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Caitlin’s (Surprise!) Nursery/Office MOTO Intro

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Surprise! You know I’ve been house hunting, and today I’m excited to share some big news…

Just kidding. It’s not my baby. (“Yeah, duh,” – you, just now, unsurprised, remembering that I asked readers to set me up with their cute sons in my last glorified diary entry house hunting update.) ANYWAY. Here’s the deal: one of the perks of working here at EHD is the opportunity to do a MOTO – a MakeOver Take Over, if you’re new to our little blog family – where our team can call in favors with our brand partners to help decorate our own spaces in exchange for coverage on the blog (and new original design content for y’all. Everybody wins!).

Since I’m still in the midst of that aforementioned house hunt (Sight unseen offers were made! Letters were written and ignored! Offers $76k over asking were submitted because I have officially lost my mind! Foundation issues were discovered! My heart has turned to a shriveled husk! Updates soon!), I’ve held off on doing a MOTO of my own. I do truly love my apartment – it’s huge, rent-controlled, and priced under market; I have my own garage (a very big flex if you live in Koreatown); there’s crown moulding and vintage charm for days – but it’s always felt like a bit of a stopover point.

I’ve tried a couple of times to pull the trigger on some semi-permanent decisions, like new paint colors or bathroom wallpaper or updated lighting fixtures, but I always just stop short of installation. I just have this nagging feeling that I’m about to leave, which kind of renders my MOTO dreams moot. 

But if I’m not going to use my resources, someone should still be able to, right? And finally, five paragraphs in, that brings us to the point of today’s post: two of my best friends are having a baby – a baby in whom I have a very vested interest, as you’ll soon learn – so I’ll be cashing in my MOTO favors for these two dynamite pals and for my new almost-born baby friend. We’re going to make one super sweet, practical, functional, happy nursery/office space and it’s going to be great (I hope). Let the takeover commence!!! 

The Deserving Friends

marissa + jess on their babymoon which is a VERY cute thing i just learned about (google it)

This is some top-notch meet cute content buuuuut if you’re just like “hey lady, just talk about design, I don’t want to read a heartwarming story,” you can hop down to the next section. For the rest of you, IT’S LOVE STORY TIME. (And like, what better way to start your day??? Grab that coffee and sit with me for a sec, girl!!! Everything’s not awful!)  

I met Jess in 2009 when we were randomly assigned as roommates at our über-liberal art school in Boston. He was studying writing and I was studying broadcast journalism (LOL) and we had a third roommate who was studying like, how much vodka she could fit in our mini-fridge and how many snack food bags she could open and crinkle non-stop at 3 AM when she was tripping on some sort of hallucinogen. (Again, art school.) What a prize! 

Jess and I didn’t click immediately. But true to human nature, two folks with a common enemy will start to bond – and bond we did. “Does she really not hear her alarm going off for 30 minutes?” and “WHO EATS APPLES IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT? IS THERE A LOUDER FOOD?” turned into “What time are we going to dinner?” and “Do you want to go to the movies?”

using this post as an excuse to share all the photos of my charming friends

By winter break, we were best friends. We chose to live together again in a new suite for our sophomore year, but Jess decided to transfer midway through the year. Y’all, I have had full-on breakups that were less sad than Jess moving. I was fully codependent but since kidnapping is a crime, I had to let him go.

The next year, I landed in a suite with five of the best people I’ve ever known – the people I reminisce about when I think of ~my college friends~ – and Jess agreed to come visit. This was right before the holidays in 2011 and it was on this trip when he got to know one of my new roommates, Marissa. They had met in passing (actually, at their wedding, they were able to find a photo of them standing side-by-side as freshmen strangers), but had never spent a ton of time together. 

But this time, on this trip, they hit it off. Jess and Marissa stayed in touch by playing Words with Friends together over the next few weeks and when they both went home for this winter break, they met for their first date at a diner equidistant from their childhood homes. It must have been a preeeetty good first date, because they’ve been together ever since and I was honored to stand by Jess’ side at their wedding in the spring of 2018.

Update: I sent a final draft of this post to Marissa and Jess on Monday night, because it seemed like the appropriate action to do when you’re about to publish a bunch of personal information about your friends and their house, and it turns out that I have no idea what I’m talking about!!!

From Marissa: “Girl, I love you, but this did not happen. Jess tweeted that he was heartbroken and needed a new girlfriend. You and Melyssa texted him saying he should date me! We connected over Twitter, then Words with Friends, then texted, so we didn’t meet in person til December 26th. He visited you in February of 2012.”

OKAY OKAY so my timeline is two months off and it started on social media first, but the gist is the same. In any case, here’s a picture of the matchmakers, Melyssa (left) and me (right) with the mom-to-be in question on our graduation day in the middle. The moral of the story is that you should ALWAYS be intrusive and you should force your friends to date each other. Success rate: 100%!!! (The other moral of the story is that memory is fickle and you should probably start taking fish oil supplements or whatever helps you remember things ASAP because I apparently already have no idea what is going on and that’s terrifying.)

GAH, I LOVE THEM!!! i’m so excited!!!

But if THAT doesn’t warm your heart, wait til I tell you a little more about how wonderful they are!!! Marissa, the world’s most incredible mom-to-be, earned her Masters in 2019 and now works as a librarian. Jess, someone with little-to-no-tolerance for plastic water bottles, is working towards his Ph.D. in something very smart that has to do with the environment and sustainability and psychology (I think the gist is like, getting people to care about climate change, which is obviously very important!!!).

A Jess clarification, given the night before publication, for interested folks: “Basically I focus on neighborhood and individual resiliency to climate change and how small-scale community programming can help support that resiliency – in terms of social cohesion (if something goes down, can they rely on neighbors to help each other?), individual wellbeing (in terms of mental health – eco grief and eco anxiety is a thing!), and efficacy (e.g. that people feel like they can actually do something to address these issues). It’s okay, no one knows or understands what I do.”

WE GET IT JESS, YOU ARE VERY SMART AND YOU’RE SAVING THE WORLD. Just a little bit of light reading for this Tuesday, huh?? Some of us are just trying to write blog posts over here while you win over the hearts of minds of communities nationwide. If you weren’t sure that these people deserved a nursery (and a room where Jess can like, soothe the eco-grief of the masses), I know you’re like, “ah, yes, give these people a beautiful room, STAT,” because…same here.

Anyway, they also have two cats – Kallie and Leo – the former with whom I am deeply obsessed because she constantly looks like you’ve just told her some horrifying news and like she’s horribly disappointed in you. They are very good pets for very good people getting ready to shepherd a new person into the world.

The Space

here she is!

Now that you know the folks, let’s talk about the room! Marissa and Jess had been using this room as their primary bedroom, but they’ve since relocated into their second bedroom as that space is draftier and they want their baby to be toasty warm and comfortable. They’re already great parents!!!

There were a couple of key takeaways I got from the early shots, though – the carpet is an absolutely wild blend that shows as gray and brown simultaneously (the couple says it leans warm, and they live there, so I have to believe them, but…she sure looks gray here.); there are baseboard heaters which means we are either extending that curtain rod out FAR or we’re going to end up with roman shades that cover a decent amount of wall space above and around the window so light leak doesn’t wake my new favorite infant; there’s a great 3′-ish stretch of wall next to the closet that could be perfect for shelving or a changing table/dresser; one of these walls could be a real strong candidate for a nice little statement wallpaper.

“the gist” as ehd jess didn’t have the exact measurements

The room is about 11′ by 12′, so it’s a nice size for a cozy office and nursery. The layout is also great – I don’t know if y’all also suffer from “oh my gosh WHY IS THERE A FEATURE ON EVERY WALL” syndrome, but the closet is back on the wall with the door, so having two full blank canvases without doors or windows is a real treat (especially since this room will have to do double duty as an office).

Their Inspiration

Like any legit designer (LOL who do I think I am????), I figured I should probably ask Marissa and Jess to shoot me over some pins of nurseries that they’d been drawn to. In response, Jess wrote, “We were hoping for a nature/plants/forest animals?/cats theme… mostly nature-ish with cats and other animals sprinkled in. Idk it all works together in our heads.” OKAY. GOT IT. (PS. Jess’ emails are all very funny and I will be quoting more below.)

