Category Archives: tiny kids rooms

The Boy/Girl Bedroom

I keep meaning to post some beautifully set-dressed and well-photographed evidence of our new home. “Look at that sun-washed room with the casual vase of peonies just so, and that teacup which I hardly notice but which lends the whole image a subliminal coziness!” You would exclaim. But I don’t have time for any of this. I’m revising the novel in every spare instant and chasing Ollie down off the ceiling in every unspare instant. Anyway, so for now some iPhone pics of the kiddo room. I just think it’s a really cute little room, with its wacky, mostly accidental mix of patterns and the well-hung (snicker snicker) artwork arranged by professional art handler, Uncle Doug. Harper loves it, though she doesn’t understand why they can’t have bunk beds yet. (Because I’m mean, pretty much.) And the other day she got all teary, missing the silver stars in her tiny old closet of a room. Recreating those stars is actually on my to-do list. Number 947. Getting there.

I think we probably still count as a tiny kids’ room, though to us it feels huge. To have room to play! In the bedroom! How novel! They even have a closet, half of which is dedicated to clothes and books. We are living the life over here, people. Don’t even get me started on the elevator. Or the parking garage. Park Whope? Anyway. So behold: the room: as it actually is every day. (Imagine the sunlight, flowers, and achingly lovely photography. And tidiness, imagine some tidiness too.)

PS I wrote this post on my phone while kind of supervising Harper taking a bath. I’m such a good mom!











Malka’s Miniature Room

The other day Harper declared Malka to be her best, best friend. This was after some quality time spent engaged in Harper’s favorite friend-activity, namely, holding hands and running and falling down. Just like true best friends, they spend a lot of time being sort of awful to each other. But lately an amazing thing has happened. On a playdate Malka’s mother (the accomplished poet and YA author Carley Moore, who also makes a killer smoothie) and I realized we hadn’t heard from the girls in a while. After a moment of cold dread, we found them happily playing together in Malka’s sweet little room. After two and a half years of parallel play interrupted now and then by knock-down-drag-out brawls, this is a very thrilling developmental milestone. Malka is an older woman, having already turned 3, and I think her maturity might be rubbing off on not-quite-two-and-a-half Harper.

I believe the sweetness of Malka’s room has something to do with their congenial play. There is just something about this room (and the whole apartment) that feels like home, that reminds me of what I loved about being a child and my own room growing up– a relaxed, homey warmth.

Here’s what Carley has to say about the 9×12 room and how it came together: “My mom, Judy Haller of Jamestown, New York, made both of the quilts.  The purple one she made for Malka when she was born and it’s made from fabrics that we’re designed to look like childrens’ fabrics from the 1940s.  I love some of those patterns–the tiny kittens and the hearts, very retro.”

” The second one (the red and blue one), my mom made last year for Malka at Christmas.  I love the reds and blues and that there is a different panel for every month.  I come from a long-line of quilt makers–most of the women in my family quilt (my mom, my aunts, my grandma) so it’s special to have these in Malka’s room.  Plus, they are so one-of-a-kind–the quilter’s vision is always so interesting to me, kind of like a writer’s voice.”

“Shells–Malka loves shells and jewelry.  We try to arrange those on her dresser, and she rearranges often.  She sometimes tries to sleep with her shells she loves them so much.” [Ed. note: Also My Little Pony! Hello, wave of nostalgia! YES!]

“The new bookcase.  It’s a piece of crap from Ikea–a Billy to be exact.  I don’t want to knock the Billy though.  We have many of them in our house full of books.  I always say that I won’t buy another, but they are so cheap and they fit a lot of stuff.  Now Malka has some bins for tiny things like cars, paper dolls, and beads, and all of her books and puzzles fit in one place.  Yay!”

“Matt’s father made the Malka collage when she was born.  He’s a painter and collage maker.”

I think it only fair to note that this room was spic-and-span when we arrived, but the girls immediately pulled down one of the toy bins and got to work making music and playing. I’m telling you, this room WORKS!

You know what else I think helps make this home so cozy and warm? The excellent design choice of cats draped luxuriously here and there.

Also, Malka has a kick-ass doll house that really reminds me of the Fisher Price one I used to have.

So there you have it. And now, let us hold hands and run in the fields together. Metaphorically, I mean, of course.

Daphne’s Dainty Digs

Oh boy! I’m so excited to finally have another Tiny Kid’s Room Tour to flaunt before your voyeuristic cyber-eyes. Kate and Daphne’s entire apartment is just the sort of smart, stylish land of efficient storage and pretty moments all city dwellers imagine their platonic selves to inhabit. So it comes as no surprise that the adorable, elfin Daphne has a room that is as lovely and clever as these ladies themselves. I recently took advantage of a calm playdate moment to hastily photograph Daphne’s room before Harper could brutishly attack the poor kid, truncating the sesh. “Harper, ” I said as we slunk away in shame, “we had to leave because you hit Daphne with a purse!” “Two purses, actually,” Harper corrected me, holding up two fingers. Driven into a jealous rage by slick storage and lovely fabrics? Who can say?

