When Meghann Miniello found out she was having a baby, she couldn’t help but start mentally designing the nursery right away! As an art teacher by day and designer and business owner by night, Meghann was unable to hold back the deluge of creativity that flooded her thoughts. Before Meghann and husband Matt knew the gender of their baby, they laid a décor foundation of clean lines and neutral colors. But just as quickly as baby girl Frankie James came into the world, so did the pink!
Now at 1 year old, Frankie has grown into her own beautiful space. The walls are adorned with handmade paintings sourced from local artisans as well as Meghann’s own DIY projects. We’re currently envying the picture-perfect gallery wall and that gorgeous multicolored woven rug! Because we can’t fit ourselves in Frankie’s baby-sized furniture, we’ll just have to live vicariously through the tour of her room below. Read on for all the photos and details from Meghann herself!
We love that you waited to find out the gender of your baby! Can you tell us a little bit about why you and your husband decided to wait?
At first, my husband did not want to wait to find out the gender of our baby. He’s a tad impatient and doesn’t like surprises. However, I love them, and so he went along with it for me, even though we were both pretty sure baby was a girl. I hoped to have a natural birth, so I thought anticipating the gender would help with the delivery process and act as an incentive or reward. It totally worked! Waiting and wanting to know so badly during labor definitely drove me to work harder. The moment we found out was just incredible and well worth the wait. It was also pretty fun to drive our family nuts because they wanted to know, too!
Where did the design inspiration for your daughter’s bedroom come from?
Before we knew the gender, I wanted to stay really neutral—whites, creams, tans with textile textures and different woods. Her room is small, so we wanted as much light as possible and had furniture that we wanted to repurpose. As my pregnancy continued, I started to collect California-ish and “beachy” trinkets. However, I wanted it to be really cool, fresh and relaxed with an eclectic surf-culture vibe rather than too many seashells and blue. We found things on our babymoon in Maui, at flea markets, garage sales and all of our home-bases across California.
But, after all the emphasis to stay neutral, as soon as we knew she was a girl, I couldn’t fight the urge to throw in all the pink. I leaned toward fun, hot pink and bright pops to break up all the white. Her room screams of my favorite design elements and reflects Frankie’s playful personality.
What does a typical day look like for you?
My husband is a firefighter, so he gets to be home with our baby girl while I’m at my teaching job most weekdays. I’m up and out of the door pretty early, but I always manage to steal some snuggles before I go. And, fortunately, I’m home by early afternoon for some family outdoor time. We’ll hit the beach and park or just go for a nice long walk. I love to cook, so I try to make dinner every night. Let’s be real though—sometimes the local taqueria is just what we need. We were also just gifted a Sun Basket subscription and it has been life-changing—fresh organic goods delivered to my door, ready to cook. Mic drop! After baby goes down, I’m able to design and make some art while enjoying some vino with the hubs.
It’s crazy how messy a small house can become in a 12-second time span. I’ve found that having a “home” for everything helps immensely—baskets on baskets on baskets is my new motto.
What are your favorite things to do with Frankie James at this age?
She is so fun right now—walking, running, climbing and into everything! We have dance parties every day—we blast music and just boogie down. She just lights up and doesn’t want to stop! She talks so much, so I love walking around Pleasure Point (our neighborhood in Santa Cruz) to look at and learn the words of all sorts of things: surfers, birds, dogs, bright houses and other kiddos. She just takes it all in like a sponge and loves the interaction.
What’s your beauty routine like?
I think routine is a loose word with a 1-year-old, but this is the routine I try to have.
- I shower at night most of the time so my hair does itself by morning. Then I use a sea salt spray to add some texture.
- Before bed, I wash and use a mask or a scrub. I switch between this charcoal mask from Urb Apothecary and this clay scrub. I also swear by Witch Hazel and my Clarisonic!
- Even though I used to be a MAC makeup artist, I keep my makeup pretty simple these days: tinted moisturizer, blush, mascara and a good lipstick.
- I freshen throughout the day with rosewater.
- I am trying to get better about taking care of my hands and nails, but as an artist it seems impossible most of the time. I’m eternally the girl with chipped polish, so I just keep a moisturizer with me all the time.
Your daughter’s space feels so fresh and unique! Tell us about all of the handmade and custom details you chose to incorporate.
