Sunday, April 27, 2008

Sherri Blum Bedding!

This week, a long time dream of mine has come true. As a children's room interior designer, I love creating completely new bedding designs and decor for my clients. My heart races when I pull together fabric swatches to select custom baby bedding and when I put my paintbrush to the canvas to create the room's finishing touches. Creating something entirely unique is what I love most about my chosen career.

I've always wanted to be able to offer an entire nursery room package of my own design, through my brand, Sherri Blum Designs. Crib bedding of high quality and unique design, but at a moderate price level. I can finally say that my dream is coming true and I am so very excited and happy to share it with you!

The first in my series of baby crib bedding designs is "Bird's Nest Bedding". It includes the popular pink and brown nursery colors of today and incorporates my own bird's nest painting design as an embroidered panel in the crib bumpers, quilt and toss pillow. The set was created to coordinate with several of my best selling nursery wall art designs and is priced to sell at only $210 retail for the 4 piece crib set. A valance and toss pillow are available separately and retail at $24 each.

Take a look at the image here and visit my list of favorite retailers on my website to purchase. We're expecting our first shipment into the warehouse by June 15. Many of my retailers are so excited about this sweet and unique crib bedding that they are taking preorders, so visit them to reserve your set today. From the looks of things, the first batch will be selling quickly so don't wait for the next shipment.

Stay tuned for the next design which will likely be released in about 2 months.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Tips for Decorating a Unique Nursery

A new baby is on its way and everyone whose life might be touched by this new little person is getting excited and preparing in his or her own way for the baby’s arrival. But none, of course, has as much preparation ahead of them as the expectant parents. Friends and family are asking what names you have chosen, if you desire a boy or girl, and what kind of baby nursery you have designed. Creating a warm and safe environment is one of the greatest joys and responsibilities a parent-to-be will take on in preparation for their new baby. The pressure is on…you want to show your baby and your other loved ones just how much you love this baby, how excited you are, and how well you have prepared for his or her arrival.
In the past, children’s rooms were done on a shoestring and as an afterthought. Whatever hand-me-downs were available sufficed and in fact, the child’s bedroom was most often the last room of the home to be decorated or painted, if ever. But the trends have changed in recent years. Now, more than ever, parents are creating exceptional spaces within their homes, including the baby’s nursery. Design shows are on every television network…there are even networks dedicated entirely to interior design. Today terms such as feng shui are household words and we are all seeing and realizing the effects that our surroundings have on our attitudes and well-being. Families are spending more time at home and therefore are focusing on making their home a more comfortable and relaxing environment. Parents are spending more money than ever to create a wonderful oasis for their families. Enjoy the process of preparing this nursery for your baby. Try something different and unexpected. Many books and articles have been written suggesting the practical ways in which to decorate your baby’s nursery, but I’m going to appeal to your more adventurous side. Everyone is expecting to see a pink ribboned nursery for a girl or a blue teddy bear room for a boy. Do something unexpected and create a nursery that will really show others and your baby just how excited you are about the impending birth of your child. By following a few simple guidelines and suggestions you can create a unique and very chic nursery for your baby that will have others talking!

