It should come as no surprise that the nursery for Gunn & Swain’s Julia Wheeler’s daughter is absolutely dreamy. Girly, but not over the top, this beautiful space is perfect for sweet Lizzy now and as she gets older. Julia was inspired by pastel rainbows, so she decided to keep the palette neutral while adding touches of pastel rainbow throughout. The colors combined with the beautiful vintage and handmade (by Julia’s husband!) furniture and accents create a gorgeous space that we’re totally obsessed with. It’s truly all sunshine and rainbows in this space, so step inside and see it for yourself!
First things first, tell us about sweet Lizzy and the inspo behind her name?
Our gal Elizabeth Swain is named after my great Aunt Elizabeth aka Libby. She and my grandma were lifelong besties and she was so special to us. Their maiden name was Swain and I’ve always loved that name so we named our shop after them, and then named our daughter after them, too! We both love the band Thin Lizzy, so we wanted to spell her nickname like the band.
Lizzy is your first girl. Did you find it harder or easier designing a space for a girl this time around? What was your vision for the space?
We originally thought we’d have them share a room, so I didn’t plan much of anything! We moved our son into a big kid bed and brought his crib into our room for her and thought we’d transition her to his room once she was sleeping. That did not pan out. He had such a hard time with the new baby and even as she’s gotten older, he still has a hard time with this wobbly little human getting all up in his business that we knew they’d be better off with their own spaces. We finally cleared out the guest room to give to her a few months ago and have been working on creating a peaceful space for her to play in (with no Legos to choke on), and are hoping the zen vibes will make her want to sleep there! I had such a fun time designing a space that was girly but not over the top. I was inspired by pastel rainbows but didn’t want to go overboard with it, so we kept the palette really neutral while still incorporating some of the colors of a pastel rainbow.
There are clearly a lot of unique pieces in the space, can you share some of your favorite spots to find those special treasures?
I have always been a big fan of vintage. It’s so fun to hunt for one-of-a-kind pieces that make any space extra special. My friend Melissa runs a local boutique called Bohemian General and she finds the BEST vintage wicker and rattan, which I knew I wanted to incorporate in Lizzy’s room, so I scored a lot of goodies from her. Another friend of mine has an online store called Sunny and Cheer and she and I know each other’s taste well enough that whenever we’re out thrifting, we always pick up stuff for each other. She found a few good pieces for me for Lizzy’s room, too. I also LOVE Australian style and am always inspired by my friend Dee of Kawaiian Lion and anything made by hand is a win in my book so I was excited to have some of her crochet goods in the room as well as some crochet pillows I had custom-made in Spain for our own shop.
Tell us about your husband’s contribution to the space. I hear he’s quite the craftsman.
Clearly, I’m biased but I think he’s the most talented guy around. He’s a wood and metal-worker and is meticulous when it comes down to the tiny details of his projects. He’ll obsess over things that I barely even notice! He wanted to make a special piece for Lizzy’s room, which I mentioned is loosely based on rainbows. I told him we needed a little shelf for her and he came up with this rainbow piece that blew my mind! I love seeing what his creative mind dreams up. We loved the way it turned out so much that we added it to our shop! My grandma calls Lizzy “pixie,” which I think is so adorable so we named the shelf after that nickname. We also have one of his tables in the room and a bench he made for her toys.
Is there any particular piece in the room that holds a special meaning?
We call Lizzy our “sunshine girl” because she has such a joyful little personality, so sunshine and rainbows are the symbols we always use for her. That inspired my mom to do this little embroidered rainbow piece for her. My aunt got her that adorable Frida Kahlo doll for her baby shower and I had the “Lizzy Stardust” doll made for her—both such cool symbols of artistic expression. We also picked up a lot of cool stuff for her room on some of our trips to New Mexico where we have a family home.
Where are some of your favorite shopping spots to recommend to first-time mamas looking to create a beautiful nursery space?
If you have the time to hunt thrift stores, swap meets or flea markets, that can be the most fun and rewarding way to uncover hidden gems for great prices. If you don’t have the patience for thrifting goods, Etsy and eBay are always a great way to source vintage without leaving your house! I also love supporting independent, small businesses so I shop at small shops I find through Instagram, Pinterest or blogs.
Any fun plans for the space as Lizzy grows?
My husband is already brainstorming bed designs for her. Mostly because we’d really like her to sleep in her room instead of our bed! One of the things I’ve loved about our son’s room is adding to it as his personality grows and he develops his own interests. I think I created a nice base for Lizzy and can’t wait to add to it as she grows into her own unique person.
As a shop owner yourself, what’s most important to you when shopping for your own home?
I am always looking for unique, handmade or vintage pieces for my own home as well as for my shop. It’s so easy to click a button and buy something from giant corporations these days but most of those places have mass-produced goods that won’t make your space feel special. Whenever possible, I like to support individual artists and craftsmen or mom and pop shops.
What’s your number-one must-have item all new mamas need in their nursery?
That’s so hard! I think there are so many registry lists that tell you there are a million things you need when you probably only need half of them! It’s not necessarily a design item (though they do have some cute patterns now!) but one of our lifesavers with a baby who is not a great sleeper is our DockATot. It’s pricey but almost every parent I’ve talked to has said it helped their baby sleep.
Photos by: Taryn Kent
SHOP THE NURSERY
Vintage Rattan Chair, Vintage Rattan Bassinet, Vintage Mini Wicker Peacock Chair, Vintage Rattan Shelf: Bohemian General
Sheepskin Rug (similar)
Wood Wall Art, Alligator Juniper Wood Slab, and Bench: Rael Made
Pastel Rug (similar)
Shell Tassel (similar)