This last week was actually a really challenging one. The Fall Quarter began and, despite dropping one of my courses, I was feeling completely overwhelmed. After returning from our wonderful vacation, we suddenly came to the realization that, "we can't afford a baby!" Our potential new rental home (that we've really been counting on) seems to have fallen through and we can't find anywhere else to rent and we can't afford to buy! Ahhhhhh! We (especially Kyle) had crazy work weeks filled with brewing and events (for Kyle) and nannying and photography work (for me). All of this, combined with the fact that I have an overwhelming, surely-this-must-be-hormonal desire to begin creating a space for our baby, left me feeling completely depressed and at a loss for what to do. Mainly, I really, really, really needed to feel that I was preparing for the arrival of our daughter in some way! But, how was I supposed to nest in a one bedroom apartment when we aren't sure we're going to be here, don't know how to make the space work if we are here and I can't do heavy lifting (even though I want to)! Finally, I came to the tear-soaked realization that, as long as I'm doing something to prepare (even if it's not "real"), than I will feel happy and as ready as I can be.
The Challenge of Nesting (when you can't nest):
Our challenge (this time around) is to figure out how to adapt our one bedroom apartment to our bundle of joy. It's very important to us to have our own space. At first, I thought about making the baby a spot out in our living room with a partition of some kind to create the illusion of separation. The problem with this was the following questions: What if we need to make dinner and the baby is sleeping (basically) in the kitchen? What if we want to watch a movie and don't want to worry about waking the baby up? What if we want to get bombed on red wine and play Yahtzee! until 2 a.m. (not likely, but still)!? We want to be able to talk and laugh and eat and play without worrying that we will be completely disrupting our baby's sleep! It seemed like the only answer would be to put the baby's crib in our room, which also didn't seem like a great idea (again, no space)!
Then, I had a total light-bulb moment! What if we made the main apartment, that is now our living room/office/dining room, into a "studio apartment" and made the bedroom into a office/baby room?! Sure, when we had people over for dinner they'd be half in our bedroom, but we'd have our own space! My sister had a tiny studio apartment in the University District of Seattle and it was cute and cozy and worked great! Could it work for us? Would everything fit?
Enter: The (Not So) Virtual Home Makeover!
I've done this before in the past while trying to rework a tricky room or space and it works wonderfully! Not to mention that it's much easier than moving all your furniture, only to discover that your bed doesn't fit where you thought it would. This is the opposite of "guess and check" furniture rearranging and it's not a bad way to spend a Saturday afternoon! (Grand total of time spent on this project: 5 hours) You can save your room/house cut outs for future rearrangements too so it really is a well spent time investment!
What you'll need:
a measuring tape
a yard stick
a small ruler (Napoleon won't work for this project... hee hee, get it?!)
large sketch paper
a pencil (and eraser)
permanent pen (fine tip)
permanent pen (standard tip)
colored pens (optional)
1. Start by measuring your entire home or apartment from wall to wall (in inches) , pausing to mark off windows/doors and marking down their measurements. Then, do quick measurements (also in inches) of all the furniture to be moved as well as stationary objects like the tub, toilet, fridge and stove. This actually doesn't take as long as you'd think!
2. Take the two longest measurements of your house or apartment and divide them by 10 (so 300 feet would become 30 inches) and tape together enough paper to fit your home on. Our reduced home measured about 40" by 26". If you're concerned about screwing up, only tape the pieces together with small pieces of tape... it will be easy to remove the offending square and replace it with a blank one. Once you're happy with your "home" you can reinforce the tape more permanently.
3. Draw the outline of your home onto the paper and trim it down to size.
4. Using a pencil and a yardstick/ruler begin, IN PENCIL, drawing all of the walls, windows, closets and all other permanent objects (including your stove and fridge) onto your paper. Once you are totally done with the pencil draft and everything fits just right go over the entire drawing in black permanent pen. This is by far the most tedious step of the process but it's worth it when you see it all done.
5. Now, take all of your furniture measurments and divide them all by 10 as well. Then (you can get as artsy as you like) draw and cut out each piece of furniture to scale. Then, just like a dollhouse, you can place the items into your home. I began by putting the furniture into the places where it already is.
6. Then you can rearrange your furniture into new configurations and possibilities.
The bedroom has been moved out into the main apartment space, while the office furniture has been moved to the bedroom and I've added a crib (in the lower right hand corner).
Another view of the office/baby room. May need to find a space for a "feeding chair"... perhaps by ditching one of the small dressers (grey square).
Another view of the new living space.
I'm feeling so great having done this! I can continue to play around with the layout over the next couple of months and add items as we get them or remove items as we give them away. Despite the fact that, when January rolls around, we may be living in a different place, I am so relieved to have plan for incorporating our baby into our home! Now, I can start on the virtual decor!
Home Makeover Directions