Finding a place for baby: Part I

As I mentioned in my first blog post one of the main reasons for starting this blog was our brilliant idea to have a baby.  And, now that we know that you can’t just put a baby in a drawer and call it a nursery (kidding!), we have quite a conundrum on our hands.  We’ve been living comfortably in our 2bedroom by allowing the second bedroom to be our office/guest room.  While the room itself definitely presented some challenges, we were able to figure out a way to carve out space for each of us to have a desk and a bookcase:

Here is DH’s bookcase, stuffed with books and CDs (I swear at some point it was not overflowing and was definitely well-organized):

And we still had room for our pull-out sofa and space for storing guest linens:

Actually, this room has been served us amazingly well over the almost 4 years we’ve lived here and this room wears a lot of hats with remarkable aplomb.  I know that some people can pretty easily get away with a small “office” tucked away in a secretary desk–just enough to hold a laptop and provide a place to pay bills.  However, DH works from home most days a week (he is a PhD student) so he uses his desk (the one on the right) every single day.  I use mine most days each week for things like blogging, paying bills, writing letters, checking email, etc.  And my desk has the file drawer with all of our, well, files.  I also sometimes work from home, making the two separate workspaces ideal.

This room has also done a remarkable job serving as our guest room.  The addition of two key pieces of furniture from IKEA allowed us to keep the office looking nice while easily storing our guest linens and providing a rather comfortable place for our numerous guests to sleep.  When we first moved to Chicago we were hosting overnight guests 2-3 times a month.  Although our hosting duties have definitely slowed down now to a guest every month or two, we’re still pros at doing a quick change to turn our business-mostly office into a tiny but comfortable guest room.  The coffee table/storage cube gets moved to the wall beneath the mirror we hung to create a make-shift dresser area for our guests. With the addition of some nicely rolled fluffy white towels, a basket with some magazines and overnight essentials, and some chocolates on the pillow, we try to help our guests forget that their room is a tiny office.  And they seem to do okay–we’ve had numerous repeat guests!!

Oh, and remember all those thousands of CDs?  Many of them also live in this room (read more about that here).  Not to mention lots of books and other office-y type things (old tax returns, high school mementos, owners manuals for appliances, etc.).  So yeah, this room does a lot for us!

But, back to our current situation: our family will be much bigger very soon.  Yes, I know that our baby will be a rather tiny person, but even when you go the minimalist route, babies still need a fair amount of stuff.  So we’ve had to come to terms with the fact that our perfect little office/guest room can’t also be a nursery.  There is just only so much multi-tasking one little room can do!  We knew that something had to give in this room.

We’ve now been through about a million ideas for how we can maintain spaces for all the activities that we will need (baby sleep and care, computer work, bill paying, overnight guest space, etc.) but nothing has been a perfect solution; all the possibilities have involved giving up some amount of functionality.  Ah, the 2-bedroom blues!  But after several months of deliberation, we have realized that our need for guest space has definitely been dwindling (as I mentioned, when we first moved, we often had overnight guests 2-3 weekends each month!).  Interestingly, many of our friends have since moved to Chicago, which is great.  We still do have family visit from time to time, but not as often as we used to.  And we suspect that most people will understand that we no longer have the same guest space and time to entertain out-of-town guests once the baby arrives.  So we decided that if we were to give up anything, it would be that.  We actually have had great success with sleeping overnight guests in the living room on our corner sofa, which is actually incredibly comfortable (we nap there frequently!).  So now we just need to decide if we want to keep the sleeper sofa and move it to the living room (and store the corner sofa for now), or keep the corner sofa and sell or store the sleeper sofa for now.  Right now, we’re leaning towards the latter, although the sleeper-sofa option would allow us the chance to get some accent chairs (we’ve already found some that we love!).  We’re putting off that decision for now though and hoping that by working on some other parts of the house we’ll gain some clarity about what to do!

So, we basically need to figure out how to keep some amount of office-y space while still providing us ample room to have a parent and baby-friendly nursery.  We’d love to be able to most use the nursery for baby stuff, although we know already that we’ll have to store some of our grown-up stuff in there.  We’re not sure when we’ll need to break this to the baby though.

Stay tuned for more posts about how on earth we’re going to handle what is clearly turning out to be my greatest organizational and design challenge yet!


11 thoughts on “Finding a place for baby: Part I

  1. I really enjoy your blog ever since I found it a few weeks ago and this entry has reminded me of two things. I haven’t visited Chicago in a long time and I miss you! You will likely be seeing my name popping up in your phone this week!!!!

    Good call on the room. Question is will there be little baby chocolates left on the baby’s pillow each night?!

    • I love the idea of leaving chocolates on the baby’s pillow! Except that babies can’t have chocolate…or pillows 😦 I suppose that there are some drawbacks to being a baby. But if you visit, you’ll get a chocolate for sure!

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