27 In our home

project nursery: the crib dilemma

It was time to tackle one of the pretty obvious pieces of furniture we were going to need for baby girl’s nursery: the crib. Like many things I’m finding lately, this took a bunch of research. Is it just me, or do other folks do SO much research for every single baby/kid product they buy? If I researched the stuff we buy for ourselves this much, I would have to make it a full-time gig!

Here were the most important factors for our crib search: a white or gray finish, made of environmentally friendly and non-toxic finishes, high safety standards, and modern clean lines. Oh, and budget-friendly obviously. We didn’t want to go over a $300 price tag.

Anyway, I browsed countless websites and read review after review. Some of my faves, but that were totally out of the budget? This Hudson 3-in-1 convertible crib by Babyletto:



And the Classic Crib by fancy-shmancy company, Ouef:ouef classic crib

But then I discovered the Baby Mod line by Walmart and was totally sold. The products are super environmentally friendly, made with all non-toxic finishes (hardwood, paints, glues, everything) – and are essentially knock-offs of the higher end crib designs. And the price tag? $200 for the Modena 3-in-1
baby mod crib


…and $300 for the Olivia 3-in-1.

baby mod crib2

So good, right? I was totally ready to pull the trigger on the Modena in white. Well, too good to be true for this Canadian gal. The Baby Mod line seems to only be available at the Walmart in the States. And even though there is a Walmart that we pass when we head down to the Adirondacks (in upper NY state), there are super strict rules about bringing baby stuff across the border. They have a bunch of regulations about cribs, strollers, car seats, and bassinets – for good reason obviously as we want to meet Canadian safety standards, but still. It’s not that you absolutely can’t bring the products across, but they have to meet certain requirements and the border folks have the right to confiscate any items at their discretion (I even emailed the Canadian government to find out how strict they are…). Hmmm – not worth the risk, we decided.

After trying to find something similar here in Canada, I just kept coming up short. Nothing as environmentally friendly with the right specifications was in our price range (we really didn’t want to spend more than $300). I have heard that there are some good cribs at Target, but Target hasn’t come to Ottawa yet (it’s coming in the fall), so that was out of reach.

So where did we end up? I’ll give you a hint: besides Home Depot, it’s our home-away-from-home……… Yep, IKEA!

There is absolutely nothing wrong with IKEA cribs – it was just that I had really wanted to try to get something that was a bit more ‘green’. Oh well – you win some, you lose some.

For white cribs, there were 3 options. The Gulliver which was the cheapest at $139. I know a lot of folks who have this crib and love it.

gulliver-crib__70462_PE185759_S4 The Hensvik Crib, also at $139 (a bit too curvy for our taste)…hensvik-crib__0133270_PE288784_S4 And then the Sundvik at $159:sundvik-crib__0135188_PE291924_S4

All three were the same in terms of their materials, had two levels (higher for when baby is small, and lower when babe is a little bigger), and the ability to convert into a toddler bed. So it came down to aesthetics. We really liked the look of the full ends that the Sundvik had, and the white wash finish made it look like a much higher end piece of furniture. Sold!

I stepped aside for this one and Dan-the-man put it together in less than an hour. Easy-peasy, apparently.


Proud daddio.DSC_1023

You can sort of make out the white wash effect in the photos above and below. See how it’s pretty subtle but has that Cape Cod kind of look?

Oh and we grabbed a mid-range mattress at IKEA while we were there too. They have a few different options (spring ones, foam ones, etc), so it’s just a personal choice.DSC_1025



Anyway, we’re pretty thrilled with how our whole crib hunt turned out. Sort of wish I could take back those hours of web surfing and just have gone straight to IKEA!

And for good measure, here’s a mama/belly shot. In my PJ’s. Lovely.

DSC_1037You may also spot the window trim that recently got painted! I’ll post more about that another time, but it makes the window really stand out, right?

What about you guys? Ever had to buy a crib for your little person? Were you a bit more decisive than I was? Did you splurge or save? Have a fave brand? Use a hand-me-down? 


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  • Kelly Mullen-Dennis

    I love the cape cod look of it!

  • Jennifer

    The crib looks great!!

    Unfortunately the baby product research never ends…just when you think its all done…then it moves on to highchairs and next stage car seats and daycares and potty’s and ….!!! But it’s all fun!

    Also where did you get that fabulous basket beside the crib?

    • gemma

      Haha – sounds familiar, Jennifer!

      The basket is from HomeSense (pretty recently!). They are my go-to spot for all baskets/hampers, etc.


  • jackie

    Hi Gemma,

    I must say, it looks fab! Personally I did zero research. Crib was from wherever, but I did try to get Eco-friendly products. Carseat was a friend’s and following that one, the cheapest one with a few good reviews at Toys R Us. As for strollers, again, just bought the Chariot so I could jog and bike with my baby/kid. And research a highchair? Hell no. I bought the $30 one from Ikea which turned out to be what a lot of daycares use. No padding, no frills and it’s been used now for 2 years straight, no issues. You can hose the thing off. You know that saying bitches be crazy? Well I think they become moms and then moms be crazy! And I’ve also found that people who research shit to death even end up with 4 or 5 strollers anyways. One question…does that mattress go up higher? I would want it higher than that for the first while if possible. And we drilled extra holes in the bottom so the mattress literally sits on the floor basically after he jumped out for the first time. Basically it’s a prison but changing too early to a toddler bed=less sleep for me. In fact, that’s the ONLY thing I researched. How to get him to sleep more, and eventually hired a sleep consultant. THAT, for me, was time and money well spent!!

