Interior designer Lisa Hershman of Playchic Interiors reminds us that there’s more to baby-friendly design than the nursery.
It didn’t take long after learning I was pregnant to start decorating our nursery. We’d hardly shared the news before I started racking up the baby room bills -- a cat night-light here, a hedgehog clock there.... What I didn’t think about was that my little baby would grow up, and leave the confines of her chic little nursery. And when she did, she’d end up in my very adult apartment, filled with sharp edges, expensive wedding registry knick-knacks, and my heirloom husband-can’t-even-sit-on-it couch. And she’d drag her 30 million toys with her. Our good friend Seri Kertzner (pictured above), half of the über-talented Little Miss Party planners, had a similar situation. As her two baby boys got older and used more and more of her Greenwich Village apartment, Kertzner realized she needed a kid-friendly makeover -- fast. So she called in the big guns: Lisa Hershman of Playchic Interiors. “Seri is a high-energy party planner, but being a mother is her number one priority,” said Hershman. “It was time to have a grown-up space -- and apartment she could be proud of, but one that was also well-suited for her family.” Hershman, a mama herself, created a “preppy chic” look for the Kertzners, with plenty of details conducive to family living. She struck an important balance between mama and babies: cool colors, funky furniture and beautiful accents, but every piece has a purpose, and that purpose is to stay intact through her boys’ childhood. Here, Hershman walks us through the beautiful photos (by Raquel Bianca Creative) of the recent redesign and offers nesting tips for new parents-to-be. Furniture. We looked for pieces that were tough and resilient. We wanted rounded corners on everything -- we didn’t want to have to put on ugly bumpers -- and tried to spend smart to stay on our budget. For our coffee table, we found an upholstered bench with soft rounded edges and storage space underneath. The sofa was our big purchase -- it looks and feels good, but can be cleaned easily. Tip: Take home a fabric sample of your sofa-to-be and get it dirty with everything you can think of. If the stains come out, you’re ready to buy. Walls and Floors: To hide stroller scuffs, we painted half the entryway wall in gray. We also used vinyl decal stripes -- not only did we save money by not painting, but unlike flat paint, vinyl is easy to clean. We did one wall of wallpaper, which was inexpensive but made a huge impact, and we decopaged the back of a bookcase with owl-printed paper. And although the cowhide rug doesn’t look kid-friendly, it’s actually more durable than other floor coverings since it’s a natural material that can be shampooed, just like our own hair. Storage: In a small apartment space, it’s important to get pieces that can do double duty. Ottomans provide extra seating, but also have space inside for storage. The bottom shelves of a bookcase are also lined with storage bins and in the kids’ area, the shelving has yet more storage bins. Other, larger items, have extra space too: the dining table, for example, has a drawer at each place-setting. Accents: Little touches mattered. We spent money on changing out light fixtures, which could make a statement and had no impact on the children. We also changed out the knobs on closets and doors, as well as switchplates – it only takes two screws! These are easy things that make a huge difference.