Tiny Kids Rooms

The dainty Daphne.

Anyway, here is what Daphne’s mom Kate had to say about this tiny kid’s room. You see, she’s a tiny kid but the room is also on the tiny side. Get it? If I keep typing tiny kids rooms in various iterations will it improve my tiny kids’ room SEO? Okay, on to the small kid’s small space. Etc.

tiny kids room

Kate: “We wanted to maximize the storage capability of an 8.5′ x 12′ room, and wanted to something that would grow with Daphne. I worked closely with my friend Elyse Kroll (of Elyse Kroll interiors and the Nate Berkus Show), a former colleague at Martha Stewart. She designed the storage wall, which consists of  24-inch-deep Ikea kitchen cabinets customized to be built-ins by handyman and good guy Anthony Alessandro. (Ikea PAX was our first choice, but the configurations available at the time wouldn’t have worked in the space.) The customization made the cabinets more expensive, but the amount of storage space is extremely useful. I like the reflective surface of the cabinets; it keeps them from overpowering the room and adds to the light, happy, dreamy feel that we wanted the room to have.”

Me (thinking): “Ohhhh, that’s why it looks so f*&%ing amazing. Elyse Kroll, right, okay, I feel better about myself now.”

ikea expedit in kids roomtiny kids room

Kate: “In addition to the closet, the other storage area consists of Ikea’s Expedit cubbies with a few doors and drawers added. We replaced the drawer pulls with the little white mushroom-esque pulls. Anthony built legs for the system and secured it to the wall. There’s lots of flexibility here, too, for storing books and other items. Daphne also imagines that she’s doing lots of different things, such as baking cupcakes, by opening and closing the cubby doors. Who needs a toy kitchen?”tiny kids roomtiny kids roomjosef frank-inspired curtaintiny kids room

“The room palette was a little challenging because I liked the idea of lavender walls, but wanted to make sure the overall feel of the room wasn’t too chilly or slick in combination with the white lacquer cabinet finish. We settled on Benjamin Moore’s “Misty Memories” (which I found amusing, considering that the room’s inhabitant was only seven months old). The color has a lovely mutability that the cabinets reflect nicely. The two throw rugs once belonged to Mike’s great-grandmother Rose, and his grandmother Fritzy crocheted the afghan on the chair. We hoped to find textiles that would work with these items, as we wanted them to be a part of the room. We have some prints that we plan to hang, but haven’t gotten around to doing that yet.

I’m a big fan of Josef Frank’s textiles, and Elyse found the material for Daphne’s curtains on Etsy that, while resembling Frank’s work, cost a fraction of the price. She also found the striped fabric for the bedskirt, which, I happily noted when I saw the swatch, looks like the curtains put through a meat-grinder. Not the most poetic statement, but I think you know what I mean.

The alcove bed is called a “studio twin,” which is slightly narrower than a traditional twin. It has a trundle to accommodate grown-up guests or Daphne’s pals in the future. The matelasse coverlet belonged to Mike’s grandmother Fritzy. We put the sconces on a dimmer so Daphne can control the amount of light there when the time comes. They eliminated the need for a bedside table and lamp. In the evening, when the lights are dimmed, I am reminded of a James Turrell installation. A gal can dream, can’t she?”

tiny kids roomtiny kids roomtiny kids room

“We’re very happy with the way things turned out. The room is a joyful, peaceful place that we hope will accommodate Daphne for many years. She loves to lead guests there, shutting the door behind them, congenially entrapping them while she shows them her toys and entreats them to play.”

Me: “And bop her in the face with two purses. Sigh.”
tiny kids room
tiny kids roomtiny kids room

Okay, I’m not afraid to say it: if you liked Daphne’s little room, you’ll love Sabine’s equally calm-yet-cozy room too!

(Seriously though, aren’t these girls lucky to have such cute hideaways?)

Baby Nook

baby nook

I was going crazy trying to hang everything straight and then stepped back and realized: the molding itself is crooked. As are all the walls. Oh, brownstone!

There are these people we know who live in places such as anywhere other than New York who say crazy things like, “We really need more space/another bedroom/a bedroom at all before we have a baby.” Does anyone know what they are talking about?

Anyway, Baby Boombox will, upon his imminent arrival, be hanging out in our bedroom with us because we are old-world like that. Above is his little nook. No really, that’s the whole thing.


Don't tell Boombox, but this used to be a GIRL'S crib.

