A nursery for Silas

I found a brief moment when Silas was napping to snap some pics of his nursery. I LOVE how it turned out. Since he’s only 7 weeks he’s still sleeping in a cosleeper in  our room, but he’s taken a few naps in here. It’s such a big change from where this room started!

before

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This room is really small, just 8 by 11 feet. I wanted to keep it feeling light and fun with lots of artwork and a modern feel.

 

after

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I added some diy plumbing pipe curtain fixtures over the window and closet to give the room a little symmetry. The curtains are just old ones from Target. Because the fixtures are screwed right into studs Silas and his older sister can tug on them all they want – they are very secure. An Ikea Raskog cart holds all our diapering supplies, freeing up space in the dresser. We do 60/40 split with cloth/disposable diapers, mostly sposie’s at night.

 

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The crib is the Ikea Gulliver that we used with Lucy. I love how simple it is, and you can’t beat the price. The little stool in front of the window is a Target find. Lucy likes to perch there while I’m changing Silas (approximately 1,000 times per day- kid’s a puker) The mobile is from this Etsy shop. I love how it adds just a little bit of whimsy to the room.

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The Monte Luca glider was a deeply discounted floor sample score at a local baby boutique. I promised myself an upholstered glider the second time around and I’m so glad – it’s so much more comfortable than the rocking chair we used in Lucy’s nursery. The little dipped stool/side table is from Serena&Lily. The lamp is from Ikea. The “goodnight” dinosaur print is from Urban Outfitter. and so is the fox pillow (which I think is no longer available.)

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This tree bookshelf is my favorite feature in the room. It’s by Babyletto and is the perfect size. It’s not at all practical for regular books (too shallow) , but it’s perfect for displaying small toys and baby books. It’s right next to the door so it’s narrow depth is perfect. It also holds the neatest little humidifier night light from Muji.

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The mid century dresser is one of the first grown up pieces of furniture Pk and I ever bought. It’s petite size is perfect for a kids room and I love the original brass hardware. We have two Ubi diaper pails, one for cloth and one for disposables. So far I’m impressed –  no stink and you can use any bag or liner you like. The “twenty northern friends” print is from Banquet on Etsy and the Tree of Life print I blogged about ages ago, here. Framing was a big expense in this room, but I love all the artwork in here. It really brings the space to life and I hope Silas grows to love what we picked out for his room.

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The rug is also from Ikea. It’s 100% wool and does a great job hiding animal hair. I added an extra squishy rug pad underneath so it’s foot and baby friendly too. The baby gym is also Ikea. Shocking, I know – I had to offset all my splurges (glider, framing, artwork) with some more affordable pieces, thus, Ikea. Affordable solid wood kids toys aren’t that easy to come by and this one is easy on the eyes.

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Last but not least, the star of the show! Silas is 7 weeks old today and weighs in at an impressive 15 and a half pounds. Two weeks ago he developed a scary high fever and we had to spend 2 nights in the hospital, but thankfully everything is fine now (thank god for antibiotics- he had a UTI.) Of course it happened the night of Pk’s first international work trip since Silas’ birth, but thankfully the grandparents were available to stay with Lucy while I took care of our little man.  It was stressful and it’s taken me a little while to get back on my game since we got home. Silas is a very different baby than Lucy was, but we’re getting the hang of things. Lucy has done a great job, but is showing a little bit of regression behavior now that he is a little older and some of the excitement of his arrival has faded away for her.  Adjusting to two kids is way more difficult than adjusting to one – everyone warned me, but until I was in the thick of it, I didn’t fully understand. There is literally no personal time left and almost no time for blogging. Hopefully we’ll get into some kind of routine soon and I’ll have some time to catch up on house projects (the garage/art studio is finally getting done!) Pk is taking me on a date tonight, just us, and I can’t wait. Hope you all are well and enjoying spring!

xx-H

 

Postpartum tips – for the second time around.

This is a mom-heavy post so feel free to skip if you’re here for reno/design stuff.

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Silas at 3 weeks 5 days and almost 12lbs. I love a baby double chin.

