Living With Kids: Katy Regnier

February 26, 2013

By Gabrielle. First and last family photos by Tara Whitney. All others from Katy.

There are houses that scream “THREE CHILDREN LIVE HERE!” as soon as you walk through the door and over a small pile of plastic joy, and there are houses that whisper “Three children live here,” and leave you looking for any traces of babies or toys or…fun. Katy‘s home lies somewhere perfect in between, stating contentedly “We live here.” And isn’t that the loveliest thing a home can say? Friends, I’m delighted to introduce you to Katy and her sweet family. Enjoy!

Q: Please tell us about the family who is lucky enough to live here!

A: This house is home to me, my husband Ben and our three kids. Ben and I met in architecture school — it was a small studio where we spent almost all of our time for six years so it’s safe to say we got to know each other very well, very quickly! My husband is one of the smartest people I have ever met, but he’s smart in a very understated and modest sort of a way. He is my biggest supporter and we rarely, if ever, make any decisions without consulting each other first. I think it must be because of the close quarters while we were dating, but we could spend all day, dawn to dusk, with each other every day and not get sick of each other’s company.

We got engaged while living in Paris during our last year of school and married a few months later. I worked for a couple of years in architecture firms before I realized that I wasn’t a very good match for office life and opened my own photography business instead. I still love architecture and haven’t entirely ruled out the possibility of returning to the field in the future, but for now I love the flexibility and creativity that both my photography business and blogging afford when it comes to raising my kids at home. Sometimes I laugh at the fact that I’m the professional photographer in the family because Ben was actually much more involved in photography than I was in college. We have quite a collection of vintage cameras between the two of us! These days he is still working as an architect and will be starting to teach a studio at a local architecture school this spring, which has always been one of his dreams.

A little over a year after we were married, we were totally shocked when the news of our first baby turned into the news of our first two babies! Our twins, Paul and Amelia, are going to turn five this summer. I like to say that they are proof that both nature and nurture play a role in personality; they were raised in the same home with the same influences and rules, and yet they are completely different in some respects and identical in others.

Amelia is every inch, head to toe, a clone of her mother. She is incredibly artistic and will craft with me for hours on end. She is also amazingly strong-willed (I like to call it determined), something she gets from me as well. Paul is incredibly observant and methodical. He memorized almost every make and model of car from his grandfather’s old issues of Car and Driver magazine starting at age two. He’s obsessed with anything that goes but also has a soft spot for snuggling. I like to describe him as a Great Dane that thinks he’s a lap dog;he doesn’t realize how big he’s gotten lately and still wants to cuddle on my lap like a baby. Our youngest (and maybe spunkiest) daughter, Edith, will turn two in August. She desperately wants to do anything and everything that her older siblings do and routinely terrifies me with her daredevil stunts. We also share our home with one extremely devoted Vizsla mix named Herbie. He’s convinced that our kids are his babies.

Q: How did this house become your home?

A: Ben and I were always excited about the idea of having a chaotic home full of love, laughter and children, so we started our family early even though we were not settled. We had our twins when we were still living in a slightly crumbling rental house in Los Angeles that was the opposite of baby-friendly. We ended up moving when they were just under a year old to a much safer but smaller rental apartment nearby. In early 2010 we found out that Ben had been accepted to a one-year graduate program in Massachusetts, so we packed everything into storage and headed east right about the time that they turned two. We lived in a small student apartment for around 11 months before moving back to California again in the spring of 2011. After so much moving around we decided that it was finally time to settle down for a bit and started a house hunt in my hometown of San Diego. I was pregnant with Edith at the time and we were living in my parents’ house while we searched.

As an architect and photographer, Ben and I have pretty high standards when it comes to houses. After a lot of disappointing home tours we were starting to think that a home we would love right out of the box was out of our price range. This home came on the market as we were running out of time (with the baby coming!) so we went to look at it before the open house and before we had even seen any photos. As soon as we set foot in the door we knew it was home and we placed an offer the very same day.

We thought that once we closed on the house we would have several weeks to nest and move in, but my daughter had other ideas! My water broke at 33 weeks and I was immediately admitted to the hospital. Edith arrived one week later, the day after we closed escrow on our new home (the notary brought our papers to sign at the hospital!) and we moved in the very same night that she came home with us from the hospital. It sounds a little crazy and hectic, but moving with a newborn actually ended up being a fairly smooth transition for us. Ben was on paternity leave and she was in the sleepy phase, so we had lots of time to get settled and do things like painting the kids’ rooms, which was nice.

