how to convert a closet into a nursery
whitney leigh morris welcomes a little one into the tiny canal cottage!
Published Sep 29, 2016 6:00 AM
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My favorite part of putting together the nursery was finding all the little, practical details to use in the space while our son is an infant.
CRIB Alma Mini by Bloom Global RUG Sahara (Sand) by Loloi Rugs JUTE BASKETS (overhead) The Dharma Door (USA) SAILBOAT WALL ART “They Delayed the Workings of the Day…” by Theater Clouds artist Elly MacKay via ETSY PAINT + HARDWARE The Home Depot (Behr’s “Polished Marble”) WHITE STOOL Home Decorators Collection ROLLING DRAWER SET Amazon 2-TONE LADDER Umbra via domino MINI WOODEN STOOL Vintage ACRYLIC SHEEPSKIN RUG Lulu and Georgia
text by SHANI SILVER photography & styling by WHITNEY LEIGH MORRIS
A well-styled small space is one we can’t ignore, but add to that the fact that this small space is a small nursery, and consider us glued to our screens. Whitney Leigh Morris and her husbandAdam are expecting a baby boy (very) soon, and as they live in a now well-known tiny house, making room for baby in this already space-shy home was a top priority. There is no better person to tackle the task, and we asked Whitney to tell us how it all came together.
WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST THOUGHT WHEN YOU FOUND OUT YOU WERE GOING TO HAVE A BABY (IN A TINY HOUSE!) Even before becoming pregnant, Adam and I knew we wanted to stay in our tiny house if we were able to have a baby. While it certainly took some brainstorming, it was truly no trouble to accommodate the nursery. It was such a pleasure to figure out how to best adapt our space, and I’ve loved bringing our plans to life.
DID YOU IMMEDIATELY KNOW YOU WERE GOING TO GO FOR A CLOSET NURSERY? Actually, no— we went back and forth on our how to approach the nursery for a couple of months. When Adam and I decided to have a child, we were sure that we wanted to stay here, even though we already share the space with our two dogs and my small business. Given our budget, we basically had two choices when tackling the nursery project. Either:
1. Leave nearly everything as-is, but downsize our belongings in existing storage spaces to make room for baby care necessities, and rely solely on mobile/rolling nursery components.
2. Create a dedicated nursery within an existing space by downsizing and relocating our other belongings from that area.
We opted for option two, because thanks to the dry SoCal climate we knew we could get creative with indoor/outdoor lifestyle and storage solutions. (If we lived somewhere that gets a fair amount of rain or any snow, we would’ve stuck with option one.) We decided to convert our bedroom closet into the nursery. We did this by downsizing substantially— now most of our clothes fit into the drawers that are built into the base and sides of the bed. We relocated the remaining elements of our wardrobe to a weather-proofed, customized 2’x4′ cedar garden shed from The Home Depot.
PLUSH LOCH NESS MONSTER ETSY maker MevvSan
DID YOU EVER THINK ABOUT MOVING TO A BIGGER SPACE? Not even for a moment. I do sometimes fantasize about making a few changes here— I miss having a tub and fireplace, and we’ve been dreaming of an outdoor shower. But we are just so happy here — I hope our son is, too.
PEACE ARTWORK”Peace Leaves” by Britt Fabello as “Sea of Atlas” via ETSY
WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR NEW PARENTS WHO ARE WELCOMING A BABY INTO A TINY HOME? I’m sure I’ll be better-qualified to answer this question in October! But my number one tip is always to downsize your belongings. People constantly ask me for advice regarding clever storage solutions, and those are of course important. But you don’t need extensive storage if you don’t have too much stuff to begin with. Not only will getting rid of excessive items help you adapt your home for the baby and his/her necessities, but it will also free up precious minutes and hours within your day. You’ll spend less time cleaning, organizing and searching for things, and you’ll have more time to spend with your newest family member.