It seems impossible, but it’s already been a month since baby #2 arrived. The post partum period is such a blur – time seems to move both incredibly fast and yet, glacially slow. I think that the second time around, it’s easy to feel like your an expert going in to it. You’ve done this before, right? No. You haven’t. You did it with one newborn, NOT a newborn and another kid. It’s safe to say I definitely over did it this time around and tried to accomplish way too much too soon. Here are a few tips that will hopefully keep another mom out there from getting totally run down and overwhelmed.

1. Say No.

Say it loud, say it proud. It’s ok to say no to, or at least limit the number of, visitors in those first few weeks. Lucy has done a fabulous job welcoming Silas into our family, but having tons of visitors those first couple of weeks really threw her for a loop. I also feel a lot of pressure to keep my house clean when people are coming over (absurd with a newborn, I know.) I think the best strategy is to limit visitors to days when your partner is home from work and can help out and limit the number of visitors to just one or two groups per day. It’s also ok to tell people to leave when YOU get tired, not just when the baby is sleeping. On the one hand it’s great to have people come shower your older child with attention, but it also can be a little overwhelming for your child to deal with a lot of coming and going. Don’t push yourself and get comfortable saying “no thanks, we really need to rest.”

2. Accept help, and be specific about what you need.

If people ask what they can do tell them to bring you food. Ask for takeout or hand them a grocery list, but don’t feel obligated to host them for dinner. Good visitors will appear with food and then leave so you can get back to cuddling as soon as possible.

3. Drink water. All the time.

Find a giant water bottle with a straw and keep drinking. Get a high capacity one so you don’t have to get up and fill it all the time. Lucy loved drinking out of my special water cup, so the bigger the better.

4. Make a diaper/nursing station by your couch or favorite chair.

This is key. You don’t want to have to get up every time you need lanolin or a burp cloth. Get a basket and keep it stocked with diapers, wipes, nursing pads, a nursing cover for squeamish visitors, lanolin, hand sanitizer, and a spare outfit for the baby. A cell phone charger wouldn’t hurt either.

5. Keep a stack of books and a loaded iPad around for your older child.

I’d love to pretend that we didn’t pacify Lucy with shows, but the truth is those first few weeks are such an exhausting time that she had to entertain herself a lot. I downloaded a few new games and shows for her so that we could all have some quiet time when we needed it. Books are great for a little snuggle time while you nurse your new baby.

6. Have a safe place on every floor where you can put down your baby.

We have bouncy chairs/lounges in almost every room so that if Lucy needs me I can safely put the baby down to help her. The temptation to just pop your baby on the couch for one second can be strong, but babies learn to roll over fast, so make sure that they are in a safe spot before you answer the door or head to the bathroom. I keep a bouncy chair in the bathroom so that I can bring Silas with me while I shower – the noise is very soothing for him and being able to keep an eye on him while Lucy plays in her room is a sanity saver.

7. Stock your fridge and pantry with one handed food.

The hunger that comes with nursing is like no other. Fill your fridge and pantry with healthy, easy to eat foods that you and your older child love. For us that is tubs of pre-cut fruit, yogurt, cheese, trail mix, squeezable fruit for Lucy ( in the foil packets), high protein granola bars. Another big help has been making big batches of healthy grains like quinoa, beans, and brown rice so that the foundation of dinner is always available.

8. Take the pain meds you are prescribed.

Take them on schedule. It’s much better to stay on top of the pain then to try and recover from it.

9. Be prepared for a lot of laundry – yours especially.

Spit up, night sweats, leaky boobs – post partum is a messy time. Spread a big towel or receiving blanket on your bed so you don’t have to change your sheets all the time. I stocked up on cheap but comfy tshirts and leggings from Target so I always had something clean on hand.

