ESTHER'S NEST

Unbeknownst to us, when we moved into our current apartment, I was pregnant (or maybe got pregnant shortly after moving in... whatever, don't think about it too much HA). We knew kids were probably going to be in the picture soon, but that didn't stop us from moving into a one bedroom place. People all over the world live in MUCH smaller spaces with many more people, so my hope was that we could do this with one, maybe two kids, for a period of time. This ain't the suburbs, folks, and Seattle is 'SPENSIVE.

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When we moved in, I said, "I'm not moving again for two years. I'm sick of packing and unpacking." Well... that wish may not come true (more on that later), but it's all for the best. 

Anyhow. Once we found out we had a little Stals on the way, we set out to arrange our space to accommodate three people instead of two (plus Butter). Can't be that hard, right? She'll be tiny, how much space does she need? Turns out, it's more about the stuff that comes along with Baby that requires so much space. I vowed to be a minimalist parent, but some things are kinda necessary. Other things aren't necessary, but definitely make life easier (like a designated spot to change diapers at 3am). 

So here's a little peek into how we made our one and only bedroom work for us and Esther. And... in the spirit of real life and transparency, I definitely did a lot of cleaning and de-cluttering before taking the finished shots. Most of the time, our bedroom/nursery looks like the first few pictures, but with more decorations on the walls. JUST SO YOU KNOW. : ) 

It was a slow process to start out. My mom is a wizard with interior design, and drew up a whole plan for us, detailing how we could use this space most efficiently. As we started accumulating more baby gear, we moved our furniture around, using half the room for me and Dave (which is pretty much just our bed), and the other half for Esther's nursery. I made a Pinterest board (duh, of course I did) to keep track of what I liked and condense ideas into a cohesive theme. I'm hoping that most of the decor will grow with her, and not look like just a baby room as she enters childhood. 

The crib provided a useful corral for laundry and baby stuff that hadn't been put away yet. Ten weeks after birth, it's still serving that purpose, as Esther is still in the Moses basket next to our bed. We'll probably transition her to the crib around 3 or 4 months. 

Part of the original plan was to hang a curtain from the ceiling down the middle of the room to create a visual divide. This would make the two spaces feel more separate, and also block Esther's view of us from the crib (which should aid sleep). But since that doesn't matter until she's older, and since we're probably moving out of this place soon anyway, it became a moot point. 

We ditched the hanging clothes organizers that I used in our closet and bought storage cubes and baskets from Ikea. Those are for my clothes and Dave's, and the dresser serves as Esther's clothes storage and changing table. It was a very gross shade of burgundy, and one of my summer projects was to paint it white. Eventually I'll change out the hardware too. 

I saw a pin a long time ago of a black and white version of this crib sheet, which I LOVED. Then I was poking around Land of Nod one day and saw this pink one and snatched it up immediately. Never mind that it was $35 — I still had Crate & Barrel gift cards leftover from our wedding (two and a half years ago — yikes). Land of Nod is totally outrageous, but also seriously adorable. I want all the crib sheets. 

I have a thing for gallery walls (and fur). The wall above Esther's crib has the ugly breaker box for our apartment, and needed to be covered with something pretty. I scoured thrift stores for mirrors and finally found this one at an indoor flea market that  my friend Jordan and I frequent. The frame was originally black, so I spray-painted it aqua. I was going for more robin's egg blue, but it's hard to tell from the paint lid how it's going to turn out. Maybe I'll redo it at some point. 

The animal prints are from Ikea, the butterflies are a gift from Jordan's shop in Snohomish, and the North Carolina flower print is from the cutest gift shop called Gather in Cary. The shadowbox dress was a gift from my mom... the dress was her's as a baby! And the triptych frame was a hand-me-down from a friend, and has Esther's 8 week and 20 week ultrasound photos, and a shot from our newborn session in the middle. Since she looks like a little frog in the 8 week ultrasound photo, maybe I'll replace that one with another picture someday too. 

Inspired by Pinterest, I made a pillow cover with gray fleece and pink and white pompoms. I didn't want the nursery side of the room to look too childish or girly, since Dave and I live in there too, but I did want a few feminine touches here and there. This pillow was for the glider, but has ended up in the crib most of the time. I mean seriously... here I am at 8 months pregnant, SEWING. Do I not look like the nestiest little nester ever? PS - pompoms are a mofo to sew onto anything. There's got to be a better way...

And here's the finished (and cleaned up) product (the pom-pom pillow is in the crib). 

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The glider was a Craigslist find. I knew I wanted one with white wood, and I preferred gray fabric, but chambray was a nice compromise. My mom also found this awesome tutorial (something like this one, but I can't find the original) that I think we'll attempt at some point in the future. 

If you want to know what this looks like on a normal day, picture a nursing pillow tucked next to the bed, a stack of books and technology on the nightstand, Butter and her bones on the rug, a half-used box of nursing pads next to the cubbies, and a crib overflowing with baby gear and laundry.

However, I will say that I make an effort to make the bed every day, because I feel depressed when I walk into the room and the bed isn't made. And it feels so much nicer to climb into a made-up bed at night than one that's still rumpled from the night before. 

I'm in love with children's books. I remember feeling really sad when I was around 12 or 13 and feeling stuck between the children's and adult's sections at the library, not sure what to read anymore. So having piles of children's books sitting around the house for Esther is my FAVORITE. I also love this elephant my friend Lindsey brought me from Kenya. I'm excited to have more spaces for reading and more piles of books as Esther (and future kids) grow up!

This was my mom's ingenious method of keeping the changing pad cover clean. This one is also from Land of Nod, bought with the very last bit of those gift cards. It seems silly to have so many layers for the place where we change diapers, but 1) putting Esther down on the cold vinyl didn't seem very comfortable and 2) I wasn't just going to use a towel. We were using chux pads leftover from birth for a while, but that was generating a huge amount of waste, so we put a thin plastic cutting board on top of the changing pad, and then a hand towel on top of that. So far, it's worked like a charm. 

Because every blog I read about babies and nurseries involves Sophie the giraffe, here's the requisite photo of Sophie the giraffe.

Honestly, I think it's ridiculous whenever moms post about how amazing Sophie is and how everyone needs one and its on the "baby essentials" list for registries. Because we all know that design-conscious blog moms get it because IT'S CUTE. Like Hunter boots. Which I got for Christmas because they're cute. And also because frequent trips to the dog park in a wet Seattle winter were destroying my other shoes. 

Here's my little muffin, who played so nicely on her playmat while I was taking pictures. She really is the best baby. 

Not the nursery anymore, but here's my solution for when I have to shower and Esther's not sleeping. This little lamb chair has been a lifesaver, but once Esther starts getting more mobile and/or has a shorter attention span, I'm going to have to find a new solution. Maybe I can train Butter to babysit...

Putting all this together was so fun. People say that nesting is part of pregnancy, but I think I'm just a nesty person in general. I really feel that your home is your art. I inherited that love of interior design from my mom, but I think the desire to make our home a beautiful, welcoming place has grown since I left my full-time job and now spend more time working from home and caring for Esther. I love creating an environment that feels comfortable, restful, functional, and visually pleasing. Doing that in a small space is an interesting mind puzzle, and is constantly evolving process. I'm looking forward to starting the whole thing over in our next place!