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Making Room

By Isabel Kallman

By Margaret Mason of Mighty Girl

I haven’t even given birth yet, and already I’m a bad mother. We’re clearing out my beloved, light-dappled office to make room for a nursery, and I’m feeling a little blue. We remove my small desk with its floating drawers and woody scent, my dome lamp with the pink shade that makes everything rosy in the evenings, and my Japanese porcelain tea set. Dear, quiet little office how I loved thee.

Of course, I love the baby too, much more than the office. And I know I should be overjoyed about decorating the nursery. Most moms have daydreams about the baby room. Most moms beam in their maternity pinafores, dancing from one wall to the next, holding up wallpaper samples and humming lullabies.

I stand in the empty room in my sweatpants, and blow a piece of hair away from my sweaty forehead. Dust bunnies roll over my socks. Soon my quiet little office will be awash in pastels, overrun by kittten stencils, star pillows, and sailboat trim. I can’t help but wince.

“We’re not going to decorate with pink kitty cats,” my husband Bryan says. “We can do whatever we want.”

Whatever we want, according to Bryan, is a circus-themed room. Apparently toothy clowns and monkey automatons with clanging cymbals are way less terrifying than pink cats. (Well, he may have a point there, actually.)

We take a break from cleaning and turn to the Virtual Room Creator for some ideas. First we make a floor plan by entering our room size, placing the windows and door, then clicking and dragging virtual furniture into place.

Since our nursery is about the size of a large walk-in closet, we’ve soon decided which wall will house the changing table and which the crib, but the program also offers options for accents like rugs and lamps.

With any item in the room, you can enter its exact size, and rotate it by degrees until it’s exactly where you want it. This is a revelation! I am a take-charge sort with little sense of spatial relationships and a second-grader’s grasp of math. We’ve just saved hundreds of dollars on graph paper and appointments with a couples’ therapist because the Virtual Room Creator is free.

We place the door, and the arc where it swings in grays out to remind us not to put the rocker there. We drag an outlet into place and the site helpfully reminds us that babies are big fans of poking metal objects into small holes. The tool also gives you helpful safety ideas for furniture placement and methods for securing everything. Bryan and I dub these “Don’t Kill the Baby Tips.” The program, we must admit, is smarter than us.

We move on to the decorating options, which let you select colors for everything in the room, including the walls, trim, window treatments, bedding, and more. I punch Bryan’s arm when I discover the color wheels that let us select the exact shades of blue we want instead of choosing from pre-existing swatches.

The blue is because I’ve convinced Bryan that we should paint and decorate the room to look like an old-timey submarine tour.

“We could paint bubbles on the wall,” I say, “and have a seahorse mobile!”

“You want to go with Under the Sea?” he asks. I nod vigorously. “You’d rather have the nursery look like a high-school prom than a circus?”

“Yes,” I say without hesitation. “A high-school prom as decorated by a picture-encyclopedia illustrator circa 1943.”

“Huh,” he says. “OK.”

“Will you dress in one of those aquatic diver suits when you put the baby to bed?” I ask.

“The kind with the giant helmet and the big circle window for your face?” he says.


“I totally will.”

And suddenly I miss my office a tiny bit less.

You can learn more about the Virtual Room Creator at
You can read more by Margaret Mason at her weblogs Mighty Girl and Mighty Goods.

Isabel Kallman
About the Author

Isabel Kallman

Isabel Kallman is the founding mom of

Feel free to send nice emails to isabel[at]alphamom[dot]com.


Isabel Kallman is the founding mom of

Feel free to send nice emails to isabel[at]alphamom[dot]com.

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