MFM meets Maclaren nursery designer-in-chief David Netto
We caught up with the interior designer to get his tips on what makes the perfect piece of nursery furniture and what's new for Maclaren in 2011
On the eve of Maclaren's luxurious new cots and changers being stocked exclusively in London's Harrods, we headed there bright and early to grab Maclaren's designer-in-chief, David Netto for a chat about the range and to pick his brains for handy interior design tips.
Looking cheery despite his journey from New York to chilly London, the charming interior designer and architectural historian happily talked us through his range of Netto and Cabine cribs, as well as his cleverly designed Cub changer. But first, what was his inspiration behind the stylishly designed nursery range?
"My eldest daughter Kate was my inspiration. She's the reason that I got into the nursery design business. When she was born (in 2001) I went shopping for her nursery in LA and couldn't believe how little was on offer. There was no modernism when it came to nursery furniture. That was when the light bulb went on and I decided to take matters into my own hands."
Tell us about your nursery furniture range for Maclaren
The two philosophical main points of the stuff is that you can fall in love with it and that it takes pride in your baby’s nursery. When you go there in the middle of the night when your baby needs feeding or changing, I want you see this beautiful object rather than something that is bulky and eating up space.
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Your nursery range has an adult look about it - was this intentional?
All my furniture is finished are beautiful white lacquer and has a Scandinavian vibe that indeed steers away from conventional nursery gear, but if you look closer, the lacquer (despite being white) is easy to wipe clean and the curved furniture makes more space for other items - so in theory, it's perfect for a child's room.
I believe that children's rooms are often left out and that’s a shame because it should be given the same chance as the others rooms. Nursery furniture is often seen as being disposable, as your child will end up outgrowing it. My stuff is designed to be reusable as your baby grows. It can be used as a crib and then the side bar comes off so it can be used as a bed conversion kit. You can later use it as a sofa if you wish. There’s storage underneath, so it can be used again and again.
You definitely get your money's worth and I like to think that my designs are doing their bit to keep nursery furniture out of the landfill.
What do you think makes a good piece of nursery furniture?
The nursery gets filled with toys, so a good piece of nursery furniture will be plain as it gives you the bones to have a dignified room, no matter how loaded it gets with the accessories and toys. Another good factor is build-quality, as that it connected with safety. My designs are built with the same quality as adult furniture and are built to last.
Safety is key when decorating your child's nursery - what safety tips would you recommend?
When you complete the nursery, get on your hands and knees, and look at the room from the perspective of your baby. Are there sharp edges that can hurt or heavy items that can topple over when your baby tried to use them to support his weight? Can you spot any choking hazards lurking around the room, which would be easy to swallow? Make sure that mobiles are suspended above the cot, pictures are hung on walls and not near the cot and that you've read up on all the safety instructions of your furniture. Always have the manufacturers details to hand too, as you might want to give them a call if you come across something, which isn't working properly and could be a safety risk.
What 5 essentials items would you recommend parents have in their child's nursery?
I'd have to say a cot and a changing table for sure. If possible, put a single bed in the nursery because if you’re in there at 4am in the morning, feeling sleep deprived but not wanting to leave your baby, you can crash on the single bed. Lighting is also extremely important. I'd recommend getting two good lamps – one standing lamp for the daytime and one dimmer lamp that could double up as a nightlight.
Also, add in a nice fluffy rug – chances are, you’re going to be rolling around with your baby on the floor, so having a nice fleece or sheepskin rug to keep the surface soft and luxurious would be ideal.
An added extra could include a mirror somewhere in the room, as your baby will love making faces in it with you! I'd recommend not filling every space in the room and closing every gap. Leave some room for what comes late... books and toys. For they will come and keep on coming, so leave the room to grow.
How can you make your child's room calm?
The key to this is colour. If the room is small, paint one wall a serene feeling colour, like lavender or pastel hues. This gives your baby something to focus on if they feel grizzly and it can also stimulate their minds too.
Which celebrity baby room would you most like to decorate?
Gwen Stefani! I love her style. In fact, when she had her first baby, I offered to send her a cot but sadly she didn't want it. I found out that she chose a Bratt Decor baroque cot and spray painted it black. She's a rock star - of course she that! I love that Gwyneth Paltrow bought a Cabine cot for her child as it's so her style. In fact, Valentino (fashion designer) bought her the set not knowing that she had bought it a week earlier for her London house - so she has two!
What's new for 2011?
We've expanded the range for this year and I'm really excited about the new additions. We've got a glider chair, vibrant cot bedding, an ottoman and a cool polar bear rocker. My favourite is the arctic jigsaw puzzle, which is hand painted and rather charming. You can use the packaging as a backdrop and it contains a polar bear, penguin and seal.
David Netto's top tips:
- Budget - Nursery furniture can be expensive for new parents so why not add it on your baby shower gift list? It might sound cheeky but when you think about it - instead of them showering you with endless babygros, clothing and other essentials, they could club together and buy something even more essential in the long run. Your baby won't wear half the clothes he is bought straight away, but he'll need a cot as soon as he's born.
- Personal touches - Every child's room should have character or surprise. Here's an idea: If you have a boy, hang a giant framed James Bond poster on the wall. If you have a girl, suspend a necklace of paper butterflies from the ceiling. Or maybe a growth chart, vintage model aero plane or ship? Anything that personifies the room and gives it a sense of happiness.
The Cabine cot costs £1350, and Cub changers, £1150, currently available exclusively from Harrods.
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