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  • Writer's pictureJacqueline Loiacono

Week 8 ORC... The Final Reveal of Our Nursery Nook

Week 8 of the One Room Challenge and the last and final week of ORC is here! I can’t believe 8 weeks have gone by already. It’s amazing what you can accomplish with an idea and determination even when you’re 23 weeks pregnant. It seems so odd that posting the reveal, writing my blog and submitting my application to be featured in apartment therapy is the most overwhelming part and not any of the physical labor of working on the room. To tell you the truth, those of you who know me know that the physical part of things is what makes me happy and calms my anxiety. The physical is what stimulates my mind and quiets my thoughts. Now that the time is here to share all things about our precious nursery nook for Baby Vienna, let me take you back to the beginning so you see where we started.

A few months ago I was struggling with working for my clients. I was becoming stressed both mentally and physically, not being able to finish projects on deadlines because I was about to enter my second trimester still feeling massive morning sickness and heart palpitations. With this being my first pregnancy, I didn’t know what to expect. All I knew is that my body was changing and so was I as a person. Here I was, within the first year of leaving my teaching profession to begin my own company, and I felt like I was failing. But truth be told, I was turning down clients and opportunities left and right bc of being sick, that’s not failing, that’s listening to my body and realizing how grateful I am that I HAD projects to turn away.

After participating in my first ORC last fall, I wanted to transform my bathroom into a moody oasis like we did with our bedroom (above picture) but I realized that a space for baby girl was more necessary (especially when you’re living in an apartment with little to no storage). That’s my main goal when working with a client who lives in an apartment. To show them that more storage space is possible if you just look at a space differently. To show them that being a renter does not mean you're unable to make your home your own. You can still love the home you’re in and it could function for your family even if your name is on a lease, and not a deed.

Home is truly a feeling furnished by the heart and I wanted Vienna to have a space that was hers since her mini crib/bassinet would be in our room. I figured we could transform our bedroom closet under our upstairs neighbor's stairs into a Nursery Nook for her and still share it with our own clothes and shoes. Last Summer I turned it into a mini office for me to do my paperwork and makeup making it more of dressing "cloffice" mimicking the green and gold I had planned to do full force in our bedroom for Fall's ORC.

Living in a one bedroom apartment with a baby was a milestone that certainly felt daunting to me. It forced me to realize that certain things I had in our home were not that important and could be kept in storage. Luckily, I began renting a garage behind our house in the commercial lot that I made my workshop for Aurora By Jacqueline Design this past February. With the basement spot being used for holiday decorations and some extra furniture for me to flip, my workshop was a perfect spot for bins of extra clothing and knick knacks we did not need in our apartment. My office closet was suddenly becoming a cluttered mess and I knew it was the perfect time to declutter and purge making room for Baby girl stuff.

My first week ORC task made me the most anxious. I had to start letting go of clothing "Marie Kondo style". If it still had tags, if it didn't spark joy, if I hadn't worn it in years, I needed to let it go. I made piles for my sister-in-law (she loves those organizing days when I give her my stuff lol), piles to donate and piles to store in boxes ranging from evening dresses, to Taekwondo and gym clothes (obviously wasn't able to fight and train for a while) summer clothes that I knew wouldn't fit and winter clothes that I could bring back out in time for cold weather after she was born. I think that's what deters people from organization. Seeing all of their belongings out in the open and having to part with some and not knowing how to organize the clutter.

Once everything was out of the closet, I was able to tackle spackling the nailholes, priming and then painting the beautiful Burnt Sienna color by Benjamin Moore that I had found on Pinterest while looking for Boho Nursery inspiration (above picture). I wanted the room to be girly, but not pure pink. I envisioned the color along with the warm textured baskets and cane shelving my brother bought me to use for decor in the room, to be a perfect mix for a boho baby room.

*Unfortunately, I didn't like the quality of the peel and stick. I found a different manufacturer of the same paper on another site but would not have gotten it in time for the challenge. It wasn't horrible to work with, but it did peel after a few days on the corners and edges to where I had to go over it with Modge Podge glue to tack it down.

My mood board made it all the more real to me before I even picked up my new freeform paintbrushes and began to see that beautiful sandy pink. I had dreamed of a little girl of my own for so long, and I was finally blessed with one. I was so excited to begin making the room for her that I didn't realize that I was pushing myself too much again both mentally and physically. I had stopped working because of being overwhelmed and sick and I thought that working on my own project for Baby Vienna would allow me more peace of mind and keep me busy throughout the past 8 weeks of pregnancy. It did, however, physically I was doing more than my body could handle. There I was, a gold medal winner, a Nationally ranked black belt, someone who fought rounds in sparring and I couldn't even bend without being out of breath. I didn't know how much my body would change.

When I started feeling run down, thankfully my brother came and helped me to hang up the decor. All the walls were touched up, the wallpaper was done and before I started to work on the dresser, we made sure to hang the cane book shelves and boho mirrors he bought me from the Target Dollar Spot, and nailed a small basket on the wall for bows. Later on I did buy a cute necklace hanger from Home Goods and switched the headbands to there, leaving her socks inside the basket instead. We added stuffed animals and books to the shelves and I loved it how it was all coming together.

