How I Turned My Bachelorette Pad Into A Baby-Proof Paradise

Photography by Brian Maranan Pineda.
Let me be up-front with you: This is not a story about creating the perfect apartment. My living situation is hardly perfect. In fact, nothing about this scenario is perfect. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Last winter, at 37, I decided to get pregnant on my own. Choosing motherhood, albeit unconventionally, felt right in every bone in my body; I was overwhelmingly ready — emotionally, physically, and professionally.

The only real stress was (welcome to New York City, baby) my one-bedroom Dumbo apartment that sits sturdily on the revolving art installation that is the BQE. Moving was really not an option — not with my parents living in my building, and my sister, brother-in-law, and nephew just five minutes away.
Photography by Brian Maranan Pineda.
Was it a survivable scenario? Of course. Especially with my mom as nanny, my dad as night nurse, and my sister as sitter — all available at a moment's notice. I am fully aware that compared to many of my fancy, married mommy friends, I am slumming it; yet, compared to the rest of the world, I am quite lucky. Getting the apartment in order would really just take some creativity. Baby steps, right?

First, my place needed a paint job, because if not now, when? I’ve never been depressed about the no-husband situation; to be honest, I like my “TBD” love life exactly the way it is. (And even if I didn’t, I would choose to be okay with it.) That said, when it came to the big P-word — painting — a small part of me wished I had someone else around to help.
Photography by Brian Maranan Pineda.
But guess what? Like most things in New York City, an extra set of hands is totally rent-able. Who needs Tinder when you have TaskRabbit? Enter Ibrahim B., who endured the whims of my hideous hormones while Benjamin Moore-ing the shit out of my apartment in the most elegant way. I chose the color Chantilly Lace in Natura Eggshell. An intensely clean white was exactly what I wanted, because life is messy enough.

Post-Ibrahim, it was time to reassess my use of space. My 700-square-foot apartment has high ceilings and lots of odd nooks. My married mommy friends swear by California Closets (a company that magically transforms a lot more than closets), so I decided to at least sign up for a consultation. Enter Carolyn Mushner, my own CC specialist, who blew into my world like some sort of cool-big-sister-meets-brilliant-HGTV-star — and life was never the same again. "Do this, build this, skip this, spend here, skimp here," she'd advise. Basically, she saved me.

The baby had barely kicked before Mushner figured out how to turn my tiny laundry room into spacious, organized storage for, um, everything in my life. She turned a formerly useless nook in between my bedroom and my bathroom into a sweet “baby suite,” and she swiftly transformed my “ehh” bedroom closet into an extensive Calypso St. Barth boutique. (Because that’s all I wear, by the way.) It was the best-spent money since, well, the NYU Fertility Center, and Carolyn taught me five invaluable life lessons for transforming even the teeniest of bachelorette pads into a baby-proof paradise.
Photography by Brian Maranan Pineda.
1. Behold, The Clamp-On Highchair
“If your house is already covered in crap, you don’t want a highchair in your living room, too. With a clamp-on version, you can move it around, carry it on vacation, and bring it into restaurants.”

2. It’s All About Space Bags
“These are life savers — with or without babies. With kids, you’re given so many clothes that don’t fit them, and those outfits need to go somewhere. Simply Space Bag them away and throw it all under the bed until you’re ready.”
Photography by Brian Maranan Pineda.
3. Speaking Of Under The Bed…
Room&Board makes a huge, metal bin that easily slides underneath the bed. It’s perfect for everything, from baby’s once-a-year dress-up clothes to the everyday box of Legos.”

4. Get A Swoop Bag
“The Swoop Bag is genius. It’s a canvas bag that opens up completely, so all the little toys can spill out for the kid to play with. And when they’re done, you just pull the string, and it all picks right back up.”

5. Turn Toys Into Wall Art
“You want your living room to have some semblance of adulthood, so try lining some floating shelves with the cooler-looking toys. That way, the room can have more of a grown-up look, and your kid has stuff to play with. Pottery Barn Kids has the best accessories to pull this look off.”

Once my apartment was professionally brightened, organized, and Carolyn-ized, it was time for some real fun: re-decorating.

I’ve always been a clutter-hating minimalist; I don’t even like to hoard feelings, unless they’re happy ones. So, in prepping for the baby, I wanted anything that wasn’t purely functional — or the chicest thing ever made on earth — out. I sold half my apartment on Craigslist, and the rest went to Housing Works.
Photography by Brian Maranan Pineda.
Then, I went shopping at Collyer’s Mansion for new-and-improved rugs, throw pillows, poufs, and more. The boutique is such a cool and exciting additon to Atlantic Avenue; I even spotted the girls from Broad City there! I also splurged on new, white-scalloped bedding from Crane & Canopy, and picked up the ultimate gift to my future forever-exhausted-self: a Nespresso machine.

As for my soon-to-be lil’ roomie, I registered for a bunch of great Oeuf and Baby Letto swag, but mostly hit up Pottery Barn Kids, which is the best of them all because everything is so cute without being “cutsey.”
Photography by Brian Maranan Pineda.
With the help of my friend, Dumbo-based designer Sasha Berlin, I originally brought in some bold, sophisticated pieces from ABC Carpet & Home — where I worked post-college and still get an employee discount (talk about the miracle of life!). But, I quickly learned that in the midst of the growing, albeit beautiful, chaos that is my life and my belly, I need my home to be as unadorned as possible. Even the slightest hammering of a nail into a wall feels too disruptive (see the easel I am using instead, for DIY artwork).

Baby girl Shelasky is due in October, which means I have a few more weeks to experiment with textures and tables, but, thankfully, the bulk of the nesting seems to be done. Externally, at least. The rest of my energy is reserved for watering my inner garden and decorating my soul. Oh, and yes, I’d like Ibrahim to come back and mount my TV, please.

More from New York