We recently slightly downsized from a small apartment to a tiny apartment, just as our daughter had learned to walk and talk and get interested in activities other than lying on her back and babbling to her toes. With these new activities and interests came a growing pile of toys and dolls and crap, which we of course had very limited space for. Or really, limited indulgence for: I love her dolls almost as much as she does (watching a 20-month-old pretend to change a diaper? Nothing. Cuter!) but her play area is smack between the living room and kitchen, and I dunno, there’s just something nice about not being stared down by Dressy Bessy and Mooch the Beanie Baby monkey when we sit down to a grown-up meal after our daughter goes to bed. As such, my husband and I built her what we call the Toddler Home Office: To the untrained eye, it looks like (and is!) a comfy banquette, covered with super durable, kid-proof outdoor fabric ($10 at a Hable sample sale!). But remove the cushion to expose a chalkboard, a drawing table complete with a roll of paper, and a spacious toy box, wide enough to accommodate two folded doll strollers, her hockey stick, and one of those popcorn push toys. Then, for toddler extra credit, put the removed cushion on the floor and systematically line all the dolls up on it, cover them with dish towels, feed them all bottles and kiss them good night.
By Rob Evans