written by:
August 31, 2012

For even more nifty nursery ideas, we checked in with the owner of online children's emporium fawn&forest and modern parent, Summer Robertson. Fawn&forest was founded two years after the birth of her first child, in part because she was disatisfied by the baby and nursery things on the market. Below, we chat about the "modern baby movement" (it's a thing) and her advice for nursery newbies. 

Sparrow crib from Oeuf.
"Oeuf has remained a leader in the industry, producing solid, quality furniture. Plus they are a great company. (I don't mean to give too much "Oeuf love" but this company in their design process, production, and in their foundation epitomizes "modern nursery.")"—Summer Robertson
1 / 7
Naturepedic mattress.
"Naturepedic was one of the first organic crib mattress companies to open the door for organic infant sleep. They are spectacular."—Summer Robertson
2 / 7
"The Monte Joya rocker is made-to-order in Canada with amazing construction and design quality."—Summer Robertson
3 / 7
Ferm living products.
"Ferm Living is a Danish design company that designs quality (and luxurious!) baby and home products at a reasonable price."—Summer Robertson
4 / 7
DwellStudio Draper Stripe rug
"The DwellStudio Draper Stripe rug is basic enough to grow with the child and can later be used in other areas of the house."—Summer Robertson.
5 / 7
Frazier & Wing mobile.
"A mobile in the nursery is essential and depends on your style. Frazier & Wing mobiles are available in a broad array of colors and can later be hung elsewhere in the home."—Summer Robertson
6 / 7
Wall sticker by San Francisco.
"Wall Stickers are a modern nursery invention, adding simple, fun non-permanent decor that makes a big impact. LittleLion Studios has great focus wall designs while the smaller accent decals from Mae are also fun. ABC House (shown) is by Ferm Living."—Summer Robertson
7 / 7
Sparrow crib from Oeuf.
"Oeuf has remained a leader in the industry, producing solid, quality furniture. Plus they are a great company. (I don't mean to give too much "Oeuf love" but this company in their design process, production, and in their foundation epitomizes "modern nursery.")"—Summer Robertson

When we first started talking, you mentioned "the modern baby trend" and how its evolved since you had your baby. Can you elaborate on that? 

The modern baby movement started in 2005, meeting the desire of modern-minded parents unwilling to compromise their aesthetics with overly ornate, matchy-matchy nursery furniture, and plastic baby gear. With design, function, and longevity in mind, brands such as Oeuf and DwellStudio emerged as forerunners with thoughtfully composed furniture featuring clean lines and bold, yet basic nursery decor. Today, buying a modern nursery is as easy as walking into Target. Parents are now taking the established modern nursery aesthetic and blending it with their personal tastes in a way that resonates with the rest of the home.

What is the most important piece of furniture parents should focus on for the nursery?

The centerpiece of the nursery is most often the crib; it sets the tone for the space. What I love about modern cribs is that the design is inherently simple. They don't need much. You can often skip the crib skirt and bumper, add in a few nice crib sheets, and you're set. The crib should also grow with the child, converting into a toddler bed, which extends the life of the investment. Functionally (or selfishly) speaking, a comfortable, well-designed rocker or glider is essential. Parents will be spending endless amounts of time feeding and holding baby, so they should have the most perfect spot to relax.

What is worth the splurge and what is not?

Parents should definitely put the money into an organic crib mattress. Standard crib mattress are extremely toxic, filled with flame retardants and nasty chemicals. Babies spend an atrocious amount of time sleeping in the crib, so having a baby inhaling chemical fumes while sleeping is a horrible idea. A basic organic crib mattress by Naturepedic starts at $259.

Parents can save on a changing table. A simple changing pad can safely be placed on top of a dresser and instantly becomes a changing station. Plus, most seasoned parents end up changing diapers on the floor!

How can parents maintain their aesthetic with a baby in tow?

Edit! It's inevitable that parents will wind up with a bunch of baby stuff with the first child. As you go along, it becomes apparent what is necessary and enjoyable and what is annoying clutter. I think parents will find that not a whole lot is truly needed. With the mindset of constant editing, parents can maintain a modern, uncluttered aesthetic as their child grows. Aesthetically pleasing baby products are quite accessible, so it becomes less of an issue of ugly baby stuff and more of an issue of too much baby stuff cluttering a well-designed home.

What construction qualities should parents look for when buying pieces for the nursery? 

Longevity. Sound quality is something modern furniture companies take pride in, it's in the foundation of their design. With that in mind, parents should consider what they want out of these big-ticket item purchases. After the baby, will the rocker or glider look good in other rooms of the home? What does the crib to toddler bed conversion look like? Will the piece grow with our family for future children? Is it enjoyable to look at?

Click through the slideshow to see Summer's top seven picks for the modern nursery!

Join the Discussion

Loading comments...

