Smaller Cooler 2009: Roan's Former Factory

Smaller Cooler 2009: Roan's Former Factory

Janel Laban
May 18, 2009

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Name/Age: Roan, 8 months
Location: Brooklyn, New York
Family: Roan, Mom Heather, Dad Andy and "two ne'er do well cats"
Room Size: 80 square feet

Tip for Living Small with Kids: As with everything else this year, we're still learning! But for the most part, living small with the babe seems easier than living large might. We don't need baby monitors or a downstairs changing zone; we aren't experiencing the bloat of stuff that follows many kiddos into the world; we're usually only a few steps away from one another when someone needs a third hand. Of course there are some exceptions, and we had to come up with solutions for everything from, say, storing sterilized bottles in a New York kitchen (inside Clik Clak canisters on the open shelf of our island) to relocating and downsizing my office (an always-tidy desk in our living room and a lot of scanned, digitized files).

Give Roan and her parents 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!

What was one of the biggest challenges you faced in putting together this room? When we moved into this apartment five years ago, its former life as a knitting factory wasn't, well, very former. It kind of stared you right in the face. At one time the space that became our daughter Roan's was the factory's secure, windowless cash room, and so its defunct door (behind the quilt ladder) was vault-grade; it also featured an oh-so-charming rolling steel gate leading into the living room. (We got that guy down and out on our very first day.) What eventually turned into the bulletin board was a barred window that used to open to the hall, and the electricity didn't work.

Slowly, the major issues were dealt with (can't say enough good things about a conduit bending tool or upholstered homasote for bulletin boards). But when we found out I was pregnant, a whole new set of challenges arose. The peeling lead paint running, literally, from floor to 14-foot ceiling, for instance. Or the extension cord that connected the room's electricity to the rest of our apartment. After resolving these kinds of problems, we ebay'd a salvaged pocket door (irregularly sized, naturally) and found the barn door hardware to hang it along the wall at Although I sometimes still wish it had natural light, we did end up with a warm, cozy room.

Give Roan and her parents 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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