This whole week we dedicated our sharing to the fathers who flexed their DIY or design muscles on their baby's nursery or kid’s bedroom. Of course we had to include the stellar designing dads Nate Berkus and Jeremiah Brent who’s daughter Poppy’s glamorous nursery was featured in Architectural Digest.
While I have a huge design crush on those two fab fathers, Nate and Jeremiah, this weeks sharing would not have been complete without including my own husband and father to our son Luca.
When people are dating and make either that literal or figurative list of what we want in a partner, there are the classic line items; kindhearted, sense of humor; physical attraction; height considerations; financial security, etc. For a woman thinking about having children there is another must-have, "good with kids”. I knew this was important to me when I started dating my now husband, Jimmy. I not only hoped he might be good with kids, but I was fortunate to see first-hand that he was in fact good, no scratch that – he was an AMAZING father. He already had three kids from a previous marriage and had been raising children for thirteen years. As I got to know him as a partner, I equally experienced him as a father.
He didn’t just attend the dreaded recorder concerts, numerous baseball-soccer-basketball-volleyball-softball games, theater performances and teacher conferences, he also made plans time to eat lunches at their school; signed up for theater set-builds; stayed home with sick ones; cheered them on at "battle of the books"; fixed-washed-gassed up their cars; prepared dads special Swedish pancakes on the weekends; helped with home-work just enough to keep them motivated; held countless family meetings; demonstrated proper free throw technique; championed highly competitive board game night; rallied during group floor wrestling and when needed gave them space to just be kids. To this day he is still doing all this and then some.
Having come from living the selfish-single life in New York City the time commitment and selflessness was all a bit overwhelming to me at first. Well, honestly it still is, but I am doing things backwards first raising teens and then a toddler.
Now the real proof was in the pudding. These kids when I met them were going through the devastation of their parents divorce. And while I saw them struggle, I also witnessed them laughing right along with their dad. In my mind it is that full-belly laughter that has helped them come through to the other side of things so well adjusted, successful and ultimately, happy children – the kind of happiness that lets you laugh at yourself, not just at others.
As Jimmy and I got closer to becoming an officially wedded couple, in addition to his tall dark and handsome appearance, his unmatched work ethic and financial stability, I was super attracted to his role as a father. I wanted "that" for “my” future children too.
We got pregnant just a couple months after our wedding and of course I started designing the baby nursery straight away. We had very little money for it, but I knew with my creative talents, savvy shopping know-how and his ability to DIY the heck out of anything, we could do something pretty great.
As with all our home renovation projects he says to me, "If you can dream it I can build it." And we did just that. We gutted the room to be shared by the baby and his older brother or other guests when they stayed over. Because I came across so much inspiration for custom projects for curtains, wall mural, mobile and built-in closet complete with changing table/dresser this room took us over three months to complete – doing all the work ourselves, with the exception of carpet install.
Over the past three years not only have we loved everything about this space especially it's functionality, but it has also been professionally rewarding. It received a monetary contest prize from Frog Tape "Earn Your Stripes" for the mural design; earned various media write-ups in the Omaha World Herald, Houzz, HGTV, etc.; has over 35K shares and almost 300K views on Project Nursery; 13K saves on Houzz; 5-out-of-11 of our most shared pins on Pinterest are of this same nursery; and that custom skyline mural has become our best selling DIY stencil. The most exciting thing professionally that came from my baby daddy's DIY efforts, is that this design experience was the catalyst that set in motion the start-up of my own company focused on designing interiors for babies and children, YouthfulNest.
I could never have done our baby's nursery, this business nor raise such an amazing, happy child without my Baby Daddy.
My love, my life I thank you!
A self starter in pursuit of all things smart, savvy and stylish.