Archive for January, 2012

The Crib Search

80 Comments

Posted by Rebecca, January 17th, 2012

Finally, I’m going to write this all out. I warn you that it’s long and not very full of pictures…

From the minute I found out I was pregnant (okay even before), I knew a solid wood and as eco-friendly as possible crib was on my list. It was the number one nursery priority along with an organic mattress.  I understand that I cannot protect my baby from every little chemical in this world, but I felt like the baby’s sleep zone was a good start. In the world of eco-friendly vs. non-eco-friendly, it seems as though you have to be one or the other. I prefer to take the stance of choosing what is important to me and doing the best I can.

Repeat, I do the best I can.

Things like formaldehyde and toxic stains and glues are scary to me. Cotton is not so scary and clothes are washable, so I don’t feel the need to organic-out my baby’s entire wardrobe. Strangely though, I often just like the look of organic clothing more than not. Like DwellStudio’s organic layette collection…

(via DwellStudio)

 I love DwellStudio in general but I particularly love their baby lines. Mmmm.

Anyway, I started our crib search on the good old internets, world wide webs. One thing I learned about baby things is that choosing them is about 90% research and about 10% walking into a store. So I googled and found various articles about what to look for in a crib. One consistent theme was solid hardwood.

MDF and particle boards are often held together with toxic glues. The glues can omit fumes over time and considering that babies spend a good amount of their first, impressionable years sleeping, I’d rather not have those fumes. I made solid wood the #1 priority in finding a crib and started with that.

I found myself becoming extremely frustrated that many brands did not blatantly say whether their cribs were 100% solid wood or not. Of course there’s Pottery Barn, Restoration Hardware and Land of Nod (Crate & Barrel’s kid store) that boast solid wood furniture, but they cost $700+ for a crib. I heard that DaVinci cribs sold by Babies R Us were 100% solid wood, but I couldn’t find it stated on their website. You would think that such a selling point would be screamed from the rooftops “HEY NEUROTIC NEW PARENT, THIS CRIB IS SOLID WOOD!” Though I did catch many brands use terms like “solid wood with MDF parts”, which I took as a no thanks. Needless to say, crib hunting has been one of the more tedious of the baby product huntings I have taken on in the past several weeks.

Oh yeah, another the thing about finding a healthy (or least toxic) crib…it’s still a piece of furniture that you have to like, right? Many of the eco-friendly cribs are unfinished since paints and stains typically have some VOCs. But I don’t want an unfinished crib, I want a dark stained crib. So here I was, like a balancing scale, weighing style, safety and cost.

I started reading some threads on eco-friendly message boards and found some brands. I believe I googled “DaVinci cribs solid wood?” to find a discussion that mentioned that DaVinci was made by Million Dollar Baby. BAM! Starting point. So I went to the Million Dollar Baby website. Sure enough, solid wood, non-toxic finishes and I loved the Annabelle crib….

(via Million Dollar Baby)

 I googled the name of the crib and found that it was retailing for about $350… yay affordable! So I hunted down a semi-local retailer… okay it was in Delaware. Which sounds far but it’s really less than an hour from us since we live fairly south these days. I figured during one of the days between Christmas and New Years we could take a nice little ride there so I could pet the Annabelle crib in person. Nice little ride turned into pouring rain, traffic, a nasty soda from Wendy’s which left me dying of thirst and a whole lot of disappointment. The store was not as appealing as it seemed and guess what? They had just taken the Annabelle crib off the floor that week. I literally walked around the store for about an hour wanting to like another crib but not a single one was my style. Not. One.

I wouldn’t say the entire experience was a waste though. From the sales person, I learned that every single crib on their floor was solid wood. Some were around $300 and some were more than $1,000. There was one I was so-so about and figured if I found nothing else, it would work. I took some flyers with some brands as further jumping off points as to which companies used solid wood in their cribs.

As I hung my head and got back in the car (soaking wet) to sit back in traffic, we decided to stop at Buy Buy Baby on the way home. Very early in our crib search, we had seen at least one crib there that was listed as solid wood. I figured I’d go look at that one again, even though it was about $500. We walked around Buy Buy Baby reading tags and saw that the some of the brands sold in the smaller, family owned store we just went to were also at Buy Buy Baby. Namely, the crib I put on my “if I find nothing else list” which was the Bonavita Hudson crib…

(via Bonavita)

Then we spotted this one crib that caught our eye because of the way it looked. It was traditional, yet modern. When we looked at the tag we saw that it was made out of 100% solid wood. The company also plants 10 trees in a location of your choice for each crib purchased. Hello eco-friendly! And the best part? It was $299.