There were definitely a lot of common threads, though. Seems like these two love a green accent wall and some nature-inspired art…

They’re also fans of a natural textures and calm color palettes (which is great, too, considering they aren’t sure if they can actually paint)…

But they also love a nice little bright green statement wallpaper or decal moment, which I’m happy to deliver on! I also learned that they prefer darker or gray wood, which is why it’s important to not just run a design plan off pins 🙂

Overall, their inspiration got me excited – it feels doable and achievable but still really special and catered to the design preferences of these two people. I am eternally grateful that my pals did not go pinning photos of lucite cribs and metallic wallpaper because I would have been overwhelmed!!! This, though, I can handle (even though I’m a regular person, and not a designer, and I’ve never picked out nursery furniture before. DETAILS!).

The Couple’s Requests

Like a lot of parents, Marissa and Jess seem to want the best for their kid??? Weird. They were VERY amenable to anything I had to offer (“we’re not in the position to be excessively particular,” Jess wrote, not knowing that this baby will only be getting the best from their parent’s weird college roommate) but there are a couple of restraints I’m working with as I started sourcing product. I’m going to pull straight from Jess’ requests because he is a laugh-out-loud funny writer and these are GOLDEN.

  1. The Crib: “Obviously, safety and durability are the biggest priorities, as well as the crib not being the kind that have the side slide down (see: “Elf”, opening sequence, for why that’s problematic). We’d also like drawers underneath if possible because storage is another priority (who knew that a little person needs so much stuff??)”
  2. The Rocker: “Marissa and I are very particular in different ways about rockers because her priority is comfort while I don’t want some ugly granny chair. She definitely wants something with cushions/something sofa like? – that is, not a traditional wooden rocking chair, or a wooden rocking chair with cushions tied onto it. And I’m fine with that, but most of them online are fugly so I want something that looks more modern. (On the other hand, again, if you are like “hey I have a slightly fugly rocker, do you want it”, I would still say yes.)”
  3. The Desk: Jess has a BIG honkin’ desk that I’ll be replacing. He writes, “Marissa low key hates it because it’s so big. Also ignore that I have hot pepper plants on top of it… I need to re-pot them. Anyway, Marissa is positive that my desk will take up too much room in the nursery but I’m having a really hard time visualizing it without knowing, like, the standard sizes of cribs, changing tables/dressers, rockers, etc. Ideally, I’d like to fit all of these items in the nursery as well, but I have NO idea if that’s even possible. On the other hand, if you’re like “hey, I have this desk that I want to give away that would be perfect for a PhD candidate because it has drawers for storage and is still long enough (without being 6′) that he can look like a semi-professional podcaster when he’s running his classes and meetings on Zoom University”, then we would take it. 
  4. The Wood Tones: “We’re mostly looking for a darker wood or grey wood in the crib and changing table/dresser. I guess the rocker would complement those? Idk. Basically whatever looks good together, I’m down with – including if the crib and changing table/dresser are different wood tones but still look nice.”
  5. The Art: “I have a cross stitch that I just finished and need to frame that I’m putting in the GDrive folder also. There’s also art on Etsy that I adore but haven’t purchased yet because I want to see how everything looks together first. (If it’s helpful: Here’s a cross stitch that’s in my queue to make for Baby’s room. Here’s one of the artists I like, and here’s another – maybe not this actual print, but you get the idea. And Marissa looooves these name signs, so we want to leave space for this above the crib.)”

So the main goals here: safe, comfortable, appropriately-scaled pieces that look good together (design!!!), and bright, whimsy, fun art. WE’RE COOKING WITH GAS!

What They Already Got

And to make it even easier on me, Jess and Marissa have already purchased or received a few things. I feel VERY, VERY, VERY lucky to have a framework to build around as the original inspiration I had pinned for this project for my own reference definitely leaned a little more autumn-toned and desaturated. Taking a peek at the pieces they had already secured and wanted to include made sure that I was pulling items that would complement the nursery THEY wanted to have in their house, not the nursery that I wanted them to have in their house 🙂

First – JESS MADE THIS CROSS STITCH. Let’s meet in the comments and tell Jess to drop his Ph.D. and focus on cross stitching instead. INCREDIBLE. This is obviously going in a very important spot once it’s framed. (Jess wants me to note that he got the pattern for this cross stitch right here in case any of you want to duplicate!)

But I started to pick up the “nature/plants/forest animals/cats theme” when took a peek at the rest of the products they’d already sourced. Call me crazy but I thiiiiink there’s a definite color palette developing… (PS. I don’t know how to use photoshop and I’m trying my hardest to NOT ask anyone on the team for help on this one so I’m using Mal’s trick to make this graphic. Please give me some grace if you’re like, “wow that’s NOT great photoshop work!” My job is doing math. Graphics are not in my wheelhouse!!!)

Hedgehog Fitted Sheet | Leaves Fitted Sheet

I know, I know – not the artfully arranged numbered scattering you may be used to, but I TRIED. But as you can see, we have some pretty consistent threads: saturated greens, illustrated leaf motifs, and sweet grayscale animal prints (if you can’t tell – which like, I’m sure you can’t – those are hedgehog printed sheets from Target and they are SO CUTE.

These are all so bold that they really take the weight off of my shoulders – these bright and patterned pieces (and the corresponding art, like the pieces Jess had sent to me above) are going to be the stars of the show. My contributions are ALLLLL supporting actors, and that’s great!!!

The Challenges

I mean, there are three big ones that come to mind.

photo by monica wang | from: no nursery? no problem: 8 creative tips to make space for your new baby (+ a stylist’s house tour)

First, and most importantly – what’s the right balance between nursery and office? I want the baby to be surrounded with bright and happy things, but I also don’t want it to look like Jess is teaching Zoom University from the inside of a 1990s Discovery Zone.

We ran the above house tour from Ann Sage in March of last year – 3 days before everything shut down – and it is STUNNING (click through the house tour because the baby’s play area in the living room is also gorgeously curated!), but it definitely leans into very hard neutral territory. We could technically do something like this that really lets the bright + colorful art shine, but I’d be eschewing the ask for darker and grayer woods.

photo by nicole lamotte | from: a fast & fun nursery makeover with orlando

Second, how to you bring interest and life to a neutral space? The EHD nurseries of lore have been filled with special paint jobs or (permanent) wallpaper installations. What does a beautiful renter-friendly nursery look like? (And am I really a person qualified enough to answer that question?)

This nursery from Orlando used wall decals, which does inspire some confidence. If you’re really looking for some additional baby content this AM, I can’t recommend that post enough – he did the whole thing in TWO. FREAKING. WEEKS.

photo byjess isaac and monica wang | from: a floral glam nursery reveal

Third, how the heck am I gonna pull this off from a different state? And beyond that, how are we going to document it? Jess and Marissa live 2,250 miles away from LA, so it’s not like we can just send Sara over for an afternoon shoot. Plus, I don’t want to be like “AH YOU JUST HAD A BABY? Great, congrats, please leave your house during a pandemic for a day so I can hire a photographer to take photos of the interior!!! It’s for my blog!!!” This is an honest question – how would you like to see final shots? Are iPhone pics okay? Should we wait to reveal until the vaccine has fully rolled out so you can see the full family in the space? PLEASE ADVISE.

What’s Next?

So yeah…how do you design a room from 2,250 miles away for a baby that’s due on 3/19? QUICKLY AND EFFICIENTLY. I’ve spent the past two weeks pulling all sorts of in-stock items – desks that aren’t too big, bookshelves that won’t topple and crush the baby (this baby will the ONLY other person to ever be roommates with both Marissa and Jess, so they must be protected at all costs!), cribs that will not enable a midnight escape, rockers that are both comfortable and modern (not a fugly piece in sight, Jess!), dressers that can do double-duty as a changing table, temporary wallpaper ideas that will not drive either parent crazy if they’re forced to spend a day staring at it…you know. BABY STUFF. All the essentials.

