I am so excited to share this guest post by Kristin Hurd. She and her husband create beautiful, handcrafted furniture and housewares over at
She is sharing a little of their home with us and how they have embraced their season with a little one and adapted their home for sweet Ester.
If you have little ones (or a little one on the way), I hope this post gives you some creative ideas and inspires you in embracing your own home and season of life.
Before becoming a mother, long before, I had a job that in many ways prepared me for motherhood. I worked alongside a seasoned "child occupational therapist". [After leaving her career to raise her own two children in the 1970s she decided to start child development business; she held classes that discussed various early parenthood topics.] I had the pleasure of being her assistant during my young 20s while finishing college. One of the topics she covered in her classes was “baby proofing”. I learned about the dangers of swimming pools and toilets, the hassle of kitchen cabinets and electrical outlets, and the biggest nightmare, stairs. Most of the women that took these classes were "high society”, celebrity moms, that hired actual baby proofing companies to come in and make their homes safe. Basically, specialized handymen (there is a market for this). I babysat for many of these women on the weekends, and saw how the baby proofing actually worked. Most of the time, it was overdone, and made life more complicated. One time I couldn't even go to the bathroom because I couldn’t figure out how to work the toilet lock!!
The two most important things I learned…baby proof as needed, and always be present with your child. Accidents happen quickly, no matter how well your space is designed to be “baby safe” - something can always become dangerous.
Fast forward about ten years later, I’m now a mom, and Ester is fifteen months old. We haven’t had to modify our home too much, but we have made a few significant changes. Our goal has been to adjust as needed, maintain our style, and create an environment that Ester can freely explore.
(We work from home, have a garage wood shop (with heavy machinery), and an office that stores our product (framed mirrors). Initially our home already seems like a danger zone. )
1. We keep out Ester out of the office unless she’s with one of us. Our office has French doors that she can easily push open, but rarely does she come into the office alone. If she’s persistent about the office (some days she is) we temporarily block the office doors with our entryway furniture. If she were adamant about being in this space daily, we would probably install a locking latch on the door.
2. Ester’s only ever in the wood shop if we’re in there with her, and she’s never in there while Sam is running machines (unless someone is holding her). The doors to the wood shop are always shut, and she is unable to open doors at this time. This is a space that may need a lock, we will see where her curiosity leads.
3. For now we keep all of the bathroom doors closed (toilet rooms)…once she’s old enough to open the doors we will figure out what to do.
3. When Ester began to crawl the first thing we did was insert the plastic plug covers over electric outlets that she could access. I wasn’t crazy about these since they’re easy to choke on if left out of the socket, and they are difficult to pull out of the wall. Our neighbor was the one who gave us the package of inserts, so we decided to install them temporarily until we’d purchase the push-slide plate covers (this never happened). They are working well for now.
4. The back door blinds were an attraction to her, and they were attached with sharp brace at the bottom of the door. As an early crawler she was pretty unstable, and when she began to pull up on her knees it made nervous. We detached the blinds indefinitely, and took the brace off to avoid any injuries. She now can look out the window and see the backyard, and the glass is always in need of cleaning, but that’s okay. Eventually we’re going to paint the back door a pretty color and will be sure to fill the holes left behind from the brace.
5. The most time consuming change we made once she began to crawl was the coffee table. Parents will tell you that coffee tables are hazardous because of the smaller spaces they create, and the sharp corners. Early walkers are notorious for falling into corners, and for crawlers the corners can be dangers too. One option was to remove the coffee table, but instead we decided to design a rounded table with eased edges. This table has been perfect, and yes, she has hit her head on it once or twice, but it wasn’t terrible. She’s now climbing everything, and she’s learning all about balance. We allow her to climb this table since it’s close to the ground and has a large surface area for exploration.
Cruising and Walking
6. The kitchen started to become an issue when Ester began cruising. She learned that the cabinets opened, and was eager to see what was inside. We moved all of the fragile items out of our lower cabinets…you may think this is crazy, but it has been incredibly helpful. Now when I’m cooking she can freely crawl inside, explore, take things out, and I can cook and not worry. We stored all of the glass dishes in our pantry, and moved some of the pantry items into the lower cabinets (like baking ingredients). Everything is in sealed ziplock or containers so there isn’t concern about her spilling sugar everywhere. We also made the lower kitchen drawers safe (cleaning rags, whisks, spatulas, lemon squeezers etc.). The fridge is also a fun place. The lower door shelves are always empty or used to store non-fragile perishables. She loves exploring the kitchen.
7. We moved our low house plants to higher tables to keep her out of the dirt and from destroying the lower leaves. We are aware of which house plants are potentially toxic, but she hasn’t been too interested in the plants since they are out of her reach.
8. In her bedroom/playroom everything is at her level, and the taller furniture is safely anchored to the wall. This is a space that’s “safe” for her to play and climb. She has a bench and a chair that she loves to climb and stand on. We’re all about risky play, and teaching her to use her own body to balance and critically work through a challenge. She’s supervised when climbing, we just prefer to give her creative space. *We don’t store her toys anywhere but her own room (aside from the refrigerator animal magnets). Her room is organized, all of the toys are in wicker baskets or inside her closet on low shelves (that she can reach). She has a bookshelf and a basket for stuffed animals. We do bring baskets of toys out the the living room for her to play with, but we always store them back in her room. This makes for a nicer ambiance in our home.
9. She began walking about two months ago and has since become obsessed with being outside. Before the summer heat arrives we had to make our backyard nice enough to spend time in. We installed a deck and a few chairs, planted flowers and are dedicated at keeping the yard clean from dog poo. (The front yard has become somewhat of a hazard since she loves to run into the street and our neighbors' garages.) We want her to be able to spend a good portion of every day outside, and not have to always drive somewhere. (Plus, most of the parks around here are lacking in shade.)
10. Most everything at her level is something she can play with and explore (even the living room console drawers have DVDs and things she can explore). She knows how to pull the broom out and help us sweep and also grab cleaning rags from the kitchen drawer to wipe the floors and furniture.
(If you have a pool, I wouldn’t hesitate to put a gate around it, or a locking cover, or some type of alarm. If you have a young family and are looking to buy a home, avoid a home with a pool until they’re older. There is honestly nothing more dangerous than a swimming pool.)
While baby proofing may seem stressful, it doesn’t have to be. Like anything, adjust as you need to, organically. And if you’re a family of multiple children you probably already know what to do. :) (ESTER JUST LEARNED HOW TO OPEN DOORS!!)