10. Make sure you have your newborn necessities ready to go.

It might have been pretty straightforward to do a Target run with one kid to get what you need, but handling two in those first weeks can be daunting. Here’s what I had on hand…

 

 

newborn must haves
1. Aden and Anais swaddle blankets I had 8 of these leftover from Lucy and got 4 more as a gift. You can never have enough of these swaddle,burp,nursing cover multi-taskers. The bamboo ones are very soft, but I prefer the cotton muslin for durability.
2. The Beco Gemini Baby Carrier This is a great soft structured carrier. Baby can face in or out (when they are older) or hip carry. The gemini is great because you don’t need an additional insert to use it with a newborn (like the Ergo.) Another great carrier for a newborn is a ring sling, like the Sakura Bloom Pure sling. A carrier of some sort is essential so that you can attend to your older child and/or your own needs with both hands. If Silas is having a hard time calming down I can pop him in the carrier for some guaranteed quiet time.
3. Footed one pieces from the Gap. It really don’t matter where you get them, but I like how soft the ones from the Gap are. When your baby screams through wardrobe changes and a 3 year old is pulling on your leg you don’t want to mess around with separates and tiny socks. I love the built in hand covers too.
4. Boppy pillow and cover. I used a My Breast Friend pillow with Lucy but really prefer the Boppy. A stylish washable cover is key since this pillow goes where I go and gets puked on all the time.
5.Wubbanub paci toy. This is a great way to keep track of your pacifier. We keep this one in the crib for those brief moments when Silas uses it.
6. Aden and Anais Burpy Bibs. These are generously sized and super absorbent. They also can be used as a bib which makes them a great 2 in 1 product. Just like the swaddling blankets, they get softer with every wash. I drape one on every visitor since Silas is a big time spitter upper.
So! Those are my tips. The biggest thing for me is just recognizing that getting the little things done is more than enough accomplishment for the day. Are we all fed and mostly clean? Then I feel like supermom. We are definitely getting into a good routine, but I really tried to do too much in those first couple of weeks. It takes a while for the adrenaline of childbirth to fade, but don’t be fooled – sleep deprivation will catch up with you. I also had mastitis which was definitely my body’s way of telling me to slow down. Rather than try and figure out what housework I can do in the moments the baby is sleeping and Lucy is distracted I’m trying to focus on resting and enjoying my two kids (it still feels crazy to type that.)
Hope you all are well! On to more house projects next week…
xx-H

The upstairs hall.

So! An actual post about house progress! Here goes…

When we bought our place, it was fairly obvious that the previous owner had bought it in an attempt to flip it and had made “improvements” (I use that term loosely) using the absolute cheapest materials possible. To wit, our upstairs doors were the cheapest plastic molded hollow core doors ever made. With the cheapest, ugliest brass and mismatched hardware ever made.

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They weren’t ever painted, and were pretty filthy, but somehow that wasn’t motivation enough to do anything about it for the last three years. I guess that’s not really true – we did buy salvaged wood doors (like the ones on the first floor) but then they sat in the basement while we did other stuff; like rounds of infertility treatment and thankfully had two kids.

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ewww, ugly door to our bedroom.

 

Thankfully we have Sean the carpenter who trimmed and scraped and painted and trimmed some more until all the salvaged doors fit where they needed to. It was no easy task – a couple of the slabs we picked were warped (oops) and since pretty much everything in this house is crooked anyway, it was quite a challenge to get them to fit. He persevered, and I’m so glad. New (to us) wood doors make all the difference.

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The upstairs hall is very short, so I took this pic with my back pressed against the railing over the stairs.

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Here’s the bathroom door that had to be trimmed just enough that the new knob wouldn’t fit without a little trickery from Sean. He was able to add in a piece of wood so that there was enough depth for the latch mechanism.

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I actually kind of like the way it looks – a happy accident. We used the same door hardware as downstairs, but only put a locking one on the bathroom door (once, while babysitting, a sassy toddler locked me out of her room while her infant sister was inside and I practically had to take the door off the hinge to get in, so, no locking bedroom doors for kiddos in this house.)

The doors will probably need a bit of adjusting as we move into the more humid summer months, but I’m so happy with how they turned out. Just the tactile sensation of opening a heavy wood door instead of a flimsy plastic one is pretty satisfying. Here’s the new light fixture over the stairs.

