I know it has been a bit different for Mary, but for me this whole “we’re having a baby thing” wasn’t on my mind, all day each day at first. Sure every so often it would pop up and fill me with joy, but it wasn’t occupying a lot of space in my brain when we first got the positive test.
When we first found out, it more frequently came to mind as a million “don’t”s. For example, a couple days after we got the good news, we walked into Jimmy John’s and scanned the menu for a minute before sharing a look that said “this-no-cold-lunch-meat-rule-kinda-kills-Jimmy-John’s”. And yes, our look did say all of that. So we turned around and went to Donato’s. That’s how it was for me for a little while, a bunch of restrictions, on where we would go to eat, what we could serve for thanksgiving, what I could safely cook in the house without sending my wife running for the bathroom.
But then as the first trimester faded and we found out our baby to be is a boy, we started thinking about getting the house ready for the baby, and then to how much more we will need to do once the kid starts crawling around and trying to eat everything he picks up. We managed to get quite the list together, and these look a lot more like “Do”s.
The first big project on the list is putting together a nursery. We’re lucky enough that we have plenty of room in our current home, and could have just swapped a bed for a crib in one of our two guest rooms. But instead, we decided to take a crack at remodelimg our craft room, since it’s really underutilized and it connects to our bedroom by way of the laundry room/closet (floorplan below).
As an extra bonus, this way we will get good use out of a room that has never really made sense in our house. At some point in the ghost of houses past, when the house was briefly a duplex, this room would have a been the kitchen for the upstairs unit. By the time Mary bought it, the house was converted back to a single family home and this room was staged as a bedroom, but a weird one because of half of a leftover kitchen and a dated linoleum floor. It didn’t have a full kitchen any more, but still had cabinetry and a sink that robbed the room of its longest and most-usable wall. Also there is a weird sloped step down coming in to the room that Mary felt would be a tripping hazard for middle of the night feedings or with a babe in arms.
To get this odd, awkward room ready to be a nursery we need to:
- Remove all remaining vestiges of the upstairs kitchen (cabinets, sink, counter, plumbing, etc)
- Repair the walls and repaint for baby A
- Level the sub floor to resolve the odd step-down
- Have hardwood installed
- Design and Decorate
We considered leaving the sink for baby related clean-up, but it’s location in the room broke up the only full wall and none of the replacement sink options worked for us.
Since the list of pregnancy “don’ts” should probably include heavy lifting and construction dust, Half of the Allard-Co. remodeling team is on a 9 month break; I spent this weekend getting started on the craft room remodel myself.
Within a couple of hours, I had the plumbing shut off, the faucet removed, and the upper cabinets down. Most were just held on by a few screws and these strange wood anchors fixed into the brick wall. Then it was just a matter of getting the stainless counter and sink combo out, they came apart easily, but maneuvering the 100lb. 8′ counter top down the stairs on my own was a workout. Then I got to it removing the lower cabinets and the cabinet bases. By Sunday afternoon, all the cabinets were down and out revealing some very ugly old wallpaper. Not bad for a weekend’s work.
There’s still a lot to do to take this room from leftover kitchen/craft room to nursery, the plumbing needs to be permanently capped off, and the wires need run less conspicuously, we’ll want to put in some of the laminate tile to hold us over until we have a professional come lay the hardwood. and of course addressing those ugly walls, but it is really coming along.
Starting in on this project has been really great as a way to prepare for the little one. Doing home repair work always reminds me of my grandfather, a man who in an age before the internet seemed to know how to do everything. Someone who could use antique micrometers, talk you through any car repair, and had fully memorized the wiring layout of my entire childhood home. Rolling up my sleeves and putting to use all those skills I learned from him always leads me to reflect back on that quality time. And now, thinking about spending that kind of time with our son, handing down all the skills my grandfather handed to me, well it’s one more way the baby is always on my mind.