In St. Frank’s Founder’s New York City Nursery, a Doll’s Chair Acts as Wall Art

Many parents fill their nursery with sugary pastels, quiet patterns, and a suite of brand-new baby furniture. Not Christina Bryant Herbert. Aside from a crib and a changing pad, the founder of St. Frank—a home brand that partners with artisans around the world—and her husband, Thomas, furnished their son France’s space with hand-me-downs; a slew of vintage finds; and, of course, a healthy dose of the company’s globally inspired textiles.

The resulting room is sophisticated enough for the pages of a St. Frank catalog, yet it’s also deeply personal—even though it’s in a rental where permanent changes were not on the table. Because the family lives in New York City, the space doubles as a guest room, but Christina says the full-size bed has already come in handy during those newborn days of late nights and early mornings. Here’s how she created a layered look they can one day take with them.

Start With a Versatile Foundation

When Christina and Thomas moved into their apartment, they were hoping the spare bedroom would one day be a nursery, so Christina opted for a soft blue right off the bat. It coordinated with the upholstered bed from her previous place and would also work when a baby arrived.

As for furniture, she stuck mostly to secondhand items for their character and sustainability, scouring Chairish and 1stDibs for the bookcase, bureau, and chair. “I would rather invest in a vintage piece that can evolve with us,” she explains. But she did buy a brand-new crib to guarantee safety. 

Choose Statement Curtains Over Statement Walls

Christina adores patterns, but as a renter she wasn’t inclined to cover the walls with a special print that would ultimately be left behind if they ever moved. Instead she installed floor-to-ceiling drapes in St. Frank’s Teal Vines Suzani fabric, which depicts traditional Turkish embroidery of the tree of life. Unlike wallpaper, the panels can easily be hemmed to fit new windows or even repurposed as furniture upholstery.

Find Forgiving Fabrics

You don’t need to limit yourself to performance fabrics in a child’s room. Christina says the key is to lean on washable natural fibers like cotton and linen, in vibrant patterns that will hide any stubborn stains. The textile she used to cover the new-old chair—St. Frank’s Shell Psychedelic Kilim fabric, a replica of a Turkish flat-weave—checks all those boxes.

Treat Textiles (and Toys!) Like Art

Christina didn’t eschew precious textiles altogether: Hanging above the changing table is the antique kantha quilt that inspired her to launch St. Frank. Likewise, a vintage American quilt from her own childhood nursery is displayed on a high shelf. “I don’t let France roll around on that blanket,” she says with a laugh.

Not only does Christina display many of her son’s stuffed animals on the lower ledges, she’s put some playthings right on the wall—most notably an antique doll’s chair that her mother found. When Christina realized it was too small for even a young child to use, she temporarily sat a toy pig in the seat and liked it so much, she hung it up.

Pile on the Pillows

In the couple’s bedroom, Christina jokingly grumbles that Thomas has limited her to one long lumbar pillow. But in a guest room, “it’s fun to be able to pile the pillows on a bed that won’t be made and remade frequently,” she says. A textile designer’s bounty.

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