Amanda Rice and her husband knew they wanted the name Coby for their second child.

When they found out they were having a girl, they dropped the “y” and added an “i-e.”

“And she fits it,” Rice said.

Rice commissioned a custom piece on Etsy of her daughter’s name, which now hangs in the 1-year-old’s nursery. A faux flower wreath circles it, and both hang above the white crib, a hand-me-down from Colbie’s sister, Avery, 3.

Amanda Rice purchased this custom name sign for her daughter on Etsy. The greenery surrounding it are faux flowers purchased at Michael's. Tyler Schank / tschank@duluthnews.com
Amanda Rice purchased this custom name sign for her daughter on Etsy. The greenery surrounding it are faux flowers purchased at Michael's. Tyler Schank / tschank@duluthnews.com

The space looks like something out of a magazine. A tent in one corner with lacy cream curtains, a furry rug and pillows. (Avery uses it more than Colbie, Rice said.) There’s a vase with fake cotton stems, hanging lanterns Rice saw as a wedding idea on Pinterest and a wood accent wall that catches the eye.

Rice always wanted to be an interior designer, and planning her babies’ rooms afforded an opportunity to explore. The wood wall was a decor piece Rice knew she wanted to incorporate.

One-year-old Colbie Rice's room has a wood accent wall and a teepee with fluffy pillows for reading. Amanda Rice knew when she got pregnant with Colbie, regardless of gender, she wanted to make the wood accent wall happen. Tyler Schank / tschank@duluthnews.com
One-year-old Colbie Rice's room has a wood accent wall and a teepee with fluffy pillows for reading. Amanda Rice knew when she got pregnant with Colbie, regardless of gender, she wanted to make the wood accent wall happen. Tyler Schank / tschank@duluthnews.com

Because it was more cost-effective, she opted for furring strips in different sizes. “I like the texture,” she said.

Rice got it up with liquid nails, which is basically glue, and a nail gun. She stained it and added a transparent coat to make it look more weathered. She’s happy with the end result, and she kept the cost to about $125, down from an estimated $900 with rustic pieces of barnwood.

Rice likes to do things on a budget, so she works through DIY projects slowly, in the most cost-effective way, she said.

The changing table is a dresser purchased for $25 on an online rummage sale. She added chalk paint and, for a distressed look, sanded spots that would see wear and tear. She added a coat of clear wax, and voila.

She did invest in Colbie’s rug. It covers most of the floor in charcoal and muted salmon with geometric shapes covers. That was $150, and it’s a piece her daughter won’t easily outgrow, Rice said.

On another wall are floating shelves, antlers that hold tiny headbands and big, decorative, pliable flowers that look porcelain from across the room.

There’s a framed Bible verse from the book of Samuel: “For this child I have prayed.”

“We had a miscarriage before her, so I knew I wanted that saying for her room,” Rice said.

Stacked wooden crates line one corner near the window. There’s a wire bin for Colbie’s latest favorite toys, which is ”anything that’s on the move. She’s always on the go.”

Also, a small pot with dead flowers. The bouquet was gifted to Rice when Colbie was born; she doesn't want to throw them out.

In the closet are bins of different-sized clothes. Hanging is a tiny white, lacy dress, used for both daughters’ baptisms.

Amanda Rice painted a chalk wall in her daughter Avery's room so she could draw on the walls and have a space for creativity. Tyler Schank / tschank@duluthnews.com
Amanda Rice painted a chalk wall in her daughter Avery's room so she could draw on the walls and have a space for creativity. Tyler Schank / tschank@duluthnews.com

In Avery’s room, a very large teddy sat on a window bench. “That bear, my mom and dad bought Avery before she was even born, so I feel like I have to keep it forever,” Amanda Rice said.

The 3-year-old carried the teddy to her bed for a two-person doggy pile. Colbie followed suit.

Avery’s room felt like a decorative space for an active preschooler and the things she likes.

There’s a chalkboard wall with current artworks and smudged remnants of artworks past. Floating shelves with chalk, crayons, markers, paint and titles by Dr. Seuss and Shel Silverstein. A piggy bank from a family friend. A tiny furry stool in front of a vanity and a mirror in the shape of an octagon. (“She loves putting on makeup,” Rice said.)

A clothing rack holds hanging costumes, and nearby bins are filled with matching shoes and wands — because she’s in that dressing-up stage. The Easter bunny, aka Rice’s father, Jim Sund, made it with spools, a piece of plywood.

Mom of two Amanda Rice poses for a portrait in her daughter Colbie's room on June 6, 2019. Tyler Schank / tschank@duluthnews.com
Mom of two Amanda Rice poses for a portrait in her daughter Colbie's room on June 6, 2019. Tyler Schank / tschank@duluthnews.com

“She’s the one that’s got all the ideas. I just help as much as I can,” he said.

She worked with her dad to make Avery’s canopy bed, which is shaped like a little house. The top is covered with tulle from Joann fabrics and a string of tassels from the dollar rack at Target.

Above the bed is a large wooden palette in a weathered gray with paper rosettes that pop below Avery’s name in an elegant script.

This was how the family revealed their firstborn’s name, and it is the first piece Rice ever did.

She and her mother-in-law used random pieces of wood, and her dad applied a stabilizing piece to the back to hold them together. Her mother-in-law distressed it by adding dark paint, then splashes of white and gray in random places.

Rice used a friend’s Cricut machine to cut the rosettes in different sizes; she used toilet paper rolls cut in different heights as their base.

Rice said she’s always been crafty, and she gets it from her father. “I was a figure skater growing up, and he was always the one putting my jewels on my dresses and building stuff for ice shows. He’s my craft help,” she said.

Sund said it was a hobby he learned, mostly by “just doing it,” and he built the house he now lives in, which is just 1 mile away from his daughter.

Rice adopted this with her children’s rooms.

She swapped the carpeting with laminate herself in Avery’s space. The process was “a real pain in my butt,” she said.

Working with chalk paint is a lot like normal paint, but it’s not matte, Rice said, and she made the bench the teddy bear sat on functional by wrapping a plywood board with a cushion, batting and a piece of fabric.

Sitting on it was comfortable in front of the large picture windows.

Hanging above that spot is a homemade mobile of pink ombre paper butterflies, made by Rice’s mother-in-law.

Rice’s tips are find what you like, research it and if you’re handy, do it yourself for cheaper.

“I loved all this stuff, and I just couldn’t afford it. But between me and my dad, I knew we could do it. Just take the time. It’s not that hard. I can do it myself, and three years ago, I probably couldn’t have.”

Click here to see Amanda Rice's interior design blog, Grace Interiors.

Have a Pinterest-y nursery or a pic-worthy kid bedroom? Email mlavine@duluthnews.com or call (218) 723-5346 for a story in the News Tribune's Home section.