* I was so grateful to spend time with him that day. It made me feel better amidst all that was going on. I had started taking insulin for gestational diabetes and was feeling frustrated that I had to test my sugar all day and report it back to the specialist. In reality, she was fine and I was fine, it was that overnight my sugar was high because of my insulin resistance during pregnancy while I slept.

Another project for her nook that I did while resting was her beaded boho chandelier. This was my favorite. I had researched many different ways to DIY it myself since I wasn't going to spend money on something I could just make. I wound up buying a gold craft hoop and beads from Amazon and went to town stringing them with twine I already had on hand. I played around with the drapery of the beads until I figured out the pattern I wanted and then used the extra beads to make a tie back for the curtain on the closet window. I liked that the chandelier just surrounded the naked bulb on the ceiling. I secured it with hooks to the ceiling so it would stay put and thought it gave a romantic nod to the beaded chandelier we hung in the bedroom during last year's ORC. The nook was open to our bedroom after all. We took off the door to the closet to make it seem more spacious and I liked that the flow of decor continuity and style kept throughout the bedroom to the nook.

I was ready to begin the hard part of sanding and bleaching the dresser cabinet we bought at The elephant Trunk Flea Market in New Milford, CT when I became very sick. My plan was to do a little bit each day since the Dr. was concerned that my placenta was low-lying. I had worked on so many pieces of furniture that I wasn't concerned about the task until one day I got really sick. I came inside to lay down and my whole body started to hurt. Then came the horrific stomach pains. We thought it was a virus and just made sure Vienna was ok the next day in a sonogram at the OBGYN. She said if anything changed to let her know and baby was fine. The next morning I saw blood when I went to the bathroom so she sent me straight to the hospital to labor and delivery for a non-stress test. I received IV fluids and had another sonogram. Thank god it was just KIDNEY STONES. I wrote all about it in my blog and let me tell you, it was not fun. Vienna was more than ok, and my placenta wasn't low-lying anymore *another plus*...but now I really had to watch myself and rest. The gestational diabetes dehydrated me and now I was to put my feet up and drink a gallon of water a day. With only two weeks left for The ORC, I had to let Brian do most of the cabinet work.

He sanded the rest of the dresser and I bleached it when I started to feel better. I also spray painted the new clothing rod rose gold that he installed with new wood spines he cut from a 1x2 maple wood board that was glued and nailed inside the antique dresser cabinet. I thought that I would be upset that I couldn't finish the work myself, but I knew it was for the greater good of someone other than myself. She was there with me every step of the way, inside me and I was able to document this experience to show her one day. That was truly special to me. To show my daughter that mommy was living her dream. Mommy left teaching to begin her own company and do what she loved. Mommy made a special home for her in our first apartment together married and knew it was time to relax.

After all that was said and done, we spent less than $500 on all materials and decor for the nook. This was including the paint, wallpaper, wall trim, dresser, baskets from HomeGoods for extra blankets and clothes, ottoman, pillow, hangers, decor, clothes rod, wood and chandelier materials. I could've spent less using most of the materials I had on hand, but I still wanted to make it fresh and new. I love combining old and new together. it makes for a warm and cozy feeling. It shows both freshness and lived in as well as vintage and modern style trends. The chair inside the nook was from our living room since we were getting a new rocking chair from our family to sit and rock baby girl to sleep. With this in mind, we saved money and made the nook more inviting. I think all that encompasses this space is truly a living, breathing dollhouse corner that I can admire. Our clothes are tucked away in the back corner of the closet as well as in the armoire and dresser in our bedroom. We were now able to share this space with our baby girl in less than 17 weeks. I couldn't be happier with the way it turned out.

I am now 24 weeks pregnant as I write this blog. I keep thinking to myself how proud I am that I created a space in both our home and in my body for another human being. I not only created a space to share between her things and ours, but a space to share in my mind, heart and body. I had to work hard to get rid of things that I didn't need in our home as well as in my soul. Carrying heavy and unnecessary feelings in your heart make for a crowded space. I needed to let go of a lot of pain, hurt and anger to make room for Vienna. I've waited for her such a long time and no matter what it takes for her to get here, I plan on doing just that.

I want to express my gratitude for @OneRoomChallenge and @apartmenttherapy for making this year of the ORC possible. It's my second year being involved in something so special. They are celebrating their ten year anniversary this year of bringing together a like-minded community of designers and diy-ers. It's not a contest, it's a way to push yourself and hold yourself accountable for your ideas and the execution of your design. It's a challenge for you to do something for yourself and your families while sharing it with the world. It's a way to be inspired by others and cheer for them to finish their designs while meeting so many friends and supportive people along the way. Being a part of this design community has changed my life for the better. Take a look at the other designers and guest participants' gorgeous room transformations here. You won't be disappointed.

Thank you for reading and always being a part of my journey. You are what makes Aurora By Jacqueline possible.

xoxo- Jacqueline

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Trueman's Treasures
Trueman's Treasures

Oh my goodness, I absolutely love this idea and transformation! Great job!

Jacqueline Loiacono
Jacqueline Loiacono

Thank you so much! It truly was a labor of love. We love it ❤️

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