before and afterInteriors

Before & After: A Nursery Inspired By Wallpaper

by Rebekah Carey

Emily and Aaron May live in an American Four Square home built in 1904 in Covington, Kentucky with their three boys, and dog, Biggie. While they’re both in the marketing innovation field by day, once their boys are asleep they each pursue their own creative endeavors. For Emily, that’s her home design service and blog, Go Haus Go, and Aaron is the founder and creator behind the apparel and goods company, Mayhem Supply Company. While their house is over 100 years old, Emily has been pleased by how surprisingly open the home is. She’s always striving to find the perfect balance between aesthetic and functionality with a historic home that is also shared with three little ones.

The Beetle wallpaper by Porter Paints/ Sydney Harbour Paint Company was one of Emily’s dream decor items, and when they found out their third child was on the way, she jumped at the opportunity to finally use it. In between the dream items, the functional ones, and a few DIYs, baby Otto’s room went from a guest room to a charming nursery (possibly) fit for a future entomologist! Read on to see what nursery staples Emily can’t live without and how she’s bringing old and new together in Otto’s adorable space. —Rebekah

Photography by Emily May

Image Above: The “Beetle” wallpaper that started it all — a longtime favorite of Emily’s by Porter Paints/Sydney Harbour Paint Company. 

The Previous Guest Room Became Baby Otto's New Room On Design*Sponge
With Otto on the way, it was time for the guest room to transition into his new nursery.
Nursery Of Emily And Aaron May's Son Otto On Design*Sponge
"The most challenging thing about the nursery was completing the space without competing with the wallpaper or making the space overall too busy," Emily explains.
Layering Modern And Vintage Details Throughout The May House On Design*Sponge

Emily shares, “The nursery started with the beetle wallpaper by Porter Paints/Sydney Harbour Paint Company, which has been a dream decor item of mine for as long as I can remember. When we found out our third was a boy, I knew we had to make it happen. I’m not a bug lover by any means, but for some reason, there’s a sweetness to this paper that makes it perfect for a baby boy.”

Painting The Dresser In Otto's Nursery
"Let's just hope he's into bugs." Emily continues, "From there, we added in a mix of old and new, plus a healthy dose of DIY (like painting the dresser a mossy green) to keep costs down."
Otto's Bettle Wallpaper Covered Walls Are A Favorite Feature On Design*Sponge
Emily describes her design approach, "I tried to add more texture and neutral colors like soft greens, tans and whites so that the space felt complete, but not in an overwhelming way."
Modern Elements Round Out the Classically Designed Nursery On Design*Sponge
A modern touch and pop of metallic are introduced to the nursery with this sculptural light fixture.
Emily Designed Her Son's Nursery With Function In Mind On Design*Sponge
"The nursery design for us is all about function. A comfy rocker for those late nights, a side table to set drinks and snacks on and lots of storage for all of the tiny clothes, diapers and baby gear," Emily explains.
Layered Patterns Are Seen Through Otto's Bed On Design*Sponge
Subtle pattern play can be found layered in Otto's crib.
Emily Has Created A Variety Of Looks In Their 1904 Home On Design*Sponge
Emily shares what makes their home so special, "I'm so thankful that this house is able to 'carry' my [over-the-top] ideas. From giant photos, to a room with floor-to-ceiling bugs, this house carries my more modern designs very gracefully. And I also love how well it fits our family. It's cozy and we all have enough room, but not without sacrificing its stately, historic feel."
The Crib Has Bedding Storage Beneath It On Design*Sponge
Extra storage can be found cleverly sprinkled around Otto's room.
A Cozy, And Stylish, Spot For All The Essentials On Design*Sponge
The perfect spot for feedings, stories, and snuggles.
Otto's Room Is Right Next To His Twin Brothers' Room On Design*Sponge

From the hall, Emily and Aaron can peek into their twins’ room on the left, and brand new Otto on the right.


Crib- Baby Mod Parklane 3-in-1 Crib, Wayfair

Carpet- Flor “Made You Look” Tiles in Ocean, Pigeon and Pearl (see this post for a how-to)

Wallpaper- Sydney Harbour Paint Company Beetle Wallpaper in Chambray

Light Fixture- Lucent Light Shop Vortice Petite Ceiling Light (with 10″ drop)

Metal Wall Mirror With Shelf- Target

Brown Bear Lamp XL- Mr. Maria

Pom Pom Bin- Nate Berkus for Target Baby

Mid Century Retro Modern Fabric Upholstered Rocking Chair and Ottoman– Baxton Studio Yashiya, in Light Beige- Amazon

Pillomatic Rolling Hills (in Green, Teal and Blue)- Etsy

Whisky Ginger Vintage Bugs Illustration with Walnut Magnetic Holder- Etsy

Crib Skirt and Sheet Set- Owen & Ozzie 2-Piece, Walmart

DIY Painted Olive Dresser- Behr Home Decorators Collection in Peat

Seagrass Basket- Bungalow Rose, Wayfair

Schlage Addison Collection Andover Passage Knob, Antique Brass- Amazon

Live Edge Wood Side Table- HomeGoods

Wire Laundry Basket- HomeGoods

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