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From TEW to Three with Our Nursery

Last week, I shared a sneak peek into our nursery on Instagram, and today I’m excited to share a full tour of the space with exclusive behind-the-scenes details on the design process.

Anyone that knows me, knows I’m my toughest client! I like so many things, it’s hard for me to narrow them down. Unlike how I am with our clients, when I’m working on my own ideas I second guess everything. Organizing my broad ideas with the help of the TEW design team and artist Claire Daniel, this nursery came to be an absolute dream come true.

To fully understand the design, I’ll start from the beginning. When my husband and I bought our home, it was a 2-bedroom, 2.5-bath. After much thought and consideration, we decided to somehow add a third bedroom — knowing that we planned to start a family. Our house is made up of every angle possibly imagined, and not an easy place to remodel or make changes. That said, it was a very fun challenge to try to figure out how to transform our home into three bedrooms without doing an addition.

I must have redrawn this layout at least 50 times, yet here is our floor plan of the previous layout (Before) and our floor plan of the new layout (After). The small third bedroom is what became our nursery.

With the help of my friends at Frey’s Building & Remodeling, our challenging vision was brought to life by removing one of the closets, reconfiguring the hallway and bathroom, and pushing the limits on every single angle.

Once my husband Andy and I found out we were pregnant last fall, ideas started brewing in my head. I knew I wanted the baby’s room to be gender neutral and free of any themes. I wanted it to be fun yet sophisticated. Being tight on space, I also wanted it to be simple and functional.

Here’s what I started out with and revised along the way. I absolutely love every single item. However, sorting my ideas for the wall mural proved challenging once I started putting them on paper. At this point, I was also 8 months pregnant and the idea of painting a mural myself was stressful and overwhelming!


At that point, I asked local artist Claire Daniel if she would be willing to work with me on designing a mural. She immediately said yes, and I was so excited (and relieved) to work with her! I sent Claire my ideas and inspirations.

I also sent her a color palette that I was envisioning. Working with Claire was easy and fun. She came back with multiple options for different murals and was more than willing to listen to our feedback, tweaking things accordingly.

Sketch by Claire Daniel

After a few revision rounds, we landed on this idea. Claire then came to our home and free-hand painted the mural in two days!

Voilà, our nursery is complete! We couldn’t be happier with how colorful and fun this space turned out to be.

Remember all the weird and awkward corners mentioned previously? My philosophy is always to embrace the weirdness and make them a feature rather than a nuisance.

One weird corner was resolved by wrapping the mural around it. This allows your eye to continue around the room and be visually interested in where it ends.

The second awkward corner became a feature by installing custom shelves to host books and toys. By adding shelves here, it made this corner much more useful.

Finally, I focused on finishing the nursery with books and toys that would allow my son to grow up to be a confident, kind and loving human. It is important to me that he know his own cultural identity, being half Palestinian. As well as to learn about strong figures in history that defied the status quo and fought for freedom and justice — two things ingrained in the Palestinian identity. Books about feminists, world travels, space travel and being kind line the shelves.

The print above his changing table is a traditional Palestinian Keffiyeh, a scarf traditionally worn around the neck or head that has deep cultural meaning and rich history.

Baby Ziad has nested in his space very comfortably as Andy and I look forward to watching him grow and flourish.

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Raleigh, NC 27607

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