I’d like to dedicate to this post to everyone who gently held their tongue when I informed them (oh so perkily) that Maple and I were going to co-sleep with our baby until the baby was two or three at which point we might, if the baby wanted, move them under the bed. (That was actually my plan, to move the baby under the bed. If anyone else is the Law and Order: SVU fan that I am then you will remember the episode where there’s the girl under the bed. And you will know exactly why, when we started actually talking about where to put the baby I realized that I could never actually put the baby under the bed.) Now that Baby GHM is six months old Maple and I were both ready to have a little more flexibility in where she sleeps and the cradle just didn’t feel secure enough (tied to the bed with twine) for either of us to relax 100% when she was in it. And, though Baby GHM is just cuter than toast, she does cry sometimes (shocking I know), and there started being a necessity of somewhere to put the baby so that she could cry and you, in your tiny house, could not go insane. As I’ve mentioned here before, Maple and the babe and I live in a very small space, 678 square feet that will one day be a garage (hence the name Garagehome). When we started looking hard at where we could put in a room for the baby there were not a ton of options, basically it had to go in the kitchen area because that was the only space that had any extraneous room. The bad news? We lost a lot of light in the kitchen area. The good news? BABY GHM HAS A ROOM OF HER OWN. This:
I would like to take a moment to talk positively about the incredibly humble Maple, who has taught himself electricity and is, in general, the most competent person I know. I definitely help with all these projects (for this one I did the majority of the painting) and I’m becoming more comfortable with construction aspect of things, but it is Maple who takes out the huge picture window, installs a new window and wall, insulates it, builds the interior walls, installs electricity in the room AND in the kitchen, switches the doors on the refrigerator, builds all the shelves wherever I decide that I want them and does all this in a week, on top of working a full-time job. He’s a keeper.
The first step of the room was taking out the 5’x4′ kitchen window. The window needed to be replaced anyway (it had a huge crack in it after an earthquake) and we decided to build Lu a room that would be roughly 5′ wide and 6′ long, putting a smaller window in where the picture window used to be and insulating the rest of that space. During a construction period of this magnitude the house was a MESS. In some ways it’s almost nice to have the motivation of a small space (working on one part of the house usually makes the rest of the house pretty useless (due to everything having to be piled into the other areas to make room to work on the area in question)) because it kicks you in the butt to finish large scale projects in record time. However, it also simultaneously drives you a little insane because you just want to get the milk out of the fridge without moving six items (knocking three other things over in the process). Add in three dogs underfoot and one teething child and you have a rather hellish version of the 12 Days of Christmas.
On a side note, this project took out the kitchen for roughly a week and I thought it was sweet that both Maple and myself had the same reaction to the kitchen being offline for a week. Now, I’m not the best cook (but I’m working on it! Ignore the fact that I haven’t posted a recipe blog in months, I’m cooking more often than before!) and my biggest struggle as a new parent is getting into the habit of cooking consistent and healthy meals (that are not grilled cheese and salads six days a week). Still, the kitchen being unusable for the course of this project really bothered both Maple and myself and we had a sweet talk about how the kitchen, and our kitchen table, is the heart of our home.
Then there’s a brief break in photos when I couldn’t handle how messy things were but I’ll narrate what happened during this time. Maple built interior walls creating the new room. Maple then installed a door. I painted all the walls. Maple installed electricity in everything and then I reorganized everything to make room. We ended up painting Baby GHM’s new room white. Since it’s so small that I literally can’t take very good pictures of it (I can’t get good angles working with roughly four feet of distance), we figured white would make it look bigger. Then, when she’s older, she can tell us if there’s another color she’d like it painted and we’ll go from there. (Fun Fact: When Maple was 17 he painted his room black.)
It was nice to finally get to hang up art that I specifically wanted for Baby GHM’s room. The tree print below is called “Summer Spruce” was made by my wonderful friend Gail Priday and given to me as a baby gift. The embroidery was made by my friend Jenny and has flowers, mountains and the constellation of the Big Dipper. The bunting in these photos were decorations lovingly made by friends for Maple and my’s wedding celebration. The other print is a print called “Community” by Tugboat Printshop and was my and Maple’s gift to Baby GHM in honor of her new room. Tugboat Printshop makes beautiful (but expensive) prints so we had to break into the rainy day fund for the art. Was it worth it? Absolutely. With the “Community” print and the “Summer Spruce” print I can just see Baby GHM dreaming up whole worlds of stories while she falls asleep at night in her tiny, cozy room.
When Maple and I had Baby GHM we wanted to focus on not having a ton of toys, and only having metal or wood toys as much as we could (that said we do have some plastics including an awesome bee toy from my California family, some teething stuff and a chair that she hangs out in (for up to 15 minutes!) that has little plastic dangly toys for her to practice grabbing). Everyone has been awesome in not giving us much (or giving us hand-me-down toys) and it was fun to finally get a chance to display the little toys I’ve been collecting from the Transfer Site and garage sales (for just, oh, the past ten years of so) or been given as gifts.
To lay out how the room works, to the right of the door is the cradle (which we have currently tucked the crib inside). To the left of the crib is the window (with her snazzy electric heater below) and to the left of that are three shelves. The top shelf is currently empty but will soon hold bedding, pillows etc. as soon as I find the appropriate crate at the Transfer Site. To the left of the window shelves is a little wooden shelf (with a print by Klara Maisch above it) and then there are more shelves to the left of that.
While I would love to showcase the whole cute little room in one photo I’ve found that, with the angles I have been given, it’s actually impossible, so I hope my descriptions and photos have done about 80% of the work.
Or you could just come over for tea and I’ll show it to you then.
While our kitchen is definitely tinier, it’s super cozy and Maple and I have still managed to cook, clean, craft, eat and dance in our tinier kitchen so it’s still meeting all our needs.
Next week (after I’ve edited the photos), I’ll give everyone a tour of our new kitchen space, we’ve done some pretty cool stuff (I think) to maximize space. My working title is: Maple Found a Space for 3/4 of Anna’s 1500 Jars.
Cheers and love,
Maple and Me