When you learn you are having a boy, you hear a lot of sympathetic Aw-the-stuff-just-isn’t-as-cutes, as if the main joy of parenthood were the accumulation of adorable little dresses and matching bonnets.  It totally is, of course. But still, I have not found boy stuff to be un-cute. Look at that quilt! A gift from Grandma and Grandpa, who found it at Sewn Natural’s Etsy shop, which is also where we got Harper’s lovely matryoshka dolla quilt for her big girl bed.


This Plan Toys rattle mobile is not as funny as the "city animals" mobile we made for Harper, but probably more functional.

The artwork above the crib — well, I don’t know.  What do you think, too boyish? (I realize I need a better picture of it.) The military theme is a bit creepy, I know, but we found those little soldier guys at a stoop sale ages ago and found them weirdly charming. The walrus embroidery is another Etsy find — check out kngo’s shop for more awesome embroideries and assorted sweetnesses.

donkey embroidery

I didn't make it. But somebody did.

Then of course I thought Harper needed one too. Her donkey is hung over her bed, just one wall apart from Boombox’s walrus. (Oh we are cozy aren’t we.)

donkey embroidery

Harper now occasionally jumps around screaming "Bonjour!" which makes this needlepoint totally worth it.

I know I’m not alone in being, these last days of pregnancy, fixated on getting The Stuff all set. Like, if the baby’s crib is all set up and his artwork hung and the hospital bag packed and the clothes carefully washed in Dreft and then tucked away (only to be whipped out daily and used to dress up dollies…oh well) then he will realize it’s time to be born, and all will be well. Now I’m making up things. Oh, he wants me to write a blog post and THEN he will be born! Oh wait, he wants me to finish this OTHER made-up project and THEN he will be born.

Well listen, baby, your gestating is officially complete and there is a cute walrus embroidery on your wall.  That’s all I’m saying.

Sabine’s Room: Small and Serene

Here is Sabine.

The lovely and refined Sabine (who you might recall from our adventures painting cookies) was Harper’s first ever friend that she made herself. Isn’t that cute? They found one another in the childcare at the Y. Finally Sabine’s mother and I took the hint and started making playdates for them. Harper is obsessed with Sabine. The other day I told her we were going to do something really fun and she said, “Oh! Play with Sabine?” She was so sad to leave Sabine’s house yesterday that she decided she would dream about Sabine when she went to sleep. It’s ridiculous.

I like Sabine too, and it just so happens that she has a beautiful little bedroom (6×9, I think — I know, HUGE compared to Harper’s) that perfectly reflects her serene and ladylike bearing. She and her mother were gracious enough to let me snap some pictures in order to present our first-ever-that’s-not-Harper’s tiny bedroom tour.

Sabine's serene room

In a seriously tragic twist of fate, Sabine is moving to Seattle, and their apartment is thus on the market. This lovely (if ever so slightly misleading) photo was taken by their real estate photographer, Jessica Brown.

Sabine’s mother, Carrie, told me a bit about how the room came together.

Sabine's big girl bed

“Mama is  not so crafty, but luckily grandmamas are. Each made her quilts that are layered on her bed (which is from Ikea– super basic 100 dollar crib that turns into a toddler bed); my mom also made the pillow covers on the bed.  One of the owl pillows came from a cousin who used to design kids’ clothes (the orange one) and the other came from a friend of a friend who sells her stuff on Etsy (her name is Jannine Doto).

owl pillows

The cross-stitch piece above the head of the bed is made by Dave’s mom (Nana) and the little framed piece above it is actually a soap wrapper from the gorgeous works of Saipua of Brooklyn. The tapestry on the wall is from a long-ago trip to Peru that Dave and I took waaaay before Sabine was born (of course).  The mobile is just a basic metal piece (bought at Area kids in the slope) to which I affixed cute little paper balloons of different animals that I found at Pearl River Mart in Soho. Sabine still loves those!

There are hooks on the adjacent wall  that we got on our “babymoon” trip to Maine. We knew we had no closest space in the nursery so were trying to think of ways to maximize wall/vertical space.


The green dresser was a FIND of a lifetime. I bought it on sale (90 percent off) at Anthropologie on 5th Avenue in the city– and neither the sales girl nor I could believe the tag of 160 dollars (down from 1600). She said, “you know that is cheaper than most of our dresses!” Funny stuff. I had it delivered for another 50 bucks or so and never looked back. It’s been a life-saver since it houses all of Sabine’s clothes, blankets, extra linens, and a great many toys etc.

The rug is a basic wool one from Ikea– and the shelf is from Ikea too. The toys are from various places: the abacus was mine when I was a kid, the piggy bank on the shelf I found in a little antiques shop in Seattle (in Ravenna); and the dollhouse was an Amazon purchase.”

And there you have it. Isn’t it pretty?

Harper's like, "Wait whaaaat? Sabine is MOVING? WTF PEOPLE? I REFUSE TO ACCEPT THIS!"

