A Whimsical Nursery Makeover

One of our favorite photographer’s shares her nursery redesign journey.

If you’ve been reading Well Rounded for awhile, you might recognize Mariliana Arvelo of Stylish & Hip Kids…maybe not by face, but certainly by her beautiful photography. A Venezuela native with a background in photojournalism, Mariliana’s got a special way with the camera, and she’s been doing kid and family photography for a while now. She’s been a part of so many of our very favorite stories; and now that she’s got her own baby girl Anaya, though, we thought it might be time to turn the lens around.

mariliana and Anaya

Mariliana and her husband recently moved apartments, and 1-year-old Anaya finally got a room of her own. And that meant a new creative opportunity for  Mariliana — the chance to redecorate her daughter’s nursery and extend Anaya’s budding personality in a larger space.

So, how did Mariliana come to design her daughters new nursery? Much like her photographs, it’s filled with vibrant color, texture, and patterns, all of which come together to make the space feel alive. Each picture, fabric, toy, and decoration has a story behind it and a special connection to a certain place or memory. With each clean and modern piece, there is a colorful and fun piece to match it. While we could go on forever about Anaya’s new nursery, we’ll let Mariliana’s pictures do the real talking.

mariliana's nursery -- crib and changing table

1. Tell us about the nursery and the overall vibe of the space!

Anaya’s space is like a mini-person extension of the overall vibe of our apartment — a playful space that feels lively and in which we can create and tell stories about all the universes of our imagination.

2. Tell us about your nursery! What has the journey been like decorating it?

It’s only been two months since we moved to our new apartment, and it’s a big change for all of us. Anaya now has her own room, which I started imagining and planning in my head well before our move. Since Anaya has her own room and we had more space to work with, we upgraded furniture. She transitioned from a mini to a full-sized crib by Bloom, which has modern and clean lines that we really dig. We also got a daybed from Ikea, which has lots of storage space and pulls out into a king-sized bed. It’s great for guests, but it’s also a fun space to play on, so we leave it open pretty often.

3. Any details or accent pieces you want to talk about?

The art wall is a collection of prints that we started before Anaya was born — things that connect us to some memory or place that we hold dear. The whale is one of two pieces we brought back from our honeymoon in Portugal. There are two illustrations from Miranda Bruce: the rabbit, which we bought when Anaya was born, and the flamingo, which is part of a series of six limited-edition art prints that she did in collaboration with Stylish and Hip Kids. And it goes on… a poster from the the Beastly Verse book Leo El León; a stuffed animal lion’s head; a colorful garland our friend Lula from Lulaland made for us, and so much more. I know the wall is pretty full, but somehow I still see spaces to put more work.

mariliana's nursery -- shelf and couch

4. Anything sentimental or special you particularly love?

We have a newborn picture of Anaya from back in her days of being burrito wrapped in swaddles, and a picture from a project I did with children at Omkareshwar, an orphanage and ashram in India I lived at for a month.

5. How, if at all, did your eye for photography help you decorate or influence the way you ended up decorating?

I’m attracted to color and composition. In my photography that manifests itself through the city walls that I scout as backgrounds for my photography, and obviously what gets framed in my pictures. In my place, it’s the blue of the tapestry on our day bed, or the joy I get from placing one piece of art next to another.

6. How has becoming a mom influenced your work in family and kid photography?

A lot of my work isn’t about photography per se, but about setting an atmosphere where people feel comfortable and are having fun. It’s also about being present with the experience myself and knowing when those gorgeous moments are going to happen, so I can capture them. And the final part are the technical skills of photography and how to wrap it all up and make it pop in post-production. Now that I’m a mom, I’m much more in tune with those moments and the connection between parent and child. I think it’s opened up an empathy — for both the good and the challenging moments — and has made the process much more real.

Shop the nursery:

the penguin we got at Raplapla in Montreal,

an elephant from Brooklyn-based Sugarloaf,

a gorgeous handmade doll we got online from Lauvley out of Spain.

retro crib by Bloom

colorful garland our friend Lula from Lulaland

the flamingo, which is part of a series of six limited-edition art prints that she did in collaboration with Stylish and Hip Kids.

Pineapple lamp.

Larissa Woss

Larissa Woss

LARISSA WOSS is the Community Editor of Well Rounded. She earned a degree in English from SUNY Fredonia and moved back home to her cherished Long Island where the beach is never more than a 5-minute drive away. She loves to write about anything that will make someone happy and is proud pop culture junkie. When she’s not daydreaming the day away, you can find her with her nose stuck in a cheesy romance novel while eating an entire box of chocolate chip cookies.

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