I’m still wrapping up that process – turns out when you can’t do returns and when this is the stuff your friends are gonna be stuck with for like, 2 years, you get REAL particular about measurements! But I’ll be following this method that we perfected for a Velux makeover – it’s a dream for any of you out there trying to help a family member or friend with their own designs – so I’ll walk you through it real quickly!

Basically, last year (or 2 years ago? Honestly, did last year even count?) Julie and Emily pioneered a way to make design fast, cheap, AND good. I’ve mapped out Jess and Marissa’s nursery/office on graph paper (again, no photoshop skills here, doing this the computer illiterate way), cut out shapes of my ideal crib/dresser/shelves/desk (to scale, of course), and I’ve been playing with different configurations and layouts based on differently-sized pieces.

I’ll be sharing grids of all of Jess and Marissa’s in-stock options – like in the photo below, from the Velux project – and hoping that they’ll heart their favorites and X out any hard passes.

Velux Furniture Options With Hearts 4
from: our (new-ish) super fast, super useful design process (for non-designers and beginning designers)

From there, I’ll be able to play with any available options on Keynote – mixing and matching from all the contenders, with a preference for the things that they’ve hearted – and I’ll be goofing around with graph paper to TRIPLE CHECK that everything fits before making the final calls.

The official selections are going to be showing up to their house sight unseen (or at least that’s the plan, unless they end up entering ultra-nest mode and are like, “SHOW US RIGHT NOW”) and they should be all installed and ready to go by this time next month, which gives us a solid 4 weeks of buffer time before THE BABY APPEARS.

So yes, this is technically a surprise MOTO nursery and office…just not for me 🙂 But this is where I ask for your help – I’m obviously not a parent, so is there anything I’m missing for furniture or decor? Do you have any tips for a “noffice”? (Nursery/office, the term coined by Jess that I am definitely stealing.) Do you have any thoughts on how it should be revealed? Any well wishes for my dear, dear, sweet pals who deserve all the good things in the world??? HAPPY TUESDAY, HAPPY 2-MONTHS-TIL-BABY DAY, HELP PLEASE. xx

Opening Image Credits: Design by Anne Sage | Photo by Monica Wang | From: No Nursery? No Problem: 8 Creative Tips To Make Space For Your New Baby (+ A Stylist’s House Tour)

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Caitlin, I absolutely love your blogging voice! And I hear your uncertainty (hilariously documented vulnerability is wonderful) but I really think YOU GOT THIS. As someone who’s had 2 kids and got really design-excited about doing up kid spaces, I have a little advice to add if that’s OK! 1) Even with a really big outside mount Roman shade for the window(s), you might want to get something ugly but functional like blackout honeycomb shades that perfectly fit the window and can be tucked way up high (or low if you like top down/bottom up functionality) to really block that light. Not every baby is light sensitive, but when they get old enough to be toddlers, it’s really nice to not have them wake up at 6 AM because the summer morning light is so glorious. 2) A thing I hadn’t really considered with kid stuff (both clothing and decor wise) is that there is SO MUCH PATTERN all the time. So it can be really nice to have some neutral pieces in the mix, whether it’s a bed sheet or a sleep sack or some basic onesies etc, so that all the cute patterns stand on their own instead… Read more »

Oh and on the so much pattern thing, I always tried to follow Em’s rules of varying the scale of patterns and adding texture, and it really helped both in room design and outfit design to minimise the LOUDNESS of all the kiddo clothing ever. I still refer back to her video from like 1983 about varying the look in throw pillows sometimes.

Katrin

Hi! Mother of two from Europe here, and I have a couple of things to suggest. I can’t see any previous comments so apologies if I’m repeating things that have been said. First, our babies didn’t actually sleep in the nursery until they were four to six months, they slept in a bassinet attached to our bed instead. Like co sleeping but without the fear of crushing the baby. Also, bedroom = quitest room in the house, newborns nap all the time, and they need that sleep, how does that work with zoom lectures going on in the same room? Second, I know Americans love these rockers, but I nursed on the sofa in the living room or on a comfy chair by a window. So, I would suggest to skip this! That way mom can nurse while watching tv (in the first few weeks before baby turns its head and gets too distracted) and without broadcasting herself to the zoom students. Lol I guess what I’m really saying is keep all baby activity out of the office for as long as possible! But, I would argue for a dresser to put he clothes in and to put a changing… Read more »

Shauna

I second all of this… put the rocker out in the living room if you want to buy one. Good luck Caitlin!

Dawn

Yes to All of This! I had a baby during my PhD. I would keep in mind that this will be an office only while baby is in the parents bedroom. Then it will be baby palace. But changing pad on dresser is smart.

Rusty

I agree, skip the rocker. It takes up too much real estate!

Kelly

I agree with Katrin! I have three kids and I don’t know how it could have ever worked to have an office in their nursery after they were out of the infant stage. We were in grad school when we had our second and we put the office in the closet. This was 24 years ago before a ‘cloffice’ was a thing. In any case, wishing this couple the best!

Meghan

My youngest just turned one and my eldest is almost three, so I have recent experience with nurseries:).
I moved a comfortable leather chair from my family room and bought a cute ottoman for my legs – it has served me well for bf both babies.
We bought an ikea hemnes dresser to serve as clothes storage and a change table – it is a major work horse and a great height for diaper changes (price is great too). I highly recommend a change pad that is wipeable…. I have the keekaroo one and, particularly with two boys, it has saved me lots of laundry! Black out window coverings are key as is a good sound machine. Good luck to the soon to be parents!

Vera

Ah good point about a wipeable change pad! I have a wipeable one (smooth vinyl-like material with no seams) and initially we had a cute cotton cover on it but I soon realized the cover is unnecessary!
Generally, less is better!
Similarly, my toddler had a duvet (that of course had a duvet cover) but I realized the duvet itself could basically be its own blanket, sans cover. One less thing to wash when the pull-up leaks!

Lauren

As a new-ish parent (17 month old here), I was staunchly against having a rocker in the nursery. But my husband insisted and he never has opinions, so I obliged, and I cannot tell you how glad I am. Having a cozy place in a separate room to spend countless nights feeding, rocking, comforting, etc. our not-so-great sleep was a life saver. Would absolutely try to make room for one. I’d also had an ottoman and small table that can hold a phone charger (wireless if their phone is compatible), a drink, and a small speaker (we have an Echo dot) made for a very nice spot for all of us.

Lauren

P.S. I don’t why my first comment came out as a reply here. Long time lurkery, first time poster woes I guess.

Sara

Keekaroo YES three kids — oldest turns 6 next week (WAAAH)— and it’s still going strong for my one year old. We just put a small flannel baby blanket on it so it’s not cold for him and if anything gets on that, it’s easy to throw in the wash and grab a fresh one.

With my first, we lived in a small apt and his room only had space for the changing pad to slide under the crib. We had a super cushy area rug and all the diaper materials down low so we could just slide out the changing pad and slide it back in. This worked great for us bc our little guy was SQUIRMY and it was safer to be on the ground (once he was out of the immobile nb phase) *and* space saving.

Jennifer

Ditto the Hemnes dresser with changing pad on top. Worked perfectly for us and, bonus, our youngest is 13 and still uses it as a dresser.

Kw

Yeah my thought regarding combining a baby bedroom and office (as the parent of a 20 month old and having considered doing just that) is hahahahaha…no. When the baby is little, assuming he/she is sleeping in the bedroom, he/she will spend a huge amount of time asleep, when work can’t get done. Then he/she will be old enough that the toy explosion will make working impossible (this coming from a mom with very few toys). Consider a cloffice, a desk in the parents’ bedroom, anything. Also, consider keeping the space taken up by furniture to minimum so there is plenty of room for tummy time and eventually floor-centric play like blocks and trains etc. or parents sleeping on the nursery floor, which…happens. Yes to black out shades, white noise machine, a nightlight that dims, lots of throw pillows in comfortable fabrics (for arm support when holding the baby and feeding and occasionally taking a nap on the nursery floor) and a chair that is easy to get into and out of without making noise or abdominal gymnastics. We had one of those IKEA bendy plywood chairs and it worked fine other than that it was so low it impossible to… Read more »

Colleen

I love your writing, Caitlin. It reminds me of reading texts/emails from one of my friends 🙂 Definitely lol’ed in a couple places. Excited for this MOTO!