Harper’s Tiny Closet Bedroom: After

And here is the after: Big girl room.  Well, tiny girl room.  Tiny girl tiny room.  It’s actually kind of nice to have the bookshelf and reading nook out in the family office space now.  And the transition from crib to bed has gone better than I could ever have imagined. Harper LOVES the bed, is very proud of it, tells everyone who will listen about her “own big bed.”  She’s wandered out into our room a few times, but since her room does lead straight into our bedroom, I don’t worry about her getting into any trouble.  She just comes over and orders me to put my glasses on.  But has been amenable to re-tucking.  And get this — in the morning, if I bring her a snack and some water, she will hang out and read and play with toys in her bed for UP TO AN HOUR! And she’s been sleeping LATE! SOMETIMES UNTIL SIX-O-CLOCK AM!  (Yes, that is late for her.  Pity me.) ALL HAIL BIG GIRL BED!

So, with that: After: Toddler Room

tiny toddler room

Voila. Heart rug from Ikea. Dog hair on it from Quimby.

changing table

We got these awesome animal prints from Berkley Illustration on Etsy. The super-fancy gilt frames are from the super-fancy dollar store.

pkolino toddler bed

Harper's grandparents were nice enough to buy us this adorable Pkolino toddler bed. Yay for Gamma and Gampa! Harper's bunnies were all presents from various nice people, and the frog and mouse are from, where else, Ikea.

The garland lives on!

Harper's toddler bed

Harper has told us several times how she can get in and out all by herself. Oh, and I should note that the beautiful quilt is from Sew Natural on Etsy. AND that it came with a little soft matryoshka doll to go with. How cute is that.


Interestingly enough, now that she doesn't have to sleep there, Harper likes to play in her old digs, now located in a corner of our bedroom. Here she is, tucking in (smothering?) her ugly doll (um, baby brother?).

And there you have it.  We would never have suspected we’d be in this apartment so long, but it’s proven to be very versatile.  Thanks, tiny room!

(Here is the room as Harper’s nursery.)

ETA: It’s about 9 months later, and I feel like this post could use some better photos now that the room’s been settled into more. And we have a better camera. And by me I mean Adam.
Et voila.

Harper’s Tiny Closet Bedroom: Before

While Harper’s room isn’t exactly a closet, it also sort of is.  It has a closet in it that we thought about knocking down for the space until we remembered it was sort of our only storage, and so kept it for out-of-season clothes and things like that  and just pretend it’s a regular wall.  The room has a window, though. That makes it not really a closet, right?  Oh, who cares.  The point is, we’ve tried to make this teensy nubbin of a room (I’m terrible with square feet.  Like, 6 maybe?) into a cute and cozy bedroom — and keep in mind we rent so couldn’t really construct anything terribly clever, not that we realistically would have anyway but it’s nice to imagine — and we just last weekend rearranged everything to accomodate our big girl’s new big girl bed.  I’ve been so inspired (well, realistically, filled with jealousy and wonder) at the tiny closet nurseries and teeny kids’ rooms I’ve seen online, so I thought I would post a few pictures here.  Keep in mind this has all been done on a totally tight budget, like as in, none.

First,  the Before-Before.  This room ruled as my office, but whatever.

writing room

Almost exactly 2 years ago. Pregnant with Harper. Peacefully writing at my clean desk. Look out the window -- New Yummy Taco was still Dragon Garden. Little did we suspect how our lives would change.

The Real Before: Nursery.


tiny nursery
BabyMod mini-crib and dresser from Walmart. Sorry, not PC, I know.
reading nook

Every miniscule room needs an extensive library and reading nook. The bookshelf we found on the street before I became terrified of bed bugs. Globe is a touch-lamp from a thrift store in Minneapolis. Bla-bla doll is far more beloved by me than Harper. And the movie-star picture of Daddy is for nights he's not home in time for tucking in.

book garland

I made some storybook garlands for a friend's baby shower and then got selfish and kept one for Harper's room.


Awesome art by the awesome Allison Hester. Shell from the Jersey Shore. The place, not the show.

star ceiling

When we decided to move Harper into this room, I potato-stamped silver stars on the floor and ceiling, the whole time chanting in my head "adorable jewelbox of a room," a phrase I know I got somehow from domino magazine.

See, we couldn't knock down that closet -- it even has an attic, where we store, in misleadingly-labelled vintage suitcases, our "linen closet." In the lower left, please note beloved Virginia Woolf doll, made by talented illustrator Jennifer A. Bell, and cherry-blossom kid's kimono, made by the wondrous seamstress Stacia Smith.

harper in reading nook

The reading nook in action. I was sad to see it go but then it just got transported elsewhere, so all is well.

(Here is the room as Harper’s big girl digs.)