Sunday, January 22, 2012

Making 'em fit

Back when Mark and I were each growing up amongst five siblings, a family of eight was only mildly largish. I have nothing against families who opt for a a more streamlined headcount, but I do object to the misconception that you have to have a huge house with a spacious bedroom (plus expensive lessons and electronics) for each child.

Our house is not huge, and there are days when I wish for more elbow room. A bigger dining area, a basement rec room, bigger bedrooms, a writing shack... But I love our home and a part of me is grateful to live a bit more modestly. And generally, all it takes is a little creative thinking to make a small space work well to accommodate all the children you care to have.

Our upstairs bedrooms are very small. (So small, in fact, that we always had to kind of flub our foster care home inspections since the room don't quite have the square footage technically required to house two children.) Haley's bedroom has a set of big, study bunk beds--leaving no room for Betsy's crib. After a few sessions of strategizing, we finally hit on a solution. We took the doors off the closet, put them in the attic, and turned the closet into a nook for the crib.

When my mom came to help when Betsy was born, she helped paint the inside of the closet the same color as the rest of the room. This helps it looks more like a nook and less like a there's-a-baby-in-the-closet. She also sewed the yellow curtain along the top, which hides the boxes of outgrown clothes still stored on the high closet shelf. (More storage under the crib behind the dust ruffle.)

It's a very cute little solution, I think. In fact, once Betsy graduates to the bunk beds, I might install a table inside the closet and turn it into a craft desk for the girls.

Our dining area is probably the most crowded area of the house. We could really use a larger table, but the room is too small to accommodate one. Our table built for six must seat seven, and once Betsy's out of her highchair it'll need to seat eight. Haley and Jesse used to sit at two of these little toddler chairs on one of the short ends of the table. It was a great solution because the chairs were small enough to fit side by side. Now that those two are a bit bigger, the chairs were uncomfortable. So we came up with a new plan to seat eight at our table.

Mark and I bought two dining benches for about $30 each using a Groupon to a local discount furniture store. The benches were made for the long side of the table, so we cut the seat to size before assembling and attaching it to the apron and legs. I mixed white paint into some of the teal paint from my bedroom and painted the seat blue. We sanded the cut edge to match the other curved edges.
Now there's a short bench on each short end of the table. Haley and Jesse sit on one and we've got one slot to spare. Betsy also uses them as a snack table.


  1. Great solutions and I Love the crib in the closet. Thats amazing what a wonderful idea!

  2. What great ideas...reminds me of another closet transformation into a study:)

  3. The little crib space is adorable! The curtain and dust ruffle really make it look purposeful instead of necessary. And the bench hack was genius! Those are great benchs - good character.

  4. you get great light in your house, lucky! and i love your style.

    i adore betsy's nook and i'm definitely picking up some of those ikea chairs when we are around an ikea again.

  5. Love this! We'll be putting some babies in closets (or in our room, at least) for a while :)

    Thanks for sharing!

  6. I keep saying that we "CANT" have another baby in this house. But you're showing me that's not really true (dang you!). I would just have to switch the bedrooms up a bit, put all 3 current boys into the big currently-princess room and move Naomi, plus baby in the closet into the currently-boys room. Or build a bedroom in the basement. Or two. Or all of the above. You've done all of the above!

  7. very cute pictures of dining area :)