There’s one generally agreed-upon rule of thumb when it comes to designing any room: It’s always better to collect pieces over time than to purchase everything at once for the sake of furnishing your space. And that’s the approach Jill Tebbenkamp takes when helping clients outfit their nurseries.
“The most soul-nurturing and time-enduring space is one that is more ‘collected’ and less ‘designed,’” said the Petit Bebe owner. To that end, she works to get a good feel for each client’s aesthetic and creates a design board with a few options from which to choose. From there, she and her team source the furnishings, decor and materials. For Ashley Shilling, that was a no-brainer. She needed help pulling together her 2-year-old’s nursery in their new home, and because she’s been a longtime shopper at Petit Bebe, Jill and her team were able to pull things they knew would resonate with Ashley.
“[We] understand Ashley’s very distinct personal aesthetic: a neutral soothing palette and…clean, simple design that doesn’t overwhelm or bombard the child,” she said. The nursery reflects that. The space isn’t fussy, but, as Ashley said, it’s feminine, warm and comforting. “[It’s] more about paying attention to small details than it is about bright colors and activity.” And many of the items came from Charlottesville.
“We just as happily source from our store as well as from other local vendors,” Jill said. Design services are complimentary, and include any level of involvement from basic consultation to full-service installation.
Another rule of thumb for nursery design? Create a space that will grow as the child grows. For instance, one bed in the store turns into a full-size desk and a high chair converts to an adult desk chair. In Ashley’s daughter Aubrey room, her crib will transform into a toddler bed when she’s big enough, and some of the items Ashley has used to accent the room were hand-me-downs from her older two children, like a knit lamb from the kids’ great-grandmother.
“The most cherished design elements are those that become childhood ‘lovies’—items that become transformed over time by love and play,” Jill said.