Our Unconventional Nursery: Making a Space That Works for Our Family

When we moved from Kansas City to San Francisco last December, we knew it wouldn’t be long before we started the adoption process again, so I chose an apartment that had bedrooms large enough for the needs of our growing family. I had no illusions about having a bedroom for each child, and I knew that whatever we put in Zinashi’s room would have to work for our second child as well, and that I would need to be mindful of how I arranged the furniture so that there would be an option for a space to put a crib. I thought I had it all figured out: by the time the next child arrived, Zinashi would be sleeping in her own room instead of ending up in our bed every night, and they would share the space and have each other for company! Perfect!

And then along came Elvie, sooner than we thought. Zinashi was nowhere near ready to sleep on her own in a dark room, and we also realized we would need to have a changing table to make working with Elvie’s physical needs a bit simpler. There was also no way to fit both changing table and crib into Zinashi’s room, so we had to rethink our whole plan. What we came up with was an unusual solution, but one that works well for the needs of everyone in our family. Take a look at the photos to see what we did, how we did it, and why it works for us.

  • Elvie's Crib and Decor

    Elvie's Crib and Decor

    Knowing that no matter where the crib ended up, it would be a tight squeeze, we chose an apartment sized crib. The wall behind it was originally white, but I wanted a punch of cheerful color, so I opted for yellow stripes. The wall decor is strung on twine, and the print is attached to the twine with binder clips. In the crib, I placed a pillow I loved but didn’t have a place for after we moved, plus a few special toys.

  • Elvie's Toy Bin

    Elvie's Toy Bin

    Next to the crib I put a canvas bin for Elvie’s toys and other small things we might use in the crib area. It’s big enough for everything, and also has a wide enough top that I can toss things into it from across the room and not miss most of the time. Cleaning up is a breeze!

  • Crib Placement: In the Master Bedroom!

    Crib Placement: In the Master Bedroom!

    We knew that we wanted Elvie close by at night, especially since Zinashi comes to our bed in the middle of the night and stays until morning. It didn’t seem right to have her far away when she was so new, and it didn’t seem fair to put her in a different room to sleep when Zinashi gets the privilege of being in our bed for much of the night. The wall where we put the crib had nothing on it, so it worked perfectly to put the crib there.

  • Nighttime Crib Location

    Nighttime Crib Location

    Because Elvie still wakes multiple times per night, it’s easiest to have her right next to me. It’s also a way to simulate co-sleeping without the danger of Zinashi rolling over onto the baby accidentally. Everyone is safe, and I enjoy the convenience of not having to leave my spot on the bed to care for Elvie in the middle of the night. The crib has wheels that lock and unlock easily, so it’s super simple to move the crib from spot to spot as needed.

  • Elvie's Changing and Dressing Area

    Elvie's Changing and Dressing Area

    The changing table is in Zinashi’s room where we originally thought the crib would go. It’s location next to the dresser makes it a cinch to grab Elvie’s clothes and dress her without having to take so much as a step in any direction.

  • Making the Changing Area Special

    Making the Changing Area Special

    We chose a changing table and room arrangement that would be functional, but we tried to make the functional elements fun and then add some special touches. The canvas fox bin we use for her laundry was chosen just for Elvie, and the containers holding diapers and other supplies on the changing table have fun colors and prints. I chose a bunny print, a hedgehog mobile, and some wall decals to top things off. While she might not have her own nursery, she still gets to have a little bit of space that’s just for her.


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