A Tiny Rental Bedroom Perfect for 2 Kids—And Then a Newborn Arrived
How one London mom found room to grow.
Published Jul 29, 2020 12:10 AM
Africa Daley-Clarke isn’t in the habit of buying new furniture without a really good reason. The Vitamin D Project blogger has adopted an extra-resourceful approach to curating her family’s two-bedroom London home, down to the decanted pantry staples and old theater chairs in the living room. But welcoming a newborn into the rental was an exception to that rule. The baby (due to arrive any day) will be sharing a space with two sisters, 4-year-old Israel and 2-year-old Ezra. “My husband and I bit the bullet and bought a triple bunk bed,” says Daley-Clarke.
The girls’ previous setup consisted of a loft bed that had been raised onto a plinth and had a cot at ground level, allowing Ezra to crawl in and out with ease. Now in full nesting mode, the couple bid adieu to the IKEA find, saving the bars from the simple structure to create a crib-like nook in the center of the new three-tier bunk from French company La Redoute. While a major update to the space, Daley-Clarke didn’t alter its footprint in the process. Here, she walks us through some of the other small changes she’s made in an effort to carve out room for baby number three.
Knowing sleep is a precious thing for a newborn, Daley-Clarke swapped out the old linen window treatments with secondhand blackout blinds she found on eBay. Each bunk is also swathed in fabric, so the little ones can be completely concealed come nap time. A suspended solar system and a custom banner reading “Joy Is Your Birthright” turn the corner into a bona fide dreamland. “That phrase is quite important to us when we’re raising the girls,” says Daley-Clarke.
To keep the space from becoming a cluttered mess, Daley-Clarke rotates items: One new thing in, one old thing out. “We only have what they really need,” she says. The pinewood IKEA Trofast unit by the window, which the blogger painted white, is dedicated to toy storage, with each compartment housing a different type of item (there’s one for cars, one for dolls), that way the kids know where to put things back. “They like joining us in tidying up,” she says. “I think they feel quite grown up when they can do it themselves.” Daley-Clarke color-coded the bookshelves to further encourage this sense of independence.
Ensuring there’s plenty of room for play in the small bedroom was a top priority for Daley-Clarke. “A lot of people have spare areas or playrooms, but we don’t, ” she says. “And it was important to me and my husband that the living room stayed a sanctuary.” The couple took the hinges off the door to free up space for the shelves, and mounted baskets lower to the ground so the kids can access items without the help of an adult.
In order to free up drawer space for the baby’s clothes, Israel (and lately Ezra, too) has started to utilize the built-in wardrobe’s hangers. (Daley-Clarke immediately painted the cabinet matte red and added fresh hardware when they moved into the apartment last May.) A mini ironing board ($9) is on standby for when the little ones want to pretend-spruce up their wardrobe or play house. Once perfect for two, but now fit for three, the whimsical space makes sharing look like a breeze.
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