintz. When Knowles (interior designer and now co-owner of South Seattle’s Homer restaurant) announced last spring she was expecting a little girl, LaValle (interior stylist and founder of interior design blog Coco Kelley) proposed a joint project to convert her Beacon Hill home office into a nursery.

A midsummer due date gave the duo a lead time of about three months. Knowles envisioned a calm, warm space with aesthetic flexibility, which translated to neutral foundation pieces and accessories to complement sophisticated wall treatments. “When you’re designing a nursery, the client hasn’t arrived yet. We wanted to leave room for her personality to come in later,” LaValle says.

A shallow shelf and low-hanging rod are just the right fit for a tiny wardrobe.

The space already possessed elements that spoke to Knowles’s personal aesthetic: a vintage pink chair, boho rug, and a behemoth of a dresser, one just the right height for a changing table. She and LaValle selected a soft gray wallpaper with subtle leaf print—more understated than Homer’s hallmark ostrich print—and a few key items, from a fresh white convertible crib with turned wood detailing to woven storage baskets, that wouldn’t compete with the more colorful pieces.

The result is a nursery both welcoming and playful without being overly sweet, exactly what Knowles envisioned for her daughter. “It’s a space she can grow into, rather than out of.”

Nearly indiscernible patterned wallpaper allows for layered artwork or floating shelves without feeling too busy.

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