Q: What makes you love where you live?

A: I am a California girl, born and raised. As a child I lived just a few miles from the ocean (I could see it from my high school!), so I knew when I met my husband in Texas that we were going to have to move back west once we were done with school. Even if we don’t visit the beach on a daily basis, I love that I can drive by with my windows down and take in the scent of the ocean. It’s so peaceful and relaxing, and I think that if you grow up next to the ocean it starts to carve out a special place in your heart that can’t be filled by anything else. I am so happy to have my kids live so near to the ocean so that they can grow up to appreciate its beauty as well. They are definitely Californians already; they expect to be able to play outside year round and we walk to the park by our house almost every day. We are also within a 15-minute drive of both my sister and my parents, which is huge for me. Family is everything and I love being able to see them regularly, especially now that my siblings are all having kids. It’s so important for me that the kids can spend time with their cousins.

Q: You work from home with little ones always around,! How do you carve out time for them, time for you, time for work, and time for your husband? It’s such a trick, isn’t it?

A: I do work from home with little ones and yes, it is such a trick! I like to think I’m getting better at it, but it’s my biggest struggle. My big kids are going to preschool three days a week now, which is a huge help. I will typically spend those mornings getting everyone up and ready and breakfasted so we can scoot out the door and get them dropped off by nine. Then I run home and tidy up the house while Edith plays. She goes down for a nap around 10:30 and usually sleeps until the kids need to be picked up from school around one. That gives me a few blissful quiet hours to work on the computer and hopefully catch up on editing, blogging, and emails.

We aren’t a big TV watching family, but on non-school days I will let the kids watch an hour of Sesame Street while their sister naps so that I can at least get in one hour of daytime work each day. The rest of the afternoon is our adventuring time; we go on a lot of outings to the zoo, park, aquarium, or we spend time together at home crafting or playing in the back yard.

I think the biggest piece of the puzzle as far as work/life balance in our family is an early bedtime! Our kids are all in bed by seven every day. Ben makes it a priority to be home from work in time for a family dinner, so I know that if I’ve got that on the table when he walks in and we can stick to our schedule that he and I will have several hours after everyone else is in bed that are just to ourselves. I’d like to say that we always spend that time together, but truthfully there are a lot of days when I still have work to do in the evening. Luckily he is busy with studying for licensing exams these days, so usually when I’m working in the evening he also has something to do. We like to reserve at least the last hour of the day to read together or talk and catch up. It’s amazing how full our days have become lately!

Q: Do your children know what you do? How would they describe your job?

A: It’s funny how easily kids can simplify and classify life sometimes. They definitely have an idea of what both Ben and I do. Since he’s an architect they will ask him when he comes home from work “What did you build today?” They know that part of my job includes being on the computer and they know that I take pictures for people, but I do almost all of my shooting on the weekends so they’re just happy to spend a day with Dad. I try to make sure that I devote a large chunk of my time to being with them during every weekday, but sometimes when things get hectic I will spend more time that I’d care to admit at the computer frantically editing.

I share an office with their playroom so I am at least not locked away in another room, but there are definitely days when they ask why I have SO much work to do and beg me to play with them. When that happens it’s always a wake up call and I know I need to refocus and put aside the work for a time that they aren’t needing of my attention. Even on the busiest days I try my best to avoid staying up too many hours past my regular bedtime. I do not work well on a lack of sleep (at parenting or business) and I’m learning that putting my need for sleep up near the top of my priority list keeps everyone happier.

Q: How would you describe your style? Has it changed since adding kids to the mix?

A: I don’t think it’s possible to talk about my style without talking about Ben’s style as well. Since we met in architecture studio we spent years learning about and touring a lot of the great modernist spaces together. We are the kind of people that will go out of our way to stay in Le Corbusier’s Unité d’Habitation when we’re traveling past Marseille, and I think we both have a great admiration for truly minimal spaces while realizing that they also aren’t entirely suited to life with children.

We’ve tried our best to make our home both fit our aesthetic — lots of big, open spaces flooded with light and predominantly white surfaces — while also bringing in a lot of life, color, and character with the textiles, photography, and artwork. We want our home to be both beautiful and lived-in at the same time. I think we’ve achieved a good balance by selecting pieces with a shape or aesthetic that we love (like the more modern shape of the couches) and buying them in slightly more kid-friendly material that are easily cleaned. We’ve also invested in pieces like a solid wood dining table that, while destroyed on a regular basis by spills and paints, can be refinished one day once the kids leave home.