It’s the Stratford convertible crib by Baby Appleseed (yes, that’s a crappy iPhone picture of the info sheet I took from the store). We wanted a dark wood crib, but not cherry colored. Originally, I wanted something with solid panels on the back or sides but I decided I’d rather have something convertible, which solid panels on the sides are not. I initially liked very straight lined cribs, but as I looked at them in person and realized that we would be doing very straight lined molding around the room, I warmed up to the idea of a curved back. It seemed that this crib had the best of everything—slightly curved back, but straight front and legs, convertible yet solid panel in the front. Safe, eco-friendly, stylish, affordable? Sold.

The downside is that it’s sold in store only and I cannot find any decent pictures of it online. Guess you’ll just have to wait until we get it (or go to Buy Buy Baby again and snap a picture of it). We’re probably going with a Hemnes dresser from Ikea to round out the room, either in the brown/gray color or painting it a gender-specific color. We’re planning on going with a non-rocking Ikea chair and with that, all of the furniture in the baby’s room should run us under $1,000. Not bad, considering I was ready to accept the fact that I’d be handing over nearly that much for a solid wood crib 🙂

Ps- for anyone looking for some solid wood brands I came across here are a few in a quick list…DaVinci (who also makes the very popular Jenny Lind crib), Bonavita, Baby Appleseed and Million Dollar Baby (manufacturer of DaVinci)

Goal Setting 2012

3 Comments

Posted by Rebecca, January 16th, 2012

Since I finally put away our Christmas things, I feel as though I need to write out everything we want to get done around here while it’s fresh in my mind. If I could have tackled all of this tonight, I would have. I am so anxious to finally organize this house and make some progress on projects that were put on the back burner when I was busy with school.

Oh, and we have a baby coming in May so many of these items are marked urgent. Some are just marked as “they are bothering us and we’d like to do them ASAP”. Since we realize we have to prioritize (I’m approaching the third trimester here, eek), I’m putting them in the order we’d like to do them.

1. Finish built-in bench in new office

We scratched our heads and shopped for wood this weekend, but hit a standstill when we realized we need to buy a table saw or something. And we’re cheap a–es. Solution pending.

2. Move office furniture in

Mike needs this room to work in and be organized and our goal was to get him somewhat settled in the new office before the baby comes. We’re going to use the furniture we currently have with some potential hacks.

3. Remove wire rack from the baby’s closet, paint, stencil and add closet system

(from Roomzaar via Pinterest)

I put this as first in the baby’s room progress because the closet is the most needed to start to organize some of the stuff we already have. Hanging tiny little clothes in a huge closet is killllling me. Must. Make. Closet. Pretty.

4. Add board and batten to the baby’s room

(via Decorchick)

We plan to add molding high and all the way around the room, like Emily’s living room. Pattern to be determined 🙂

5. Add crown molding to the baby’s room, paint, add furniture, etc.

I know this category is huge and can probably be another to-do ist in itself, but we kinda have to wait until we get through other stages to work this part out. We have furniture in mind and a general idea of where we’re going, so we’ll share as much of it as we can as we go along (being sure not to spill any gender specific details :))

6. Replace playroom carpet

We originally planned to do this before Christmas but that didn’t happen. Since it’s not a space we’ll be using right away, we put the new office and the baby’s room first. But this carpet has got to go. If carpet wasn’t so expensive, we probably would have committed to this already.

7. Add bookcases to playroom

(via Centsational Girl)

We want to add some Ikea bookcases to the wall where the shelving is in the picture above and make them look built-in, like Kate did with hers.

8. Finish up the molding in our entryway

We need to add the box portion underneath our chair rail in the entryway and upstairs hallway. Mike is itching to finish this one but we reeeally need to do the baby’s room first. We’re just dying to get to number 8…

9. Start our gallery wall(s)

(via Sawdust and Paper Scraps)

I’ve shared this inspiration picture from Sandra before and we’ve been slowly accumulating frames to hang all the way throughout our entryway. We haven’t hung any yet because we figured we’d have to take them down to nail into the wall to finish the molding, so we wanted to do #7 first.

