Naomi co-founded Little Crown Interiors in 2008, and she has been designing nurseries and children’s rooms for more than a decade, bringing together beauty, functionality and safety. Naomi believes in creating spaces that are unique, intentional and curated. Her work has been featured widely in print, on the web and on television. She lives in Southern California and works with clients all across the US and Canada and Kathy was lucky enough to get to have a virtual coffee date with her to pick her brain on all thing’s nurseries.
K: You wrote a beautiful book, Your Perfect Nursery, I had a chance to flip through it and there are so many dreamy kid’s spaces in here. What made you gravitate towards nurseries and children’s design in the first place?
N: So that was a little bit of an accident. I graduated design school in 2007, which was a rough year. There was a recession and the design industry was not doing great, so I took the first job I could get out of school, which was at a small studio that happened to do nurseries and kids—and at the time that didn’t really exist. So, I didn’t even know what it was, but once you start doing it, you can’t not do it because its so fun. So, it just went from there.
K: What inspired you to write your book?
N: The book has been in the works for probably close to five years now. I started writing it when I realized that there wasn’t a great resource for just nursery design. So, when you go and you buy the ‘What to Expect when you’re Expecting’ books and all of those, they have these tiny little paragraphs about the nursery and its usually safety related or functionality—which is super important, but there wasn’t a definitive resource that had all of it. So, you’d end up having to go to a million different websites, never really getting the full picture. So, I wrote it! I just felt like there needed to be one, and I had the information, so I put it together.
Nursery Client: Naomi Boyer Photo by David Casas
K: You nailed it, it’s so good! Anyone who follows you on Instagram or who sees your work on Pinterest, can see that some of your budgets are very high-end…and of course we all love to look at that kind of thing, but its not feasible for everyone. Do you think that it's possible to have your dream nursery but still come in on a budget?
N: Definitely! You’re right that a lot of my clients are higher-end, but I also do work with clients on my e-design service that are not in the same budget-bracket, so we do nurseries everywhere from the $30,000 range, which I know sounds super scary. But I’ll do some in the $5,000 range. It really just depends where you want to splurge and where you want to save and there a lot of things that you can get away with that look really expensive, but aren’t. The book kind of walks through what some of those things are. Just because you don’t have a huge budget definitely doesn’t mean you can’t have a great nursery.
K: There are some really great tips in the book! I love all of the checklists and all of the good planning tools you offer. So, what are some of the things you like to splurge on and where do you think, no matter what your budget, is a place you should just save?
N: So generally, I like to recommend splurging on items that are going to last longer than the nursery…so, things like the dresser, which you could keep for 20 years if it holds up. The things that are going to be just nursery-specific are great places to save—assuming that you can still get decent quality and safe things—like the crib. That, you’re only going to have for two to three years, but it’s still something that has to be safe. So, I wouldn’t say skimp necessarily in that area, but definitely its not somewhere you need to just throw all your money. Another great easy place to save is window treatments, because custom window treatments are just a bloody fortune, but you can get ready-made curtains and then take them to your tailor and have them hemmed to the right length so it gets that really cohesive look and that’s not expensive at all. A lot of the cost of window treatments is making them that perfect size, but you can kind of alter existing window treatments pretty easily too.
K: That’s such a good tip. So, for me, I find that your design strikes such a great balance between child-friendly and parent-friendly. What do you think is the best approach to take when trying to achieve a kid’s room that still looks like it belongs in an adult’s home?
N: When we’re doing nurseries specifically, as opposed to children’s rooms, I like to tell my clients that its your room. The baby will not care, and they probably wont care for a least several years. When you get to that point where your child’s old enough to start voicing their opinion, you’re going to wish that you had done your own thing before they started saying things. So, I definitely think that the nursery is for the parents. Make how you want it to be. As long as its safe and cozy, and it feels good, baby’s going to love it. They’re not going to care…they’ll sleep in a cardboard box; you know what I mean!
Photo by Full Spectrum Photography
K: I love that, it’s so true. My kids are 10, almost 9, and 4 now and my daughter is still good. Her nursery was pink, and that just happens to be her favourite colour, and all the time she’s just like “I love my pink room, I love my pink room.” I know its only going to be another year or two until she’s like “I hate my pink room.” So yes, I totally agree. Do it while your kids don’t have an opinion about it.
When you’re midway though a project, do you ever get nervous about the outcome and scared that it’s not all going to come together? How can you avoid feeling that way all together?
N: Well, myself as a designer, I don’t have that issue a ton because I do renderings and floor plans and we have so may things in place to make sure that it’s going to turn out okay. But as a DIY’er, there’s things that you can try to plan. I know that one of the issues people worry about is if everything’s going to fit. If you’re not the kind of person that can go and use the floor plan software, I tell people to just tape it out on the floor. Use some painter’s tape. Measure the furniture you want online, tape it out in the room and kind of stand in there and envision it and make sure it feels okay to you. Those types of large pieces are the ones that are hard to return and are more of an investment. So, if you can make sure that those feel good to you, that’s a really big step.
There’s also so many things online that you can use for making mood boards, you can even just drag some photos into a PowerPoint something—however, you can get the photos together! Or even a Pinterest album, whatever works for you.
K: You offer e-design services, which is so lucky for those of us in Canada, who are a little farther away from you than some of your other clients. What do you think are the benefits of designing with a professional as opposed to tackling it as a DIY?
N: I would say the number one comment I get from my e-design clients is that they just feel overwhelmed by options. Most of those clients have an idea…they’ll come and say, “I know I want a neutral nursery with touches of blush and maybe some gold.” Or, “I think I like this crib,” and then they get stuck, because where do you go from there? What I guess I bring to the table in those situations is that I can quickly tailor it down say “no, you don’t want this, you want this. This is going to be better for you. Here’s a bunch of ideas that I know are good and are safe and will look nice together.” Then they don’t have to worry about the millions of options that exist in the nursery world.
Check back next week for Part Two featuring questions from our readers and more.