Branson's Emerald Green Nautical Nursery

Branson's Emerald Green Nautical Nursery

Heather Keeling
Dec 3, 2015
(Image credit: Heather Keeling)

Name: Branson
Location: Portland, Oregon
Room Size: 130 square feet

When Branson's mom, Jill, started thinking about what kind of nursery to create for her baby-to-be, she immediately knew that she wanted to use the 2013 Pantone Color Of The Year, emerald green, for her 2013 baby. She was also excited to create a fun room full of adventure—and thus, the nautical-travel theme was born.

(Image credit: Heather Keeling)

See the rest of the House Tour → Jill & Dan's Colorful Portland Home

There are so many sweet and clever touches in this room, but the star of the show is the custom toy box that designed by Jill and built by her dad. A vintage suitcase was incorporated into the design, and the end result is a storage box that is equal parts whimsical and functional. The graphic regatta flags that hang next to the crib are visually pleasing even if you don't recognize that they spell "BRANSON," and the compass rose embedded in the floor in the middle of the room is an unexpected treat.

How would you describe the look and feel of this room?

This room is inspired by our love of travel. We also love everything about being on the water—in particular, sailing. While in Saint Maarten in the Caribbean, we were able to sail an America’s Cup race boat, The Stars and Stripes, in a 12-meter regatta. It was the time of our lives and one of the inspirations of the design of this room.

What is your favorite piece or element?

The suitcase toy box—I feel like this will be a family heirloom. My dad is a retired cabinetmaker/woodworker extraordinaire. He's very detail-oriented, very talented, and a perfectionist. I thought it would be special for him to build a toy box for his grandson. I had this blue suitcase that had been passed around my family as the kids' first suitcase when I was growing up. It has sentimental value. I thought it would be fun to design and build a toy box around it, and that it would go perfectly with the travel theme of the room. I sketched out a toy box using the suitcase, gave the dimensions and how I wanted it to open from the side as well as the top, and I presented the idea to my dad. He chuckled and gave me a nod. Of course, he went above and beyond anything I could have imagined. When I first saw it at my baby shower, I was almost in tears. You could tell that my dad put his heart into it. He was so proud and pointed out every detail…

  • The box is curved to maintain the shape the vintage suitcase provides. He said he sanded the wood an unimaginable amount of times.
  • Locking wheels for easy maneuverability and so little fingers and toes don’t get hurt.
  • Covered wheels to ensure little fingers don’t get caught in the wheels.
  • Lid hinge that won't allow the lid to slam.
  • Side suitcase panel folds up and lays flat. When the panel lays flat it is flush to the floor so Branson can even stand and crawl on it and the panel won't break.
  • Sturdy lid with an extra braced panel so adults can sit on it as a bench.

For sure one of the most special pieces in our home!

What was the biggest challenge decorating this room?

Finding energy and motivation while you're pregnant is a challenge. We started early and divided the room up into separate projects to not overwhelm ourselves all at once and to insure plenty of nap breaks.

And... I had so many ideas it was hard to narrow down the amount of DIY moments in the room!

(Image credit: Heather Keeling)

What do your friends say about the room?

Amazing! And so Jill.

Do you have any advice for parents creating a room for their child?

Organization—set yourself up for success. The first six months of being a new parent is brutal. I organized the nursery so we were dialed from one week to six months. Be prepared!

Our splurge in the room was the chair. I figured both of us would probably be sleeping in that chair more than our bed so it had to be comfortable and, of course, aesthetically pleasing.

Think about how you are going to move around the room with a baby and and ultimately how a toddler will utilize the room. I think the best thing we did was put the changing table in the adjoining bathroom. One: a changing table is not the cutest piece of furniture and it takes up a lot of space. Two: I never had to worry about accidents on the carpet or the room smelling like a diaper pail. It was nice to be close to a sink and bathtub for those 2am blowouts!

If money were no object, what are your dream sources?

Stokke, The Land of Nod, Oeuf

(Image credit: Heather Keeling)

Source List:

  • Crib: Young America
  • Bookshelf: IKEA
  • Dresser: Young America
  • Lamp: Target
  • Lampshade: Target
  • Herringbone pouf: Land of Nod
  • Three-tiered basket:
  • Mirror: HomeGoods
  • Laundry basket: HomeGoods
  • L’Atlantique print: by by A.M. Cassandre from
  • Toy box: designed by Jill and custom-made by Donn Markwardt
  • Bunting: custom-made by friends for baby shower
  • Life preserver: custom-made by friends for baby shower
  • Bedding: Pottery Barn Kids
  • Retro globe lamp: Vintage Pink in Portland, OR
  • Closet shelf textile accent: DIY
  • “BRANSON” painted regatta flags: made by Jill and Dan
  • Mobile: made by Jill and Dan
  • Pendant light: Globe Lighting
  • Toy bins: The Container Store
  • Cleat coat hooks: made by Jill and Dan
  • Compass rose: Tender Loving Empire
  • Closet clothes organizers: Portland Store Fixtures
  • See the rest of the House Tour → Jill & Dan's Colorful Portland Home

    Thanks, Jill & Dan!


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