Kim and Howard Beil of Sylvania began filling their baby's nursery with love long before their son was born.
"When we bought our home four years ago, it was the first room I decorated," says Mrs. Beil, 33, an intervention specialist at Sylvania Southview High School. "I had it all painted and I knew what theme I wanted."
When Dylan Robert, now 15 months old, was born, his nursery was ready and waiting. (The baby is named after singer Bob Dylan. Mrs. Beil says her husband is a fan and wanted to name their son after him.)
For the nursery, Mrs. Beil and her husband, 41, chose a bright, gender-neutral Winnie the Pooh design. Mrs. Beil painted the top portion of the walls blue with white clouds, and added characters from the popular children's series. A Winnie the Pooh border extends around the middle of the room, and striped wallpaper covers the bottom portion of the walls.
The effort the Beils put into Dylan's nursery is in line with nursery designer Amy Coe's guiding principles.
"This nest that you're creating is really so personal, and so emotional," says Mrs. Coe, creator of Amy Coe Limited Edition Collection of nursery textiles
and accessories at Target stores. "While it's nice to be able to run to your favorite shop to buy all this newness, you really do need to own the room and fill it with memories and so much love."
Mrs. Coe's new nursery lines - Sorbet Splash and Alphabet Soup - debuted at Target last month. Both feature crib linens, including bumpers, duvets, blankets, sheets, and accessories. She also has a signature collection (www.amycoe.com).
The designer encourages parents to include collections, personal items, and photographs in nurseries.
"It's neat to collect something that you're fond of," she says. "You can display your passion in your baby's nursery and it becomes meaningful. If you like vintage books, you can add whimsical bookends, or vintage hankies displayed behind glass in a series.
"If your husband is a yachtsman or if he golfs, use color copies of related photographs in old-fashioned magazines or books and frame them in the room."
Long gone from nurseries are muted and soft tones, she says, adding that modern infant rooms feature vivid colors, such as sea blues and rosy pinks, and creative use of paint.
"It's neat to create a very peaceful room for baby, but it doesn't have to be pink or blue. Use khaki walls and leave a space for some wainscoting, and put color above it. Paint is a great alternative and it's really fun to have two walls that are white, and the other two to have color," says Mrs. Coe, who was reared in Hollywood, Fla., and began creating nursery linens when her daughter Olivia, now age 12, was an infant. She has lived in New York, and now resides with her family in Connecticut.
Agreeing on a final look for their nursery proved somewhat difficult for Matt and Bridget Geha of Sylvania.
"As soon as we found out we were pregnant, we were ready to go and already shopping around," says Mr. Geha, 31, principal at Springfield Middle School. The couple did not know whether they would have a boy or a girl, so they furnished a gender-neutral nursery. But the Gehas disagreed before arriving at a final nursery design, Mr. Geha says.
Eventually, Mr. Geha and his wife, 29, who on Saturday received her master's degree in social work from Eastern Michigan University, decided on a light-green paint and African safari theme with natural wood furniture. Their son, Kouri (pronounced KOR-ee) Matthew, will turn 1 on May 6. The baby's first name, also the middle name of Mr. Geha, is taken from his grandmother's maiden name.
"I think we both agreed on a traditional look. We're both pretty conservative and traditional when it comes to our clothing and furniture; we didn't want the nursery to date itself," says Mr. Geha, adding that the couple want another child and will eventually redecorate a guest bedroom for Kouri. The existing nursery can be updated with new accessories for the future infant.
For parents-to-be, the Web site www.nurseryroomprojects.com has plenty of nursery suggestions. Once a nursery is needed, the site says, expectant parents should choose an appropriate space in the home, select furniture, and decide on where to place the crib (never in front of a window because of sun and streetlight distractions, or in front of an air conditioner or over heating vents). The site also suggests adding a rocker or glider that is padded, plenty of storage for baby paraphernalia, and stenciling designs on walls or furniture using nontoxic, water-based paint.
Adds designer Mrs. Coe: "Purchase what you really want and make decorative choices that are a true reflection of who you are."
Contact Rhonda B. Sewell at: firstname.lastname@example.org