One Room Challenge Week 2: Paint

It’s Week 2 of the One Room Challenge—this week I’m unveiling the simple magic of paint. While absolutely nothing else in the room is complete, paint completely transformed the space. It’s the biggest impact for the least amount of investment. I always encourage clients to consider a paint change, even if it wasn’t on their radar initially. I’ve never been disappointed in my decision to bust out my paint brush. See how we turned this basic beige into a beautiful backdrop for our floral-inspired nursery.

Before: basic beige walls are getting a makeover

Before: basic beige walls are getting a makeover

2019 one room challenge week 2

I knew we wanted to go pink in this room, but I wasn’t sure how much. My client, a second time mom-to-be, wasn’t sure about an an all pink room so we went with a half-wall design and painted Benjamin Moore’s Rose Accent on the lower half of the wall, up the the 5’ mark, and kept it nice and bright on top with Benjamin Moore’s Chantilly Lace. I’m so happy with how it turned out. To contrast the pink and white, we’re repainting a vintage dresser in Benjamin Moore’s Jack Pine. It’s going to be so good together!

one room challenge week 2
2019 one room challenge week 2
2019 one room challenge week 2

Next week I’m going to unveil our $100 Craigslist find, stay tuned!

Don’t forget to check out all the other amazing One Room Challenge participants—so many great spaces getting makeovers this spring!

one room challenge

One Room Challenge Week 1: The Plan

Since launching Maxpatch Studio last February, I decided this was the year I was going to tackle the One Room Challenge. And thanks to a client of mine, I found the perfect project for the challenge—a guest room turned nursery for a baby girl on-the-way.

Before: here’s a look at the guest room ready for a nursery makeover

Before: here’s a look at the guest room ready for a nursery makeover

For any new project I start with a site visit and conversations with the client. We discuss intended use, space considerations, design goals/vision, and of course, budget. Our One Room Challenge budget for this project is below $1K for furniture, accessories, paint, lighting, etc.

The design process continues with a brain dump of inspiration on a Pinterest board, followed by style boards to share with the client. For this space, my vision is feminine and playful with floral accents, able to grow with baby over time, and gives mama that dose of pink she’s craving without going overboard. Earthy greens, dusty rose, hints of natural woods and white to keep it fresh—that’s what we’re after.

Earthy hues: dusty rose, moss , emerald, and sage greens, a touch of ochre and pops of white

Earthy hues: dusty rose, moss , emerald, and sage greens, a touch of ochre and pops of white

I love searching Etsy for one-of-a-kind items that can be customized without breaking the bank. I’m super excited about the accessories we’ve found to add personality and warmth to the nursery and can’t wait to share a wall decor DIY in the works.

Handmade, one-of-a-kind accents , natural woods, and lots of texture—all for under $1K

Handmade, one-of-a-kind accents , natural woods, and lots of texture—all for under $1K

Lastly, here’s a sneak peak at the floor plan. It’s a tricky space with lots of doors and windows to work around, but a perfect size to fit all the essentials. Next week, time for paint!

Floor plan drawn to scale so there are no surprises on install day

Floor plan drawn to scale so there are no surprises on install day

Click here for updates from the many One Room Challenge participants.

one room challenge

Tips For a Photo-ready Nursery

I’m a designer. I’m also a mother. That newborn phase, it’s all consuming. Full of highs and lows. A shower and a warm cup of coffee on any given day feels like a solid win. Bonus points if anyone leaves the house. For seasoned parents, we know this is a fleeting phase. Just one of many that will come and go with the blink of an eye.

To preserve those precious newborn weeks, we invite a photographer into our homes to capture our newest family member. Despite the mere two hours of uninterrupted sleep, we mask the dark circles and wear enthusiastic smiles. We ask our photographer to ignore the piles of laundry, the dirty dishes, and everything else we’ve neglected since bringing home baby. We lead them to the one pristine room in the house—the baby’s nursery.