The biggest concessions in my mind are probably the large-scale kid items that we have, like the big doll house or play kitchen that we wouldn’t ordinarily have in our living spaces. Since our playroom is on display to anyone who visits the house (and some of those things are in the living room as well) we make sure to avoid plastic junky toys and furniture as much as possible. We’re learning that if you make smart choices in selecting the toys and child-sized furniture that it doesn’t have to take away from your style; it can just become a pint-sized version of it.

Q: When does your home work best? Is there a favorite space each of you has when you need time to yourselves, and is there one that’s best for spending time together?

A: Our home definitely works best when the weather is fine, and lucky for us it’s nice here almost year-round. There are big operable windows on the front of our house and large sliding doors on the back. Nothing makes me happier than having the windows open and a warm southern California breeze blowing through the house. A set of wind chimes was one of the first purchases we made after we moved in and realized how delightful those breezes are. I love having the kids running around in the back yard and music playing on my computer, having something in the oven and something to dance to makes me infinitely happy. I guess you could say our home is at its finest when it’s full of life.

As for time to ourselves, our bedrooms are definitely our places of refuge! Late in the afternoon when the kids are all playing nicely together and I need a break, I love to steal away for a few minutes to read in my room. It’s a kid-free zone as far as toys and books go. They will come in for a snuggle in the morning but I keep their things picked up and out of there as soon as they leave the room. With kid influences in every other room in the house, it’s nice to have a sanctuary to get away to every once in a while. The canopy bed was a childhood dream of mine and I’m happy to say I enjoy having it as much now as I always imagined I would. Getting the room all tidied up and bed made, ready for the day, is a very calming part of my morning ritual. The big kids also use their room when they want to get away from their little sister for a bit. For the most part they play very well together but when they want to work on something like a puzzle that she might mess up, they love to hide in there to focus.

The living room and kitchen are both hubs of the house. I love that we really and truly use every square inch of living space on a regular basis. My kids are huge bookworms so the shelving in the living room is not just a perfect solution for all of our grown up books; an entire quarter of it at least is dedicated to kids books as well. We are also a big foodie family; almost everything we eat is made from scratch, and the kids love to help me cook, so we spend a substantial amount of time in there as well. On the weekends we spend most of our time out in the yard, which was another big selling point for us on the house when we were looking. We love to eat outdoors on warm evenings. The kids would move into their play set if we let them. They love to swing!

Q: What do you hope your design choices are teaching your children? Do you put thought into what surrounds them?

A: I hope that our design choices are teaching the kids to love, use, and value what they surround themselves with. It’s inevitable that clutter collects over a lifetime, but we regularly involve them in the process of collecting and donating unused or outgrown items to Goodwill. We do our best to only have objects in our home that fit one of two criteria: they must be either useful, beautiful, or both!

One day we might be able to pare down to an even more minimal lifestyle, but for now we are doing our best to keep unnecessary items to a minimum. We also talk to the kids a lot about how much more fulfilling it can be to make or work on projects for your home rather that to just go out and buy a piece of pre-made art or furniture. I love to see the kids at work on their own projects while we are working on creating something new for our home.

Q: What is your absolute favorite part about living with your own kids? What has surprised you the most about it all?

A: I love watching the kids grow and develop personalities, and I love to see their imaginations at work. They regularly row through the house on a pile of blankets talking about how they’re sailing down the river. They are such a breath of fresh air in a life that can otherwise become bogged down with so much trivial stress. I love that they remind me of what is truly important in life, and how vital it is to just BE sometimes. Without them I might spend the whole day glued to my computer, but I know that I’m infinitely happier if I take a break to push them on the swings in the afternoon sunshine.

It’s definitely a never-ending lifestyle to have three kids at home 24/7 and sometimes I long for an afternoon to myself, but overall I think I’m surprised by how much I just enjoy the company of my kids. They are my tiny sidekicks. We go everywhere and do everything together, even shopping and errands. They keep me company and keep me entertained. They have their trying moments, as I’m sure all kids do, but for the most part they are incredibly well behaved and considerate. I really have no idea what I would do without them, and lately I’ve been getting a bit nostalgic realizing that the big kids will be starting kindergarten in just a few short months. As cliche as it sounds, I cannot believe how quickly the last five years have flown by.