Caitlin, um can I just hire you to write my blog posts?! I LOVE your voice so much! SO GOOD!!! As for nursery advice, my childless womb will be of no help to you. Sorrrryyy 😉

Rusty

Key … please be careful with flippantly using terms like “childless womb” coz a lot of people are desperately trying to become pregnant and can’t. (Not me, but know people reading this might be wounded by the term).

We all need to be mindful of what we say, given that your comment was to Caitlin, but people from all walks of life, each with their own stories and challenges, are reading this, all over the globe.

No harm meant … just sayin’.

tjcsrcmcar

No. Stop. The snowflake sensitivity thing needs to just STOP.

She’s talking about herself. Let her define her body using whatever terms she wishes without making her feel guilty!

Alix

Totally agree. Surely one can (I can) described myself how I like.

Rusty

Triggers are real.
Thereason I mentioned it, respectfully, is because I myself made the same innocent mistake and hurt someone without being aware.

When someone is speaking or messenging PRIVATELY with someone, it’s a completely different situation than when one is commenting on a blog.

I think the heads up is especially important for Keyanna, because she is a blogger herself.

Live, learn …
Without prejudice.

Hi Rusty, I appreciate your concern. Just curious tho, if I was someone who was desperately trying to become pregnant and couldn’t, would you still consider my comment “flippant”? Perhaps I was making a very honest statement about my body? Or, on the flip side, if I had 7 kids and I described my womb as “fertile”, would it elicit the same response from you? All women (whether with or without children) should be able to define her own womb/body/appearance etc however she chooses, even in a PUBLIC forum, without being shamed or judged, or accused of being “flippant”, by someone who doesn’t even know their personal challenges, struggles etc. As you said, people from all walks of life, each with their own stories and challenges are reading this, and so to anyone reading this know that I honor and respect however you choose to define your OWN body, (even if it’s triggering to me), because no one should feel shame or be at fault for how they so choose to refer to themselves. If anyone was triggered by what I said, I send you my earnest and sincere apology <3 But I refuse to feel guilty for stating an… Read more »

Rachael

Some advice from someone who did a PhD while having babies—you cannot use the same room for an office as you can for a nursery. I promise you that if you do everyone will be miserable, the baby will never sleep, and that PhD will not get done. The office space should be set up in the master bedroom instead.

Vera

I had the same thought! Maybe they have a plan I’m not understanding, but I just cannot imagine mixing those two functions! I would set up the office in the master bedroom. I have three littles, and for us, the nursery has had three main functions: 1) Most important: a place for Baby to sleep in a quiet, dark place. Babies need so many naps plus have an early bedtime. Needs: safe crib, effective window coverings, ability to keep room quiet or drown out distracting sounds (a sound machine can help if needed) 2) A place to feed/comfort Baby during the night Needs: a super comfy chair with surfaces right beside it (we don’t have a rocker, just a comfy arm chair with a high enough back) 3) Place to change and dress Baby (this could be elsewhere in the home but it’s nice to have it right there for nighttime changes) Needs: A change mat attached on top of a big enough dresser with drawers that slide easily (we had the ikea Hemnes 3-drawer which was PERFECT and I regret replacing it with a beautiful antique dresser whose drawers don’t slide well and aren’t as deep – baby clothes… Read more »

Rusty

Vera,
What dabulous advice! All such great points and ideas.
Caitlin, please listen to Vera! 👍

Vera

Aww thanks Rusty!!

Hayley

I agree that it would be better to separate the office function, so I have a different suggestion if they are open to it: keep this as the main bedroom and office function.

Then use the colder bedroom for the baby. Drafts are actually good for newborns, you want airflow and a lower temperature as both relate to a lower risk of SIDS*.

So don’t feel you have to give the baby the warmest and largest room! An adult bedroom is genuinely only occupied at night so it’s great for am office. The nursery will be used in the day too, if you are lucky enough to have a baby who sleeps in a crib. Mine only slept on me, so I was in the lounge watching TV all day, lol.

* source lullaby trust. Also I has SUCH a hard time convincing my boomer parents of this fact. They were constantly trying to make the house warmer and closing windows and moving the bassinet near a radiator. They mean well, but…

Rusty

Yes! Soooooooooo truuuuuuuuuue!!!
SAFETY SAFETY SAFETY

Vera

YES I’d do that too – use larger room as master + office!
A nursery does not need much square footage – until our recent move, ours was 8 by 7 feet!
And sleep sacks are the best for keeping baby warm 🙂

Caity

Ugh, yes, I had very annoying and unwelcome comments from people who barely knew me (mother of a friend) who kept bugging us to not let our baby sleep on the floor in a nest because of “drafts.”

I kept saying, you know what makes babies sick? Germs. Germs that come from people visiting. So right now we are not going to have any visitors. THANKS.

Caity

Also, I currently sleep in quite a cold room in our basement, and it is WONDERFUL. My bed is warm but the air is chilly. I sleep great and I do think it is better.

Sleep sacks and warm onesies can keep them warm. Hats too? But maybe only put on hats that don’t tie under the chin, I could see that being a choking risk.

Lauren

Vera, does your little one grab at the shelf? We have a mirror with a ledge above our changing pad and he grabs it and kicks it now. Considering switching to a flat mirror because moving higher would look terrible. Wondering how this works, because I LOVE the idea of a shelf with practical items and decor as a space saver.

Vera

Hi Lauren! The shelf is high enough that he can’t reach, and it’s also attached to the wall very well so even if he could kick it from below, nothing happens. It does, however, mean that there is white wall space below the shelf. I’d love to figure out a way to visually fill it but it hasn’t bothered me enough to do anything haha! For now, I would not have a mirror or anything framed that he can reach because he is WILD and would immediately make it his mission to make it come crashing down 😂
When the dresser is no longer used for diaper changes, then I’ll add a framed piece of art below the shelf 🙂

Lauren

Hi! The mirror with a rim was clearly a first time mom mistake – I quickly learned this after our first mid-diaper change pee. That plus the kicking definitively has me rethinking the above the changing table situation when we move.

Francesca

We hung a cute grabby toy (not sure what to call it?) from the underside of the shelf above the changing table. So our son could look at the colors and shapes of the toy and as he got bigger, be able to grab it to help entertain him during diaper changes. It visually filled up that space and was cute.

Lane

Too many clothes if one bin can’t hold multiple sizes. I honestly think that nursing chairs are not needed. I nurse on a sofa or in bed. A rocking chair is waste of money and space. You can’t have it around a toddler anyway, as it’s not safe. And it takes a lot space that they need for play. A floor bed/twin mattress might get more use early and later may become a child’s bed. It’s also perfect in smaller homes without a nanny. I agree with everything else. Babies have a right to a good sleep. It’s important to protect that.

Cris S.

YES! I came here to say the same thing. You can’t have the office in the baby’s room – babies sleep a lot and you are never going to line up naps and class times, much less work times. Our eldest, especially once they get to be toddlers, would NEVER have taken naps if someone else had been in her room trying to work. Her nap process was to toddle back and forth in her crib yodeling until she finally dropped to her knees and then collapsed forward – warbling the entire time (this was consistently a 30 minute process, which we filmed with a hidden camera a couple of times, much to our entertainment). I’d switch the bedrooms back – put up well layered curtains and shades in the smaller bedroom for the baby (and invest in warm sleepers for them – no blankets while they are tiny) and have the larger room be both parents’ room and office (also, it will be easier to arrange the Zoom view lines that way – another reason to not have the office and nursery in the same room. If they aren’t planning on moving for a couple of years, this arrangement… Read more »

Kelly

Yes, I hope they do this. It will make everyone’s life so much easier. Grad school with a baby is hard (speaking from experience). Making sure that baby sleeps soundly when it should is sooooo important.

MJ

100% yes, came here to say this as the still-working-from-home mom of an 8-month old. It’s so sweet to want to give the baby the best room, but you need to keep the bigger room for yourself and put your desk in your bedroom (where I am exactly right now)! Babies sleep a lot, and it usually a good idea to start having them nap in their own crib so when you move them there for overnights, they are used to that space. And you won’t be able to perfectly coordinate ANY naps with work, guaranteed.

