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And baby makes three: Buillding a kid-friendly space that still has style

1. Identify the 8 principles

Ok, so first we need to identify the 8 elements of design.  Most of these are not evident in my own cluttered living space (see below), so I've swiped a picture from Pinterest that captues the feeling that I'd like my space to have.

Whoohoo!  Look at all those cool things!

2. Before pictures of my space

Now let's compare my cluttered-ass living space.

My husband and I moved into our apartment here in the north of Germany last summer when, I was 7 months pregnant.  The building is over 70 years old and we were so excited by our apartment's large size and unusual layout - a perfect place to start a family.  We had high hopes for this place.  We invested in our first "nice" couch and were determined to not live like college students anymore. 

But somehow, it's become a cluttered shit-show.  First of all, it looks like Ikea got drunk and thew up in here -- nothing really fits together.  Secondly, our son Alex, who is now a rambunctious 11-month-old, is basically on a perpetual path of destruction.  We spend most of our time moving things  to where he can't reach them, and/or cleaning up after him --  all of which has resulted in more clutter.  Something must be done!

Top left we have our living room.  Its main crime is blandness.  My husband brought those paintings into the marriage, and while I don't love them, I want to make them work because they are important to him.  But right now, they're kind of just floating there with nothing to do.  The mister likes dark wood and neutral colors.  I like dark wood too but I also light bright, fresh color.  It's been difficult to compromise.

Our curtains pretty much look like shit because they were installed poorly and are about to fall down.  Yikes.

Top right is the other two sides of our living room.  Ugh, what a disaster! Access to our bookshelf is blocked by a baby contraption called the jumperoo. Baby Alex loves it, but it is fugly and perpetually in the way.  Thankfully he is outgrowing it quickly. 

We watch TV on the computer, so the latop / monitor / speaker station is important, but currently a hot mess of cables and dust. Yuck!  The little brown couch is from when I lived in a tiny place in the Netherlands.  I love it, but lately it's become a depot for random crap.

I work from home 2 days a week and that happens in the workspace you see in the bottom two shots.  I also sew and make other stuff there.  You can see that I love bright colors, but what a mess!  Also, note more random baby shit everywhere -- a swing (which Baby Alex has now outgrown) and a playpen (which Baby Alex pretty much hates).  Why does baby stuff have to be so ugly? 

Note also the random shit stacked everywhere so that Baby Alex can't get to it.  Clutter, cables, and a cacophony of color - this is my "home office", but honestly, it stresses me out.

We need to redesign this space so that it looks like grown-ups live there, but also keep it kid friendly.  I want it to look nicely designed, but still be easy to maintain, especially since motherhood plus a full-time job keep me pretty busy.  Can we get there?  Let's find out!

3. Coffee table before and after.  Or: "Baby Alex!  Those are Mommy's decoratively-arranged books!"

Our coffee table is a standard-issue Ikea LACK.

...snore.

I would love to style this mofo with botanicals and bling, but since Baby Alex pretty much likes to grab whatever is on this coffee table constantly, I have to forego those things unless I constantly want to clean up glass shards and flower petals.  Hmm...so what can I put on here that's ok for my son to grab?  I thought about this for a while and then came upon the idea of decorating with some books and Baby Alex's toys.

The wooden toys add fun pops of primary colors.  They sit in a lightweight bowl that wont hurt Alex if and when he yanks it off the table.  I arranged the books in two stacks by color that I hope sort of complement the colorful toys in the bowl.  It's a really simple arrangement, which makes it easy to put back together every time Baby Alex messes it up.

I have to say that I feel like an idiot constantly re-arranging books that we aren't even reading, just so they can stay on their decorative stacks.  But it does make the coffee table look more interesting. Even my husband agrees and has stopped leaving his plastic coke bottle there.  Woohoo!

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