The nursery is a sentimental room in your home: It’s the space where you make some of the first memories with your child. It’s also the room where you can design with personal touches—it should be as unique as you. These four mothers did just that. A local celebrity/entrepreneur, an Instagram influencer, a vintage collector, and an interior designer—each with four distinct styles and personalities—let us in for a peek at their babies’ spaces.
For Candice Romo, designing a nursery was an exercise in fun. The entrepreneur (see below) and her husband Tony Romo, former quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys and current CBS sports analyst, welcomed their third baby boy, Jones McCoy, in August. Candice, who collaborated with designer Debra Owens on their new North Dallas abode, wanted the nursery to match the tone of the rest of the home. “Tony and I are younger. We’re not real serious,” she explains. “So everything in our house, as well as the nursery, we wanted to be fun and fresh and playful.”
Candice and designer Debra Owens covered a wall in Bien Fait wallpaper. “It’s so playful and has all the right colors,” Candice says.
The couple’s sprawling, transitional-modern is filled with designer touches, interactive art—such as a wall of mounted vintage-style red View-Masters loaded with family pictures and children’s cartoons—and enough square footage to host quite a football-watching party. But yet they looked to a few stylish pieces they already had. The centerpiece is the celebrity favorite Vetro Crib by Nursery Works that Candice purchased for her oldest son Hawkins and used for her middle child Rivers, as well. “She had that crib before Beyoncé and the Kardashians,” laughs Debra. That and an acrylic bookshelf from Wisteria kept with the “light and airy” aesthetic.
To stick with the theme, Candice looked for a pop of colorful wallpaper. She found a print, but wasn’t sure it was right when she got the sample. “But the same company made this one and we liked this one better,” she says of the French wallpaper design house Bien Fait’s “Carlton Ivory” pattern. “It was kind of an accident how we found it. We love color.”
The large room needed an anchor, so they designed a custom bed that is reminiscent of a house fort, which Debra bedecked with bedding from Land of Nod. And again, Candice made sure that the space was a spot where her boys can gather to play. “I can just envision all the boys in there jumping around on it,” she says.
Candice Romo and her best friend Hollie Siglin started Hawk + Sloane out of necessity. “I was at a phase with my toddler where I needed something to fit the crime of talking back or screaming,” Candice says. A friend suggested a spoonful of vinegar, but Candice imagined a huge mess while trying to spoon feed toddler boys. So she put it in a spray bottle. She soon realized how easy it was to travel with her “sheriff’s badge” to discretely discipline her boys. Candice and Hollie—who rekindled their middle school friendship when they were pregnant with Hawkins, Candice’s firstborn, and Sloane, Hollie’s secondborn—named their business after the babies that brought them back together. They developed six sprays (from $10/each; $60 for a set of six) that you can shop online or at Baby Bliss. hawkandsloane.com
Stinky: Candice dubs this the “mom version of Poo-Pourri.” Use it in a diaper pail, in a hotel room, or on an airplane to keep odors at bay.
Sleepy: Spray this to get kids ready for bed. “If they are wound up, use it to wind them down,” Candice says. Parents also like to send this spray with kids to camp.
Scary: The essential-oil based spray helps kids overcome their fear of the dark. “They don’t really have anything to defend themselves, so [Rivers] sleeps with it next to his bed,” she says.
Soothie: This blend of micronized silver is meant to fight diaper rash. “Spray this, and it will knock it out real fast,” she says. Candice also uses it as a soothing agent for cuts.
Lice: No parent wants to get the dreaded email from school that lice is going around. Be proactive. “You can spray it on their hair every morning before they walk out the door,” she says.
Sassy: This formula of apple cider vinegar and Vita Veggies is meant to be used as an effective disciplinary method. Candice and Hollie designed the spray to take on the go.
It’s no surprise that Amber Venz Box looked to Instagram to start building an inspirational catalog of nursery images for her second child, a baby boy named Boyce O’Neal. Amber, a well-known fashion blogger (venzedits.com), and her husband Baxter, developed and run RewardStyle, a platform dedicated to monetizing style influencers’ blogs and social media accounts. “I have over 7,000 screenshots on my phone,” Amber explains. “I saw two different styles coming through, and my designer Stacy [Hyde] helped us pick a direction and run with it.”
