Smaller Cooler 2009: Jax's Room That Does It All

Smaller Cooler 2009: Jax's Room That Does It All

Janel Laban
May 18, 2009

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Name/Age: Jax, 8 months
Location: New York, New York
Family: Jax, Mom Rachel and Dad
Room Size: 120 square feet (in a 350 sq. ft. apartment!)

Tip for Living Small with Kids: Lose the fluff: if something isn't visually pleasing, sentimental, or highly functional, you don't need it. You should love each piece and each piece should contribute something positive to you and your child's everyday. I'd also add that if something such as a piece of furniture could serve dual functions, that's all the better. Finally, it's important to be sure that toys are put away immediately after use, that the bed is made, and that the laundry is kept up with. Just one day of lagging on these habits is fatal to the clean design of a small space.

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What was one of the biggest challenges you faced in putting together this room? This room does it all: it's a master bedroom, nursery, playroom, and even a laundry drying area (we have a washer but no dryer). Besides the obvious size constraints, we had the added challenge of living in a rental and knowing we would be moving when the lease was up. That meant no renovations and white, white walls. We've been saving to buy a home as well, so add a limited budget to the above limitations and it was no small task putting this room together.

A tape measure and lots of Internet research were the most useful tools in designing this space: I drew out the room measurements, design ideas & layouts in a little sketchbook and then carried it around with me everywhere I went. The pieces we chose fit each space to its maximum capacity, down to the half inch. I don't usually like matchy furniture sets, but the "Wall of Leksvik" as I call it (the armoire, changing table/dresser, shelf/hooks, and cabinet from the IKEA Leksvik collection) creates a sort of wall unit, combining my husband's clothes (in the armoire) and all the baby furniture and storage apart from the crib. Our bed has three built-in drawers on each side, holding my husband and my clothes, and a built-in closet stores the rest of my clothes, some baby clothes hung on hangers, and the adults' hamper. The clothes drying racks are retractable so are only largely noticeable when in use. The area under the crib stores clothes Jax hasn't grown into yet, blankets, and his laundry basket. The toy sac is from Paris and holds stuffed animals.

We didn't purchase many decor items: I made most of them using an old book of French nursery rhymes I found in a Paris garbage pile, some pictures I drew, an heirloom sweater, and my own knitting. The other items are sentimental or hand-made gifts from family, friends, and mementos of our time living in Paris. The primary color scheme is red, light blue, and white (a look that preexisted the baby's arrival), but really all the rainbow colors work here. I made the bold red curtains years ago, which keep the light out for naps, and use a white bedspread to keep the space looking as light and spacious as possible. Even though it's small and somewhat temporary, surroundings matter to me and I'm pleased I was able to create a clean and fun space where our baby has begun to explore the world.

Give Jax's Family a THUMBS UP if you think this room belongs in the finals!
Thumbs Up Voting is only activated for 48 Hours — so don't delay!
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