You’ve likely spent weeks and months planning that perfect nursery, and it shows. And because the only decision you need to make on photo day is whether or not to wear your hair up or down, here are a few design tips to prep the nursery for its close-up.

When I start designing a nursery, I consider the basics—crib, changing table, glider, storage—and then choose a focal point and build the room around it. Often it will be a beautiful rug or piece of art, sometimes it’s a striking wallpaper pattern or a vintage furniture piece painted a new hue. A focal point will inspire the design direction and allow other decisions to naturally fall into place.

modern floral girls nursery

image credit: KayAnna Charles

Next, I like to add soft layers—pillows, blankets, curtains, baskets, etc. The cozy factor helps with exhaustion, I promise. It also gives the space that “lived in” feel.

modern boys nursery

image credit: Courtney Malone Photography

Don’t forget to incorporate some greenery. A live (or faux) plant makes all the difference. If you are worried about baby one day mistaking his/her first solid for a new bud, a non-toxic plant option is a good choice. And there are several to choose from: snake plant, rubber plant, prayer plant, to name a few. Greenville has several great local plant stores who are willing to answer any questions you might have: Savereign in the Village of West Greenville, Urban Digs on the east side, and Roots on Augusta Road.

soft and modern gender neutral nursery

image credit: Courtney Malone Photography

For photo day especially, display some sentimental items for a personal touch—baby’s first lovey or stuffed animal, a pretty layette on a wooden hanger, hand-knit booties atop a stack of soft cotton sleepers, family photos in frames or casually hung with washi tape.

neutral nursery

image credit: Markie Walden Photography

Lastly, spend some time in your baby’s room and look for places to incorporate additional meaningful details—a colorful pom pom garland, a pennant flag with an inspirational message, a personalized piece of art, books with beautiful covers, or a trinket brought back from a far off place.

gender neutral nursery

image credit: Markie Walden Photography

These five tips go a long way. Your baby may not sleep in his or her perfect nursery for months to come, but you will spend a lot of time in it—feeding and rocking, putting away laundry and restocking diapers, staring at the books you’ll one day read together before bedtime. And chances are, you’ll have a smile on your face every time you walk in the room.

All images in this post are original designs by Maxpatch Studio.

Nursery Basics: Basket Storage Solutions

January. New Year’s resolutions. A time to get organized. More Kondo, less clutter.

This post is all about smart storage solutions for the littles in your life. From baskets to bookshelves, today’s retailers have so many great options to help moms (and dads) feel a little more in control of their spaces and to help toddlers learn responsibility when it comes to clean-up time. No need to fret if toys end up in the right basket or books on the right shelf, one less toy on the floor is a win to celebrate! I like to keep storage options neutral—whites, greys, wood tones—and save color for decor, rugs, and artwork. That’s what you’ll find in this post, but that’s not to say there aren’t plenty of colorful options out there.

You can find all my basket, bin, and bookcase picks for little rooms on my Pinterest board.
Happy organizing!

Nursery baskets and bins

Holiday Gift Guide for Tots

I debated creating a holiday gift guide for weeks, but decided I would share a handful of my favorite gifts for littles this year. These gifts are geared toward smaller children, but some are great for older kids and adults alike! I hope you enjoy. PS: if you’re looking for ways to put some structure around gift giving, I love the “want, need, wear, read” approach from Amanda Watters.

1// Personalized ornament prices vary

holiday gift guide ornament

Gifting ornaments is a tradition in my family—growing up, my parents would give my sister and I a new ornament every year. I think my mom cried a little when she handed over my ornaments the year I had my first apartment after college. I’m continuing the tradition with my son, each year searching for the perfect ornament that coincides with his growing personality. This year, it’s a race car engraved with “Leo Racing” and the number 15, his birthday. Etsy is a wonderful source to find your perfect ornament, have it personalized, and support small businesses.

2// Loog mini guitar $79

toddler gift guide

This mini guitar is made of real wood and children can learn to play songs and scales in a single day. It’s award-winning design is approved by music educators and it’s  coordinating smartphone app makes learning (and teaching!) fun.