ARTWORK IN ROPE FRAME “Homestead” Gregory Beauchamp via ETSY ROPE FRAME Tower 20 by Tim Clarke Designs PLUSH BEAGLE ETSY maker ADToys RATTAN MIRROR Tower 20 by Tim Clarke Designs
SAILBOAT MOBILE ETSY maker, WigglyWilliam WIRE WALL OTIS BASKETS domino
CLOUD CARDBOARD HANGERS Little Dundi WOODEN BEAD CLOTHING LINE ETSY makerKLDesignCo
WHAT INSPIRED THE NURSERY DESIGN? I didn’t intend to have a “theme” for the baby’s space, but it happened on its own over time. The colors, textures and prints I selected were sandy and neutral, and the artwork I loved most reminded us of our lives here by the water. Before I knew it, we had a subdued coastal vibe going on.
GRIEGE SAILOR TEXTILES (Swaddle blanket, changing pad cover, boppy cover) Woolf With Me
PALM SWADDLE Riser PICNIC BASKET AS FILE BOX Vintage from Tower 20 by Tim Clarke Designs
WHAT WERE YOUR MAIN FUNCTIONALITY GOALS? Tiny house living can sometimes take a lot of Tetris-ing. But after spending so much time with my young nephews (who live in LA and visit the Cottage frequently,) I’ve learned that I will probably always have one hand on the baby, and won’t be able to rework our space as easily as I could in the past. As such, it was very important for us to make sure none of our belongings are crammed into corners or hard to reach places. We want everything to be easily accessible, while also being safely situated in case of earthquakes.
WAXED CANVAS DIAPER BAG ETSY makers KithandKinSto
TRAVEL YUCCA MAT CHANGING PAD Fawn & Cub
WHAT WAS THE TOUGHEST GOAL TO ACHIEVE? I think that’s yet to come! I want to prove that realistic tiny living is possible with a family. Thus far, our biggest hurdle has not been internal— it’s actually been convincing others that we can do this. We’ve routinely had to (politely) remind folks that there are all types of living situations in this world, and that there’s no one “right way” or universal method that suits everyone. We’ve received numerous negative comments from well-intended acquaintances— input such as, “That will never work,” and “That won’t last long.” But the wonderful thing is that we can (and will) make it work in our own way. We look forward to the constant evolution of our space and our particular needs. I’m beyond excited about the growth of our family, and the changes it will inspire within our cheerful little home.
HEATER (SAFELY DISCONNECTED) COVER Custom via The Home Depot METAL + TWINE MIRRORS Anthropologie + World Market DRIFTWOOD HANGING MOBILES Sea & Glass
HOUND HOOKS Vintage via ETSY ROPE LEASH Resq Co.
CHANGING TABLE / BATH COMBO Wayfair REUSABLE DIAPERING SYSTEM GroVia
GRIEGE SAILOR TEXTILES(changing pad cover) Woolf With Me
WHAT IS YOUR PERSONAL FAVORITE PART OF THE NURSERY? I love the feeling that the nursery gives me. Before, when it was our closet, I used to obsessively close the curtains, because the clutter and mess behind them stressed me out (and looked hideous). We’ve now curbed that clutter, and we have this bright and practical little alcove within the bedroom that radiates joy. It makes the entire home and garden feel complete.
OUTDOOR SHED The Home Depot OUTDOOR RUGS Home Decorators Collection
MOSES BASKET Plum & Sparrow
WHAT ARE YOU MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO ABOUT BRINGING A LITTLE ONE INTO YOUR TINY HOME? I know how sappy it sounds, but we are just so grateful and fulfilled here with each other. I am delighted to envelop a new life in that overflowing happiness.
For me, it’s difficult to feel confident about bringing another person into a world filled with such ceaseless conflict. But our tiny home helps us balance our lives and maintain perspective. It inspires us to be pleased with less and appreciate more. It also encourages us to leave our bubble and get more entrenched within our community. I am looking forward to learning even more from it once our son is here.
ROCKING CHAIR Wayfair / Joss & Main DRIFTWOOD HANGING MOBILESSea & Glass