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Your Home | Making Room

Renovating with a baby on the way

Cambridge newlyweds set their sights on a nursery and master bedroom.

The not-too-girly dusty pink on the nursery walls, Farrow & Ball Setting Plaster, has yellow undertones, so it pairs well with the crib. The Satellite 3 nickel chandelier by Schoolhouse Electric & Supply is simultaneously fresh and nostalgic. The busy pattern on the drapes balances the clean lines of the furniture.Brittany Ambridge

Talk about transitions — the renovation of the first floor of Melissa Spencer and Raj Basu’s home wrapped up at around the same time the newlyweds learned they were expecting their first child. For help preparing their 1850 mid-Cambridge row house for a baby, they called on Kelly Davis Healy and Stacey Scott Clarimundo. The designers had worked on the first-floor redo before launching their own studio, Wenham-based Davis Scott, and they knew the homeowners’ tastes. “We’re the classic case of a couple with opposing styles,” Spencer says. “I like cozy and Raj likes clean and modern.”

All three rooms on the third floor were gutted to create a master suite as well as a nursery large enough to be used (someday) as a guest room. Spencer and Basu wanted a master bath where they could both comfortably get ready for work in the morning, with two sinks and an enclosed toilet. They also needed more closet space. Clarimundo and Healy finessed the new bathroom into the original footprint. Relocating the bedroom fireplace allowed them to move the bathroom entrance and introduce a space-saving pocket door. The newly captured real estate made room for the enclosed toilet. In addition, the corner shower got a sleek redesign, and a sexy walnut vanity and trough sink with two sets of matte black faucets replaced the pedestal sink, bidet, and toilet.


In the master bedroom, Clarimundo and Healy accommodated built-in linen storage by demolishing a chimney that wasn’t connected to a fireplace. The walk-in closet was enlarged by borrowing space from the adjacent bedroom, which was combined with a tiny office to create the nursery.

The starting point for the master bedroom’s design was a textural undyed-wool rug from Landry & Arcari. The color palette originated in a Zak + Fox fabric the couple loved. The designers used the fabric to make a lumbar pillow and matched it to find the wall color, Farrow & Ball Hague Blue.


The effect is enveloping, which is just what the couple wanted.

“Being new parents can be overwhelming, so we wanted to give them a retreat where they could curl up and be together,” Clarimundo says.

In the nursery, a top priority was counterbalancing the orange tones of the wooden crib, which Spencer’s father had made for her when she was a baby. The budget-friendly furnishings include pieces from Land of Nod, IKEA, and Anthropologie. Vintage storybook pages from Etsy, framed at Mingo in Beverly, fulfilled Spencer and Basu’s request for educational elements in the decor.

The project wrapped up a year ago, and phase three of the home redesign is underway on the second floor, where the couple’s daughter, Aahana, now has her own room. In February, Spencer gave birth to a son, Avik, who occupies the nursery. Everybody is settled and content.

“We’re happy we did this,” Basu says. “That Stacey is a mom herself really helped. She knew exactly how we wanted to live.”


Melissa Spencer, Raj Basu, and their children relax in the master bedroom, where limited-edition abstract prints from Zoe Bios Creative add a pop of color. Brittany Ambridge
Michael Grimm’s Fog, bought online from Pure Photo, adds to the master bedroom’s moody feel. Khotan fabric from Zak + Fox covers the lumbar pillow. The crisp, Japanese-inspired geometric pattern of the linen drapes is Uroko, also from Zak + Fox. The upholstered bed and matte lacquer night stands are by the Italian furniture line Jesse, from Casa Design Boston.Brittany Ambridge
A wicker-wrapped framed mirror from Pottery Barn matches the walnut top of new built-in cabinetry.Brittany Ambridge
In the new master bath, the American Standard Sedona Loft soaking tub sits in the same spot as the old tub. The freestanding tub-filler fixture is by Jason Wu for Brizo, and the Cle Tile flooring has radiant heat. The subtle hand-blocked Roman shade fabric is Alamwar Textiles Anjali Creeper from Studio Four NYC.Brittany Ambridge

Marni Elyse Katz is a frequent contributor to the Globe Magazine. Send comments to Follow us on Twitter @BostonGlobeMag.