It’s an ode to Rhode Island.

Laguna Beach Nursery
Courtesy of Blake Bakkila

As my husband Matt and I were brainstorming ideas about our son’s nursery, we knew we wanted to create a space that celebrated the best of both coasts. I grew up in Newport Beach, California, and he spent the majority of his childhood on Long Island in New York—but we’ve always shared a love for one place: Rhode Island. In fact, we’re naming our little one Rhode. 

A brief backstory: Matt spent five formative years in Providence while earning his architecture degree from the Rhode Island School of Design, and I fell in love with Newport right around the same time we started dating. My mom and I took a trip out there and spent five relaxing days on the beach at Castle Hill Inn, with a Del’s Shandy in hand (more on that later!). Two years after that trip, we returned to Castle Hill, where Matt talked to my parents about his plans to propose.

Baby Blanket Laguna Beach Nursery
A blanket handcrafted by Renée Probetts of Knits by Reen.

Courtesy of Blake Bakkila

Our son’s name and our cherished memories on the East Coast inspired the idea to somewhat subtly give an ode to Rhode Island in our Laguna Beach home. Let’s begin with my love for Del’s. The company’s frozen lemonade dates back to 1840 in Naples, Italy, but they originally opened up a stand in Cranston, Rhode Island, in 1948. Today, you can typically find a Del’s truck posted up near the Newport waterfront, and there are stands located all over the state.

Artwork Laguna Beach Nursery
The nursery prints are a nod to Rhode Island.

Courtesy of Blake Bakkila

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I started my search by scouring the internet for Del’s nursery prints. Ultimately, we asked our dear friend Carlos Rosales, an incredibly talented illustrator at Mattel, to help us out. The result was the illustration series of our dreams: a Del’s frozen lemonade cup and truck, and the Castle Hill Inn lighthouse.

Toy Market Cart Laguna Beach Nursery
A cart from Target was painted to match the room.

Courtesy of Blake Bakkila

Then, I came across this black and white Toy Market Cart from Hearth & Hand at Target. The colors didn’t quite work, but we absolutely loved it—and how functional it could be as a place to store some of Rhode’s books and toys. So, we painted the wheels and wooden pieces green and found an oatmeal and white-striped fabric to replace the awning. We decorated it with a blanket that was handcrafted by my best friend Renée Probetts of Knits by Reen, books from his great-aunt (kindergarten teachers know best!), a doctor’s kit from his aunt who’s just wrapping up her fourth year of medical school, a Mets hat from his aunt and uncle in New York, and more.

Babyletto Crib Laguna Beach Nursery
The Babyletto Yuzu 8-in-1 Convertible Crib.

Courtesy of Blake Bakkila

With this primary decor concept in mind, it was time to get into the baby gear. After writing about baby products for years, I have always had my eye on Babyletto’s unique and beautifully crafted furniture. Just below the illustrations, you’ll find the Babyletto Yuzu 8-in-1 Convertible Crib. So while Rhode won’t be ready for the full-size crib quite yet, it converts into a convenient bassinet with wheels for easy maneuvering from room to room.

Recliner Glider Laguna Beach Nursery
The recliner and glider even has a USB port for charging phones and devices.

Courtesy of Blake Bakkila

We also rounded out our baby furniture collection with the matching Babyletto Yuzu 6-Drawer Dresser and the brand’s high-tech Sigi Electronic Recliner and Glider. The Sigi is made with a water-repellent and stain-resistant material that complements our ceiling wallpaper, and it even comes with a USB port, so we can charge our phones while rocking our little one. I also swoon for anything personalized, so we commissioned a punch needle embroidered pillow with Rhode’s name on it from Etsy creator The Pine Trove.

Babyletto Dresser Laguna Beach Nursery
The geometric drawing sits above the dresser.

Courtesy of Blake Bakkila

As we were considering potential artwork to use on the other wall, I looked back at one piece Matt created for his thesis. It’s a geometric drawing showing all the perspectives of a cube at once. From an aesthetic point of view, it was also yellow and worked so well with the other elements in the room.

Rug Laguna Beach Nursery
A machine-washable rug is a must in a nursery.

Courtesy of Blake Bakkila

Next up was factoring in current-yet-timeless interior design trends. Julie Hovnanian of Hovie Interiors is always raving about layering different textures, so we also ordered two woven rattan items from Pottery Barn. Plus, Hook & Loom’s Classic Organic Cotton Flatweave Rug was an automatic “yes,” since it’s machine-washable and made from 100% GOTS certified organic cotton. And for even more texture and color, we also added Nestig’s Lemon Drop Mobile—which is made with wood, felt, and wool—to go with the other pops of color in the room.

Lemon Mobile Laguna Beach Nursery
The lemon-themed mobile goes with the artwork.

Courtesy of Blake Bakkila

As the saying goes, “It takes a village,” and that couldn’t have been more true throughout the process of designing Rhode’s room. I am beyond grateful for the talented artists we collaborated with, our friends and family who gave us the most thoughtful gifts, and Matt, who assembled everything. I can’t wait to tell Rhode about his name and all the sentimental aspects of his East Coast-meets-West Coast nursery.

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