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It’s from Restoration Hardware. It replaces the ugly stained glass fixture that I showed here. The roman shade is from Pottery Barn. I originally ordered 3 of them for our bedroom, but since they have a blackout liner they felt a little too heavy. I kept the one I had opened and it works perfectly here. It’s open all day and only gets pulled down when we are going to bed and don’t want to see our neighbors security lights.

I really intended to get this post up sooner but I’ve been waylaid by a terrible case of mastitis this week. Thank god for on-call docs, 24 hour pharmacies, and antibiotics. I’ll have another post up about the stairway soon – it’s looking really good, but just needs a few more things before it’s complete.

xx-H

Our new arrival!

Our son, Silas Arthur Patrick Kelly, was born April 2nd at 6:12 am. He weighed in at a whopping 8lbs15oz and was 22 inches long!

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Lucy has done a wonderful job welcoming her new brother. It’s hard to put into words how much love I feel for these two. We have our first doctors appointment today and our first full day alone at home, but so far things have been going really well. I’m looking forward to sharing some more projects around the house that got done (or at least started ;) ) in the last few weeks, especially his nursery!

Xx-h

It’s all in the details.

But first, a weather update. It’s hard not to feel like nature is playing a joke on you when the radar looks like this.

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That wee blue snowstorm was hovering directly over us yesterday and we woke up to another dusting this morning. Even the most affable among us are being dragged down by the constant cold and snow. It’s a little nerve wracking getting around all the ice when I’m so tippy, but I’ll hold fast to the idea that this baby will be born in spring time. 4 more weeks!

Our contractor Sean has been working hard to wrap up a few things in the meanwhile. First on our list was replacing the rest of the baseboards and door trim on the first floor, in the kitchen and dining room.

Here’s a before pic, from when we mostly redid the kitchen in 2012. You can see the skinny baseboard, and undersized door trim on the pantry and sliding door to the powder room.

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Sean carefully removed the old trim

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Then he installed the new trim and beefed up the door casings.

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Sorry, grainy iphone pics. You can see the little closet door here too. Lots of doors in a small space!

Here are the afters – you can see that beefing up the door trim brought the line of the pantry door up to the same height as the cabinet above the fridge (which needs to be leveled).

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I like the plinth blocks at the foot of the doors. They just make everything feel really solid.

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This little closet door was red in another life and sat primed and pinkish with no hardware here for 2 years until Sean actually gave it the paint job it deserved.

So, those are some little details that have changed around here. It’s amazing how removing the little eyesores around our house have really changed my impression of our space. When we first moved in, all the doors were plastic hollow core and had shiny brass hardware. These 2 panel solid wood doors were salvaged from houses all over Chicago and the North Shore – some of them are probably one hundred or more years old, just like our house. It feels so good to bring it back the simple, high quality details that it deserves. If you’re local, we’ve had great luck with salvaged doors at the Rebuilding Exchange in the city and even closer at Evanston Rebuilding Warehouse.

Next on our list – finishing the stairway bannister and replacing the doors on the second floor. We are also planning to gussy up the powder room a little bit – hopefully before this baby makes his arrival! His nursery is almost ready to share, just waiting on one more piece of artwork.

Hope you all are well,

xx-H

In praise of comfort.

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The sweater is from Lou and Grey, the lounge collection from Loft. I would happily wear every. single. piece.

This column, by the inimitable Cathy Horyn of the New York Times, really spoke to me. The comments are wonderful too.

Some fashion blogs I’m admiring lately -

1. http://www.happilygrey.com

2. http://www.lesantimodernes.com

3. http://thechicpragmatist.blogspot.com

update

4. http://www.seeannajane.com (a great blogger who is currently wearing maternity and, bless her, wears seasonally appropriate clothing.)

