I was psyched when they finally brought Ikea to Massachusetts. When I first moved to Boston, the nearest one was in New Jersey. Doh! I ended up going to the one near Chicago when I was home that summer, because I was going to drive my car the 1,000 miles on I-90 back to Boston. A year or so ago, when I was largely past the age of assembly-required furniture, they finally opened one out here. It’s still far from me, a good 45-60 minutes on the opposite side of the city. We took a trip there when I was pregnant and we were looking for cribs, but we didn’t buy anything, and I remember being starving and exhausted from all the walking. But still, just because you don’t want to assemble your own couch, doesn’t mean Ikea is dead to you. There’s always something good to be had.

As the kids are becoming mobile, it’s time for yet another reimagining of our space. Not only is there plenty of child-proofing to be done, but maybe we don’t need to spend every waking moment in our living room. In fact, we have a very sunny den off of our living room. Well, in truth, it didn’t used to be so sunny. When we bought the house, it was dark and dingy and cold. Filthy purple-ish carpet, cheap faux wood paneling on the walls, foam tiles on the ceiling attempting to mask old water damage. (photo from before we bought it – those are not our nasty curtains and recliners!) It’s a tricky shape, about 8′ wide by 16′ long, with fully five windows and a door. Last spring, we had it gutted. Put in insulation (there was none), a wood floor (there was linoleum under the carpet), new walls and ceiling, and even overhead lighting (oh, the luxury!). It is bright and sunny, and possibly our favorite room in the house. Hard to take a picture of a small, long room… but you get the idea.

Anyways, it remained our computer room. Mine on one end, M’s on the other. I even got a big table instead of a desk, so it could hold my sewing machine. Ah, back when I used to sew! When the kiddos arrived, the Pack & Play joined us. It’s a convenient place to have a changing station and all of that. But we knew it was a short-term arrangement. This room’s destiny is to be a playroom.

Neither M nor I want to completely give up on it as a computer room. We spend a lot of time on our computers (blogs and photos for me, World of Warcraft for him), and we like having them in this space. Plus, there isn’t really anywhere else we’d put them. We decided the new arrangement would be this: both computers on one side of the room, gated off, and the rest of the room (more like 2/3) will be set up for the kids.

This rambling explanation is how it came to be that, while taking the kids for a walk before their morning nap, my mom and I decided to make an impromptu visit to Ikea. We dashed back into the house, threw together a bag of necessary baby stuff, measured the room, and put the kids in the car. As hoped, they both took a little nap in the car, enough to do the trick. We arrived just as the store opened, and wove our way around to the work space area. As soon as we laid eyes on this one, we knew it was what I had come for. A nice man wrote up our order for us, and our main mission was mostly accomplished.

[As yet another an aside, I find Ikea incredibly overwhelming. I love everything in there, I love the little rooms they have set up. I want it all. But it’s also exhausting to walk around, and there are so many choices, I often end up leaving with nothing at all. And then, two days later, realize what I really needed and should have gotten. It’s one of those stores that I have to go with a clear and defined purpose and list. Otherwise my head starts to spin.]

Anyways, we purchased our desk, waited forever for the furniture pickup folks to get all of the pieces together. The kids were really great the whole time, and of course were a total magnet for people to come look at them, make baby talk, and the usual twin comments. When we finally got our myriad boxes of components, and got creative with the seat layout in my minivan, we headed home.

There is much reorganizing, purging, and childproofing yet to be done before the boxes in my basement become our lovely new desk, and the den becomes the playroom it was always meant to be. And I can already see that I’ll be returning to Ikea in a few months (if not sooner) to pick up one of those adorable kid-sized tables and some other fun things. But still, the transformation continues…


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