I knew exactly what colors and theme I wanted for Avery’s baby nursery. A few years before I got pregnant with Avery I had this amazing chance to go on safari, National Geographic style, in the Masai Mara that connects to the Serengeti in Africa. This is where they actually film for Nat Geo and a lot of programming that you see featuring safari animals!! Gah!! I didn’t realize it at the time, but it was the trip of a lifetime.
I flew into Nairobi, Kenya from Dubai and spent a few days in Nairobi visiting a Giraffe Orphanage, shopping local jewelry and things and visiting with a local orphanage where a donated all of the clothes my family gave me to give to these sweet little babes. The Giraffe Orphanage was really cool because you could get up close and personal with the giraffes and feed them with your bare hands. Their tongues were so slippery and sticky, it was a icky feeling that I quickly got comfortable with. I could feed those giraffes all day.
Later that day, we visited a local orphanage for kids. I really really really wanted to visit Kibera, the largest urban slum in all of Africa and one of the largest slums in the entire world. I asked everyone I knew with small kids to donate any unused clothing and kids items for me to give to the kids. But upon arriving, I quickly learned that visiting a slum requires much more coordination. You can’t just drive up and drop off goods. You must have some sort of police escort or protection as you could easily be robbed or meet some other type of dangers. I had the hotel that I was staying at arrange for a driver to take me to an orphanage that was just as in need as the kids in the slum. I donated everything to those kids and spent some time playing jump rope with them and basketball.
When I flew to the safari, no one told me we were going on the smallest plane I’ve ever seen. We are talking about a 11 seater (roughly), propeller plane that you can see and talk to to the pilots from your seat! 😳 Also, when you go on safari, you don’t land on a paved airstrip. You land on a dirt road in the middle of the jungle/bush. They call it the bush. And your landing in wild animals home and territory. So as the plane was landing, I literally saw giraffe, zebra and other animals RUNNING from our airplane. It was scary as heck.
When you exit the airplane, you’re not at a airport. Remember, you are in the bush. No hotels, no paved roads, none of that. There was a safari vehicle, similar to those land rovers you see them driving around on Nat Geo, from our “hotel” waiting to pick us up. And I say “hotel” because we stayed in a tent. Outside!! With the wild animals. Lions, elephants, zebra, giraffe, hyenas, and anything else scary that you can think of that could eat you alive.
I thought I had booked a hotel. I guess that’s what I get for thinking there was a hotel out there. Also, I’ll blame the language barrier because trust me, if I knew I was sleeping in a tent next to the killers, I would have never booked or showed up.
Every African I met thought ALL of this was funny. I wasn’t laughing tho. I was terrified.
When we finally got to our tent, it was the nicest tent I’ve ever seen. I mean it was basically similar to what we call a yurt. It had indoor plumbing, with a very nice bathroom and shower. And when you wake up, you can sit right outside and see the entire landscape with wild animals. Pretty cool! But not cool because they could easily get onto the “hotel” property as there was only a 3 ft basic wooden fence separating us. So a lion could come in, leopard, a hyena, all of them. Yeah, I stayed inside. I only left when someone from our hotel came and escorted us to breakfast, dinner, etc..
The views were amazing!! We got up for safari at 5am and saw every animal I was interested in seeing plus more. The only animal from The Big Five (elephant, giraffe, lion, leopard, rhino, Buffalo) that we didn’t see was the leopard. And trust me, that was the LAST animal I wanted an encounter with. The driver on safari told us that the leopard likes to get on the Jeep and walk around, with us in it!! I don’t think so homie!!
I didn’t even wanna see the lions. But we rolled up on a pack of lions who were looking for a meal anyway. There were some adventurous types with those long lens cameras in the Jeep with us who wanted to get closer and closer. I was soooo scared. But also trying not to emit fear in front of the lions. Very hard thing to do.
I got comfortable with the safari the more time I spent with these wild animals and the more the days went on. The safari portion of the trip that I almost didn’t make it on because I was terrified, quickly became my most favorite part of the trip. I’m so glad I went and I’m looking forward to doing it again.
So when it came to ideas for Avery’s room, I immediately knew I wanted to incorporate animals, especially my favorite ones from my trip: the giraffe and elephant. I still to this day am not in love with the lion. I like the idea of its strength but I don’t want to be next to it. I’m still terrified.
With the animal theme in mind, I also wanted his room to appear light and airy. I had already painted my entire home white. I just love gallery white walls. So in Avery’s room I added a wallpaper that mimicked the spots of the giraffe on the wall with his crib. The other wall contains his white dresser that I got from Ikea. I wanted a solid wooden dresser and honestly, whoever sold it, I would’ve bought it from. Then I removed all the hardware and replaced it with gold handles. I found a dresser like this at Land of Nod, now rebranded to Crate and Kids, that I really wanted but didn’t wanna drop that kind of cash on. But after all of the polished unlacquered brass military style flush mount recessed handles, plain “L” trim piecse in polished brass, and the plain design “T” trim pieces in polished brass that I purchased from Vintage Hardware and Lighting to make the dresser have the look I wanted, things began to add up. That’s what I get for trying to DIY something when I am too particular to be trying to DIY anything. Click here for the DIY Dresser Hack and tips on how to build it much cheaper than mine.
I chose a green crib that I found at Land of Nod (which is now Crate & Kids). The green just really reminded me of the landscape on safari. It was probably the first thing I was sure of after choosing the animal theme for Avery’s room. The green crib set the tone for the entire room.
I found the giraffe and elephant animal prints at Home Goods one day. I just got lucky with this because they matched my color scheme and were the perfect size. I had been on the lookout for animal prints but none were the right color or size. And look, they have gold crowns for my King! Score!
Most of the frames came from a combination of Target and Hobby Lobby. If you didn’t know, Hobby Lobby has a daily 40% off one item coupon. You just google it, pull it up on your phone and they will scan it at the register. I wish I knew this when I was studying for my Bachelors Degree in Art School. I bought countless exacto knives, pens, painting brushes, paint, etc..Arg! Don’t get me starting on thinking about how much I could’ve saved.
Bookshelves were a random IKEA find that I don’t think they sell anymore. And I got almost all of the books from TJ Maxx. You can also get used books for even cheaper at Once Upon a Time or your local thrift store.
How do you plan to set up your little ones nursery? Where do you look for inspiration?
SHOP THE LOOK
Avery’s crib is on SALE! You can get his Carousel Crib in Kelly Green from Crate & Kids.
Hemnes 8-drawer dresser can be purchased from Ikea. To save more money on the look, I recommend purchasing the Trava 6-drawer pine chest and painting it yourself. This will allow you the creative freedom to choose whatever color you want and this change alone will save you $70!
Kids White Campaign Wide Dresser can be purchased from Crate and Kids
Devine Color Speckled Dot Peel and Stick Wallpaper in Black can be purchased from Target.