J &amp J's Snug Harbor

J &amp J's Snug Harbor

Carrie McBride
May 16, 2011

Name(s): Jocelyn (4) & Jake (8 months)
Location: Malibu, CA
Division: Shared Room
Room Size: 99 square feet

Tip for Living Small with Kids: Utilize all available space and stay organized! I find that the more you edit down to the essentials, categorize, and label, the neater things stay because there is always a logical, obvious home for everything. Doing this allows not only me to both find what I need and put things away easily, but also my husband, daughter and eventually my son, to do their part in keeping our living space uncluttered and functional. Although with kids, you should allow for a small degree of messy chaos and embrace it rather than fight it. Striving for perfection will literally drive you crazy!

Biggest Design Challenge in this Room: Finding a lighting solution. This room was Jocelyn's alone before Jacob was born; so to transition it into a shared space, the two lamps in the room, the nursing chair, dresser and nightstand were all sacrificed for the new "big girl bed" (i.e. the twin captain's bed). And since nothing could be installed in the ceiling, the lighting had to move up to the walls.

I searched far and wide before I found these stainless steel sconces, which are actual nautical dock lights for outdoor docks and marinas. I had them hardwired and hooked up to individual dimmer switches so they can fully brighten the entire room or dimly light only a corner of it. This is especially helpful when I need to change the baby in the middle of the night while my toddler sleeps! I also just love the authentic "harbor" element they bring to the room.

Favorite Thing About This Room: The shabby chic coastal vibe, with a touch of striped cabana whimsy, and a subtle feel of a vintage beach cottage. My goal was to create a unisex space that felt laid back and time worn; and one that didn't scream "nautical" or "beach-themed" nursery. I chose objects salvaged from the shore (like glass bottles, a local sea fan, seashells from Baja, and a huge sea star I brought home from the Caribbean as a child) and bedding that was neither too masculine or feminine. The twin comforter/sham are a blue & taupe damask with coordinating striped sheeting... I had to buy an extra striped sheet set so the crib bedding and throw pillows could be sewn to match.

But by far my favorite detail is the DIY swing shelves that were inspired by the Pottery Barn Kids version. The original is three feet wide, too big for my space, so I made my shelves in custom sizes using Poplar plywood, white no-VOC paint, jute rope, and brushed nickel handrail brackets repurposed as shelf supports. The one next to my daughter's bed is a bit deeper than the others to act as a floating nightstand, leaving the drawers underneath the bed accessible.

Thanks for your entry Lisa and good luck!

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