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Ever since I covered Lenka Clayton’s amazing Motherhood in Residency project, I’ve been thinking quite a bit about how I view the relationship between work and parenting and creativity and all things good and perfect, Amen. Although I’m a big believer of compartmentalizing my work and home life (which is increasingly difficult as it’s a work-from-home life), I’d be lying to myself if I didn’t concede that Bee is endlessly inspiring to me. So it only makes sense that her play area and my office be one in the same, yes?

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Ideally, a home office isn’t the easiest zone to baby proof. There are electronics and cords and important documents just waiting to be pulled off, chewed on and torn up. But, for our home, it’s what we’ve got. Until our basement is finished (never?), it’s the area Ken and I spend most of our time relaxing and visiting in. It also happens to be the brightest room with a big, sunny window that faces the street where Bee can wave at the roller skaters and carpoolers that buzz by. Instant entertainment.

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The art shelf pictured below is high enough that it’s very, very Bee-proof (and, admittedly, 6-foot-tall-man-proof), which is important for me as an avid collector. At the same time, Ken and I are both believers that nothing in this home is too precious to be fingerprinted, dented or smudged. We’re here to grow and sprawl, like a gigantic pair of well-worn sweat pants.

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Still, we’ve made some adjustments to keep Bee safe and happy. Knitted ottomans are excellent stand-ins for rough, angular coffee tables. The sofa is upholstered in a crazy stain-proof tweed (and Bee loves playing with those high-contrast buttons!). A bright industrial cart holds art supplies (non-Bee items sit on the top shelf) and decorative pillows make for excellent chew toys. Also, we’re big believers of FLOR tiles in lieu of traditional rugs or carpet – so much easier to clean and replace when dogs, babies, kids, life get in the way. (We used this one above, but we also have this design in our dining room, and these in our bedrooms.)

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Brief interlude: if you have a baby, you are going to get these (above) as a gift from me. No toy on earth has held Bee’s attention for longer, and they’ve been going strong – daily – for three months now. I can’t believe it either. They’re ragged and worn and chipped, but they’re so beautiful I don’t mind leaving them scattered throughout the house all day. (Bee’s favorite is block #3, and she carries it around like a blanket. It’s maddeningly adorable.) Also, that darling toy cart above has a chalkboard lid for doodles. Adult version, please.

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Whenever I used to think about baby-proofing, I thought of subtraction. The removal of access to drawers, outlets, breakables. No small objects, no choking hazards. But by far, one of my favorite baby-proofing techniques was actually an addition:

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Confetti dots. You guys. Bee speeds over to this wall so fast to explore the colors and textures of these decals that she often bypasses any cords or electronics completely. It’s crazy. (The wrapping paper basket, however, is a fan favorite. Many gifts will be wrapped with Bee’s signature chew-marks this year.) Sidenote: We do use outlet plugs. No idea why we forgot this one!

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To be honest, I always sort of dreaded baby-proofing. I mean, white walls are far from functional when it comes to marathon finger painting sessions. But. I’ve always loved character, and kids bring plenty of that to a home. I’m looking forward to a few more holes in the wall, stains on the sofa and dents in the floor. This season goes fast – why wouldn’t I want a few permanent fingerprints to remember it by?

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Besides, babies give us a great excuse to have fun with our space. It’s tough to see in the above photo, but our credenza decor houses some of Bee’s favorite toys that are beautiful enough to display (like this and this). Because – after all – why should babies get to have all the fun? Happy baby-proofing, friends.

Image Credits: My dear Husband

p.s. 10 best bean bags for baby proofing and 10 toys you’ll never hide in the chest.
p.p.s. A few of my favorite baby proofing retailers: Land of Nod, FLOR, Tottini, Amazon, Target, IKEA, My Sweet Muffin and Petit Collage. Plus these.
p.p.p.s. I am not a sponsored post.

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