At Home in Arkansas: The nursery you created for Will is so imaginative. What was your inspiration for this space?
Homeowner Laura Keener: My husband, Michael, and I decided to not find out the baby’s gender before he was born, so the main requirement for the nursery was that it be gender neutral. I enlisted the help of my sister-in-law, [At Home in Arkansas art director] Mandy Keener, and we used Pinterest to find all sorts of ideas and communicate those with each other.
You captured a nice balance of soothing blues with pops of bright colors throughout.
Mandy Keener: I’m obsessed with color, so I wanted to pump in as much of it as I could without it being overwhelming.
LK: Now that Will is spending time in his room, I notice him locking his gaze on those bright moments. When we change his diaper, he stares at the big red frame on the wall. When I rock him, I see him gazing up at the bright, multicolored animal mobile his dad, aunt and I made for him.
There’s a lot going on when you look up in the room. What inspired you to include the ceiling in your design plans?
MK: My first concern was that Will would be lying on his back, looking up at a plain white ceiling, so we talked Michael into painting stripes on it. But I also wanted to create something as my gift to the family. What started as a mobile turned into more of an art installation.
LK: At first I didn’t understand the concept, but I trusted Mandy. She purchased over one hundred plastic animals at a party supply store, and she and I spray-painted them a variety of bright colors. Michael cut out and built the support structure with embroidery hoops and fishing line. We spent a Saturday putting it all together and laying on the floor underneath it, looking up at the colorful animals floating and swaying in the breeze from the fan.
This seems like a perfect room for a little boy to grow into.
LK: We know babies can’t see very far or very clearly when they are newborns, but they can see bright colors. Even though he’s not very old, Will already focuses on the colors, and I know he will continue to enjoy looking at them and learning as he grows.
Carpet Abbey Carpet & Floor, Fort Smith, (479) 452-4808, davisabbeyfloor.com
Crib, lamp Target, locations statewide, target.com
Curtain fabric Sewing Machine Center, Fort Smith, (479) 484-5351,
Dresser Kid’s Furniture, Little Rock, (501) 978-5439, kidsfurniturelr.com
Painting Merry Custom Painting Co., Fort Smith, (479) 478-6077
Rocking chair Babies “R” Us, locations statewide, toysrus.com
Side table Furniture Factory Outlet, locations statewide, ffoutlet.com