Their starting point for the room was a graphic black-and-white Fornasetti wallpaper from Cole & Son. Amber fell for the moody cloud print but had a few reservations, afraid it might cast a melancholy tone. But Stacy convinced Amber otherwise. Instead of wrapping the entire room, they covered one wall. “It’s the jewelry of the room,” Amber says. “I’m really happy we did it.” The graphic design blends with the Ducduc glider covered in neutral Schumacher fabric, the crib from Pottery Barn Kids, and the rug from Loloi Rugs.
For a modern moment, Amber was inspired by Forty Five Ten’s new downtown building. While shopping, she noticed portraits of fashion icons such as Iris Apfel sprinkled around the store, but it was the sleek picture lights that caught her eye. She framed portraits of Boyce and her firstborn daughter Birdie and attached black display lights from Wayfair to get the look.
There are fashionable moments in the room, but practicality won in some spots, too. Amber learned after designing Birdie’s room that a daybed was a must. The Boxes live in a three-bedroom home, so using every inch of space was necessary. They outfitted a daybed from CB2 with a Tempur-Pedic mattress, making a comfortable spot for out-of-town guests—and a future bed for 7-month-old Boyce. “With [Birdie’s], I didn’t plan ahead as much about how she would grow into that room. With his, I specifically thought about that,” she says.
With design not so obviously “baby,” Amber plans on the kids loving their rooms for years. “I hope they both live in those rooms through high school. I think they are rooms I would love to live in,” she says.
Benny Hinkle III of Benny Jack Antiques collects blackamoors, taxidermied animals, and Staffordshire pottery. His wife, Gretchen Hinkle Bell, owner of the vintage shop Dolly Python, collects Victorian jewelry.
So when it came time to pull together a nursery for their now 9-month-old son, Furious Radcliff, their stores—and their storage spaces—were a fruitful place to begin. With a total of nearly 45 years of curating between them, it was clear the couple would never have your run-of-the-mill baby room.
Taking over what was formerly an overcrowded spare room in their ’50s ranch-style house in Oak Cliff, Casa de Furious is a place where the Wild West peacefully coexists under the Big Top and an embroidered sampler announcing “Welcome Tiny Overlord” (a gift from Casy Lloyd, the daughter of Dolly Python’s tarot reader) perches on a miniature Schoenhut piano next to a tramp art lamp.
Cowboy-themed curtains uncovered by Gretchen at Lula B’s Antique Mall spurred a theme that carried over into everything from the wall art to the throw pillows. What the couple didn’t already possess, they sourced through buying trips at estate sales, antique malls and, surprisingly, Target.
An Oriental rug and walls clad in Behr’s “Charismatic Sky” lent a more traditional foundation to family treasures such as a sleigh-style crib that was passed down from Gretchen’s brother and Benny’s bronzed baby shoes.
“It’s Western, but it’s still eclectic. We can’t have blank walls. I just wanted him to have a cool room,” laughs Benny.
When asked if they hope little Fury will inherit their predilection for antiquing, Gretchen says, “We hope he’s a visual person, and we hope he becomes creative [from his surroundings]. If it helps him develop an eye, it’s a good thing.”
There’s something about an old-fashioned childhood where books trump video games and plastic tchotchkes are tossed aside in lieu of traditionally crafted toys. With a decidedly European sensibility, Jennifer and Adam Littke imagined a nursery with the same lovingly designed accessories and attention to detail one can find in their Oak Cliff shop Set & Co.
“Clearly we love Scandinavian design and Shaker-inspired things,” says Adam of their son Raf Anders’ space, which mixes a raw-wood Kalon Studios crib with an airy wicker rocker from Ikea.
The sophisticated yet nostalgic mix of furniture, toys, and books was inspired by a trio of whimsical zoo paintings by children’s book illustrator Chester Dixon Snowden that the Littkes sourced in Houston pre-baby. The subtle wildlife theme continues in the guise of a vintage quilt, and an exquisitely crafted Bauhaus-style menagerie from Czech designer Ladislav Sutnar, also available in their shop.
Globe-trotting for their respective careers—Jennifer is an interior designer for the likes of The Adolphus Hotel, Adam is a commercial filmmaker—and for their shop, the Littkes sourced much of their finds through travels and existing vendors.
Because they knew their son, who was born in September, would eventually need more mature furnishings, the Littkes had the foresight to include a full-size bed from West Elm for when Raf gets a little older. With the addition of family treasures handmade by Jennifer’s father and grandfather and a burgeoning library of her grandmother’s books mixed with the new, the end result is a baby’s room that will grow along with their baby.
“How do you create a nursery that allows the child to be themselves versus defining who that child is going to be?” muses Jennifer. “You want them to have that sense of discovery and leave a little bit open to the imagination.”