Do you have some favorite minimal/chic fashion blogs on your list? I’m still working on editing down my clothes. Wearing a limited maternity wardrobe has really reinforced the ideas I talked about in this previous post. Some might say it’s unwise to get rid of clothes when you are hugely pregnant, but I find filling bags to donate pretty liberating. I’ve been lucky to cross off a few things from my “basics” list and now I’m working to replace things in poor condition that I wear all the time (like my favorite sweaters and tees.) I’m also thinking about upgrading some of my denim after being disappointed by how quickly some of my favorite jeans have fallen apart. Any recommendations for brands? I’ll obviously be waiting until after april to even attempt to try on non-maternity styles. Just planning ahead…

xx-H

Black and Grey Nursery Decor

modern grey/black nursery decor
I’ve decided to keep things pretty neutral in our little guy’s nursery, including decor. Here are a few things I’ve been thinking about to spruce up the white walls.
1. I just ordered a custom nursing pillow cover from ModFox on Etsy. I love the fabric and it will look great in any room of our house. There are great fabric selections to peruse in her shop of you are looking for something a little more modern.
2. This large scale print from Banquet Atelier on Etsy. The size is great and very affordable. I love the woodsy theme of this one called “Twenty Northern Friends”, but there are also some lovely ocean themed prints for your little sailors. This print includes facts about all the animals at the bottom.
3. Thelittlechickadee Etsy shop has amazing silhouette prints, including this one called “The Stars Will Watch Over You”
4. These house shelves are on sale at Restoration Hardware Baby and Child. I know it would be pretty straightforward to DIY these, but the truth is, I’m lazy. I haven’t pulled the trigger on these yet, but I’m thinking about it.
5. Another print from Urban Outfitter! There is one in Lucy’s room too. This one was too charming to pass up and I love moon art.
6. More animal friends from Joanne Liu on Society 6. Looking at that site makes me want to change out all the art in my living room gallery wall. So much amazing stuff! Such reasonable prices!
7. This brass mobile from Comometalworks on Etsy would bring in a nice bit of warmth.
The second visit of our new friend the Polar Vortex meant that work upstairs had to pause, but our contractor was back today to get things moving. I’m so impatient to start decorating!
Hoping you all are well (and warm!)
H

he’s back!

IMG_6534My favorite carpenter/make my house better guy is finally back to work after a six month hiatus. First thing on his list? Painting the new nursery. We are so lucky to have a 3rd bedroom in this little house. It’s a small room, maybe 8×11?, but surely big enough to hold everything our little dude could need.

Here are a few more before pics – IMG_6532 IMG_6535The room was barely big enough for a queen bed and the dresser you see above, but it also held all of our coats and tons of other junk we managed to cram in there (linens, our iron, shoes, etc.) Pete and I thoroughly edited our coat collection, tossed the 10+ year old mattress, and gave the extra bedding to friends and family. We now officially don’t have a space for guests, but I’m seeing an air mattress purchase in our future. The beige paint (what was I thinking?) has been covered by a lovely coat of fresh white, which of course gave me the notion that the upstairs hallway and stairway could use a fresh coat, which then reminded me that ugly hollow core doors need replacing with the solid wood ones we scavenged and then left in our basement, and oh, this is the perfect time to build a linen closet! Epic nesting.

So. Sean is doing all of those things. The only possible place to add a closet was over the stairs, in the little strange hallway to our bathroom.

IMG_6542Here’s the view looking back at the stairs. Hallway to the bath is on the left.

IMG_6547 IMG_6548Here it is framed out. It’s really more of a linen cabinet since we needed to maintain a really comfortable head clearance for going up and down the stairs.

IMG_6550Here’s the view from inside the bath hallway ( you can see what it used to look like here) Sean will build doors and shelves once all the drywall is taken care of.

Here’s a view from today with drywall and a couple of coats of mud.

IMG_6561 I think having even a small linen cabinet will make a huge difference in our storage upstairs. We’ve always kept extra linens in our room, generally piled on chairs. I love the idea of having a place for a couple of extra pillows, an air mattress, and all the extra tp I can buy. I worried a little bit that adding a bulkhead would make the stairs feel cramped, but the truth is I don’t even notice it. I’m on the hunt for a new fixture to replace that 90’s pool table/bennigan’s style one finally. Sean will also upgrade the bannister on the stairs since the old one was quite flimsy and didn’t actually go all the way to the top.

Right now he’s using the nursery to stage all his tools while he gets all this upstairs work done – so I won’t really be able to get started putting the room together for at least another week. In the mean while I’ve been hunting for the second layer of decor for that room – I’m planning on picking up a rug and a floor lamp from Ikea this weekend and I’ve been finding tons of great artwork online. You can see my ideas on my pinterest board here.

