We recently slightly downsized from a small apartment to a tiny apartment, just as our daughter had learned to walk, 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, dolls, and other 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 in the middle of 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 plush toys. Then, for toddler extra credit, put the removed cushion on the floor and systematically line up all the dolls upon it, covering them with dish towels, feeding them all bottles, and kissing them good night.
By Rob Evans