Bowie's Pirate-Infested Waters

Smaller Cooler 2011 Entry #31

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Name: Bowie (5 months)
Location: San Francisco, CA
Division: Single Room
Room Size: 33 square feet

Tip for Living Small with Kids: Be flexible, stay organized, and know that it's OK to be picky. Be flexible. When my husband first suggested converting our closet into a nursery, I balked. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized it was the only realistic solution given our space and financial constraints. Now I love having him close by and it made the transition from co-sleeping feel very natural. (continued below...)

Stay organized. We've got a large closet downstairs where we keep all of the clothes and toys Bowie hasn't grown into yet sorted by size and type. I'm constantly phasing things in and out of that closet, which means that all the toys in the bins and all the clothes in his dresser are in use. Anything that Bowie has grown out of goes immediately into the closet, to be donated or passed forward at a later date.

It's OK to be picky. We are fortunate to have many friends with older babies, and we get a lot of hand-me-downs. If someone brings us a bag of clothes or toys, I go through it immediately and weed out the stuff we won't use. We also get offered a lot of "permanent" items (i.e., high chair, activity mat, pack and play), and I never feel afraid to say no if it doesn't match our decor. Integrating the baby's stuff with the rest of your decor really brings the home together and makes it feel like one organized unit.

Biggest Design Challenge in this Room: I was really worried that our former closet would feel like a sad, depressing cave and my husband was concerned with proper ventilation. We killed two concerns with one stone by installing a vented skylight with a remote-control blackout shade. Now with the flip of a button, we can turn Bowie's light-filled room into one suitable for napping.

Favorite Thing About This Room: I love how bright and airy this room has become with the addition of the skylight. Also, I'm pretty fond of the wooden whale (affectionately referred to as Mr. Humpy), which was carved by my best friend when she was a wee lass in junior high.

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Family, 2011, Small Cool

As Apartment Therapy's Family Editor, Carrie covers design and modern homelife with children. A lapsed librarian, she lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two kids and is in contention to break the record for most hours spent at the playground.

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