With its toy-laden shelves, full-size crib and row upon row of color coordinated books, it’s hard to believe that baby Holly’s room was once part of a hallway. This clever reworking of a tight space came about because Holly’s parents, Craig, an art director and his wife Lisa, a marketing executive, couldn’t afford the cost of up-sizing to a two-bed in their Brooklyn neighborhood – where apartments that size average $4000 a month.
So when they moved from their South Williamsburg studio for more space, getting creative with square footage was the only solution. “We wanted to stay in the neighborhood as my husband’s design studio is close by, but we realized how insane Williamsburg rental prices had become and unfortunately two-bed rentals were just not an option,” says Lisa. “So we focused our search on one-beds with a home office or big hallways.”
They eventually stumbled across a solution: a 900-square-foot, one-bedroom with an entrance that opened into a small 7′ x 12′ nook. “We initially bought an expandable freestanding bookcase from IKEA and naively thought that if we packed it with books, it would give Holly the privacy she needed. But as soon as we put it up we realized that we needed an option with a door – if nothing else than to keep the cat away from the crib. A friend mentioned we should just rent a wall.”
So for $1k, the couple rented a wall from Wall 2 Wall NY with some added features: a built-in door and deep 12″ shelving on the inside for extra storage space. The result? A standalone room.
Lisa who was born in Hartfield, England infused Holly’s room with both British and American touches with Brooklyn-themed posters hanging alongside a hand-stitched Winnie the Pooh embroidery. “I have a major soft spot for old vintage-styled things, especially anything that reminds me of school – old school desks, chalkboards, clipboards etc. So that’s where the chalkboard and apple crate come in. I like to think of this style as school house chic!”
5 Tips For Creating Your Own Space With A Rented Wall:
Before you hire, make sure you enquire. “Check in with your landlord/building management to get permission to put up a temporary wall. We contacted ours and mentioned a company that a friend of ours had recommended, but our management company had a contract with another company so we had to go with them. Annoyingly they had less wall and door options, than the one we wanted to use. Our building management also wouldn’t allow for us to have the wall go all the way to the ceiling for ventilation purposes which turned out to be a wise move.
Don’t be afraid to complain if you’re not happy with the end product. “The first wall we had went up in an impressive 4 hours! However on inspection they had made a terrible job of it, not one of the walls were erected straight, the nursery door was at an angle so it wouldn’t stay shut and there was paint dripping everywhere. To the company’s credit, we complained that same afternoon and they sent someone to rectify two days later.”
Shop around. “If your management allows any company of your choosing then definitely shop around as there are lots of options out there, such as different doors (pocket/sliding/french/glass/double), sound insulation, storage options (closets, shelves, cabinets) and so on.”
…but opt for built-in shelves. “One of the pluses is that a lot of these companies have several options and they are very affordable. We like the fact they the wall is strong, solid and has the added bonus of having shelving on the inside. We had a choice of shelf depth, 6” or 12”, and we went with the deeper one. Having the extra storage space has been a huge advantage.”
Get creative! While practical, a rented wall with added storage space shouldn’t limit you from creating a beautiful nursery. “You can then look for fun, colorful storage boxes/cubes/hampers that work for your space to make the nursery feel more like a room.”
Holly’s nursery: Cross stitch items, handmade gifts from friends; Petit Collage wooden mobile, $56, Mini Jake; Moose on the loose coat rack, $39, Gretel; Gro anywhere blind, $30, The Gro Company; wooden typographic pieces, prices vary, Craig Ward; Wee Gallery removable wall decals, $40, Mini Jake; Poäng rocking chair, $169, IKEA; Queen’s Guard rattle, £6.99, Powell Craft; Jim Datz prints (Brooklyn, NYC and London), $48, Three Potato Four.