Terri

Yes! I am not sure how the office and nursery are supposed to function together…

Jessvii

1. I highly recommend a mini crib. They are space-saving but plenty big enough until the child needs a normal bed. The only downside is there aren’t as many choices for sheets in that size. 2. I’d consider an armchair or chair and a half instead of a rocker. Most of the parents I know and myself as well found sitting on something else (couch, bed, whatever…) just as good or better, and then you don’t have a really expensive rocker to awkwardly work into your living room later. 3. I personally think iPhone photos are fine right now. Can’t wait for the reveal. This is such a treat for your deserving friends and so nice of you!

Karen

Agreed! I don’t like breastfeeding in a rocking chair! It’s too narrow and my baby is always kicking amd pushing on the arms.

Lauren

To provide an alternate perspective on the minicrib, my little one was too long for it by a year old – nowhere near ready to move to a bigger bed and waking up everytime he moved because he was bumping the edges really hard. If they have room for a full size crib, I’d try to make it work in case they are not tall parents with a really tall baby, like us.

Sara

We’ve had *all* the cribs — mini, medium, full, pack n play, and baby Bjorn.

What we’ve found with living in small spaces: the mini crib we got second hand and it was a godsend. We used it for the first 6-10 months of each of their lives, until they started bumping their heads as Lauren said.

What we’ve found fits best now for the baby since we have our 5 yr old in a twins and our 3 year old in a crib with no side rail, is the baby in a medium sized crib. That has been what’s allowed us to stay in our apt and have the baby in a large closet instead of a full room (that sounds terrible but it’s better than it sounds! Dark, airflow, high ceilings, cozy!).

We didn’t even know that size existed until we started searching. The medium crib is awesome if they’re short on space or might be moving soon. It folds to move and is on wheels. Our babies can stay in it until at least two as it’s roomy enough. Just another idea in case it helps!

Christina

So glad someone is brining the word fugly back!! Lol sometimes it is just the perfect adjective. I’m so excited for this MOTO and do not want to slam on something that is underway, but, I really really really really do not think a shared nursery and home office space can work. Speaking from a mom of an almost 2 year old with one on the way. When babe is young they might sleep in the master for a while. Let’s say they move in to their own room at 4 months – they are still napping 4-5x a day at that stage!! Basically you wake them up and shoot it’s time for another nap. The naps consolidate until around 10-12 months baby is having one long (hopefully) nap midday. The cardinal rule of parenthood – you will not do anything to mess up your kids sleep! Lol it’s hard enough when the conditions are perfect to get them to sleep. It needs to be quiet and dark (as dark as possible – black our curtain dark!). No zoom calls etc. Suggest: 1) move baby to smaller room and buy a space heater if needed (although babies like to sleep… Read more »

Rusty

Your comment is gold … gold!

Christina

Thanks Rusty. Can you tell I had a kid that never slept!! I still sweat thinking about the first year and sneaking out of her room like a GD ninja trying not to wake her up.

Rusty

Or…crawling out on your belly….commando style, then the floorboards creeeeeeeeak! LOL!
The terror is real!🤣

Hayley

Oh my goodness, my husband has pulled me out by my feet before when I didn’t dare stand up / roll over and couldn’t get enough grip to slide myself out laying on my back!

Rusty

OMG!!!!
Tears running down my face at the thought, because you’ll do any thing a h t h i n g nit to wake the little monkeys up!
Oh, you made me laugh, Hayley!😂🤣😂

Caity

Oh yes. So relate!!! Definitely did the ninja crawl out!!

Sara

These are all SO TRUE and made me laugh all day when I remembered. But the holy grail of sleep was completely worth the ninja crawl 😂

Vera

YES to all of this!!! So true that they grab at EVERYTHING. My change station is very carefully set up so my son can’t reach anything hahaha
Nothing worse than things falling into the poopy diaper.
Also, you’ll need a surface to put the poopy diaper as you’re cleaning Baby up. It needs to be somewhere you can easily reach so you can put used wipes into it as you work, but that baby can not reach or stick his foot into. For me, it’s a little shelf above the pail, right beside the dresser (with a lip so the diaper doesn’t topple off)

Wesley

No matter what rocker you get I HIGHLY recommend an ottoman to go with it— much much more comfortable for breastfeeding sessions if that is Marissa’s desire.

karen

When I picked a rocker for our nursery, my one major spec is it had to be a type of chair I could move into another room after baby is no longer rockable size. It can’t read too nursery-like or it’s just another useless piece of furniture once the nursery is no longer needed.

Beth

Just like everyone else, I agree that office and nursery is a hard combo – coming from someone with a 3 month old who moved our “office” out of the nursery and into our bedroom as fast as possible after baby came because it was. not. working.
Also, some parents love rockers, some never use them. We have used it every single day with our 2 year old. I recommend the babyletto recliner rocker. The power recliner function has been a life saver during nights holding a sick baby. I’m sure the design will be great! Oh and agreed about doubling down on the blackout window stuff!

Ulrika

Yes yes yes. I pretty much wrote a mini love essay about that chair below.

MJ

Another thought instead of this recliner would be a chaise lounge, which is what I have! I wasn’t sure it would work but thought I would give it a try since it is a piece of furniture I already had. It’s great with a side table right next to it! Upholstered and cozy and right in between the functionality of a puffy chair and the comfort of laying back a bit when needed. I guess it’s the same concept as chair + ottoman.

Erica

Love the direction this is headed. A couple of thoughts: 1. There are no drop-side cribs anymore. They were outlawed a few years ago in the US, so you don’t need to worry about that. You can’t even sell them on Craigslist anymore. 2. Agree with the change top on a dresser. This one is expensive but nice. https://www.thetot.com/product/keekaroo-peanut-changer/?irclickid=2iGWhM1JrxyLRsOxTSQPxVT4UkEUb%3AypyW5Gxg0&irgwc=1&utm_source=Impact&utm_campaign=Online%20Tracking%20Link&utm_medium=116548 3. I agree with the others who are confused about an office/nursery combo. Even if the baby is sleeping elsewhere, wouldn’t the background on said Zoom calls be a crib? I also agree that it’s logistically impractical if the baby is sleeping in that room too. They can either move the office elsewhere — or, alternatively, if it’s really a priority, they could put the baby in their bedroom and keep the second bedroom as an office. That would work for at least a year. I know that’s less fun from the point of view of excited anticipating parents though. 4. Other than a changing area, all of the clothes can fit in drawers in a closet of this size. (Even the changing top is negotiable. We moved ours to the floor at 9 months when the babies became mobile anyway… Read more »

Rusty

Yes! Spot on with the reality of life with a baby!

Erica B

Yes to the changing on top of a dresser – because you’ll need the dresser for a lot longer. You can find pretty cheap pieces that can be attached temporarily to the top. That’s what we did.

Christina

We ended up skipping the nursery entirely — lived in a 1 bedroom plus den apartment for the first kid, so he had a sidecar bassinet (but ended up sleeping in our bed). Despite the experience with the first kid we did set up a crib in our third bedroom for the second kid, but acknowledged it wasn’t likely to be his room… and I think he slept in it maybe 4 times and we gave it to a friend and switched to a mattress on the floor by the time he was a year. Both kids have their own rooms and beds now (and have had ever since the youngest was around 4) but still like to sleep in the same bedroom so we have a trundle bed in one and bunk beds in the other. But I love the vibe Jess and Marissa are looking for, so I hope you figure out a way to make it work! I agree with everyone who says don’t put the office (and zoom classes) in the nursery though.

Rusty

iPhone pics are grrrreat! That’s one thing that makes posts super relatable!

Black out curtains!!! With no cords … huge danger in blind or curtain cords near babies and kids!

I think the comments from people about the challenges of studying/working in babysroom are REAL.

I suggest researching BABY/TODDLER/CHILD SAFETY before … BEFORE you purchase anyyhing!!!!😳
This is more important than how anything looks. For real (tip over chest of drawers, cord safety, new fyrniture off-gassing, etc!)