3// Rainbow stackers from $33

wooden toys

Raduga Grez makes beautiful wooden toys—believe or not, these sets are great for adults too! I love challenging my brain to find balance in unusual ways. They make great decor, too.

4// DIY origami paper lamp $38 (includes US adaptor and light bulb)

toddler night light

A DIY project for you and your little, this paper lamp is so beautiful. From the maker, “did you know that elephants use their trunks to greet each other?” So sweet!

5// Gathre activity mat $140

gifts for kids

I absolutely love the Gathre micro mat for on-the-go diaper changes (so teeny and portable!) so I was excited to try a larger size for park dates, beach play, and everything in between. This version, designed by the lovely and talented Amanda Jane Jones, is sure to be an absolute hit for my car-obsessed tot.

Moonlight Storybook Projector $40

gift guide for kids

This storybook projector is very cool—the attachment clips onto your phone (compatible with 90% of mobile devices) and brings stories to life. I’m so excited to make it part of our bedtime routine, on nights when we have a little extra time. The add-on story reels would be make great (and affordable) birthday gifts.

Toolbox set $36

gifts for three-year-olds

My son loves to help with “projects”—I’m sure your kids do too. I searched high and low for a quality wooden tool set and this one fits the bill and is perfect for small spaces that don’t have room for a full tool bench. The wooden carrying case is a bonus!

Stocking Stuffers

Softcover photo book from $15

Kids love seeing photos of themselves—Leo has asked to “read” our family photo books before bedtime instead of his usual stories lately. He loves to point to different family members and call them by name. Since our families don’t leave close by, it’s a great way celebrate memories of times we’ve all been together.

Modo Dough $3-$10

kids gift guide

I discovered this dough at Target yesterday, near the typical Play-Doh sets and I was intrigued. It’s fragrance-free (anyone else loathe the smell of Play-Doh?), the containers are substantial (BPA, Phthalate-free, and dishwasher safe) and each container comes with a silicone “stamp” band to make little designs in your dough. If you’re not sold yet, check out this mom’s review. Target sells individual containers and sets of 3 that are not available on their website, as the reviewer notes.

Rainbow wooden top $11

gifts for three-year-olds

My son’s nanny brought back two wooden tops from her home country and I can’t tell you how many hours of play we’ve gotten out of these simple toys. This rainbow version is oversized, perfect for little fingers.

Bath crayons $4.50

kids holiday gift guide

Our family is always looking for new ways to change up bath time fun. As a working parent, I look forward to bath time as time when all of us can decompress after a busy day. Baths make for a great rainy day activity too, when you’re out of ideas and want to contain the mess :)

Reusable sticker book $11.50

gifts for toddlers

Any guide for traveling with small children will tell you that stickers are a great activity to buy a little peace and quiet. My almost-two-year-old is very into stickers these days, even if he still needs some assistance peeling them off the pages.

Nursery Decor: Rainbows & More!

I thought it would be fun to showcase nursery decor around a particular theme—today’s feature is all about rainbows! I noticed my Pinterest board filling up with everything RoyGBiv. Truth be told, this post feels more applicable to a spring refresh, but kids of all ages (adults too!) adore these colors and who doesn’t love a rainbow? Especially on cool, dreary days.

Keep in mind, rainbows are not all or nothing. They’re a great way to add a splash of color in pillow, blanket, or wall art form, and they come in many color variations from brights to pastels, even neon. Without further ado, here are 18 super cute rainbow accessories to add some color to your little one’s space.


Nursery Basics: Selecting a Crib

If there’s one piece of furniture every nursery needs, it’s likely a crib. Although I might debate the glider/recliner is equally as necessary, but I’ll save that for another post.

Some things to consider before making a decision about which crib will best suit your family:

  • Space considerations: Is a standard-size crib the right option, or do you need a smaller scale option? There are several great crib options designed specifically for small spaces.

  • Style considerations: Are you planning to use the same crib for future children? If so, it’s practical to choose a gender neutral option and a style that can adapt with any future changes to the room’s look and feel.