10. Build outdoor kitchen

Despite the fact that we’ll have a newborn, we’re hoping to make some progress in our backyard this year. We seeded back there in the fall and we hope to do something with the landscaping and start working on the built-in grill we’ve been dreaming of (and drawing in Paint :))

Um anyone else overwhelmed by this list? I’m about to have a Jessie Spano freak out moment and start screaming “there’s never enough time!!!”….

Baby Swagg

2 Comments

Posted by Rebecca, January 12th, 2012

My husband finally joined Pinterest after trolling my account for months. One of his very few boards is titled “Baby Swagg”, which literally cracked me up when I saw it. He’s sitting on Pinterest pinning baby items and still pretending he’s Jay-Z…

Speaking of Jay-Z and the giant elephant on the internet… his baby with Beyonce, I spotted a picture of the crib they chose for their little Blue Ivy (Ivy Blue? BIC? Whatever they’re calling her these days). It’s made of lucite and costs $3,500.

(via NurseryWorks)

I’m kinda not getting it. I’m not a big fan of lucite to begin with, so it’s definitely not my style. Though I can appreciate how the brightly colored sheet appears to be floating in this picture…

(via NurseryWorks)

We did decide on a crib and I was going to give you the play by play of our decision, but I’m dying (cue the drama) of carpal tunnel pain at the moment and I think the story is a little too wordy for me tonight. So instead! I shall leave you with pictures of the famed Beyonce birthing room.

(via TMZ)

Now, I’m not one to care for celebrity rumors. Sure I’ll read them, but I didn’t think any differently of Beyonce and Jay-Z with all of the stories floating around because they were simply…just stories. I wasn’t there, so who I am to judge?

The hospital has supposedly confirmed that these are pictures of the executive birthing suite that is available to anyone willing to pay. Uhh how do I get me one of these? You know, without selling my house.

(via TMZ)

I think it would be easier for me to give birth if I had some beautiful furnishings to look at, don’t you? Maybe I’ll go play the lottery 🙂

So Much Wood

6 Comments

Posted by Michael, January 11th, 2012

It’s been great being able to work on SongMeanings during the day and have time at night to work on projects around the house.  Just a few weeks ago, it was working all day at Corporate America, coming home exhausted and working on SongMeanings as much as I could until my eyes got too tired and strained.

It was nearly impossible for Rebecca and I to really get anything accomplished house-wise during the week.  My schedule has been roughly 8:30-5:30 dedicated to SongMeanings and the business; mostly coding away on new features and taking a few conference calls.  At night, it’s been a mix of things — still working on SM, calls with the business partner, spending quality time with Rebecca when she’s not blogging (err on Pinterest), annnddd building the office window seat.

This weekend, Rebecca and I picked up some lumber from Lowe’s; three 12-foot 2×6 boards.  The car ride home was quite funny with a good foot of wood sticking out of the trunk.  Rebecca was paranoid as can be thinking a) we’d kill ourselves or b) we’d kill someone else.  I kept telling her I’ve seen my father do much worse and be successful, but for some reason that didn’t exactly comfort her.

I cut two of the boards to be able to span the entire width of the wall, or just under 12ft.  With the remaining piece of 2×6, I cut out eight 12-inch pieces.  These would connect the long boards to essentially make up the frame.

I used wood screws to screw the boards together.  There was conflicting information online on whether to use nails or screws when building a frame.  Some said nails allow for flexing while others said screws would be more reliable.   Using the screws were fairly easy; the hardest part (or tedious rather) was continually drilling pilot holes.

And for fun, I decided to write our lil domain on one of the planks.  I figured if someone ever dismantled this thing and the blog was still operating, he or she could then contact me to ask me what the heck I was doing building this thing.  I’m still asking myself that same question.  I also wrote when we started the project.  But the world is going to end in a few short months, so I’m not quite sure why any of this mattered.

(via Plans Now)

We wanted to install puck lighting on our built-ins much like the inspiration above.  We had an existing outlet centered on the wall which I could tap into.  The only problem was actually running the electrical wire through the studs and up the wall.  I discussed the plan, and route, with several friends.  When one of them told me to stop being wuss and do it already, I took the leap.  After a couple of hours that spanned two nights, a dozen or so curse words, getting shocked once and causing some open wounds, I finally succeeded in running the wire — all within code, too.  Phew.  The idea was to get an outlet at the very top of the bookcase and then use the variance to hide the additional wiring for the puck-lighting.