After seeing those adorable kitties, it makes me even more curious as to why you’re still at your mom’s!?!? I hope everything’s okay?🙄
Aaaaand, what about YOUR kitty???
Aaaaaaaaaand, you love your great, huge apartment, but you’re on the other side of the country??

Wishing you loads of non-fugly fun with this project!!!

Vera

Yes so true Rusty! Everything needs to be anchored to the wall!
Also when you eventually need outlet covers (Once baby is mobile) – my favourite are the IKEA ones because they’re easy for an adult to remove when you do need to plug something in (Some are easy to put in but then a huge pain to get out)

Vera

Also yes iPhone pics are fine!
Post-pandemic it’d be super fun to have an update post (what worked, what didnt, etc) which could be EHD-styled and shot!

Andrea

“First, and most importantly – what’s the right balance between nursery and office?”

Hahahahaha. There isn’t one! This dual function room will be a nightmare of regret. Whatever desk/office pieces you get, PLEASE make sure they will also fit/work in another part of their apartment so that the moment this MOTO photo shoot is over they can rearrange furniture to suit the reality that sharing an office space with an infant is about 100% worse than the apple eating/drug popping train wreck you went to uni with.

Rusty

Andrea speaketh the trueth trutheth!!!

Christina

Fully agree! But also, I don’t think a nursery/office will be useful content for anyone (for all the reasons everyone is commenting), so if you can figure out how to switch this to a two room MOTO, please please please do. A bedroom/office is going to be more useful, and a nursery/hangout area for a parent whose partner is working in the bedroom might also be useful.

Remington

Loved this post! You so clearly communicated the heart of who this couple is and your awesome relationship with them. I both have lots of kids and work from home, here’s some of what I’ve learned. First, I echo what several other people have mentioned–nursery/office combo is a tough one. Those are two very different functions for the same space. But I get it, we don’t always get to be choosy about our spaces. Jess and Marissa will likely get 6-8mos before the baby starts getting “into stuff,” but if office/nursery is the long term plan then all of the office stuff would benefit from the ability to be out of sight and locked up when not in use. Locking desk drawers is a must! Babies and toddlers are drawn to tech, buttons, cords, paper, and pens and will instantly love them more than any baby toy. Why? WHY??? I don’t know. But given the opportunity, a tiny tot can “redecorate” an office in five minutes flat. Also, diaper pails can start to smell “fragrant” very quickly–Jess might not want that particular potpourri in his workspace. Consider relocating that to the bathroom/laundry room/outside. Agree with other comments that babies come… Read more »

Kate

Great to read this. I’m trying to make a nursery/sewing room at the moment for my first baby due at the end of March so I’m excited to see your project unfold 🙂

Lynda

Oh honey, sorry to be discouraging, but this is going to disappoint you. If you get a chance to sew, it will be while the baby is asleep and you definitely won’t want to make noise. Find another spot for sewing, even the living room!

Lane

Sewing is so loud around babies. Some kids are sensitive to noise as well. You’d need lots of curtains and rugs to absorb the sound and at least 2 solid core doors between you and a sound machine. I’m not even sure that would help. I hate to be negative, but even if they are awake so much noise could damage their developing ears

Erica B

A few safety things, if these aren’t already on your radar: no cords or dangling things that the kid is going to be able to reach when they start walking. So, that means no roman shades with pull cords that reach too low. They are a strangulation hazard. Also, no breakable things on low shelves. Both of these are more a concern for toddlers than infants, but presumably they’ll want this kid to be able to enjoy this room for awhile! If there is a desk for an academic in this room, I’d suggest locking drawers. Otherwise, as soon as the kid can crawl, the notes/files will be everywhere! (You can get child locks for regular drawers, but they tend to be pretty ugly, and also not as durable as one would hope in my experience.)

Lily Rose

Caitlin, you are HILARIOUS. I enjoyed reading this so much. Congrats to the happy couple.
And you got this Caitlin!

Mary

You are so sweet to do this for your friends! I found with my second baby I much preferred a glider/recliner combo with a small pouf ottoman that easily moves around the room to a glider with a big gliding ottoman (takes up less space, more comfortable for the older baby night wakeups when you need to sleep in their room – it happens!). We got one from Target for a couple hundred bucks (not cheap, but not crazy expensive for a chair) and after 18 months of regular use (we don’t go anywhere! it’s a pandemic! we are ALWAYS HERE) it’s held up really well. For dressers/changing tables – I LOVE the Ikea Hemnes dresser. I got it for both kids and the top is deeper than most dressers and also high enough ergonomically to be able to accommodate a changing pad on top, but then when they outgrow the changing pad we still have a regular dresser and not some weird framework on top of a “dresser.” I really searched for baby #2 for a different dresser, but just came back to the Hemnes in a different color to make their rooms different.Happy designing!

Mary

Whoops, I meant that the ottoman moved around the room (out of the way to recline, etc.) not that we moved the glicer/recliner around the room regularly!

Kimberly

I echo what many others have said…please don’t combine the office with the nursery. That office is never going to get used. I’m a freelance writer who never had to do Zoom calls—all I do is quietly type—and even I couldn’t use my nursery/office. Especially when babies are in their first year of life, they nap twice a day so you are stuck working at your kitchen table during those times. I would turn the bigger space into a master bedroom/office and make the smaller room into the nursery (if that room is drafty you can get an ultra-safe space heater with a thermostat and that automatically shuts off if it gets knocked over by the little one).

Emma

1) I agree with everyone else – a combo office/nursery isn’t going to work. 2) For whatever seating you go with (doesn’t necessarily need to be a rocker) make sure there is a surface where you can place some essentials – a drink, snack, lip balm, cream. You could also put a bin within arm’s reach to store blankets, fuzzy socks, heating pad, that sort of thing. Prioritize comfort for now – they can always get a nicer looking chair when the baby is older. The person growing and birthing the baby gets the final say, in my opinion! And perhaps the most important one: 3) Buy a few long (like, 6+ feet) charging cables for phone plus any laptop, tablet, or e-reader she plans to use. I think most people have a preferred form of entertainment to get them through long nights and feeding sessions. Is she a Candy Crush person or will she tear through novels? Do you need a small folding table to hold the laptop for Netflix or video chat with friends? Bluetooth earbuds are awesome if she’s worried the noise will disturb or distract the baby. I will also plug Kindle here because they are… Read more »

Julie

UM. how wonderful are you and how wonderful are your friends?! Maybe I’m naive but I totally think the office nursery combo can work. As many commenters have pointed out – baby could be in a bassinet for first six months (our lasted until about five months) and that bassinet might travel from parent’s bedroom to office to living room, depending on time of day/length of nap. If they are “blessed” with a non-sleeping baby as I was, they might find that sleep just has to happen when and where it happens – in a carrier, in a stroller, on a person. I’m pretty sure i walked thousands of miles pushing a sleeping baby in a stroller while i was in a post-partum fog. It’s COVID safe and frees up the office. We ended up sleep training the baby at around 5 months (we opted for a gentle but bizarrely effective version of “crying it out”) which meant that yes, the nursery was a devoted nursery from 8pm to 8am. Still, during the day, the room could be accessible as an office as many naps were still taken in the stroller (again we did this sort of variation of sleep… Read more »

Ulrika

Hi, What an exciting project! The artwork that they linked is beautiful! For the world’s most comfortable glider I cannot recommend the Babyletto Kiwi enough. You can smoothly rock/glide in it, it swivels (good to reach stuff while feeding), the leg rest and incline are quietly adjusted electronically with the press of a button (almost to flat, very nappable), it has a built-in usb charging port…. and it looks great! It’s soft, tall enough to rest you head, and the wingback design supports your neck if you lean over. Comfort is key, I still can’t believe how much time I’ve spent in that glider/rocker at all hours of the day. They sell it at buybuyBaby/BBB, Crate and Barrel, and some others (tip: some let you use completion discount). There is a range of different fabrics, some exclusive to certain retailers. I have the Crate and Barrel ivory and the fabric is stain resistant. Just in case I sprayed it with Scotchguard and nothing my baby throws at it has stuck. I tried all the chairs in the baby showrooms in NYC last year as I didn’t want to buy without testing. I see that there are some new power swivel… Read more »

Hayley

I have a 2.5yr old and 4yr old. It really depends what they plan to do with the baby for the first 4-6 months. Many parents choose to sleep with the baby in a bassinet in their room for the first few months. From a SIDS perspective, that is also the recommendation. The baby room could be set up initially as a combo office/baby space. When the baby is old enough to transition into the crib for naps and night time sleep, move the office. This would allow Jess to initially work in the office space while Marissa uses the main bedroom to catch up on sleep in the morning and throughout the day beside the napping baby. At times when the office wasn’t in use during the day, the baby could go into the room to play and slowly get accustomed to the space. Easiest to get a desk and dresser of similar length. Initially put the baby dresser in the main bedroom, desk in the office/baby room. When it’s time for baby to move to their own room, swap out the desk and dresser. I second everything mentioned about change table on top of dresser with top drawer… Read more »

Irene

All the previous comments have covered the nursery/office thoroughly, so let me focus on offering my best wishes to Jess and Marissa for March 19. (That’s also my youngest’s birthday; 30+ years ago, and I remember next to nothing about how I set up the nursery. ) Best wishes for the rest of the pregnancy and the newborn days as well!

