Corners of Shame

We moved in to our new house last October after doing extensive renovations. While I love our home and it has come a LONG way from where it was when we bought it, there are still some major projects that will need to be tackled down the road (like when we have money). There are also some small projects that I hope to accomplish in the next weeks and months, including planting some herbs and vegetables, putting together flower boxes for the front windows, doing something with our fireplace, and fixing up our corners of shame.

I call them corners of shame because they are two corners of our home, right out in the open, that are messy eyesores and not functional. Or in some ways, maybe they’re too functional.

Today I’ll address the living room corner. I could definitely use some ideas and help! The focal wall of our living area has a fireplace with three to four feet of space on either side.  Our television is mounted above it and a sound bar sits on the mantle (not my choice). To the right of the fireplace is my first corner of shame. Behold:

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IMG_4807It took a lot of willpower not to clean it up before posting pictures, but hey, this is what it looks like on any given day so I’m being honest. Let’s review what’s housed here.

  • Baxter’s crate that he goes in when we aren’t home
  • Mason jar of dog treats (because doesn’t everyone have that?)
  • Wine fridge
  • Cable box
  • Modem
  • Telephone
  • Subwoofer for the sound bar
  • Router
  • That yellow and brown piece of “art” is a tree from The Lorax that Nolan made
  • Random dirty white balloon that we use to play the occasional game of balloon volleyball
  • Behind the crate are white plastic hockey boards in need of repair for Nolan’s hockey game

I stare at this corner for much of the day and it pains me. With few exceptions, we need all these things and we need them there. But what the area has become is just a tower of ugly. In an ideal world, I want a cabinet-type piece of furniture to house the wine fridge and all our electronic mumbo jumbo; however, we still need the remote controls to work on the cable box. The fridge needs to “breathe” so the cabinet has to have some sort of open back.

There are tons of armoire-type pieces on the market, but ideally I want something no taller than the mantle, which is about four and a half feet high. I also haven’t forgotten that any piece of furniture will require a new home for Baxter’s crate, and there aren’t a lot of options.

So readers, any ideas? Help!

 

Baby Gear Part I – Nursery Furniture

With babies popping up (out?) all over the place, and Nolan officially a toddler, I thought now was a good time to collect my thoughts and put together a list of what has been most useful to me in this first year of motherhood. I labelled each item as, Buy It, Borrow It, or Believe Me, You Don’t Need It. Just to clarify, when I say Borrow It, I literally mean borrow because you are giving it back. Being given something, such as a crib, because the owner really never wants it back, falls under Buy It.

Crib – BUY IT

The most important piece of furniture in your nursery, the crib can also be the hardest to choose. Although you may not even have one baby yet, it’s smart to look a few years down the road to help you decide what kind of crib you’ll want. Many become toddler beds with a removable side rail, some become a double-bed headboard (not so useful if you’re working with a small space and will wind up putting your child in a twin-sized bed), and some are not convertible at all. Consider how many children you want, and how many years they’ll be spaced apart (assuming things go as planned), to make the most practical choice for you. We chose the Sparrow Crib from Oeuf for our house and my parents generously purchased a Jenny Lind-style crib from Amazon (under $200) for their house. Jenny Lind cribs look like the one below and come in a variety of finishes and colors.

This is our crib (in Nolan’s room!)

Our crib converts to a toddler bed like this:

Changing Table – BELIEVE ME, YOU DON’T NEED IT

A changing table is nice for having open storage, but if your kid is anything like mine, the table loses its diaper-changing function when the baby is seven or eight months old. Nolan squirmed, rolled, sat up and climbed so much that we had to start doing all diaper changes on the floor. Instead, buy the changing pad and three (yes, three) inexpensive covers and attach the pad to the top of a sizeable dresser.

Dresser – BUY IT (used)

Dressers are expensive! Like, whoa, what the what, expensive. Go to a thrift store or garage sale and buy a high-quality wooden dresser that has seen better days and paint it. Or if you’re me, balk at exposing your fetus to paint fumes and ask your mom to paint it. Look for drawers that are made of solid wood and not fiberboard since it tends to sag and break over time like everything in my bedroom from Ikea. Painted furniture looks so lovely in a baby’s room. This is Nolan’s dresser that my mom painted. I bought new hardware online.  It’s cute but too small:

Here are some additional ideas for painted dressers:

Bookshelves/Bookcase – BUY IT

Like the dresser, you can buy used shelves and paint them, but there are more affordable options out there if you want new ones. Even though I have sworn off buying furniture from Ikea since my bedroom looks like an Ikea graveyard, I would make an exception for the Expedit shelves for a kid’s room. They kind of look like crap in the store just sitting there empty, but they can be dressed up with baskets and other niceties.

Bassinet – BORROW IT

I loved having a bassinet in our bedroom for Nolan’s first few months. Newborns are heavy sleepers but wake up often for feedings and having a bassinet bedside made for a much easier night. We borrowed one from my sister-in-law and kept the one that came with our stroller in the living room. Depending on your baby’s size, you’ll likely use a bassinet for no longer than four or five months. Since it will be stowed away in your room, don’t get hung up on what it looks like or if it’s your style, etc. Definitely buy a few bassinet sheets for the inevitable middle of the night, “He peed through the diaper!” moments. Those are great.

Glider/Rocker – BUY IT if you want a few kids or think you’ll keep it in your bedroom when your kids are older, otherwise, BORROW IT.

I’m probably not the person to speak to about gliders because I chose the Luca Glider, which is the same one as Rachel Zoe. To be fair, I had it first.  It was (another) generous gift from my parents and I love it and I’m not going to apologize for it. So there. Oh, and I got the matching ottoman. You can certainly find less expensive options at the major baby places. This is the chair in Nolan’s room, next to the changing table I wish I never bought:

Moms and moms-to-be, what nursery furniture do you love/recommend? Where did you find inspiration when creating your nurseries?

Stay tuned for Baby Gear Part II – Nursing/Feeding