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Fitting a Nursery in a One Bedroom Apartment

Happy Homes Make Happy People: Rachel Doriss

I'm excited to present a post from one of my favorite sites, Shelterpop!

A textile designer makes room for a baby in her Brooklyn apartment, and it's nothing but sweet, sweet style.

Rachel Doriss, a textile designer for Pollack, moved to her Brooklyn building back in 2004. Over the last seven years, she and her husband Joel Hamilton, a record producer and musician, have watched the surrounding Clinton Hill/Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood grow and change. And in 2009, Doriss and Hamilton welcomed their own change: Their daughter Coco. Faced with a third member in their household, they had to figure out how to reconfigure their space.


After brainstorming ways to make their 500-square-foot apartment work for three, Doriss and Hamilton realized their best option was to move. However, they didn't go far: The couple rented out their ninth floor apartment and moved into a roomier unit on the seventh floor with a terrace. While the new pad is bigger, it's still a one-bedroom — leaving the pair to figure out how to fit a nursery into the apartment.

Find out how they did it!

Their solution was to cordon off a portion of their large bedroom for Coco without putting up any permanent walls — it is a rental, after all. Instead, the couple purchased a bookshelf from Ikea to act as the base of the "wall" and then had a handy friend create a drywall box — a sort of temporary soffit — to sit on top of the bookcase. Moldings and paint make the makeshift wall look like it's actually built into the room. And floor to ceiling curtains made from a Pollack fabric make the space into a cozy cocoon for Coco to sleep.

Throughout the rest of the house, Doriss and Hamilton made minor changes to make way for Coco, but they didn't change much. Their mid-century furnishings stayed, including a dresser that was topped with a changing pad for Coco instead of the usual changing table. With unlimited access to Pollack fabric, Doriss has many pillows made from beautiful textiles (sewn by her crafty grandmother!), but she decided to opt for a relatively inexpensive and easy-to-clean sofa for her living room when she knew Coco was on the way.

Doriss and Hamilton have managed to fit a baby into a one-bedroom apartment, but their space remains sophisticated and chic. "You constantly have to edit," says Doriss. "I think you need to limit the number of toys and have good places to put them away," A lesson that any new parent can learn from.

Take the full tour of Doriss and Hamilton's family-friendly Brooklyn pad on ShelterPop!

Here are a few more of my favorite ShelterPop posts:

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