Jess, I’m totally impressed that you finished a cross-stitch project. I have a tote bag full of lovely ones started in years past that lack only the French knots and outlining. Don’t drop your PhD in favor of embroidery, though! What you’re working on sounds fascinating and vitally important. Please say a little more about it along with the nursery/office updates to come.

Lauren

So many great suggestions here already! A few things to add: 1) There was no mention of the baby monitor. Depending on the monitor, you’ll need to either plan for it to be mounted on the wall or standing behind the crib, or on a shelf/surface that gets a great view of the crib. We have the Nanit (which I’m OBSESSED with) and had to plan around it being behind the crib, so definitely something to think about. 2) If possible, get them a voice activated smart bulb. It was so helpful to be able to walk into a room and tell Alexa to set our lights to whatever setting (practically dark to all the way bright) while holding the baby, especially after a particularly bad blowout. Its not a must have, but was a really nice feature. 3) This room should be all about the storage. Babies have SO. MUCH. STUFF. The more organized storage you can give them, the easier it will be to find stuff at 3 am or put everything away. In addition to clothes and toy storage, make sure to incorporate a place for books. Reading to kids is so important, even when they are… Read more »

Lane

A Montessori floor bed in a baby proofed room after they are 4-6 months. A bassinet in the bedroom for the first few months. Those may not be photo worthy, but they are so conducive to good sleep and good play. Small kids spend so much time on the floor. Don’t waste that space on a rocker and a crib. If you need a travel bed, buy nuna. You can even use it as a bassinet. It’s very comfy.

Kristin Ely

I used the nuna for this! Best purchase ever and so easy to pack up and travel with.

Oy. The logistics of this are tough! I know Anne Sage makes it look so good, but I’m not sure office/nursery is a recipe for success. I imagine myself as a newly postpartum parent, needing to change a diaper blow out and very much resenting having to do it on the floor or the kitchen counter or something because the room with the changing table is being used as an office. Cue many adult tears. I also assume you guys talked through all of these options, so maybe you have info we don’t on that matter, but I think it’s worth revisiting while it’s still an option to change it up. I did like having a rocker/glider near the crib, but I’m not sure I’d feel the same if that room were often off-limits or being used for Zoom U. We bought a glider base from Amazon and attached it to a regular cushy chair (RIP Ikea Ektorp Jennylund), which has served us well for almost 7 years now. Changing table on top of a dresser is super handy, with some kind of storage nearby (I like the Ikea rolling carts, so there’s nothing above baby’s head). I know “just… Read more »

Sahara

OK so this whole post was a delight to read, but shout out to Discovery Zone! I loved that place as a kid, and had no idea it was a chain?? Thanks for triggering some serious nostalgia (fun fact, I once found a Tamagotchi toy in the ball pit there, panicked that I would kill the tiny pixilated creature, and so immediately gave it away.)

Ah okay this plan is adorable, but I have to agree with other commenters about baby naps and an office space. I just don’t think it can work together (credentials: mom of 3 who’s worked from home since first baby was born 7 years ago). I definitely get the hesitancy of putting your office inside your main bedroom, but it’s just not tenable with erratic baby sleep schedules and getting sh** done for work to put an office in a nursery. If you’re using the office setup as really more of a storage solution than a place to work, I can see that happening but ONLY if you’re okay with not being able to access the things you store there during naptimes/possibly right when you need it. You never know what kind of a baby you’re getting before he/she is born — could be an awesome sleeper, could be the kind like mine who are woken with a leaf falling outside their window! And truly — getting good, consistent baby sleep is KEY to being able to do work from home, so you’re kind of shooting yourself in the foot if you try to juxtapose those two functions together. Highly… Read more »

I agree with Hannah that you can’t predict whether the baby will be a good sleeper or not. That will make a huge difference. If he or she is a poor sleeper as mine was, Jess may end up working at the dining room table. I am looking forward to seeing the room. Thanks, Caitlin, for sharing.

Roberta Davis

Don’t wait for the perfect moment to reveal! Our lives must go on, pandemic or no! I love the Ann Sage room and it seems that some muted greens and other colors, even darker wood, could fit into a room like that. Julie’s bedroom is a good example of these muted, nature-lover colors. Definitely the rocker has to be soft and comfortable- mama is important, too! I have a hard time imagining a Zoom University class happening when baby wakes up and begins demanding attention! But hey! we have to do what we have to do! It’s so good of you to give your old roommates this wonderful gift.

Sara

Caitlin, FANTASTIC work. I just feel happy and entertained when I read your posts AND you’re a math person AND a pro skater AND an adoring cat mom. COME ON!

Jess and Marissa, congratulations! This next year might be even stranger than the last but certainly MORE joyful and full of wonder. Thank you for letting us follow along on this project and take part in welcoming your small human!

I’m guessing you’ll consider cloth diapers given Jess’s study focus. I’ve done cloths with my three kids starting 6 years ago with the oldest and it’s totally doable if it’s something you’re interested in. NO pressure!

As our friends told us years ago, this is the only tine you’ll be first time parents and it’s so hard AND magical. My best to you! And can’t wait to see the fab job your pal does!

Sara

ALSO: black out curtains and sound machine (hatch rest is the best!) and the Woolino 4 season sleep sack. Pricey but it lasts through all ages and through any more kids. Wish I’d gotten it for my first!

sara mintz

I remember commenting that I’d love to hear how this concept works after the baby arrives when you showed that stunning neutral office/nursery because babies nap A LOT. Of course there’s a big spectrum around baby behavior (they’re all gloriously different in certain ways), but a lot of babies nap 3 times a day at the beginning, 2 times for a while, and once a day for quite some time (my daughter didn’t drop napping until she was 3.5 and I know some 4 yos who still nap…). So I don’t mean to throw a wrench in the plan, but I would work on primary bedroom/office and solo nursery as a MUCH more workable concept. Sure, in an ideal world do you want to mix your work brain with your sleeping/couple brain, no. But it’s way more doable than trying to make the nursery play double duty in my experience of parenting and working from home with an at home baby. If they think the baby will be in daycare after maternity leave, that’s a different story cause the baby is out of the house all day, but if the baby will be at home, don’t do it. My parenting… Read more »

A

Nursing gliders can be huge and slouchy and take up so much room – I ended up with the Dutailer Lula because it was more compact and fit better in our living room while still being a comfy recliner. It’s a little more narrow and upright than other models, which I found more comfortable. But it was really hard to find one for a smaller space! All the really pretty ones didn’t recline for some reason and required an ottoman that ate up valuable floor real estate.

Like someone else said, get blackout curtains but also use one of those blackout rods curves on the end so that the curtain will touch the wall when closed.

Also I gotta say that we have that same Little Unicorn leaf print and Crate & Kids has an adorable sloth & leaf garland if you’re going for that forest theme. There’s also that giant Ikea leaf canopy.

