||New York Post
Grow up, not out
Stylish new nurseries change with your child
A new design house aims to give Mom and Dad baby furniture they can live with-and even love.
GOOD news for the stylish stroller set: Today's nursery furniture is more Le Corbusier than Little Tykes.
"Just because you're a mom doesn't mean you give up Kate Spade for Bambi," says Alison Wing, founder of Giggle, a parenting boutique in New York and San Francisco that sells everything from furniture to strollers and other baby gear.
Indeed, modern baby furniture is anything but, well, babyish. Think sleek modern designs, stylish storage solutions and flexible, modular bed collections that can take your tyke from the cradle through graduation.
As first-time parents get older across the country, they are demanding more from their nursery furniture. The average age for a first-time mom jumped to 27, according to a 2003 baby- products tracking study for American Baby magazine conducted by David Burnett & Associates. And more than one-third of the 3,600 women polled had their first child at age 30 or older. That's a big jump from 1970, when the average age for first-time moms was 21, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.
These first-timers know what they want. "When new parents are older, their aesthetic is more mature," says Wing.
"They may still want a sweet baby nursery, but they want it in line with the rest of their style."
And companies are adapting by adding more products and styles.
"Children's rooms are now an extension of the home - like the kitchen," says New York-based designer Patrice Flashner Fitzgerald, who has her own furniture line, Sweet Beginnings Inc.
Fitzgerald creates modern takes on classic themes - what she calls "transitional modern" - often by using high-gloss paint and bold graphics on traditional pieces like armoires and changing tables.
Flexibility is the new buzzword for modern nurseries. The Stokke Sleepi System, for example, has one basic frame that allows it to morph from a bassinet to a crib to a toddler or junior bed, and then to two chairs for a child's room. The whole system sells for about $1,029, while the crib alone is $699.
"It's amazingly versatile and innovative," Wing says. "The set includes everything you need to take you from newborn to child."
Another company, ducduc, has a line that includes the $1,450 PJ armoire, which is a chalkboard surface that kids can draw on. It can also be used for toy storage.
There's also ducduc's Austin collection, which includes a $1,295 crib that converts to a toddler bed with a $145 toddler rail conversion kit. The credenza ($1,450 to $1,495) - a lower, longer version of a dresser - and a dresser ($1,395 to $1,495).
Less cutesy and more sophisticated - just like the parents - today's nurseries truly grow with the child.
Decorating with Old World maps, for example, fosters creativity and imagination for toddlers and teens alike, suggests Fitzgerald.
Such flexibility pays off - especially if siblings are on the way.
Jodi Sussman hired Fitzgerald to design her son Benjamin's nursery, and recently rehired her to redesign the room when her daughter Carly was born.
Keeping the blue paint but adding touches like bows, window treatments and art, the result was "very girly," says Sussman. "You wouldn't know it had been a boy's nursery before."