Q: Please finish the sentence: I wish someone had told me…

A: …how brief the period of time is that your babies are really your babies. Being a mother was probably my biggest lifelong dream. I always looked up to my own mother and wanted to create a loving family of my own. I don’t think I ever realized quite how fleeting the period of time would be where the kids would really need me on a moment to moment basis. Now that my older kids will be starting school in the fall I feel like it’s my mission to rediscover who I am and what my passions are so that I’m not left stranded once my children are entrenched in lives of their own.

Well…that and I wish someone had told me that the oven in our house was so small… not that it would have dissuaded us from buying the house, but I love to bake and my sheet trays don’t fit in it. Someday I will get a giant oven and put it in our island!


This was wonderful, Katy. I can’t help but re-use a word from my introduction to describe how it seems you feel in your home: content. There may be something about living by the ocean that contributes to that calm, right?

What do you think? For those of you who live near water — or even mountains — do you believe that nature has an immediate effect on your state of being?

P.S. — Take a peek at all the homes in my Living With Kids series here. And if you’d like to share your own home with us, just send me a note! It’s a lot of fun…I promise!

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{ 78 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jennifer February 26, 2013 at 11:00 am

wow. their home is really breathtaking! I can tell they don’t have a ton of space, but what they do have they use it really very well. I am also a photographer, but I live with a very science minded engineer husband, so the only style concept or design in living space in the house gets done by me or no one! :o

I love the Instagram collage above their desks in the office. A reminder to me that I REALLY need to do something with all of my iPhone/instagram photos that I have taken and have not done a thing with–yet.
Thanks for sharing!!


2 Morgan February 26, 2013 at 11:15 am

Beautiful home! Love how they have incorporated their children (the toys, books, colors that kids bring to a space :)) into their home so beautifully! It looks like a well loved home.


3 Abby February 26, 2013 at 11:33 am

[ Note from Design Mom: This was a rude comment directed toward the lovely family who opened their home to us in this post. So I'm removing it (of course!). Unfortunately, I didn't see the comment for several hours after it posted. Several readers responded to it, so if there are comments that don't make sense, that's probably why.]


4 Katy February 26, 2013 at 11:48 am

I’m sorry that you feel that way, and yes, I did give those answers with a straight face.

Appreciating architecture doesn’t mean that we can afford expensive furniture.


5 Abby February 26, 2013 at 12:16 pm

[ Note from Design Mom: Another rude comment bites the dust. ]


6 Ted February 26, 2013 at 12:23 pm

Wow, that’s a lot of hate. Don’t feed the trolls, people.


7 Linda February 26, 2013 at 1:08 pm

Katy, thank you for opening your home to all of us! Designmom readers don’t often tend towards this sort of snarky commentary, and I am sorry you, for some absolutely undeserved reason, were met with such unusual treatment.


8 Wendy February 26, 2013 at 12:08 pm

Abby, you’re kind of an a–hole, aren’t you?


9 Rebecca S. February 26, 2013 at 12:09 pm

I’m really surprised and disappointed to see a comment like this on a Design Mom post, especially one from this series, in which a family has opened their home to us with such generosity.

Families spend their money in different ways, with different priorities–some value travel or education over furniture from Restoration Hardware, no? I actually loved the fact that I recognized so many pieces from IKEA–it was great to see how a family with a great eye for design used these pieces in their rooms.

And finally–I also loved seeing the family photos everywhere in this home. While I didn’t grow up with family photos in our home (my mom didn’t display photos with people, preferring landscapes and other art), I have quite a few in our home now. As families, we each display the art we love, the pieces that make us happy, the moments of life we treasure–and when we invite guests into our home, we don’t expect them to comment so rudely on our taste or, worse, accuse us of narcissism because we’ve framed photos of our children.

Katy, I really appreciated this post–you’ve created a lovely home, and your outlook and spirit really shine through in both your photos and words. Thank you so much for your willingness to invites us in the front door.


10 Isabelle February 26, 2013 at 12:18 pm

This comment seems unnecessarily harsh. I find your mention of the family’s use of Ikea furniture especially strange. As a soon-to-be mom of three who appreciates good design, I find Ikea to be a perfect source for clean-lined, child-friendly pieces that are affordable. Investment pieces can wait – our priority is our children and the home we are creating for them. And, despite my love of good design, I would choose a trip to Marseille over a new piece of furniture any day. Katy, your house is really lovely and radiates light and happiness. Thank you so much for sharing.