Victoria

Caitlin, I love everyone’s enthusiasm for friends and babies and design, but I can’t see how this will work. The only thing a newborn needs is a safe and quiet place to sleep. I’d suggest keeping all your design decisions and making over the small room as an office, and then in a year switching the desk for a crib. I just had my 3rd baby and all she has is a crib next to my bed and 2 of my dresser drawers 😊

Abby

Hi there! I have a question about sponsorship. I noticed that you have started to include more Black writers and designers. I wonder if they get access to the same brand partnerships as these MOTO projects? If so, great! If not, can you explain why?

Suzanne

Honestly, I ended up using a bassinet, and when baby grew out of that, we moved the crib into our bedroom. We alternately co-slept. Different babies and families end up with different sleeping habits, and they are often not planned. My nephew ended up loving his crib, and my sister totally expected to co-sleep based on her friend’s experience. So I’d say design for change and flexibility. I agree that a fixed crib, as opposed to one with the side that comes down is an excellent idea. Go for the comfiest glider with an ottoman or footstool. I handed mine off when it was no longer needed, because design wise, it wasn’t my thing. But I still think about how comfortable it was and actually wish I still had it for curling up with a good book. A comfortable chair and ottoman works, too. I used that prior to getting my super glider. I also started with a super cute wooden rocker with loose cushions, which ended up being used just for photo shoots. Finally, that desk that Sara and Mac used in their office seems awesome.

Suzanne

One more thing, the amazing glider I had was fully upholstered and reclined! It even continued to glide while reclined. Some don’t. It was also wonderfully smaller scaled, which necessary due to limited space.

A.B.

The poppy and similar pillows do make it easy to nurse wherever.

RH Baby has great cordless roman shades.

Dresser with wirable pad and room for basket with diapers and wipes so you don’t have to open and close in middle of night (babies will sleep through changes sometimes).

Nightlight!

tjcsrcmcar

Very funny post! But someone please tell these lovely people that for all their good intentions, they will almost NEVER use a changing table (once that baby can roll, you change diapers on the floor or in the middle of a queen sized bed) and cribs turn into giant, expensive repositories for clean laundry after you realize the only way to get any real sleep is to bring the baby into your bed with you.

Sal

Idk, I used a changing table with both my girls til they were potty trained, more or less (2.5ish). Keekaroo Peanut for the win.

Pinny

So exciting and kind of you to share your brand access with dear friends! I agree with many other comments regarding the need to balance pleasing design with the realities of life with a baby. Ultimately, it depends on how long they plan to be in the rented space. If they will move to a larger home soon after having baby, they should enjoy your perks and get the great products for future use! If they really need to stay put and use their home full time for both baby and professional uses, this might be a great opportunity to be creative with design solutions. Generally, parents work when baby sleeps, so the nursery-office combo has some potentially conflicting interests. Baby doesn’t care about form, only function. Adults and Zoom attendees care more about a well-designed space. Some brainstorm ideas: Baby sleeps in dark closet of parents bedroom (door open for adequate air) and the office gets some new wardrobes or closet systems to store parents clothes. Baby shares bedroom with parents and a curtain divider mounted from the ceiling can darken the space when desired for sleeping (I think ikea sells these.). Baby gets own room, office shares space… Read more »

kiki

Caitlin! Love your writing! Love this love story! I haven’t ready any of the other comments yet, so I’m not sure if I’m on an island or adding to the chorus…but, is there no other options in the home for an office? An office / nursery combo will not work. Well, not if you want the baby to sleep in said nursery. And as soon as the baby is mobile (happens quicker than you think it will) it won’t be safe to have office stuffs in that room. I’d highly recommend dedicating that space to baby and finding somewhere else to tuck the desk. Even if it’s the closet of the other bedroom. Better to sacrifice storage than sleep IMO. hahaha 🙂

Arachna

This is lovely! To summarize and put a more positive spin on everyone else’s comments – the nursery/office combo will work fine for at least a year or so if the nursery is just the holding area for baby things and the baby itself spends most of their time elsewhere, parent’s bedroom/living room etc. They might want a swing for example in their living room, good just for 6 months but many a baby has taken all of their naps in one.

In that spirit I recommend the Alma Bloom mini crib – it has wheels! Is very cute and worked fine for us till we moved kids to low mattress on floor and then a low bed.

Also another vote for the keekaroo.

No need for a diaper pail – stainless steel trashcan works just as well and gets less stinky over time than the best diaper pail IMO.

I vote for lots and lots of iphone pics followed by EHS photoshoot after everyone has vaccines.

Susan

Agreed. Diaper genie soon reeked. Much easier to use stainless steel or just the regular frequently emptied garbage

Lauren

We have the Ubbi diaper pail, which is stainless steel and can use regular trash bags. It comes in lots of colors too!

Abbie

Everyone else’s advice about not putting the office and nursery together is spot on (I have a PhD, no baby).

In terms of photos, good iPhone photos work! Maybe even have Sara on zoom with them via another device to help with staging/lighting/angles and real-time feedback?

I can’t wait to see how this turns out!!

Sarah

As the mother of a 4 month old I can’t imagine how any work could possibly get done in a nursery/office. My husband has a hard enough time working from home with a nursery next door to his office. Our baby loves to have meltdowns in the middle of very important client calls (thank goodness for the Zoom mute button!)

A better idea might be the primary bedroom/office or the primary bedroom/nursery. I would also be remiss if I didn’t point out a few safety things:
-it is not safe to hang anything above the crib
-no crib bumpers
-crib should be 3 ft from any cords or curtains

I look forward to your design! Maybe you can show us a cool way to deal with necessary eyesores like baby cameras and diaper pails!

Olivia Jane

I am so excited about this! Can I make a plug for the most convenient, eco-friendly crib? No crib! Our kids have always had just a mattress on the floor (Montessori floor bed if you want to be fancy), and we all LOVE it. It definitely doesn’t work for everyone — friends in AZ said they tried it until they found a scorpion in the house — but we can’t imagine leaning over those crib railings. Did our girls fall/climb out? Yup! But it’s only 3″ off the ground so it never hurt, and they quickly learned to climb back in. And when they got a little older, watching them toddle over to the bookshelf in their sleepsacks is just…oh my word, it’s so cute.

Emily

A little late to the discussion, but here are a few thoughts from a mom of two, ages 5 and 3. 1 – if they keep the baby in their room for the first six months then they could use that room as an office. After that, it’s a no-go. No one will be happy with that arrangement. 2 – personally I love a good rocker/glider because even post nursing/bottle-feeding, it’s really nice to have a chair to snuggle in for reading before bed, cranky kids, or just to snuggle with your kids. 3 – black out shades are a waste of money. Many may disagree with me, but I’ve known way too many people who used blackout shades and then discovered their kids will only sleep or nap in pitch black environments. So high summer when the sun rises at 5am and sets at 9:30? Wakes up early and won’t go to bed at night. Naptime on vacation in a hotel or visiting grandma where the curtains don’t block all the light? Forget about it. My kids have only ever had a white cotton curtain in their room, but they’ll sleep in there even when it’s really bright.

Sarah

loloololol i was like, “whaaaaat, quite a pivot for you Caitlin!” when I saw that title

Caity

So many thoughts! So much good advice from everyone below, so I won’t repeat what others have already said. I think if you do put a chair or rocker in there of some sort it is nice to have a small table so Mom can put her book/kindle/iPhone there and also coffee or tea or something with a straw lol. I have had times where I’m breastfeeding and I’m DYING of thirst because there is a literal vampire sucking me dry (they sleep during the day, up all night, their fingernails grow abnormally fast, they need an all-liquid diet…amirite ladies?), and I had nothing to drink and no way to get up without waking the baby…do yourself a favor before you nurse, grab yourself a drink to bring with you if you can! One alternative to a rocker is the baby Bjorn seat rocker. Once the baby is done eating, you put them in there and rock them with your foot. Fun fact: our preemie baby who was born at 24 weeks and is now almost 2 is still eating and sleeping in her Bjorn. Yes, they are expensive but sooo worth it. Our first child also lived for his… Read more »

Susan

Just use iPhone pics. It’ll be fine

I’ve ordered many home items from Wayfair before and they were all really good quality and affordable items! The customer service has been great and even after them sending the wrong item, they sent the correct item and let us keep the incorrect item. It is also pretty easy to manage your order online!

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