June 2021
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Lilian’s Room: The After Photos

It’s been almost four years since we renovated our old guest room to turn it into a nursery, and I still haven’t documented the work that we did. Why must I document all of the work that we did? Is it because this is the Internet and we must document all of the work that we do, no matter how trivial? Is it because I needed an excuse to use the wide angle lens on my dSLR? Is it because the cleaners came today and I wanted to prove that we don’t always live in our own filth?


It’s because this is what the room looked like when I was like a million months pregnant, heavily nesting, and trying to not lose my mind over the entire process:


Somewhere out there, someone is frantically googling “Can my baby still get into Harvard if they spend the first month of their life sleeping in a cardboard box?” (Answer: yes. It’s called the entire population of Finland).

Welcome to my website, frantic googler. Everything is going to be fine. Have your partner make you a nice cup of chamomile tea, elevate those swollen feet of yours (I assume you are nesting, and therefore pregnant), and take a nice, deep breath. I think we finished our renovations on time (I honestly can’t remember, which just goes to show how unimportant this stuff is in the long run). Even then, our daughter spent the first few months of her life in a co-sleeper attached to our bed. Babies will sleep pretty much anywhere. Put them somewhere safe, and they’ll be fine.

Now I get to brag a little about how cute the room finally ended up.


Note the distinct lack of construction debris. I really feel that it adds to the feng shui of a nursery when the closet is no longer crumbling into dust. That closet ripped my Dad’s hand open (twice!), but it’s now the nicest closet in the house. I should probably have opened up the closet doors for a picture, but there is a very nice Elfa system in there (thanks Uncle Andre and Auntie Michelle!).

(I am so totally jealous of that closet, even if the hanging rods are all sized for someone who is only a couple of feet tall).


I think the room is a nice mix of classic and modern pieces. Or, as I like to put it, “stuff that people gave us for free, and stuff that we bought on-sale at Ikea.” The crib (now a toddler bed) is new (because: safety), but the other big pieces were in my sisters-in-law’s room when they were little. We didn’t have to do anything with the furniture except to give it a good scrubbing.


The wall hangings were all made by my grandma, who is a truly talented quilter. I made the curtains, some of the cushions, and that butterfly mobile. It’s a little hard to tell, but there is a quilt stand in a corner that has a whole bunch of homemade blankets on it, including a blanket knitted by my great-grandmother. That rocking chair is a family heirloom that my grandparents had re-caned. There is a plush cthulhu doll sitting on it, because how awesome is it that someone gave Lilian a plush cthulhu?

I intentionally hung a lot of the pictures and other decorations low. I mean, it’s a room for a tiny person. She should be able to look at everything. My mom gave us a really lovely gift that I put right at Lilian-height: it’s a recipe for her grandmother Lillian’s snow pudding. Lil was the OG, even if we did accidentally change up the spelling. It’s a beautiful frame, but somehow it always ends up slightly askew. I kinda dig it though, because every time I go to straighten it out, I have a nice little moment thinking about family history.

(I’m not OCD. I can stop straightening picture frames any time I want. I just choose not to.)

I kinda wish that the rest of the house was as nice as this room. We’re (slowly, oh so slowly) getting there, but this is the first room that we really planned out in advance, and then saw it through to completion. It’s also the easiest to keep clean, even if it houses a tiny cyclone. Kids’ stuff was made to be purged when kids aren’t using it anymore, so there just hasn’t been that accumulation of crap that you don’t know what to do with. I’m sure that someday soon it will all be bursting at the seams with random plastic toys that she can’t bear to part with, but for now it’s nice to be able to do a quick sweep and put everything in its place.

I wish my closet was half as organized. I wish my closet had real walls!

So there you go, frantic googler. You can rip apart your nursery and patch it back together before your baby arrives. I don’t know that I would recommend it, per se, but it is technically possible. I would highly recommend taking advantage of every friend and family member that offers to help. We sure did, and it’s the only reason that it all got done. That crown molding didn’t hang itself. It took two very tall friends and a shorter friend to supervise.

I also wouldn’t recommend getting knocked up as a ploy to get your friends and family to help you with your house. But it was also a pretty effective technique. So is marrying a very handy man. Kristian did a lot of the work in this room himself.

I am really glad that I took before photos, and that I remembered to go back and take after photos as well. Because, after all this time, I am actually kindof in awe at the transformation.

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