This 80-Square-Foot Kid’s Room in NYC Feels Like You’re On a Train (In the Most Magical Way!)

published Jun 12, 2024
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Large stuffed animal beside small table in child's room.

Apartment dwellers know the importance of maximizing every square inch — especially those with kids who have toys, small shoes lying about, and books. Someone well-versed in this topic is Christene Barberich, who runs the weekly newsletter A Tiny Apt., which discusses small spaces. 

The Room Before

Before having their daughter, Raffi, Christene and her architect husband, who founded Baxter Projects, shared a two-bedroom Brooklyn apartment that, after living in a studio apartment for six years, felt “limitless.” The second bedroom, which is around 80 square feet, was the perfect place for guests to sleep and extra storage for clothing. Plus, Christene’s husband built a storage wall that concealed their laundry area in the room. But then she found out she was pregnant with Raffi. 

“Obviously, I was so thrilled and grateful that my daughter was coming into the world and would be joining our family,” Christene shares. “But I think a lot of people that live in smaller spaces probably go through that feeling of, like, being sort of simultaneously thrilled and excited about your whole family dynamic shifting, and then also like, ‘Well, what am I going to do with all this stuff that previously belonged in the space that was very valuable real estate?’”

But reimagining the room quickly became a happy challenge for Christene. They had already painted the walls in Farrow & Ball’s “Railings” and covered the floor in sisal carpeting. “It’s a really, really small room, but it has these high ceilings, so it has this sort of cathedral feeling, but it also feels very cozy,” Christene explains.

They removed the bed and replaced it with a bassinet and a sleeper sofa. (The bassinet was convenient for when guests spent the night as it could be easily moved into Christene’s bedroom.) As Raffi grew, she needed a crib, which, to Christene’s surprise, was much larger than expected. Some furniture, like a rocking chair, had to be custom-made to fit the small space. 

A Big Kid Room for Raffi

Now, Raffi is five and a half years old, and they’ve arrived at the current iteration of the bedroom: with a big kid bed (read: a twin bed) in the space, a Nugget play couch, several built-ins for storage, and an ingenious pegboard. Christene admits that changing the room as Raffi has grown has been “so fulfilling.” It’s almost like a full-circle moment as it more closely resembles the room as it was originally.

Raffi’s big girl bed (with storage drawers underneath) was placed parallel to a picturesque smaller window, making Christene think that it “feels a little bit like a train car” in the most magical way. Raffi can sit on her bed and look out of the Brooklyn streets — and don’t worry, they installed safety guards on the window.

The room’s most recent iteration gives Raffi a lot of “agency.” Her books are at eye level, which makes her more independent when selecting what she wants to read (she just started!).

Knowing how valuable every inch of space is, Christene opted for several functional and gorgeous storage solutions in Raffi’s room. Not only are there custom built-in storage options, but one of Christene’s favorite elements is the pegboard behind the otherwise unused space behind her door. 

“What’s fun about it is she can move the hooks around, and she can get her step stool, and she can move things around. So she can participate and play around with that,” Christen says. “And it’s such an easy, cost-effective way to create space, but also to create this sort of visual point of interest in a small room.”

“It’s just like the most peaceful room,” Christene says. “It just feels like a big warm hug.”

Thank you, Christene!