Although I didn’t announce it on the blog (how frantic is life as a mum to 3?!), I had our third little boy, Leo William Nihill, on September 9, 2014 and I’m so excited to finally be sharing his nursery today!

I’ve shared lots of little sneak peeks of Leo’s nursery over on instagram but until now, the whole room hasn’t been seen.

Leo’s nursery is my favourite out of my three babies.  I knew what I wanted long before Leo was even conceived.  I wanted light, soft but still masculine, serene, textural, dreamy and sophisticated.  I didn’t want a theme although there is a bit of underlying animal theme (note the Lion print and ‘the lion sleeps tonight’ banner for my Leo the Lion).  I included lots of white, a little copper and touches of timber and leather throughout the room to add textural elements to the room.

I see creating spaces in my own house as a challenge to show my clients something different and something they aren’t asking for.  And as monochrome is so incredibly popular now (and given I did it 2 years ago with Hugh & Charles room), I went the opposite!

So here it is…..welcome to Leo’s Nursery.

Nest Design Studio - Leo

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Let’s just talk about the rocker for a minute.  In one word – AH MAZING.  What I love about the Nursery Works empire rocker, is that it’s a rarity in Australia (I like not going with the crowd!).  I was lucky enough to work it out with a wonderful supplier who was had a shipment of other chairs coming in, to import a few of these.  One for my wonderful client and another for me!  After having had other traditional chairs (the Ikea Poang was one) in Hugh & Charles nursery, I sooo wish I had just spent the money first up on a decent chair.  It’s beautifully high in the back, the wings are perfect to rest your head on, it has a nice soft rock and well it just looks stunning.  Money well spent.

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Like my side table?  My husband had to bring about 8 stumps home from the farm until he got the right one!

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One of my ‘must haves’ was leather handles (I know…hardly a must have but in my design it was!).  I was just about ready to order some online that were about $25 each (ouch!) and in my googling, I found a DIY version.  Lucky for me, there is a local factory that makes belts and I was able to go, pick a scrap of leather and then they cut it in widths for me….all for $15!  A visit to the bolts & fasteners shop and I was done.  I love the way it completely transforms the dresser.

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Another small DIY is the toy box.  Again, I was just about to order something similar (but new) online when I was showing hubby and he remembered that there was an old timber box sitting amongst the junk out at the farm (another win for the farm!).  Add some castors and our name and year of marriage and we have a unique and special box that will be treasured for many years to come.

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How spectacular is Leo’s letter light?  It gives of the loveliest glow of an evening.

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I was really un-sure about the mobile.  It was a no brainer, that if I had a girl I was going to include it (in gold)….but I wasn’t sure if it was too girly for a boy.  In the end, I went for it and had it customised in copper.  Yes, it’s soft and flowy, but it’s perfect for the room.  And hey, in a house full of boys…I deserve a little frilly!  Plus I think the all the leather and timber in the room more than allow for something like this.

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The print was one of the first thing I ordered.  My husband is a huge star gazing fan and as with my clients, I think it’s so important to include things that are important to your family when creating a room.  It’s difficult to see here, but it’s framed in a dark timber which compliments it beautifully.  Leo loves looking at it when it’s nappy change time.

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Isn’t this artwork stunning?!  It was customised for Leo and initially I had it planned to go somewhere else in the room and whilst it’s in a spot that’s difficult to photograph, I get to look at it every time we do a nappy change now.

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Nest Design Studio - Leo3We knew we were having another boy and Leo was at the top of the list for names (although we wanted to make sure he wasn’t a fiery red head first before we named him!) and I couldn’t help but include the Lion print.  I customised the frame by painting it copper.

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I decided to go simple and sweet above the cot (when you have statement pieces like the rocker and the cot, the wall doesn’t need much!)

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It was time for a new cot with Leo.  I had had our other 2 cots (Hugh and Charlie are close in age so needed 2 cots when they were babies) sitting out in our garage for the longest time but we had trouble conceiving Leo (and added 2 more miscarriages to the mix) and I honestly just didn’t want to see them any more.  So they went off to new families and I think it was probably the next month I fell pregnant with Leo!  It gave me a great excuse to order this one which goes in so perfectly in the room.  I had always liked the look of the cot, but as soon as we put it together, I loved it.  I know many people (including my mum – Hi, Mum!) think they look like hospital beds but when I was designing the room (in my head – no design boards for me!), I knew this was the cot for the room.

And here’s a few of us in the room!

Nest Design Studio - Bel & Leo 1

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Nest Design Studio - Bel & Leo 3

It’s not a room that was a bargain, in all honesty.  But I do think it was money spent on products that will be used for years to come.  The only thing that wont be used again within our house, is the cot (obviously!).  I’ve already bagged the chair and the rug to move into my office when the time comes.  The constellation print will be used somewhere in the house and the dresser can either be used in a big boy room or moved to our bedroom.

So there you have it.  The last nursery I will ever design for my own babies.  It really is a room that is a joy to be in.  When I sit in the chair and nurse Leo, I think I let out a little sigh every time because of the peace and calm of the space. 

I hope I’ve inspired you to create a special space for your little one. 

2015 bookings are filling fast so get in touch if you would like me to design a room for your little one!


Cot – Incy Interiors, Reese cot

Chair – Nursery Works, Empire Rocker

Dresser – IKEA, Hemnes

Handles – DIY

Rug – Overstock Moroccan Trellis

Shelves – IKEA Ekby Valter (brackets painted)

Ottoman – Moroccan Pouf Natural leather

Lamp – Freedom Hinged Copper

Mobile – Fleur Lux Custom tassel

Print – Stellavie, The southern sky

The lion sleeps tonight banner – Stich and Shadow Custom

Lion Print – The Animal Print Shop (DIY Frame)

Feather print – Piccolo Studio

Linen – Scout Lifestyle

Bronze Garland – Hubble & Duke

White Felt Garland – Homely Creatures

You are loved decal – Shanna Murray

Button Hooks – Shelter 7

Letter Light – The Little Letter Light Co

Copper Basket – H & M

Mini Cloud & Star Mobile – Baby Jives

Bronze Slinky – Aldi

Suitcases – Typo

Knitted Bunny – My mum isn’t she clever!– You should see the blanket she knitted Leo (you can just see it on the chair)

Theo the Cat – Fournier

Gentleman Softie – Alimrose

Painted blocks – Babee & Me

Softie – Luna and the boy

Love print – My sweet prints

Cushion – Norsu

Moccasins – Hubble & Duke

Kewpie Doll – The Giggle Factory