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Entries in Kids (15)


Linnea's Baby Room Design

img_1354small-200x300.jpgWhen Gail and I found out we were going to have our 2nd child, a baby girl, we knew we wanted to hire Aga Artka to design and guide us through the process of making it Linnea's room happen.

Hiring Aga has been an excellent decision in so many ways. Let me share them with you.

About Aga Artka

Aga Artka and her husband Brian have been friends a bit over 2 years. In that time I've watched Aga make a huge transition from full-time interior design employee to an interior design business owner.

It's been exciting to watch her take charge of her life while doing great design work for clients.

The Design Process

The process began with Gail and I sharing aesthetics we liked and were contemplating for the new room design with Aga, and a visit to the space she would be designing. Aga took our input, made measurements and created a plan for our review.

The plan included colors, furniture suggestions, and drawings Aga made of the room to give us a better idea how the space would be used and look.

I created a Basecamp project for the room design, which really made it easy for Gail, Aga and I to share ideas and links in messages, to create to do lists and manage the milestones of the project from start to finish. Basecamp was especially handy for accessing information (e.g. paint color, product URLs) when we needed it most.

We took Aga's plan and suggestions for paint color and other details and began to build the room out. Initially we thought about re-using Nathan's crib but in the end decided to upgrade to a new crib and changing table/dresser with better functionality and a look that better suited the room design.

Linnea's name graces the wall, from Chatty Walls, a small company who creates custom vinyl names. They did a great job creating the lettering, which was pretty easy to apply on the wall.

Our family also added a personal touch with hand-painted art to match Linnea's bedding and window treatments. I drew out the shapes in pencil, then Nathan, Gail and I worked together to paint 3 canvases that hang above the changing table.


Why Hire a Pro?

Having Aga there to set direction and take our random thoughts and make them into a cohesive direction was wonderful to experience.

Rather than slapping a coat of paint on the walls and buying some pieces and parts, we felt there was a direction to refer to as we went along.

Also, being able to ask questions as we built the room out was invaluable. On several shopping trips for chairs or cribs, I took photos of items with my iPhone and uploaded them to Basecamp for her review and commentary.

An important detail to note: when hiring a design specialist like Aga, having her available for questions and direction through the project is in my view, nearly as valuable as the initial design thinking and work is.

Experiencing this process was especially good for me as a design consultant. I was able see the design process from the client's perspective and understand how to better serve my own clients on design projects.

The FInished Room

This weekend Aga and Brian stopped over to see and take photos of the finished room. We're incredibly pleased with how the room turned out. It's comfortable and flows well for such a small space.


We love the new space and are confident Linnea will love it as she grows up.

Read the details of the process from Aga's perspective on her blog. She shares more on the technical specs and talks about the before and after aspects of the project.

Go Hire Aga!

If you have a space that needs design and some direction from a professional, contact Aga Artka. She listens and knows her stuff. She's amazing!

Find her at @agartka on Twitter, on LinkedIn, on Facebook or on her company blog or website contact form.

Thanks Aga!

Photos: Brian Artka

Related Links
37signals Product Blog: Interior designer and client use Basecamp to collaborate on design of new baby room


Photographing Linnea

On Friday, my friend Derek Dysart stopped by the house to take photos of our 2-week old daughter, Linnea. We had a great time working the Derek, enjoying a house call after experiencing the agony of waiting for photoshoots at Sears.

I've known Derek was a photographer for a while, but never had a chance to hire him for a project until now. Boy am I glad we brought him in! Just few hours after our session, Derek posted this amazing photo of Linnea:


Derek was able to capture Linnea in a special moment with this shot. Every time I look at it I'm just blown away with the expressiveness of her eyes in this image.

This experience with Derek also reminds why it's so important to hire people who know what they're doing. In this case, Derek has spent time building his craft of shooting portraits, and it really shows.

Derek remarked to me that this shot is one of his top 5, and reminds him why he loves photography so much.

Hire Derek Dysart

If you're looking for a photographer for portraits in your home, or other photo assignments, drop Derek an email or give him a call at +1 (262) 758-2456.

Related Links
DJ Dysart Photography
Derek Dysart's Flickr Account
Derek's Web Development Business
Derek's Blog - Hirlpoo
Derek on Twitter


Linnea Grace Rohde

Say hello to Linnea Grace Rohde!

Baby Linnea Grace checks out the world!

She was born happy and healthy on October 15, 2009, 4:23PM at 5lbs 8.5oz, 19"


February Blizzard in Milwaukee

February Blizzard: Climbing Everest!Milwaukee was hit with a big blizzard today, dropping 16" of snow across the entire area.

Around 3pm, I took a break from work to clear our snow, and was shocked by just how much white stuff was in our driveway.

Our neighbors helped me shovel, and a little later, Nathan came out to play. I took a few shots of him climbing the Mount Everest pile near the driveway to give you an idea how much snow we've got up here.

Holy Cow!


Give a Kid a Camera...

Nathan Self Portrait: SmileThis is what happens when a 4 year old boy gets hold of your camera.

My wife and I were cracking up as we imported some of the images he made of himself and surrounding objects while we attended a Milwaukee Brewer's baseball game last Friday night.

I've been impressed with Nathan's eye with a camera. He's very serious when shooting, and often seems to deliberately frame shots, though many times his shows seem less than intentional.

Sky Blue TextureI quite liked his set of blurred and gradated background images, which I might come in handy for future design projects. I especially like the blue gradation background shown on the left. Those make me want to set him loose with a digital camera and a 2GB card just to see what he comes up with! :-)

I'm planning to work with Nathan on his camera skills, so he can better understand what he's doing. Whatever the case, I find a deep, unexplainable enjoyment as I watch him explore his world and express himself through a camera lens.