Latest Articles

Exterior of Huneeus/Sugar Bowl Home.
San Francisco–based designer Maca Huneeus created her family’s weekend retreat near Lake Tahoe with a relaxed, sophisticated sensibility.
May 26, 2016
starting over sturgeon bay facade tongue and groove new growth cypress  0
After a devastating fire, architect David Salmela designs a house to replace a beloved lakeside retreat in Wisconsin.
May 26, 2016
Modern home with brick base and cedar rain screen on top level
An architect reimagines an outdated brick garage by designing a graceful new family home atop its foundation.
May 26, 2016
sardenya lr 7
A renovation brings light and order to a Spanish flat, maintaining its standout ceilings.
May 25, 2016
pow 5 25 1
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most captivating design and architecture shots of the week.
May 25, 2016
young guns 2016 emerging talent thom fougere winnipeg canada cthom fougere studio thom fougere saddle chair 2
Designer Thom Fougere plays with scale and typology to create playful furniture.
May 25, 2016
prs my16 0067 v001 1
In the worlds of architecture and design, we’re always looking for the best ways of supporting sustainable building practices. This awareness doesn’t have to stop at our driveways but rather, it can extend to the cars we choose to take us to the places we go each day. With Toyota’s 2016 Prius, the daily task of getting from point A to point B can now be experienced with a new level of efficiency, safety, and style.
May 25, 2016
mountfordarchitects western australia
On a narrow site in Western Australia, Mountford Architects makes the most of a tight spot—with an eye to the future.
May 25, 2016
San Francisco living room with Wassily chairs
Materials and furniture transformed the layout of this San Francisco house, without the need for dramatic structural intervention.
May 24, 2016
shiver me timbers tallow wood kitchen
A pair of married architects put their exacting taste to work on their own family escape in the Australian bush.
May 24, 2016
in the balance small space massachusetts cantilevered cabin glass facade
When nature laid down a boulder of a design challenge in the Massachusetts mountains, an architect’s solution elevated the project to new heights.
May 24, 2016
Wooden Walkways
A home in Ontario, Canada, demonstrates how factory-built housing can be as site sensitive as traditional construction.
May 24, 2016
15 icff 5
From Corian furniture to immersive installations, here are some of our favorite designs we saw at the 2016 shows.
May 24, 2016
A home and community celebrate natural remove in unison.
May 24, 2016
With our annual issue devoted to the outdoors on newsstands, we did a lap of Instagram for some extra inspiration.
May 23, 2016
forest for the trees english prefab mobile home facade chesnut cladding
On the edge of a historic park in an English shire, a prefabricated home sets a new design standard.
May 23, 2016
tread lightly australia
A family home on Australia’s Mornington Peninsula is built to blend in with its lakeside setting.
May 23, 2016
jardins party dining room hay chairs local wood floor
A pair of architects help a client carve out an oasis of calm amid São Paulo’s bustle.
May 23, 2016
hwm6zf 1
No matter where you're located or what time of the year it is, having a fireplace in your home is a treasure that’s continuously sought after. Besides the obvious benefits of keeping a fire going through the cold winter months, it can also be a cherished asset that provides an extra level of year-round comfort—not to mention how it can help define the layout of a space by acting as a sculptural element.
May 23, 2016
An office Crosby Studios designed for NGRS in Moscow
Crosby Studios just cares about the essentials.
May 22, 2016
cold sweat seattle floating sauna gocstudio
A cadre of designers let off steam after hours by building and sailing a seaworthy sauna.
May 22, 2016
in the swim off the grid campsite healdsburg california swimming pool solar heat lap pool ipe deck loll designs lounge chairs
An off-the-grid house that is little more than a decked campsite—albeit with a roof—includes a swimming pool for a family that loves to enjoy the elements.
May 21, 2016
A print by Kristina Krogh
From flat to physical, Kristina Krogh masters every dimension.
May 21, 2016
Every week, we highlight one amazing Dwell home that went viral on Pinterest. Follow Dwell's Pinterest account for more daily design inspiration.
May 21, 2016
beverly hills living room piano view
Architect Noah Walker, principal of Los Angeles–based studio Walker Workshop, shares completed and work-in-progress residential designs on his Instagram page (@noah_walker). Take a peek at some of the striking modern houses here, and tour the Venice House on the Dwell Home Tours on June 26.
May 20, 2016
ripple effect san fancisco small space yard outdoor monica viarengo pebble mosiac artificial turf slide
A San Francisco landscape designer finds a small-space solution that’s anything but narrow-minded.
May 20, 2016
Oslo living room with light wood floors and wood slab table
A pair of designers in Oslo, armed with tricks for introducing color and daylight, remake their compact late-19th-century apartment.
May 20, 2016
family affair backyard addition portrait
In coastal Massachusetts, a resourceful couple and their equally enterprising children use reclaimed materials to create a versatile 168-square-foot backyard building.
May 20, 2016
speed machine australian beachside prefab archiblox facade colorbond ultra steel cladding queensland blue gum wood
With little time to waste, an Australian firm erects an efficient prefab overlooking the ocean.
May 20, 2016
Christian Benimana at Design Indaba
When he was younger, there wasn't a single architecture school in his country. Now, as part of MASS Design Group, Christian Benimana shares how architecture can heal and inspire Africa.
May 19, 2016