  • Material considerations: Do you have preferences about materials? I’m always a fan of solid-wood construction for longevity purposes and there are also many manufacturers that now offer GREENGUARD certified cribs (which means the product has met some of the world’s most rigorous standards for low VOC emissions into indoor air) at a variety of price points.

  • Convertibility considerations: Do you want a crib that can transition with your child as their sleeping needs change? Many cribs convert to toddler beds and some even convert to queen beds. If you think you’ll use your crib as a toddler bed, it’s a good idea to purchase the toddler rail (often sold separately) to ensure it’s available when you need it.

Below are my favorite standard-size crib options for a modern, timeless look that can be dressed up or down, for boys and girls, depending on your stylE.

gender neutral nursery

Babyletto Scoot 3-in-1 Convertible Crib $399
A classic style crib with a light, two-tone look—I purchased the Scoot crib for Leo’s nursery and have been extremely happy with it. It converts to a toddler bed (with included rail) or to a daybed when your little one is ready to move on. Made of New Zealand pine and GREENGUARD Gold Certified-screened for 360 VOCs and over 10,000 chemicals.

Photo: Markie Walden for Maxpatch Studio

Babyletto Lolly Crib Amber Interiors

Babyletto Lolly 3-in-1 Convertible Crib $399
Another crowd favorite, the Lolly crib is the perfect addition to a modern nursery. Made of New Zealand pine and GREENGUARD Gold Certified-screened for 360 VOCs and over 10,000 chemicals.

Photo: Amber Interiors


The IKEA crib is a fantastic wallet-friendly option made of solid beech wood. It’s loved by moms and designers alike. One side rail can be removed to create a toddler daybed and at only $79, you can’t beat it.

Photo: Sarah Yates Mora, House in the Hills

IKEA crib modern boho nursery

Crate&kids Hampshire Crib $599
Olive green is having a moment right now and this crib, with it’s sleek lines, can be dressed up with garden florals for a sweet baby girl’s nursery or paired with gingham for a little boy’s woodland retreat. Made of solid poplar, solid rubberwood, and low-emission engineered wood with a non-toxic finish.

West Elm x pbk Mid-Century Crib $499
The latest collaboration between West Elm and Pottery Barn Kids is so, so good. This mid-century beauty comes in two great colors—white and acorn, which is a great medium-tone wood option. It’s GREENGUARD Gold Certified and Fair Trade Certified, made of solid sap gum wood and MDF (medium density fiberboard).

DwellStudio crib seaside nursery

DwellStudio Mid-Century Crib $359
I’ve loved this crib for a long time and it’s still a top contender. The cross-pattern legs are a lovely design detail that doesn’t get overlooked. It’s made of solid poplar wood, converts to a toddler daybed, and comes in both white and grey.

Photo: Stefani Stein

Kalon Studios Caravan Crib scandinavian nursery

KALON Studios Caravan Crib $1195-1495
You’ve likely seen this beauty make her rounds on Pinterest and Instagram, and for all the right reasons. The Caravan crib is designed in LA and made in Pennsylvania of solid American maple. It’s the ultimate convertible crib as it can be used as a toddler daybed or flexible seating anywhere in the house. You can make it yours by selecting from a collection of limited edition rail colors.

Photo: Kalon Studios

baby girl's nursery

Oeuf NYC Rhea Crib $670
A great dark wood option, the Rhea crib is GREENGUARD Gold Certified and made of solid birch and baltic birch plywood with non-toxic finishes free of VOCs. I love Oeuf for their commitment to quality and design, both in their covetable furniture as well as their kids clothing and accessories.

