Our living apartment in Cluj

The apartment that we live in has been bought specifically so that our daughter would be able to benefit most from its urban surroundings. It is located on an intermediary floor in the building, and its inside has been both constructed and modified over the course of her childhood to match up to her development phase, as much as was possible.

General guidelines

We sought an apartment that was as close as possible to the city center, and not directly on a main road or busy traffic artery, but also not too far from bus stations and stores.

We chose a spacious apartment that would allow both my wife and I to share a bedroom, while having a second, separate bedroom for our daughter. The apartment needed to have two bathrooms, so that 3 people could comfortably be able to live and not have to wait for anyone who might be using the main bathroom for bathing.

One of the big selling points of the apartment we ended up buying, apart from its size, was that it had no gas line. Everything was designed to be electric, and the only gas pipe to the building led up to the big boilers on top.

Wall sockets

Every wall socket in the house and every extension cord was chosen so that it had protective caps built-in. We did not want the baby-safe external caps that can be put into wall sockets for two main reasons:

  • those caps are not found on every wall socker in every home, and we suspect that they would draw the attention of small children, thus making them more curious about what's in there
  • we also suspected that, after seeing us pop them out a few times, our daughter will figure out how to do that herself

The second reason was reinforced after a visit to the faily of a good friend, whose daughter was a few years older than ours. During that visit, we noticed that they had security straps on their furniture, the kind designed to prevent a small child from opening the drawers. They all seemed broken, however, so we inquired whether their daughter had broken them. Their answer was "Noooo, she doesn't have that much strength. But she doesn't have to, as watching us open them a few times got her to easily figure out how to open them herself. Her grandmother, though..."

I made sure, after that, that every socket in the house was baby-safe, and that our extension cords (some of which weren't) were only used under my direct supervision, and only when there was absolutely no other better solution.

The end result was that our daughter, after learning how to crawl, was curious about the wall sockets for about two or three days. She tried to touch them, she tried to analyze them, but she quickly lost interest after discovering that there was nothing that she could do with them, and nothing interesting happened when she tried to play with them. So, they became part of everyday life, to be fully ignored wherever found. This, in turn, led her to not have any kind of fascination in other people's houses, where they may not have been so protective and safe by design.

Lights and switches

We deliberately used "dumb" lights in the first phase of our daughter's childhood, and we had all switches placed at a good height for her to be able to reach them once she started walking. They were a great help in teaching her cause and effect (push the raised part of the switch, and the light goes on) and also a bit of systemic memory (such as learning which switch did what).

We used only LED lamps from the beginning, and never installed CFLs or incandescent bulbs. All lighting that I installed is warm-white or neutral-white.

The first iteration of our apartment lighting, we chose Philips light bulbs exclusively, due to their perceived superior quality. This turned out to be a good choice, as all bulbs except two (one of which was lost due to being dropped by myself) were still in perfect working condition when we took them down to be replaced. These bulbs provided a lot of light for all the parts of our apartment, with no compromises. They are still used in the light fixtures of our bathrooms.

We then went with a more nuanced strategy for lighting, when we were confident enough that our daughter did not need an excessive amout of light. We wend for Redo solid state lights in the kitchen and living room, but kept the original light bulbs in other places.

Finally, after I was confident that our daughter (and ourselves) have mastered our "dumb" lights, it was time to have "smart" lights installed. For that purpose, I chose Ikea light bulbs, as well as leaving the solid state fixtures with Aqara automation. All the switches remained, with the exception of a few bothersome groups that, slowly, got replaced.

It was about the summer of 2021 when my wife got the idea that, if we could find some way to drive some power to the balcony, she could twist a big LED decorative light string around the railing, and we could use that for outdoor lighting on our balcony. We did just that on one of the balconies, and the effect was so beautiful that we immediately decided to do the same for the other balcony. For the purpose of automating them, I used two Sonoff outdoor remote controllable sockets.


( 🚧 under construction 🚧 )


( 🚧 under construction 🚧 )


( 🚧 under construction 🚧 )