I have so many talented people in my life and wanted to fill her space with love and sentimentality. I reached out to friends, Instagram contacts and complete strangers to collect and purchase items that felt special. Magnolia Threads embroidered a hoop with the lyrics to “Cheerleader” by Omi—the song I had on repeat during labor and is still Frankie’s favorite! YarningMade knits the cutest doll blankets, which I thought would be perfect to hang on the wall over her crib. I chose “hi” to greet the day when Frankie awakes in the morning.
My grandmother is an artist, so I included a few of her paintings. The baby seal was one of my favorites growing up, and I commissioned her to paint the pink lifeguard tower as a reference to my husband—we met when he was a lifeguard in Huntington Beach (it was the red shorts that did it for me).
It’s inevitable that you’ll gain about a million plush toys with a new baby. I found the crocheted toy hammock on Etsy from Together in Love and she customized it, adding gold yarn for me. Karing Vibes paints these adorable images of animals wearing different shoes—they are so playful and kind of magical. They are available in prints (like the flamingo in Frankie’s room) or on onesies. They make a really cute baby shower gift!
Julie of Leo is a friend of mine and hand-makes the cutest weavings and tassel garlands, so I knew I had to have a couple of those as well. She just has a knack for the perfectly imperfect and the best eye for color! I’m also a huge fan of The Little Market and what it represents, so I included some pom-poms and a few hand-carved wood pieces from its artisans.
I design many of my prints with my daughter in mind, so I hung a few on her gallery wall. I also laser-cut some hand-lettered Justin Timberlake lyrics and palm leaves for her first birthday party (it was #plantsonpink-themed), so I decided to keep those in the room!
Did you complete any DIY projects for your daughter’s space?
I made the hoop fringe above her crib and hand-dyed the cording, and I made a blanket ladder to showcase all the amazing handmade blankets we were gifted. I also tried my hand at making pom-poms, so those are scattered throughout the room, but I think I’ll leave most of that endeavor to Leo and The Little Market.
Tell us about the cute framed bathing suit!
The framed vintage bathing suit is my favorite and most precious item in Frankie’s room. It belonged to my grandfather and is more than 85 years old. It meant the world to me for my grandma to be able to meet her soulmate’s legacy, and part of the reason we decided to give the name James to Frankie rather than waiting for a boy (who knows if that will even ever happen). I wanted to protect and enjoy the bathing suit, so I mounted it on this perfect Gray Malin wrapping paper (it’s my placeholder for a real Gray Malin print someday) to display in Frankie’s room. It’s always a great conversation starter!
How do you balance running a successful business with being a mom?
I wish I knew! Balance is a unicorn we all want to catch, but is usually just out of reach. I’m also a high school art and graphic design teacher, so that’s mom, wife, designer, teacher, human—we women wear a lot of hats! I do my best to try to be present in whatever task is at hand. I’m a multitasker by nature, but I actually try to fight that urge and give my family 100 percent of me or my work 100 percent. Definitely easier said than done! I find that I am a better mom when I’m not thinking about emails or my next Instagram caption, and I produce better work when I don’t have extreme mom guilt or a 1-year-old throwing Cheerios at me. But it isn’t a perfect system and it’s always evolving. You’ve got to do what you’ve got to do, sometimes.
I have so many talented people in my life and wanted to fill her space with love and sentimentality. I reached out to friends, Instagram contacts and complete strangers to collect and purchase items that felt special.
Can you tell us a little bit about your daughter’s unique name?
My husband and I had the hardest time agreeing on baby names! He’s Italian, and I lived in Italy as a kid, so we liked the idea of an Italian name and landed on Francesca with the intention of calling her Frankie. The more we said it out loud, we liked just Frankie better! I was very close to my grandfather and before he passed, I told him I wanted to name my first boy James, after him. Once we knew baby was a girl, I just couldn’t wait to have my little James. So, we named her Frankie James. It couldn’t be more perfect for our little spitfire.
Bravo for shopping small and supporting your fellow mompreneurs! Can you share a few of your favorite small business brands?
Shopping small is so fun, and I’m able to justify my purchases to the hubs: “But, babe! I’m supporting a mom!” Helping Jewels is a mom of three that started her jewelry line to be able to give back to the institutions that saved her middle son’s life. Thirty percent of her proceeds go to research and care for children fighting rare illnesses, and the gems are gorgeous. I love Mothersun and the Captain. She’s based in Santa Barbara and designs fun, beachy mom and little wear, and art, too! Style + Spirit also has the coolest graphic tees, making it so easy to still look semi-put together on a gloomy Saturday when I’m solo with the babe.