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30 Weeks!

Hope you all are well.

xx-H

New Couch Fail.

So we bought the Jappling couch from Ikea, thinking it would be perfect for us in all it’s $399 cheap faux leather glory. Truly, it was great. The scale was good for the room, the pleather didn’t feel terribly cheap, and it was firm but comfortable. Everything was fine, until our cat realized we got a new couch made out of her favorite substance ever – plastic.

Is my cat the only cat that’s obsessed with chewing plastic? In the middle of the night she’ll gnaw on plastic dry cleaner bags or try and eat and scratch any poly shipping mailer that’s been left out on the table. I inevitably find teeth and claw marks on our shower curtain and I have to be super vigilant about plastic ribbon during the holidays, lest she choke. I probably shouldn’t have been surprised that she liked the couch so much.

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So we basically had the couch for about a week before she started methodically scratching during the night. We have had a real leather chair and a leather ottoman in the living room that she has never touched, so scratching didn’t really occur to me as a possibility.

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We’ve kept a couple of throws tossed over the couch to try and minimize the amount of damage, but at this point the couch is a loss. No one would buy it, and frankly it’s not worth donating since the damage is pretty bad on the arms and back. Now it’s just a  placeholder ( and group nap facilitator) until we get another couch, this time fabric. Our previous couch was fabric and she never scratched it, so I’m hopeful this is just her commentary on my choice of pleather rather than a new behavior. I’m really disappointed though, and feeling terribly wasteful since we’ve only had it a couple of months. I also feel a little anxious about our next choice – should we go with something cheap again in case she does keep scratching? I know there are sprays for fabric that deter scratching, but I don’t want to waste even more money on something that could get ruined. I’m praying that it’s just about the texture of the pleather. Snobby cat.

On the bright side, the couch was a bit dark for the room and I’m wondering if it might be better, style wise, to go with something a bit lighter, or at least that isn’t dark brown (brown ottoman, brown fur dog bed, wood bar, dark wood floors.) I’ve got my eye on a couple of options.

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The Pennie Sofa from Crate & Barrel – $899

I think the shape is so cool, but the obvious drawback is that there aren’t removable cushions. Considering how rough the dog is on upholstery it probably not the most realistic choice.

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The Paidge Sofa Grand from West Elm – $1449

Pricey, but I love the swoop arm and I’m really attracted to the ink blue velvet upholstery.

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The Abbott Sofa from World Market – On sale for $595

The cheapest of the bunch! I love this one. I miss the chaise part of our old couch and this one has much trimmer proportions. My brother and SIL have this one and it’s pretty comfy. Obviously the price is amazing. Pk is not crazy about the chaise since he likes how open the room feels now without it.

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The Karlstad Sofa Bed from Ikea – $849

The workhorse. Since we no longer have a guest room (new nursery!) it might be nice to have a sofa bed. It could move to the basement eventually and it has a bunch of different covers available. The cover and cushion covers can be removed to be cleaned. It’s not a particularly exciting silhouette, but maybe I could get more interesting legs for it, like hair pin or something a little more MCM (like this pin)? This couch seems like the most common sense option to me. Darn it Ikea. I can’t seem to get away from you.

So, no decisions yet, but we are definitely keeping an eye out for sales and floor samples. I’m tempted to just pull the trigger on the Ikea one, but I think I should force myself to wait in case I find something we absolutely love. In the meanwhile we’ve cleaned out every closet and some of our storage locker. I’m truly in nesting mode now at 29 weeks. We cleared out the old guest room to prep for the new nursery. An entire truck load of stuff went to be donated! The room needs a coat of paint, but most of the other large pieces are already here (dresser, crib, glider). I’m so excited to get rid of stuff. When I was pregnant with Lucy I collected an insane amount of baby gear from thrift stores and hand me downs, but this time around I’m hoping to do things much more simply.

Spotted any good deals on couches lately? Cat training ideas? Impervious fabric suggestions?

Hope you all are well.

xx-H

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