That wire you see on the cabinet (isn’t live) and is just extra cord.  I’ll be trimming that down to fit into the outlet — or as seen below.

One issue I ran into, and it was one we were expecting, was the molding on the window sill.  The cabinets come up too high, so we’ll be removing them shortly.

I was expecting when I finished the frame and rested the cabinets on it, it would not be level.  But best thing ever?  I put the level on it and sure enough, it was damn near perfect on both sides.  I was assuming I’d have to use shims to get this puppy level.  I’m not sure how I accomplished it being level, but hopefully it makes the rest of the project much easier.

So next steps?

  • Attach the frame to the studs in the walls for a secure fit (right now the frame is just resting in there).
  • Remove the molding from the window sill.
  • Start building the open boxes which will sit on side each of the cabinets against the wall.

Baby’s First Closet Plans

4 Comments

Posted by Rebecca, January 9th, 2012

After we had hardwood floors installed in our spare bedrooms, we were pretty sure that the baby’s room was going to be this one bedroom (bedroom 1)….

Previously, we had teetered between the room we chose and the last remaining room (bedroom 2). In the beginning, bedroom 2 seemed like a nicer choice, with an extra window and a bigger closet. But the more we thought about it, we realized that there was a lot less wall space for furniture configuring. Then after we cleared the room out to have the floors installed, I naturally started putting the baby’s stuff in the room that didn’t have the guest bed in it, which was now bedroom 1. It was beginning to feel natural that the baby’s room would be the one with the one window. The only thing that kept us on the fence for so long was the closet, which isn’t small, but is just your traditional sliding door closet.

Then I spotted this picture on Pinterest a few weeks ago…

(from Roomzaar via Pinterest)

I’ve been scheming to take the closet doors off, since with sliding doors you are limited to what you can reach on either side. Mike wasn’t convinced and thought I was weird and crazy. Okay, he thought I was weird and crazier than he thought before. But Mike is a very visual person… 90% of the time when I bring up an idea, he thinks it sounds awful. Over the years he’s gotten to the point where he just tells me to do things and knows he’ll probably like it. Or I sketch it out… or I go on Pinterest for a visual. This was one of those instances.

We love the closet system in our walk-in closet and it’s a solid wood Allen + Roth organizer from Lowe’s. It was another one of those things that I pushed hard for when we first moved in because I like to have all of my clothes in front of me. Like, I get fully dressed in the closet in the morning, so having drawers for socks and a shelf for accessories was key. Mike wasn’t sold on it until we actually installed it and then he was like you know what? This thing is awesome. I wanted that same sense of organization and mixed storage options for the baby’s room.

We’re planning on only getting a single dresser to use as a changing table, so we wanted the closet to provide a lot of different storage options. While we were in Lowe’s last weekend looking at cabinets for the new office built-ins, I stumbled upon some new Allen + Roth storage systems.

(via Lowe’s, sorry for the small pic)

These systems were quite similar to what we have in our walk-in… but they were customizable! Ours came in one packaged system and luckily fit our closet and needs perfectly. These new ones give options based around a single tower…

We’d probably do a white system, but the tower picture on the website was dark. In the tower you can add a bunch of inserts, such as drawers…

And metal storage baskets that slide in and out and would be great for toys….

The best part of this system, like the one we already have, is that it’s solid wood and can be cut down to fit your closet. We’ll probably do a configuration similar to our walk-in and the stock picture, with two hanging areas on either side of the tower. We’ll probably do 2 levels on both sides like the inspiration picture, since kids’ clothes are so tiny and even pants won’t need the entire height of the closet. Heck I only have a couple of dresses in my closet that require the “long” side!

Whether we’ll can the doors completely, do a curtain, do french doors or do solid double doors remains a mystery. But! I am planning on painting the closet a fun, bright color before we install the system and stenciling behind it. Plus the baby is acquiring quite a wardrobe thanks to momma shopping some after Christmas sales (next year’s Christmas onesies for $2? Don’t mind if I do!), so the storage is needed ASAP!

Once we finish framing out the office built-ins (which we started this weekend), the baby’s closet is next. We have so many huge projects on our plates it’s insane. Fun, but insane 🙂

Page 2 of 3123
Copyright 2010 - 2011. The Lil House That Could. All rights reserved.