Decorate to please yourself. Think about it…the baby has no opinion on the room’s colors or designs and won’t even begin to care about the chosen theme or color scheme until he or she is at least three years old and in most cases even later. By this time, your little independent thinker will have his own ideas as to what he wants for his bedroom and he will deserve to have the space reflect his personality and interests. At this point you will be making some changes anyway. The nursery décor is always designed to please the parents. Here is your one opportunity to have complete authority on your child’s environment. Take advantage of this while you can! Try something out of the ordinary. I’m letting you “off the hook” from feeling committed to a teddy bear theme or nursery rhymes. Who says your nursery has to be baby blue or pink? But whatever you decide, keep versatility in mind. This room will need to meet the needs of a rapidly changing and growing child with ever changing needs, interests and attitudes.
Choose versatile furniture. The convertible cribs of today will last a lifetime for your child, converting from crib to a full sized bed. Conventional changing tables are a thing of the past. Today, many dressers have a changing table built right in that can later be removed. An armoire is another versatile option for a changing station. A contoured pad can be placed inside the doors. When no longer necessary, the pad can be removed and the armoire can hold a television, computer, or hanging clothes. Don’t purchase your typical primary colored plastic toy box. This will only suit for a few years. Instead, consider a wooden trunk that can later be used for sweater storage or a memory chest for a teenage girl. Or convert a bookcase into toy storage by filling the shelves with fabric lined baskets to hold baby toys for now and then you have a bookcase to hold your growing child’s book collection later.
Avoid traditional nursery themes and wall colors. Rather than a yellow ducky or storybook character theme, design a nursery in styles that you might have reflected throughout the rest of your home. Consider a French countryside theme with vivid colors, toile fabric and a Louis XVI chair instead of a traditional rocking chair along with an antique armoire used as a changing station. Try an “old world” Italian look with warm golden color-washed walls, a black iron crib, and warm terra cotta accents or a Victorian room done in all white furniture with floral fabrics and lace with ornately carved mirrors and accents. An asian-inspired room with silk fabric treatments in deep colors and sleek dark wood toned furnishings and light colored walls would provide the bold contrast of colors that appeal to young infants and parents alike. Add bamboo shades and a few well chosen accessories and you have a serene and very sophisticated room. Many parents are opting for the vintage style in the nursery. These fabrics remind them of simpler times and their own childhood. Soft, muted cotton print fabrics paired with vintage furniture will create a time tested and inviting atmosphere for all. Forget baby blue and pink for your color scheme! Citrus colors are hot this year. Consider turquoise paired with orange for a boy or girl. Use these color combinations on walls, furniture and fabrics to create a unique look.
Don’t hesitate to mix and match fabric patterns and textures to create your own special look. A baby might not be able to see colors and patterns as well at first, but a baby’s sense of touch is up to adult levels from birth. Babies enjoy a variety of textures such as silk and velvet or chenille. Use these throughout the nursery for their tactile and visual appeal.
Steer clear of elaborate murals with nursery rhyme or storybook characters. These are too quickly outgrown by a child. Some murals however can grow with your child and can be a good investment as well as look great with today’s styles. An outdoor scene with a countryside and blue skies, grass and trees can easily work with changing themes. Such a mural can take a girl through such themes as princess and castles, horses, butterflies, floral, cottage garden, etc. just by changing a few accessories. And a boy can transition through themes such as farm animals, transportation, knights and castles, fishing, camping, etc. simply by changing wall hangings, fabrics and accessories. A great alternative to expensive murals is a large scale wall hanging. Sherri Blum Designs offers 2x3 foot reproduction wall art that make a great substitute for a permanent mural, can be personalized and even taken with you to a new home or saved for future generations to enjoy!
Don’t neglect the ceiling. A baby spends most of his or her time on his back looking at the ceiling. Make it colorful and interesting. A more realistic looking sky mural will last many years and will be calming for a child. The sky scene can reflect night or day or can fade from one into the other across the ceiling. At the very least paint the ceiling some color other than white. Your child will thank you eventually!
Lighting should be taken seriously. Consider a whimsical chandelier rather than a flush mount light for ambience. More lighting companies are catering to children’s design and are creating hot air balloon shaped lights or chandeliers with whimsical colors and characters and fabric colored shades to coordinate with bedding and window treatments. When placed on a dimmer switch this fun light can be very useful for checking on a sleeping baby. A small table with a painted table lamp and hand painted shade can be placed next to the rocking chair for reading and later used as a nightstand lamp for an older child. And accent lighting can be directed toward a favorite picture on the wall or light up a precious collection. Rope lighting can be tucked into crown mouldings or a tray ceiling for an unexpected delight.
Avoid clutter. Babies and adults alike are happiest with limited amounts of stimulation for sleeping so make storage a priority. Maximize closet space by using it in unexpected ways. A baby doesn’t need the hanging space, so purchase a good closet system with hanging bins. Keep dressers or toy bins inside a closet. Consider removing heavy closet doors and hanging fabric panels instead to allow your toddler to easily access toys or books inside. Paint the interior of your closet in a bold accent color to give it more attention. As your child ages, a closet can be transformed from storage to reading nook or puppet theatre to a computer or homework work station simply by removing doors and altering the space within.
Window treatments should be functional and beautiful. A great way to accomplish both is to use a roman shade or a balloon shade. The roman shade made in a fabric that coordinates with your bedding, when lined properly blocks sunlight while extended and is an attractive decorative treatment when lifted. With any window treatment, avoid looped cords that can become tangled around a toddler. A fun and whimsical window treatment option is to use a curved rod and create an awning type look with your window treatment. Or custom a crown shaped wooden valance painted in antique silver or gold leaf to top off a pair of luxurious curtain panels that puddle on the floor.
Accessories will make or break the overall design so put some effort into it. These are the most versatile and often least expensive element of the room’s design. Choose artwork that personally touches you. It doesn’t need to be childish, just interesting and well placed. Babies love contrast. Make it colorful and bright. Why not have a Van Gogh or Monet in your nursery? Babies love to look at faces so consider framing an enlarged black and white photo of mom and dad or siblings. To make these even more interesting, use some heirloom or vintage fabrics from your own childhood as matting for these photos. Or take illustrations from favorite childhood stories and frame them for a vintage look. Use your childhood train or doll collection as a display on shelving. This can be later built upon by your own child or replaced as time goes on with your child’s own collection of choice. Monograms are very hip today. A monogram can be painted on the wall rather than a mural (the child’s initials won’t be changing any time soon!) or on the headboard of a crib. A toss pillow with an embroidered initial placed on the rocking chair would certainly be a hit. And don’t forget an area rug. A well chosen and well placed kids' rug makes an inviting spot for story time or playtime and helps to bring some color to the otherwise plain floor space.

Most importantly, have fun. Bring out your inner child and reflect memories of your own childhood or decorate in a style that appeals to you today. Parents spend nearly as much time in the nursery as their babies and should feel good about this room. By dedicating the time and energy into decorating a unique and stylish nursery for you and your child, you are showing your new baby and others that you believe they are important and you want a warm and comfortable, happy environment for you to share with your precious little one.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Let's decorate!

Hello friends!
Since beginning my venture into the world of children's design back in 2000, I've had dozens of people outside of my immediate service area (Baltimore, MD) ask me for decorating advice. I try my best to help them, despite the distance between us.
By creating this blog, I hope to be better able to assist people everywhere who wish to create the perfect environment for their child. After all, our children deserve to have an enchanting, safe, warm and whimsical environment that reflects their individual dreams and personalities.
So let's start with sharing some of your favorite ideas for decorating children's spaces and feel free to write in with questions you might have for me about your decorating dilemmas. I'll do my best to assist you, but please be patient as I learn the ropes of this blogging thing!

Sherri Blum, CID