One of my FAVORITE design challenges is to work with a small space. Lucky for me, I've had lots of practice living in New York! When Brooklyn Boy and I found out we were pregnant, we debated where we'd put the baby for a long time. Do we find a different apartment with 2 bedrooms? Do we just put her in our (TINY) room? OR . . . do we build a Baby Nook?
We decided to build a baby nook in our kitchen, of all places! It was the central room of our one bedroom apartment and was actually quite big.
Here it was when we first moved in. The opposite wall housed the counter, stove, oven, sink, etc.
After thinking through a gazillion options, we decided on 2 IKEA Billy Bookcases to create the wall of the nook. Not only were there of configuration solutions to choose from but they were also affordable and they were temporary! Best solution all around.
Brooklyn Boy and Uncle Karl were in charge of putting the units together. Only took them about an hour to put both units together and shim up our majorly sloping floors.
When we landed on the baby nook in the kitchen, I knew I'd have to do some reconfiguring of everything currently living in the kitchen. We decided to use the kitchen pantry as a Changing Room / Closet for all of Rosie's stuff, which created a need for some additional kitchen storage. We ended up choosing doors on the bottom of the bookcase to add some covered storage and open shelving on the top. Voila, tons of added storage!
Here is the REALLY fun part! Around the time we were brainstorming the baby nook, Wallpaper Direct reached out asking if I wanted to try some of their wallpaper for an upcoming project. What marvelous timing! While the IKEA bookcases were great, I did want to spruce them up in some way, especially since we'd see the back of the bookcases in the nook. Wallpaper was a fantastic solution and something I'd never tried before!
Both papers were accurately depicted on the site, so there were no surprises upon arrival!
First step was to cut all the paper to size. Keep in mind that patterns are trickier to line up! Also keep in mind this is much easier as a two person job! So I recruited my 'phone-a-friend' LeighAnn. She can figure anything out and makes everything better!
This was my first time hanging wallpaper. I researched tons of "How to hang wallpaper" youtube videos and found all of the steps generally the same. On a flat surface, we coated each cut to size wallpaper piece thoroughly with wallpaper paste (we used Suregrip). Then we'd fold the ends over (which feels weird and wrong, but all the instructions advised us to do it) so the paste could set in and soften the paper. After the appropriate waiting time, we hung the paper on each side of the bookcase back and brushed all the air bubbles out.
We loved how the pale blue turned out on the front side. The wallpaper made the units feel less "right out of the box."
My pregnant self styling the shelves. In my house shoes of course!
Hanging the Ark paper was done with a lot trial and error. I felt like we could never get the paper perfectly lined up. In the end, it was one of those perfectly imperfect projects which is just part of doing it yourself :)
I absolutely loved the final result, not because of my awesome (except not) wallpaper hanging skills, but because the paper was just so darling! I love how unexpected and not-girly the print was. But yet there was something childlike about it with all the animals. Here's a look at the finished baby nook!
IKEA came through, yet again, with a great solution for closing off the space without doing anything permanent. We bought a ceiling mount rod and curtain attachments and hung one pair of black out curtains, also from IKEA, to give us a 'door' into the nook. It was also fun to pretend (for about a second) that we had open shelving too!
Here's a peek around the corner, into the nook.
The big round mirror in the nook reflected the Ark wallpaper - a happy accident that made you want to spy inside the nook. Since we only needed a crib skirt on the front of the crib, my crafty mom DIY'ed the skirt with fabric I ordered from fabric.com. She folded a pleat and used hem tape to no-sew the bottom. We then clipped it under the mattress.
My mom even used the little fabric we had left to conjure up a no-sew matching pillow!
Once we decided to make half of the kitchen into a baby nook, we needed to add some shelving + storage without bringing furniture into the nook. When we moved into the apartment, we noticed an odd indention in the back of the kitchen, but never found use for it. With the nook in place, Brooklyn Boy came up with a great solution! He picked up particle board from the hardware store and made really simple shelves to fit in the cut out. I painted them with chalkboard paint and loaded the shelves up with Rosie's goodies!
Necessity is the mother of invention.
And here's the baby in her nook! It was so fun for Brooklyn Boy and I to take on the challenge of giving baby girl her own space in our somewhat petite apartment.
Thank you Wallpaper Direct for supplying such beautiful paper for the baby nook!