Well, we did it. The baby room is done! Hours of sanding, painting, stone work, sewing, and shopping have paid off, and I can’t help but smile as I sit here in the glider, looking at it all. The baby room is the last room to be inhabitable in our house, and it feels like a small miracle to sit here, typing. (We can inhabit this room! The floor is not bare dirt! Rejoice!) At about 40 square feet (not a typo), this is the smallest room in our house, but given how small our house is in the first place, it seems inconceivable that we spent almost two years with part of it unusable.
Not anymore. Due to my friend Bryan’s
blackmail urging, here are some photos and explanations for you to enjoy. It is very difficult to photograph such a small space, so you’ll have to come visit if you want the full effect.
Come on in! The view from the living room is so inviting, due to the warm and soothing paint color, a mixture of Olympic’s A23-3 (Perfect Peach) and A23-4 (Frosty Melon) that we chose. When you walk in, it’s like being inside of a giant seashell.
What? You can paint cob? Yes and no. You cannot just go to the hardware store, get a gallon, and slap it on over your first layer of lime plaster. Like everyone warns you, the paint layer will trap moisture, and the paint will either flake off, or your wall will crumble. However, you can mix water-based paint with your homemade lime-based paint/plaster, and the paint will color your walls without ruining them. I recommend no more than 1/3 paint to 2/3 plaster. I’ve done half and half before, but you really need to make sure you stir constantly so that you have enough lime on each bit, as the lime and paint can separate in the bucket. As you can imagine, mixing paint with lime plaster makes it pretty hard to choose the color, so getting samples is a must. After a little experimentation, I’ve discovered that mixing in plaster doesn’t just make your paint a shade or two lighter—it makes it brighter as well. So when you’re looking at swatches, go for a little more grey (less pure of a hue) than you really want. When we painted the living room, I got lucky on my first sample, but I think for the baby room we tried four or five colors of paint.
Let’s go a little closer now.
Look down now. Even climbing the stairs is an event. There are three stairs. The first is made mainly of sand and a little clay, with linseed oil and wax to harden it and make it washable, tying it in to the kitchen below, which has the same floor surface. The next are made just like the floor of the baby room, of cement and rocks– cobblestone.
Each room in the house is on a different level, a few steps up or down. I really like this feature of our little cottage, as it helps to change the feel of the different rooms, making the space seem larger. It’s practical too, as we built on a hillside. Instead of using a bulldozer to make the hill conform to the house, we set the house into the hill. The uphill rooms have a higher floor, which means that the baby room, the most uphill room in the house, is also the shortest room in terms of ceiling height. The stone floor can’t take away from a feeling of coziness.
Side note: Sometimes people (who do not have children) ask me if I will put up a gate so the baby won’t fall down the stairs of the baby room, to which I think: Are you crazy? Baby will not be having tummy/crawling time unsupervised in his/her room, on the floor. Even if there was any usable space in the minuscule room for this, I don’t actually know anybody (with a regular house!) who puts an infant on the floor of his room to play by themselves. Would you do that? Also, it is extremely hard for infants to maneuver uneven surfaces, so cobblestone, even with lots of cushy rugs, would be very frustrating for baby. This isn’t really a post about what babies are like and what they do, but just think about your own bedroom. Its main purpose isn’t for you to walk around in it, and the same with baby’s.
I decided to make this floor of stone, unlike any other room in the house, because originally I had thought this room was going to be a bathroom. Before we moved in, I finished all of the other floors in the house, which took weeks to dry out until they were cured enough to walk on. When we changed the purpose of this room, I chose to keep the stone floor idea, as I thought it would look cool, would be faster to dry (though not to make), and would be cheaper. Linseed oil is expensive! I enjoy stonework, and I like the way it came out.
Okay, enough with looking at the floor. Look ahead as you enter the room, and this is what you see:
The glider that you see in the picture was given to me by my mom, who used it lightly with her last two children, my brothers. It’s very comfy, and I imagine I will spend many happy (and tired) hours in it nursing, reading to, and rocking the baby… or even just sitting here dreaming or working while the baby sleeps next to me. Although I am not a huge fan of the fake-denim covering, if you have a glider like this, you could always recover it. Here’s a link to a do-it-tutorial over at Runs With Spatulas: Crafty Fridays: How to Recover a Glider. Since we think we’re only going to have one child, I decided not to spend the time covering it, but the tutorial looks awesome.
Next to the glider is something I did make myself: the baby hammock.
I made this hammock using a tutorial from Life on the Roof: How to Make a Baby Hammock. Although I’m fairly pleased with it, I do feel like the hammock could be iimproved, and if you decided to do it yourself, I must warn you that the tutorial is on the confusing side. Even though the project itself is easy, the tutorial wasn’t… but there’s a definite lack of baby hammock tutorials out there, so I do appreciate that this is at least available.
