Nursery Planning and Picking a "Theme"

While my pregnancy has progressed (hello 6 months!) I’ve got the normal curiosity about how we’re prepping the house for baby.  A lot of people specifically have asked what is our nursery theme?  While picking a “theme” would make a lot of things easier, I never had planned to go this more traditional route.  My plan was to design a more masculine grown-up room and add layers of whimsy and fun in the decorations, toys, and books. 


Mike really surprised me one night when he shared the “theme” he wanted for our son’s room!

The room is small and, thanks to my impatience, already a blank slate from starting the office redo.  

I had the top image in my mind as inspiration and knew adding toys and colorful books would add the layer of "fun" I was looking for.  When Mike and I were discussing the room he surprised me by having his own, very distinct, opinion.  Not to say Mike having an opinion is surprising, anyone who's a longtime reader or knows him in person knows that he's very opinionated, but he usually lets me do my thing decorating because at this point he trusts me.  Even though he doesn't like some things I bring into the house, he recognizes that many people do and that I have relatively good taste.

His idea for a theme? Tibetian Sherpa. 

Ha! Let me explain.  He has this snowboarding game that he said is kinda the feel for what he had in mind.  It's called Alto's Adventure and it really does have visually cool and interesting graphics.  

Basically, Alto, a snowboarding Shepard, forgets to close his llama gate and they escape and he has to collect them all.

As we were talking, Mike said he doesn't want little sherpa's in the corners or kid-sized llamas, just the overall feel of the imagery of the game.  We talked about colors and textures like leather and fur and wouldn't you know it was basically the direction I was already going!

So while the "theme" is kind of a joke, it's also the direction we're heading and in addition to the basic colors and furniture, I'm sourcing a llama or two for fun!

We've got a lot of the major furniture, like a new rug, dresser and crib, either installed or en route and the room's painted, so now we work on adding a little Alto to the room!  

Replacing Perfectly Good Lights with New Ones

This is a short post, but basically I’ve been relatively happy with our bathroom vanity lights we installed almost 5 years ago (I had to look that number up and the seems really crazy that that project was that long ago!). 

Bathroom Vanity Lights
The style wasn’t something I loved, but they were okay.  What I didn’t love was the dust.

It may be difficult to see in photos, but the frosted glass made it impossible to clean off the dust.

Regular Swiffer dusters were out of the question, and even using a damp paper towel left it dirty and little paper towel pieces behind.  Besides, I know my cleaning limitations and I barely want to get on the counter now to hand clean these bad boys, I know when a baby comes it’s definitely not happening!

So I went on the hunt for something with a smooth glass cover, but I also liked the diffused light from the frosted glass.  When I came across these Oslo 3-Light Brushed Nickel Vanity Lights from Home Depot I felt like it was a winner.
While I don’t absolutely love the style, it works for our somewhat traditional bathroom, and it has both a smooth glass exterior while still providing the diffused light as the old lights.

Like the original installation, we installed with the bulbs facing down because the room is small and facing it upwards would loose light as it bounced off the ceiling first.

Installation was relatively easy, except that the screws on the mounting plate were a little too long for the new fixture.  Mike was able to get one to work, but ended up needing to cut the other set down.  Strange and annoying, but like most things, he figured it out!

While it’s not a huge change, we did add LED bulbs and the lighting is now brighter and a little cooler in temperature, it’s a nice little upgrade.  Also, knowing that cleaning them will be much easier makes me smile a little every time I turn them on!


Adding New Outlets to an Older Home

While we work on moving furniture around in the bedrooms to make room for the nursery, there were a few projects that we had to complete first.

First up, was installing two new outlets upstairs, one in the (future) office and the other in our bedroom.  You see, one of the perks of our 90-year-old house is there are no outlets on any exterior walls upstairs.  When I first mentioned this to Mike he was living in Chicago and he 100% thought I was wrong.  I assured him that as someone who’s had to decorate around this quirk, it was true, (I’m pretty sure he went and checked the next time he was in town just in case I was wrong)!

Before moving the desk I wanted to add an outlet so I didn’t have extension cords running across the room, and while we’re adding one, we might as well add another on the other side of the house in our bedroom to get rid of the extension cords we were already using!

While the pictures aren’t anything to look at, some aren’t even in focus because I was also acting as “apprentice” during installation, I found the process interesting and actually it’s not that hard at all!  Although, if you’ve never done electrical work before I definitely wouldn’t recommend this, but by knowing the process it can help you stay informed when getting quotes by licensed electricians.

First, you cut a hole.  We determined the new outlet should fall somewhere in the middle of the wall where my desk would sit.  We used the cable outlet (which were installed in all the bedrooms prior to us moving in) to match the height.  Mike chose to use an old work box (the blue plastic kind) because we are installing into the original lathe and plaster walls, also you don’t need to find and attach to a stud.  We used the stud finder to determine we weren’t hitting a stud and then used a multi-tool (oscillating saw) to cut the hole.

Then came the fun part, and by fun, I mean worst part for Mike because he had to get up in the attic.

We attached a pull string to the original outlet wiring in the room and from the attic, Mike pulled the existing wire up (making sure the string didn't get pulled out and I had something to grab on to).  Then he attached the new wire to the string and existing wire.  From below, I pulled both back through the outlet.  The gray is the exisiting, and the yellow is the new wire.

By connecting the new wire to the existing receptacle, this is where the power to the new outlets will come from (they'll also all be on the same breaker which will make it easier for future work).  Mike then moved to the other side of the room (in the attic) and since we had measured where the new outlet was cut in relation to the corner of the house, he knew where to drill the holes to drop down the new wire.  Here's the relation of the existing outlet (on the bottom right) to the new outlet across the room.

I was in the room in charge of making sure I saw sawdust through the new hole as he drilled the hole up in the attic (check!) and then I had to grab the wire as he fed it down.  Once the first wire was pulled, then he sent down another one, which would then feed to our bedroom across the attic.

At this point, it's basically 90% done.  We did the same procedure to the new outlet in our bedroom, (Mike laid out the second wire across the attic and after cutting it with more than enough slack, he pushed that down the wall as I grabbed it through the new hole and pulled it through).

Mike then added receptacles, which was a little difficult due to the 12-gauge wire, but of course, he made it work.  We decided to add receptacles with USB ports (these ones specifically) knowing that I'll be charging my phone and electronics in my office sometimes, and we charge our kindles on our bedside tables in our bedroom.

With that project done, I'm basically ready to paint this room!  I have a lot more energy now that I've hit the second trimester, but I still can't get excited about this project.  I'm hoping to just push through it this weekend so we can start setting up the nursery, which is both overwhelming and exciting!

We tackled another smaller electrical project this weekend, which I'll share later this week.