I have about a billion Modern Burlap swaddles. I learned pretty quickly after having a baby that swaddle blankets are the best all-in-one necessity ever. I am also pretty obsessed with Gunn & Swain. Its blankets are so stinking useful. I use them as blankets, in the backseat of the car, at the beach, as tablecloths and for styling product photos!
How has being a mom changed the way you decorate your home?
The baby-proofing struggle is real! I swore I wouldn’t have a living space taken over by baby toys and gear. However, when your house is 900 square feet, it’s tough! I have tried to separate spaces as much as possible, but I also want Frankie to be able to play and feel comfortable in the “adult” space as well. We definitely have had to remove my little collections—crystals, marble coasters, metal objects and candles quickly become deathtraps for a toddler. I’m now taking the “less is more” approach to decorating. I’m focusing on flow, soft edges and the ability to clean up quickly. It’s crazy how messy a small house can become in a 12-second time span. I’ve found that having a “home” for everything helps immensely—baskets on baskets on baskets is my new motto.
Where are your favorite places to shop for Frankie in Santa Cruz? How about for yourself?
Santa Cruz has so many little shops where I spend way too much money. I love Childish for fun toys and learning things for Frankster. It has a great assortment of the classics and new, unique and local items. Home/Work is across the street from Childish. It has so many cool goods for the home and work spaces, both handcrafted and vintage. When I want houseplants and/or gifties, Botanic and Luxe or Dig are the go-tos—I’ve become quite the plant lady! Cameron Marks gives me my fix of really unique, clever and cool accents for around the house. Stripe is also a Santa Cruz staple—kids, home and apparel all in once place. It’s very dangerous!
Describe your ideal Saturday?
Living in Santa Cruz puts us right in the middle of so much. We love taking day trips up and down the coast, or just enjoying our home. My ideal Saturday is spent in the sun with my favorites. I’d wake up late, get a cappuccino and acai bowl or The Barrel breakfast burrito at Point Market and walk to the beach with Frankie to watch dad surf. Then we’d barbecue and hang with friends and family. That’s it. Good people, good food, good life.
Who are your favorite people to follow on Instagram for inspiration?
There are so many! I probably follow too many accounts! @Leslieannebruce is so funny and often says exactly what I am thinking when it comes to her love of wine and raising a toddler. For art and biz inspiration and motivation, my favs are @afabulousfete, @swellpresspaper and @beijosevents.
@colby_tice, @the_home_edit, @thejungalow and @carlaypage all share great home and décor inspiration. @Gunnerandlux is an awesome small business that makes the funkiest play necklaces. I love watching its kid-CEO, Riley, rule the world. @Laurenconrad_com just has everything, so that’s always a fun one! @Chloefleury is full of so much color, kiddos and travel adventures! I truly love following her. Oh, and your very own @taylorsterling’s feed gives me the heart eyes and makes me so happy. I love seeing her home office and all those sunnies on her little girl. Definite #momgoals.
The thing I love about social media is the network and scope it provides. Rarely is an image a single person’s endeavor. I love all the collaborations and spotlights on peers and the creative community!
I find that I am a better mom when I’m not thinking about emails or my next Instagram caption, and I produce better work when I don’t have extreme mom guilt or a 1-year-old throwing Cheerios at me. But it isn’t a perfect system and it’s always evolving. You’ve got to do what you’ve got to do, sometimes.
What are you most looking forward to doing with your daughter?
She’s already into crayons (mostly eating them), so I’m excited to make art with her—finger paints, crafts and lots of messes! I look forward to talking with her about life and teaching her how to be a strong, creative and kind woman. My mom is the most amazing woman I know and is now my best friend. I hope to have that relationship with my daughter someday. I can’t wait to help her find her little (or big) place in life!
Crib // Chair // Changing table // Diapers // Book cart // Rainbow stacker // Puzzle // Mexican blanket // Toy hammock // Tassel garland // Hi knit hanging // Colorful weaving // Neon swaddles // Flamingo toy // Monochrome swaddle // Striped crib sheet // Single pom-poms, tassle on cabinet and wooden heart plate // Dreamer hat // Bunny towel // Bear stuffed animal // Meghann’s shirt // Gray Malin wrapping paper behind framed bathing suit // “Frankie James” acrylic laser cut name // Pink laser cut leaves // Orange palm print // Frankie’s gallery wall (from left to right, top to bottom): Custom lyric acrylic cutout, June birthstone print, Pineapple necklace, “The world is your oyster” foil print, “Mini” metal letters, “You are my sunshine” laser cut print, Embroidered hoop, Flamingo ballerina print