Double-Duty Nursery

Designer Brian Patrick Flynn turned a bonus room in a New York apartment into a nursery that doubles as a guest room.


New Yorkers Sarah Raskin and John Kerl loved the luxury of having a bonus room in their apartment. But with daughter Orly on the way, they worked with decorator Brian Patrick Flynn to turn it into a stylish guest bedroom and baby nursery.

Brian shares how he used smart space planning and playful design to make the most of the family's small space.

What was at the top of Sarah and John's wish list?

They had a big wish list for this small space! The most important items were: a fresh color scheme, an update for the Murphy bed and to incorporate nursery furniture that could be used in other rooms once the baby outgrew it.

Warm, Cozy Nursery

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Perfect for Baby and Guests

Sarah Raskin and John Kerl loved their bonus room — a luxury in a New York City flat — but with a daughter on the way, they transformed it into a hard-working nursery-cum-guest room.

No Ordinary Changing Table

Instead of using a traditional changing table, designer Brian Patrick Flynn chose a lacquered faux-bamboo chest. The interior conceals all the baby changing necessities, and the top can go from diaper table to console just by storing the changing cushion.

Good Doggie

To honor John and Sarah's first baby, their dog Scout, Brian framed a custom piece of art with child-safe acrylic. For extra safety, he attached the piece directly into the studs with a French cleat.

Window Treatments for All

Since this is both the nursery and guest room, the fabrics had to please babies and adults. The botanical print is soft enough for baby Orly and sophisticated enough for visitors.

Playful Lighting

This lamp, made of stacked teapots with a woven seagrass shade, works perfectly for a nursery. The organic shade gives it a grown-up touch that guests love, too.

Murphy Bed

The Murphy bed became an important design element for the nursery.

Wall-Covering Close-Up

To give the room a personalized element, Brian’s team designed a self-adhesive vinyl covering with Orly's name written in creative lettering, then had it applied to the bed.

Beautiful Guest Room

Can you believe the transformation? Simply roll the crib out of the room, and move the rocker to the other side near the closet, and this space is ready for guests.

What was your main design objective?

In this nursery/guest room combo, the most important design objective was getting scale and proportion right, especially if this one teensy-weensy space was going to serve two distinctly different functions. The room barely allowed for a crib, let alone a rocker, side table and changing table. It was imperative that all pieces chosen were slender in appearance, took up very little visual weight and allowed for the proper traffic flow.

What was your single biggest obstacle in this makeover?

The biggest obstacle was allowing a crib and a Murphy bed to coexist with full functionality. In order to ensure the Murphy bed could extend all of the way down once open, we opted for a round crib on lockable casters, which could quickly wheel in and out of the room.

And your biggest disappointment?

Ugh. The biggest disappointment was a 2-inch lack of space along the wall where the changing/console table sits. Although we properly measured nearly 10 times, we missed how far out the bullnose edge of the changing/console table extended from its body. It ended up butting up against the casing of the closet door, not fitting correctly against the wall. The solution was to notch out a 2-inch gap in the closet casing so that the bullnose edge of the piece fit snugly against the wall.

We love hidden gems — got any from this makeover?

The way the patterns worked so beautifully. The pebble print on the drum pendant, the botanical shapes in the draperies and the houndstooth on the area rug struck the perfect balance not only of scale, but also masculine/feminine. Although I had aimed to design for the baby, I guess I had never really noticed that all of my selections worked for Daddy, Mommy and baby. Who knew?

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Brian Patrick Flynn

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