Sunday, April 04, 2010

Making room for baby

Space is a tricky thing in this house. We have 2000 square feet to play with, which was more than enough when it was just The Kid and me. It became a little trickier when The Man moved in; trickier still when we started talking about making space for his two girls to visit and (maybe someday) live; and damn near impossible when we added in the need for a nursery.

I am used to living in small spaces; much smaller than the house we're currently in. 2000 square feet - were it configured properly - would probably not be uncomfortable for me, even with another adult and four kids. The problem with this 2000 square feet is that 1000 of it is a partially finished basement. It's a basement with potential - high ceilings (for a basement), windows (though small), a door to the back yard. There's plenty of space down there for another bedroom or two, family room, and second bath, with a little left over for storage. In it's current state, however, it's just one big room with seriously crappy carpet, do-it-yourself drywall, and some exposed pipes and duct work (and not in a hip industrial sort of way). Best of all is the enormous oil furnace and water heater that hang out right in the middle of everything. In other words, it needs some work before we can use it as suitable bedrooms for little ones.

With The Man's girls coming for a visit sometime this spring or summer, we'll have to figure something out for their accommodations. Easiest would probably be to let them have our bedroom, while we relocate to the pseudo spare room we have set up downstairs for my mom's occasional overnight visits. It's not ideal but it'll do in a pinch, and we have a little more time to work out a permanent solution for their comfort.

The Baby, though... The Baby will not wait for a basement renovation, which leaves us only one nursery option: the spare room upstairs.

It sounds great, right? One shouldn't complain about lack of space if one has any room that can be called "spare." This room, though, suffered at the hands of a bathroom expansion by the previous owners. When the bathroom grew, the spare room had to shrink. It is now a petite 6' x 9.5', making it a fine space for my office... but a bit cramped for a nursery.

But only a bit. Luckily, little babies don't need a whole lot of space. Plus, there are people all over the place making due with a lot less. So, aside from a few hormonally charged upsets, I've entered the nursery preparation phase feeling pretty okay about the whole thing.

The first step was to relocate my office to the basement. It's taken a couple weeks, but I'm finally (mostly) finished.

It's not too bad, really. It all fit along the one free wall in the basement much better than I expected it to. My "desk" is actually my former dining room table, which is far too large and cumbersome were it being used for only computer-type endeavors. But its surface area comes in quite handy for art, school, and sewing projects. The best part are the leaves that easily slide out on either side when I need even a little more room.

I was initially feeling a little claustrophobic having to so closely share my office space with the neighboring "guest area," but it turns out the bed serves as a very handy extra surface space to spread out on. Like, say, if I need to wrap an Easter gift or something (which, I now realize, is visible in every picture).

And this, dear friends, is what will someday soon be a nursery (quite difficult to photograph given its small size):

The strange DIY built-in book shelf will be knocked out. The walls will be painted something other than the bright orange (which is even brighter in real life). And the closet still needs to be cleaned out.

We've taped out various crib sizes on the floor. A standard crib will take up 1/2 - 1/3 of the room, depending on which wall it's against. We're looking at some mini-crib options as well, but are concerned that the space saved might not be worth the risk of The Baby outgrowing its crib. We're still not sure how (or if) a changing table will fit. A small dresser will fit easily in the closet. To give an indication of the small space, this shot of the door was taken from the opposite corner of the room. This is as far away from the door as I could get:

The nicest thing about the room is that, despite its small size, it has two windows. And it's on the south side of the house, so the natural light is quite lovely. I often don't have to turn the light on in this room until the sun has set. Hopefully The Baby likes to nap in a well lit room.

I'm excited to now begin building my nest in earnest. Despite my concerns that the space will be challenging, I'm certain that we can create something spectacular with it.


Dual Mom said...

The nursery will be perfect when you're finished. Just a suggestion, forget about a change table and buy a low dresser. Throw a change table pad on top of it and voila....instant place to change the babe.

Martini Mom said...

Thanks for the suggestion, Dual Mom! We'd thought about the same thing. I'd really rather have one less piece of furniture. But, there's not space in the room for a dresser and a crib... and there's no way to configure the dresser in such a way that we'd be able to both change a baby *and* open the drawers.

But you've got me thinking. The dressers we've seen have been too large, but I bet we could find a smaller piece of furniture that we could repurpose as a dresser. Some sort of cabinet with doors instead of drawers could get us something a little narrower that still has room for a changing pad on top. Hmmmm... yes... this idea has some potential.


Laura said...

The excitement of the baby will take over all of the "space" issues!

Im sure it will be perfect!

Cat said...

My son's "nursery was literally my closet. Took off the doors, put in a mini-crib and a tiny changing table/dresser, added some Pooh decals to the walls, put rope lights behind the framing, and presto. It's the swings and stuff that take up space... but I kept those in the living room anyway. Don't worry, you'll make an amazing space out of what you have to work with!

Clinton Harvin said...

My fiancee actually thinks that a nursery can be her temporary office space 'coz the room doesn't have too much clutters and no big bed. Our future house in Fairfax will be transformed into a home/office for us. And with the baby soon to join us, I think we need inspirations.

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