If you decide to follow the tutorial, read this (Otherwise, skip): First, hem the entire long side of your fabric. I was so confused by the directions that I decided to just take it one direction at a time, but this wasn’t in there. Secondly, I would skip the whole french-seam thing. Basically, she is having you create a little pocket at the bottom for (I assume) your mattress to go in. The problem with this is that it creates a raw edge on the inside of your baby hammock. Instead of doing this, create a pillowcase-type sleeve to sew to the bottom of your hammock that your bassinet mattress fits in. Do not arbitrarily make it 14.5 inches, blindly following the directions, the way I did. Fit it to your actual mattress that you have, making sure to take into account mattress thickness and seams. (A one inch thick mattress that is 14.5 inches wide is not going to fit into a 14.5 wide sleeve.) You will probably have more like 20 inches going by bassinet mattress size availability, and you will have to increase your use of fabric accordingly (x 3). Some moms really want to just put the mattress inside the hammock so the baby is directly on the mattress because it would be easier to clean. However, this is the way the Amby Baby Hammock used to be designed, and it was recalled due to infant suffocation. The baby’s mouth could get trapped between the hammock and the mattress and result in re-breathing and death. So your mattress really should go on the bottom. Another thing I would do differently is use a solid color, as you can see both the outside and the inside of the fabric at the same time. I also used a piece of 1 x 4 instead of 1 x 3, as flannel is thicker than the cotton that she used. In my picture, you can see that the top two ties are not tied– I can’t see myself using them, and would space the three sets of ties closer together if I were to make it again, so they wouldn’t be so high. I want my baby to get some air! I’ll have to either cut them off or always put my baby in a woombie so little feet don’t get tangled up in the untied ties.
Alright, back to the rest of the room! Also in the picture, you see some sort of yellow… shelf? blanket? What is that thing underneath the baby hammock? It’s actually this:
Still confused? It’s just a Z-Rest (folding sleeping mat for camping) with a two-sided slipcover on it. In the picture it’s being used to cover up a baby bathtub and a boppy pillow, but its future uses will be to fold up and use as a bath mat to protect my knees when I’m bathing baby, unfold and use for tummy time, or even use as a mat for Seeker if he gets all protective of the baby and wants to be in the room too. And also, of course, for camping. Things made specifically for baby can be cute, but sometimes what you already have can work just as well.
The window to the left of the baby hammock is the only North-facing window in the house. Here’s a better picture of what it looks like:
This little window is the only “real” window in our house. The other windows are actual half windows that we found in the dumpster at National Windows and Doors. I really wanted at least one opening window in the baby room (the Eastern window is fixed in place) and I also wanted it to be safe. The window that this replaced did open- the whole thing swung outward, but it was liable to do so in a strong storm. This fancy window from Lowe’s doesn’t do that. It even has a screen and a lock. If you have a cob home and want to replace some of your windows, rest assured– it’s pretty easy. A hammer chipped away enough cob for us to pull out the old window, and plenty of old nails and metal helped attach the old cob to the new. I like that I can keep it a crack open in the middle of the winter, too.
Above the fancy window is a horseshoe that we found down by the old barn while walking around the property with a friend. My younger sister loves horses, and I know she would approve. Next to the window is a large rock that I stuck in the wall. There are a few random rocks in the house for natural accents, but this one took by far the most effort for me to lift! It actually used to be where the Eastern window is, before we decided there needed to be a window there instead. (How did we put a window in, you ask? A sledgehammer, my dear, a sledgehammer and some finesse.)
If you can see in your mind’s eye, we’ve looked at half of the walls in the room. Now, if you are sitting in the glider chair, and you look straight ahead of you towards the West, you would see this across the room:
Don’t you love it? Even though this room has been “done” (inhabitable) for less than 24 hours, it is already filled with memories. You see that picture on the top right? My caring husband picked that out for the baby room on our “babymoon” backpacking trip to Cumberland Island when I was about 4 months pregnant. It has 3 different types of herons on it. A little cosmos flower from our garden sits on the top shelf to its left– the same kind of flowers that served as a backdrop when we were married 5 years ago. The shelves below it have all sorts of things given to me at my baby shower- including toys to grab to distract the baby while I’m changing him/her. And look at all of the books! I haven’t been reading as much since I’ve been pregnant, but normally I love to read. My mother read aloud to me until I was in high school, and I want to do the same with my child. The ones in this room are board books, and the other children’s books live with our books in the main room.
I need to give some applause to Runs with Spatulas again for her super tutorial Crafty Fridays: How to Make a Changing Pad Cover. I made the red cover you see on the dresser top, plus two others. I am not the best seamstress in the world, so when somebody spells it all out for me and I have success, I am grateful! With so many changing tables that are all slightly different sizes out there, I really wanted to be sure I had a cover that would really fit (not just sorta), so making my own was the way to go. On the right is a basket that I finally found at Pier One that I am using to hold diaper pins, lotions, and other accouterments.
So what’s in the dresser? Your average baby stuff: blankets, onesies, little baby socks, pajamas, etc. I do have to show you one drawer, though:
The fitted diapers that you see on your left are probably some of the first “difficult” things I learned how to sew. Since diapers are so expensive, I saved a ton of money by buying used on ebay and by making my own. If you are interested in making your own, I would recommend Mama Kat’s Diaper Sewing Blog. She tests many different patterns, including some free ones that I used, and reading her reviews was really helpful to me. I’m excited to use cloth diapers, so I hope it works out for us.
To the left of the dresser is the doorway.
It almost looks like there is a floor mat in front of the dresser, but there isn’t. The angle of the camera shows the top of the glider’s footstool. This should give you some idea of just how big (small!) the room is. There is one more wall to look at, but nothing is really there except a light fixture.
To me, even just this simple picture helps to fill me with a feeling of peace. The whole room seems infused with a glow of anticipation, a happy waiting for baby. Soon!