A few weeks ago, Jeff was walking home from his friend’s house. Before he got to our house, he noticed an older family taking a picture on the stoop a few doors down. He generously offered to take the picture so that the entire family could fit in the photo.
“Try to get the house address in the pic,” the old man told Jeff.
Jeff took the picture and struck up a conversation with the family.
“Did you guys live here?” Jeff asked pointing to the recently refurbished brownstone.
“We lived here for many years, but moved about 20 years ago.” the old man explained. “Where do you live?” he asked Jeff.
Jeff pointed to our brownstone, 2 doors down.
“Ahhhh. The Randazzi family lived there. What a nice family. You know, the father was a hard working man. And the mother, she was a kind soul. And would you believe, they had 5 kids in that 1 bedroom!” the man told Jeff.
“Really? No way! It’s just my wife and me now, and we struggle with space as it is. I can’t even begin to imagine if there were 7 of us.” he told the old man.
When Jeff told me about the encounter with the family, I almost choked. It’s true that our town and other surrounding neighborhoods evoke an old world vitality, but I could never really envision what things were like ‘back then.’ I’ve said before, if generations could do the city living and small spaces, then we could too. But, I can’t even begin to imagine how 7 people could coexist in less than 1,000 square feet.
Though, there will be less of us, we’re about to find out!
After much indecision about buying vs. renting and based on several other factors, Jeff and I are going to stay urbanites for another year. Now that we’re adding another roommate, needless to say, we have to compromise even more with space. We have TALL ceilings and an unusual layout since our apartment is part of an old brownstone that was once single family home. In the years that we’ve been up here, we’ve learned to be creative, resourceful and willing to compromise in terms of space.
And that’s where the “closet” comes in. We have a walk “through” closet that’s actually awesome. It’s right next to our bedroom and right after the living room. And so, we decided the closet will be baby’s faux nursery.
For the past few months, I’ve been researching various city-living sites that are geared toward the many families in a similar predicament. I have to say, of all the sites I’ve been scouring for ideas, Apartment Therapy Nursery is byfar my favorite. They had a contest not too long ago for the smallest, coolest spaces. These resources are amazing and have been nothing short of inspiring.
We were quite excited to start working on his space this weekend. Well, actually, we started a few months ago by deciding on his specific crib. I mentioned before that we’re not doing a conventional crib, but have chosen to go with an oval shaped crib that starts out as a small bassinet, then becomes a crib. So, we have his sleeping situation in place.
Now, where will his stuff go? Jeff’s sad he’s already losing closet space. My closet is busting at the seams. My closets already house all of my clothes, in addition to our winter gear and Christmas decorations. So, we have no choice but to go up! We decided to take advantage of the height and install some shelving above the thresholds.
The birds were chirping quite loudly on Saturday morning when we made our way to IKEA to pick up our nursery supplies. That place is usually a madhouse on the weekends so, we made sure to get up bright and early to beat that madness. We browsed the children’s area, studied the lighting options, checked out window treatments and made our way to organizing options. We picked up a set of really cool velvet curtains to serve as a “divider” for the nursery. Out of the hundreds of options for shelving, we decided to go the most efficient and inexpensive route–a set of unfinished shelves and brackets. Since this apartment isn’t ours, it pains me to spend too much on home improvements. But baby needs some shelves, and we’ll gladly do it ourselves to save a few bucks! So, while everyone was at the beach or enjoying summer vacation, Jeff and I were painting and installing shelves!
Even though we’re not going “all out” on a nursery with themes and matching lampshades, we’re so excited for this little transition in our home. Jeff had a fun time playing with all of his tools and gadgets, and did a phenomenal job with the quirky installation. Though it’s nothing of monumental proportions, I can’t wait to show off the finished product in a few weeks!
Nursery in progress: