This NYC Couple Turned a Bedroom into a Bold Nursery— with Zero Demo

As featured in our spring issue, stylist and fashion designer Brynn Elliott Watkins (Elliott Shop) and her filmmaker husband Aaron Craig show how they transformed one bedroom into a calm, yet bold and modern NYC apartment nursery with just a few tweaks and zero demo! 


The Inspiration

“I wanted the limitless sky to be a reference which is why I included so many blue accents in the nursery. I also focused on nature. Living in NYC, you miss the beauty of natural things. I decided to include bold, vibrant wallpaper featuring wildlife and flowers. Winnie loves it! Almost every day when she wakes up, she points out all the birds she sees on the wall. I also added little treasures from our travels around the world. We love to talk to Winnie about these things and we can’t wait to take her with us someday!” Frazier Fanciful Wallpaper;

The Vibe

“Our nursery is bright, energetic, and, most of all, fun!” said Watkins. “The room can also be quiet and calming, complete with its moonlight orb and natural window coverings which mask the city lights and traffic sounds.” Floor Lamp, Layla Grace;; Colorful Throw, deKor & Co Ojai;

The Art

“I really love the art we have incorporated into the space. One piece is by our friend Ethan Cook, who is such an inspiring artist who incorporates woven material into most of his pieces. The two large blue pieces I actually painted myself. Before Winnie was born, I decided I wanted to make something special for her to have in her room. So I created the paintings especially for her.” Blue artwork, personally made; Red and green artwork, Ethan Cook;

Nursery Design 101

“I think many parents might think you have to compromise style for function. Don’t be afraid to echo the style you have in the rest of the house in the nursery.  A nursery can be edgy, sophisticated, and fun! You’re going to be spending a lot of time in that space and you want it to be equally inspiring to you as well as to your child. So go with your gut and be bold when it comes to decorating!” Hanging Swans Mobile, $34.75;; Callum Crib, $1099;; Gleaming Primrose Mirror, $998;; Louvre Occasional Bench, $847;

The Accents

“The rug is another aspect of the redesign we love. Since it’s so large, it makes the room feel larger. It’s also nice to have a new rug from The Citizenry on the floor since Winnie spends so much time crawling around on her hands and knees,” Watkins says. “We also love the items we’ve incorporated from our travels. In this room, we added baskets we bought in various markets in Bali and Morocco. We use them as organizers for books and toys underneath the bench. Whenever Winnie wants to play with something, she’ll go to the baskets and find something interesting. Another little design favorite we love is books! We’ve stocked the baskets with some of Winnie’s favorites. You can never lose designing with great books!”

Urvi Braided Jute Rug, $425;; Callum Dresser and Topper, $1699;; Custom Blue Alex Chair;; Capiz Honeycomb Chandelier, $998;; A & B & Winnie Embroidered Briar Mini Pillowcase, $68;

Renter Friendly Design

Our landlord suggested hiring a professional home remodeling company to carry out the renovation but we decided to do it ourselves. We live on a tight budget! That said, we really enjoyed this process and we are currently chatting to our landlord about a bathroom renovation (it desperately needs doing!) This room didn’t need too much work doing to it, which is why we were happy to renovate ourselves. We decided to focus our resources on working with the structure of the room exactly as it is, transforming with paint, trim, and wallpaper,” says Watkins. “It’s amazing how much a fresh coat of paint will brighten a space. What’s even more amazing in this nursery was how the wallpaper truly transformed the room. The wallpaper feels like it gives the space new dimensions and we didn’t have to do any demolition work to make it happen. Additionally, the incorporation of the large mirror makes the space feel bigger than the original layout. This mirror is classic and elegant. We added furniture we love and will grow with Winnie. Best of all, if we choose to move, we can take literally every item with us to the next space.”

Kiniza Side Table, $129;; Arctic Sheepskin, $190;; Walker “Move It,” $107; small-foot-de; Greek Goddess Head Planters, $34.99;

The Charm

“I also love the vintage wicker giraffe we found at Old New House in Katonah, NY. I’ve honestly never seen anything like it in my entire life! The giraffe brings a quirky and lively dimension to the space that would be hard to get any other way.”

Wicker Giraffe;; Natural Meditation Pillow, $135;; Brynn’s Blue Dress;; Winnie’s Outfit;

Photography by Sara Kerens

You’ll also want to see how we turned a Gray Space into a Woodland Nursery Oasis or go inside this Bright and Blush Big Girl Room Makeover.