    • gemma

      Haha – I hear ya, Jackie! We’re thinking that the IKEA highchair looks pretty great.. and you can’t beat the price tag! No, the mattress doesn’t go higher than what you see in the photo. But we’ll be using a bassinet in our room for the first few months anyway, so it should be fine. And a sleep consultant? Sounds like money well spent FOR SURE!


  • Ashley

    Good choice on the crib! I have a lot of friend with Wal-Mart cribs that they love, so that is a bummer you weren’t able to get one :( But the IKEA crib is cute and for a great price. Can’t wait to see more of the nursery!

  • Amelia @ House Pretty Blog

    Great choice! Not sure if you have the book Baby Bargains, but a friend gave it to me when I was pregnant and I found it really helpful in terms of choosing which baby stuff to buy. I know it’s American, but I used it in Canada and didn’t have any trouble finding the same brands, etc. I felt overwhelmed with all the product choice I had to make, especially because I didn’t have the first clue how to evaluate some of them and the book made it so much easier! It also helped me sort out which things to buy right away and which things to wait on (which is really helpful when you have little house). Anyway, if you don’t have it already, I would recommend.

    • gemma

      Amazing – thanks for the recommendation, Amelia! I’ll definitely go check out the book at the library.


  • Kimberly

    Great choice! And the price tag is even more awesome!

  • Carmen

    Baby shopping can be such fun, but so stressfull at the same time. We were really lucky and had our crib bought for us by my parents. We scored a great deal off ebay, it was a floor model used only for a magazine shoot and was in perfect condition, got it for half the price we would have paid in store. Its a Boori Sleigh Cotbed, goes all the way up to 6 years old and is solid wood! Love it! Plus I know I can use it for the next baby. I spied a Bugaboo as well in the corner.

    • gemma

      Sounds like a great find, Carmen! Nice! And yes… you are right about the bugaboo :) We got a great deal on it!


  • youandmeandwalliemakethree.com

    Thanks for sharing! We are right behind you pregnancy-wise, but you are a step ahead with crib shopping so it was perfect timing for me to check your blog! When I first started reading, I thought ‘oh no, we must not be thinking this through- we were just going to get a basic Ikea crib!’ But it was great to read on and see sometimes the basics work out to be the best options. Congratulations on your pregnancy!

    • gemma

      We couldn’t be happier with the IKEA crib – the quality seems great! Congrats on your pregnancy, and good luck with your little peanut :)


  • Runt

    We found out that we are having our first baby and yes, I’m pretty much researching everything too!

    • gemma

      Congratulations!!! Let the research begin…! :)


  • Megan

    Hey, I just bought this crib this week for our baby due this summer. I wasn’t impressed with the IKEA mattresses, though. They all seemed very soft. I ended up grabbing the cheapest one, which is just under 3″ thick, so I’d have something to protect the crib base until I decide what I’m buying to replace it. THEN, after I opened the box and assembled the crib, there were warnings all over the crib, the instructions, etc., saying to use mattresses between 4″ & 6″ thick. Huh. Every single mattress that IKEA sells us less than 4″ thick!! I’m very puzzled now! Are their mattresses safe to use with their cribs or not??

    • gemma

      Hi Megan. I’m super confused about all of the warnings you were reading? Those weren’t on my crib. All of the IKEA cribs can be matched with any of the IKEA mattresses, as far as I was aware and as per the IKEA website. The crib mattress I have (this one: http://www.ikea.com/ca/en/catalog/products/70160368/) is 3 7/8″ in thickness. When reading consumer reports and the Health Canada website about crib safety, it doesn’t talk about a mattress that can be too thin, but does recommend that you don’t use a mattress that is any thicker than 6″ (that’s the safe max). And if you think about pack and plays, their mattresses are always very thin. Maybe you could call IKEA if you’re worried?

      Here are two sleeping safety links, in case you’re interested:

      Good luck! And congrats on your upcoming arrival!! :)


      • Megan

        There was an extra pamphlet inserted with the crib instructions that said not to use a mattress less than 4″ thick. There is also a label attached to the crib base that says the same. I do think that crib sheets and fitted mattress pads won’t fit properly on the mattress I got, and I’m afraid a toddler would pull the mattress up and toss it out of the bed! It’s very thin and lightweight. LOL I got the VYSSA SLUMMER.

        I contacted IKEA via e-mail and am waiting to see if I hear back from them. Like I said, I think the mattress I grabbed is too thin to actually work, but I’d appreciate IKEA clarifying!

        • gemma

          Hmmm – definitely confusing. Well, let me know how it works out with IKEA!! I’m totally curious. Good luck, Megan!


    • Daisy

      Hi did you end up getting the mattress? I just read the Vyssa IKEA mattresses were recalled and eligible for a return/exchange due to safety reasons (child entrapment). Even through my mattress was manufactured Feb 2013 I was able to return it today and get a full refund. You have an option to exchange.

  • Daisy

    Looks great! Just wanted to let you know if you purchased the Vyssa mattress from IKEA there was a recall on it as a result of it not fitting completely in the crib and can cause child entrapment. So you can return it and get the full refund or get a new mattress. That’s what I did. I have the Sundvik too! Cheers.

    • Hi Daisy! Yes – I did see that recall. Thank you very much for alerting me to it anyway, though. I should probably post a note at the end of the post….

      Glad yours is working out!!


  • Kelly

    How are you still liking the crib? Did it hold up well? Did you feel it was flimsy at all? Thanks!!

    • We have continued to absolutely love the crib!! It has held up beautifully (now almost 2 years later and pretty much looks brand spankin’ new), I still really like the design, and Maya has loved it too. No complaints AT ALL! Great purchase.