Soft & Whimsical Nursery

By Gretchen Eichenberg

New parents create a Parisian garden for their daughter to grow up in

Pictured: Photos provided by Mickey and Adam Gilliland

When Mickey and Adam Gilliland found out they were having a girl a year ago, they immediately set out to create a soft and whimsical nursery for their daughter.

“It is very peaceful, open and calming,” said Mickey Gilliland, a project manager at Faulkner Design Group in Dallas, specializing in luxury multifamily and senior living interiors. “It’s a retreat for us. A safe place.”

The couple found out the gender early and were excited to welcome a baby girl into their family.

Now a year old, Davy Mae enjoys her magical, pink room as much as her parents loved rocking her there as a newborn. That’s because the space was thoughtfully designed and lovingly styled, one piece at a time. Gilliland said she and her husband have an affinity for Paris, and all things French, but they didn’t want to go the traditional route with that theme.

“We came up with a Paris garden aesthetic all our own,” she said. “I have a very eclectic personal style, and I feel like it is very achievable in an ever-changing, evolving home and on a budget.”

The first item Gilliland says she fell in love with was the rug called “Menagerie Forest” by Loloi Rugs. It’s a soft pink, botanical design with tigers, elk and peacocks playing peacefully in a garden.

“I let that color scheme guide me,” she said. “I knew I wanted the room to feel light and bright, very whimsical, soft and playful.

“We prioritized the dresser and the glider chair,” Gilliland said. “Lighting is also a crucial element in making a space feel elevated and unique. I also knew I wanted shelves for books, so I could change out the books with the season and they could double as artwork in the room.”

A dreamy illustration of Paris, depicting the city by the Seine, hangs over the changing table. It’s a Rifle Paper Co. drawing, featuring the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame.

“I spotted this little print while shopping one day and I thought it would be a sweet introduction to the Parisian themes of the room as you walk into the space and the colors were perfect,” Gilliland said.

A subtle rectangular light fixture with soft metal edges — from The Findery — makes a bold statement in the center of the room.

“I had been eyeing this light fixture for a few months,” Gilliland said. “I was intentionally trying to find pieces with the soft curved elements. This had just that. It was the perfect finish to go with the metal mobile hanging over her crib, and the fabric shade added a delicate softness that I thought was perfect. The scale is not what you would expect to see in a space like this, but I enjoy a little surprise.”

Davy’s toy basket, a tall, round woven seagrass bin, is also from the Findery and Gilliland said she enjoys slowly collecting the perfect pieces as she finds them.

“I think the key to designing your own home is creating a collection and that doesn’t happen overnight or from a trip or two to the furniture store,” Gilliland said. “It is a lifelong endeavor.”

Shopping locally is important to the Gillilands.

“I respect small business owners so much,” Gilliland said. “The risks they take, the work they do to bring product, tourism and experiences to our community to enrich our lives. Any time I can shop local, I can draw back to a person I met, a friend I ran into, the hunt for the right thing and the memory is what makes that item that much more special.”

As a designer and a new mom, Gilliland offers this advice for others who are designing a nursery: “Focus less on a theme or color and more on how you want to feel when you are in the space,” Gilliland said. “Prioritize your investment pieces, keeping those neutral to allow them to grow with you. Find something to guide you — like a special piece of art, a rug, a fabric and let that lead you. Find little touches that will make your space special and one-of-a-kind as you go. Give it time. Trust your designer and their creativity.”