Photo: Amy Skylar Design


Modern Gender Neutral Nursery

It was January. My son was almost a year old and I had a sudden jolt of energy that I hadn’t felt since before he was born. It was as though the fog of that first year had finally lifted and I felt that I could do more than survive the day-to-day. It was also the beginning of a new year, which meant goals, routines, and resolutions. Shortly after speaking with a college friend, Ciara Burton, who offers personalized mindfulness and leadership programs to women, I started Maxpatch Studio, an interior design studio devoted to growing families. I specialize in nurseries and big kid rooms, play spaces, and family rooms—places to eat, sleep, and lounge.

maxpatch studio_1.jpg

I bought a domain, filed for an LLC, created a website, and then I contacted Amber Michels, founder of Your Milk Shoppe, which serves soon-to-be and veteran mamas in the Upstate and and beyond. During our first coffee date, Amber revealed she was expecting her second baby, a little boy, and asked if I would be interested in designing her son’s nursery in their new home. It was a no brainer! My fledgling business was off to a good start.

As the weeks went by, Amber and I started planning. For every new project, I start with a conversation. I ask things like: If you could describe your ideal space, what three adjectives would you use? And: How will you typically use this space? I also try to understand color and style preferences, if any existing furniture or accessory items will be incorporated into the new design, and budget considerations. Having majored in architecture and interior design during my undergraduate years, I know professional interior design services can feel out of reach for most people. One of the principles of Maxpatch is to offer affordable design services to families. And a way to do this is with thoughtful design choices, such as intentionally selecting pieces that will last for years and transition with families as they grow and change.

After understanding the hopes and goals for a new space, I create a style board—a combination of inspiration images from around the web and specific product selections from retailers and independent artists and makers. I love to incorporate one-of-a-kind pieces wherever possible (Etsy is a great place to look and makers love to work with you!). With Amber, we started with a mostly blank slate, except for the crib she had used with her first daughter and a vintage dresser she had purchased years ago while living in New Orleans. Both would remain in the nursery, but the dresser would get a face lift with a fresh coat of paint and new hardware.


Next, we selected an area rug. It set the tone for the entire space. Lots of blues, from deep navy to pretty turquoise, plus the tiniest bit of golden ochre provided a rich color palette for the remaining pieces. We added a new glider/recliner and side table, a tall bookcase, a floor lamp, and blackout curtains, which matched the glider perfectly.


Then, it was time for art and accessories. I recently discovered Audrey Bodisco and immediately fell in love with her work. I sent her the style board and a photo of the rug and she created the most beautiful commissioned piece for baby Michels. It’s easily my favorite part of the room and something he will have for years to come. An oversized wall mirror and animal prints by Sharon Montrose added that necessary dose of “baby” to the space.


Lastly, we layered in the final details: a custom lumbar pillow with golden tassels, a pom pom mobile in saturated hues, a simple strand of wooden beads, baskets, bed linens, and plants! If you ever ask yourself, what is this room missing? The answer is always a plant. Lucky for us, Greenville has several great local plant stores who are willing to answer any questions you might have: Savereign in the Village of West Greenville, Urban Digs on the east side, and Roots on Augusta Road.


There you have it, baby Michels’ picture perfect nursery. We are ready for you baby boy!
All nursery photos beautiful captured by the lovely and talented Courtney Malone.

If you or anyone you know is nesting and waiting on baby and wants the perfect nursery, I’m your girl. If you need a grown-up space for your growing toddler, please reach out. And if there’s something from your dream home wishlist you’d like design help with, I’d love to hear from you! Email me at, visit my website for more information, and follow me on Instagram!

Shop Baby Michels’ Nursery

Rug, Lulu & Georgia

Wall hooks, Loop Design Studio

Basket, Target

Custom artwork, Audrey Bodisco

Animal prints, Animal Print Shop

Wood frames, IKEA

Leather drawer pulls, Etsy

Changing pad cover, West Elm x PBK

Recliner/glider, Hayneedle

African Mudcloth pillow, Etsy

Safari quilt, CrateKids

Midcentury floor lamp, West Elm

Wall mirror, West Elm

Basket side table, Urban Outfitters

Wooden bead garland, Etsy

Crib, Pottery Barn Kids

Mobile, West Elm x PBK

Crib sheet, Burt’s Bees

Blanket, Rylee & Cru

Bookshelf, Pottery Barn Kids