Love Makes A Nursery


From hand-me-down chic to Portland-themed cool, we get a peek at the nursery decor of three local families.

Photos by Sung Kokko

Some days, Azzy and Slade Auel still can’t believe they have a baby — even though their daughter, Zwenivyr, is now 6 months and counting, with adorably chunky legs and a determined, furrowed brow. She spent the first three months of her life sleeping with her parents, but when she started squirming around at night, Slade Auel decided it was time to build his daughter a crib. He learned to woodwork from his own mother, now deceased, and used all her tools to build the crib; Azzy Auel added the woodburned art on the side using a technique called “pyrography” (Think calligraphy by fire). They both say they hope Zwenivyr’s own children will sleep in it someday.



When Zwenivyr (it rhymes with Guinevere) gets older, Slade Auel built the crib to be able to convert to a toddler bed, and then a twin. He spent around $200 for the lumber, and says he worked on the crib for about 20 hours, including time-consuming sanding of the wood, so it would be perfectly smooth.

Slade Auel says he looked up the federal Consumer Product Safety Commission’s guidelines for newborn cribs, and built his to spec. It’s sturdy enough to support his weight, he says.

“I did a rose because they have a lot of meaning for me. They are strong and delicate at the same time, and they have thorns to protect themselves. I made the little butterfly because she is my little lovebug, and the maple leaves are because she was just starting to look around as the leaves were changing in the fall.” — Azzy Auel

The bird picture above Zwenivyr’s crib also comes from her late grandmother, and was a garage sale find. The baby’s middle name is Christine Marie, in honor of Slade Auel’s mother.

The colorful blanket at the end of the crib was made by Slade Auel’s grandmother for his own mother, and passed down through generations.

The lamb stuffed animal belonged to Slade Auel when he was a child, and the stuffed horse belonged to Azzy Auel.

The room that Heidi Maas and John Magnifico created for their now 1-year-old daughter, Poppy Valentine, is proof positive not just that you don’t need to spend a fortune to create your kid’s room, but that you should not do so. Poppy’s snug nursery in their SE Portland rental apartment is furnished with well-spotted thrift and vintage shop finds, many picked up by John on his travels around Oregon. Other items were made with love especially for Poppy by friends and family, or passed down from previous generations. The result is a modern hideaway that feels right-sized for baby Poppy but will transition easily as she grows up.

The crown of dried flowers that hangs over the mirror in Poppy’s room was made for Maas at their baby shower.

At their baby shower, at Beulahland (118 NE 28th Avenue), friends wrote notes to Poppy and placed them in the basket of this handmade balloon mobile.

The Poppy heart painting was drawn by a tattoo artist friend of Maas and Magnifico’s.

“I think embroidery is a craft that is overlooked, and the colors are really bright. ‘Flower’ was one of Poppy’s first words.” – Heidi Maas

Their glider was their “big gift” from Magnifico’s mother, and comes from Babies ‘R Us; it came in handy during those first, colicky months. “I slept in it a lot,” remembers Maas.

Poppy chose the boy baby doll in her crib herself, at Bella Stella, 2751 NE Broadway.

“Those came from a free box on the side of the road. I pulled over with my mom in the car.” – John Magnifico

The mobile was handmade by a friend of Maas’s who sells them at her Etsy storefront,

Hannah Sandmeyer and Brittany Cross aren’t DIYers — but they knew that they wanted a one-of-a-kind look for their baby boy Brady’s nursery in their Concordia neighborhood bungalow in NE Portland (without breaking the bank). The room’s centerpiece is the awesome chalkboard mural of Portland landmarks that they commissioned from local artist Kate Black ( They were shooting for an “urban forest” feel, Sandmeyer says, a room that could grow up with Brady, now 18 months (spaces on the chalkboard mural were deliberately left blank so he can add his own art someday.) Cross, a financial planner, gives the credit to her partner: “She’s the visionary,” she says. “I just say, ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about, but how much is it going to cost?'”

A friend from their OHSU birthing group made these cotton/fishing wire clouds to hang above their glider — a nice complement to the Portland-themed mural. (Find a tutorial here.)

The raccoon pillow on the glider is from Land of Nod. Sandmeyer also convinced Cross that they should get the store’s “faux fire pit” to add to the woodsy theme.

The mural isn’t geographically correct, but includes Portland icons that Cross and Sandmeyer love, including logos for both the Timbers and the Thorns, and the iconic St. Johns bridge.

Brady’s library includes titles handpicked by his politically aware moms, including a copy of Rad American Women, A to Z.

Sandmeyer found these bull-head shaped coat-hangers at CB2, Crate and Barrel’s modern sibling. They are hung at Brady’s level.

Brady’s room is filled with pictures of his cousins, one of whom is two months older, and one who is one month younger.

Whenever Brady wears this “Don’t Start Wars” cap from Black Wagon (3964 N Mississippi), his moms call him “cool guy.”

The “Your Mommies Love You” sign was a gift from one of Sandmeyer’s co-workers.

Black also painted the birches on the wall behind Brady’s crib, to give the room the “simple, woodsy” feel that Sandmeyer wanted.

Julia Silverman
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