Survival Tip #156: Make it sized to fit.
On Saturday night, we ate spaghetti. There were two big white bowls filled with pasta smothered in Marcella Hazan’s famous sauce, a smaller wooden one, filled with the same and sprinkled with extra parmesan, and a high chair tray festooned with inch-long pieces of pasta and holding an a eight-month-old who decided mouth-direct-to-tray was the clearest route for hoovering. In the center of the table was a lit a candle. (We’ve been lighting a candle for all of our dinners lately, not because they’re fancy but because the light is changing and dinnertime is creeping closer to sunset, and also because a bit of ceremony has proven useful for getting the three-year-old in our midst to come to the table for a semi-civilized meal.)
During our spaghetti dinner, Faye sat on top of a new cushion. The cushion is an attempt to make an adult-sized chair work for a decidedly child-sized person. She’s had to abdicate her throne to a very smiley despot and so we needed a new solution that would work for her. (No room for two high chairs in a tiny apartment; hardly enough room for one.)
The cushion is just the latest in our attempts to make this space work for a growing family. As you know, my general philosophy is to opt for solutions that are least oppressive in terms of cost and aesthetics so I’ll submit that a custom-sized wool-filled cushion is not the most economical of all the options but it’s a solution that will last through the duration of our small-bottoms-in-big-chairs phase—in other words, at least for another four years—and so everything considered, that seemed good enough to me.
A few weeks ago, across town, a friend in a similarly diminutive apartment give birth to a sweet little boy. In their apartment, like in so many, the closest thing they had to anything that would qualify as a changing table was, in actuality, their dining table. Even a minimalist might take pause at serving dinner next to the diapers. But there wasn’t room enough to add another piece of furniture and so they retrofitted a spot in their closet, building themselves a table with just the right dimensions for a little guy needing to have his diaper changed approximately one million times a day.
As a renter, it’s rare that true customization makes sense financially, and I can tire of small space advice that says that the only way to survive life in a smaller-than-average home is through custom-built fixes and fancy folding furniture. Still, sometimes investing in a little something that’s been designed with exactly your space in mind can have its advantages. Sometimes that something is a cushion. Sometimes it’s a folding bed. Sometimes it’s a tiny table meant for a tiny human.
Tiny apartment survival tips #1-155 right this way.