11 Katherine February 26, 2013 at 12:37 pm

Wow. I am also surprised to see such a mean-spirited comment on this site. I think Abby is completely off base here. I think your home is lovely, Katy. Thank you for sharing it with us. By the way, I have slept in La Cité Radieuse in Marseille and agree it is worth the detour :)


12 heidikins February 26, 2013 at 11:45 am

I grew up with panoramic views of snow-capped rocky mountains and even as an adult catching a glimpse of scenery like that makes my heart calm and fluttery at the same time. Photographs, movies, or paintings that depict mountains like those I grew up under will always give me pause; I love them.



13 melissa February 26, 2013 at 12:27 pm

I loved this home tour and felt like I could be great friends with Katy and her family (plus I could totally relate, b/c I was an art student in college, run a small business, and currently have an almost 5 year old, 3 yr. old, and a baby).
Her home is beautiful and the interview was just as lovely. I don’t chime in very often, but wanted to give her a shout out today!
Props to you, Katy, for letting us peek into your world!

oh, and to the nay-sayer above, don’t let her negative comment spoil this delightful post. Currently, I’m putting up frames all over my house with photos of my family—b/c I like to fill my space with things that make me happy—and my family’s faces makes me happiest!
To the commenter above, I say “Go drink your pickle juice somewhere else!”


14 Stefany February 26, 2013 at 12:43 pm

Beautiful! I love how you’ve managed to leave the space to feel so airy and open, but full of your family and love at the same time. I wish you could come help me design and decorate my house!


15 Sophie February 26, 2013 at 12:50 pm

Katy, thank you so much for sharing this! Your home is absolutely gorgeous and looks like a lovely place to, as you put it, just be.


16 Mel February 26, 2013 at 1:12 pm

Love your home!! And if I was lucky enough to have my family photographed by Tara Whitney, I would hang them HUGE all over my walls. Thanks for sharing your home.


17 KellliO February 26, 2013 at 1:14 pm

My favorite home tour yet! It started with the kitchen chairs I love, and continued every time I thought, “I want to do just that!” thank you, Katy, for sharing your home and family. I think I have some new ideas now!

And yes- living by mountains is fantastic. If we ever move away, I’m going to make sure we take large photos of them with us!


18 natasha February 26, 2013 at 1:35 pm

Love this home! Looks warm and inviting.

And I love the “home” art with the blue paint! Is that a craft project? Would love to know how it was made.


19 Katy February 26, 2013 at 7:30 pm

Thank you Natasha. Yes, it’s something I made. I used artists’ masking fluid and a small brush to paint the quote and then painted with watercolor over it. Once it is all dry, you can remove the masking fluid. Very simple!


20 natasha February 27, 2013 at 8:23 am

Thanks Katy! I have some favorite quotes I’ve been wanting to frame in some way and this seems perfect.


21 Kate February 27, 2013 at 11:10 am

I love it, too! Thanks for sharing your home and the instructions for trying to make one of those prints myself. My husband and I are in the process of buying a new home, and I think this would be the perfect gift to hand him at the closing table after all the papers are signed!


22 Melanie February 26, 2013 at 1:41 pm

A little gobsmacked by some of the above commentary. I have only just begun following this site and had not yet read one derisive thing — which I found to be a breath of fresh air! So unfortunate.

I find this home to be so inviting and would long to have my space to look like it! Would it be possible to find out the dark grey paint used in the master bedroom? Thank you for letting us all into your home, Katy. It is fabulous!


23 Melanie February 26, 2013 at 1:44 pm

Forgot to also ask what the kitchen backsplash is made of. Thanks!


24 jennifer February 26, 2013 at 6:57 pm

i’m so curious about the kitchen backsplash too! your home is lovely!


25 Katy February 27, 2013 at 8:47 am

Isn’t the dark grey paint beautiful! The master bedroom was actually the one room in the entire house that was already painted a color when we moved in, and I loved it so we decided to just leave it as-is. I don’t know that I would have thought to use such a deep color but it’s just perfect. The previous owners left the extra paint and I think that it’s Behr “Evening Hush” but can’t be 100% sure.

I’m afraid I’m also not much help on the backsplash material. I think that it is some sort of metallic large format tile, but the kitchen was also already updated when we moved in so I’m not sure where they got it from. Each piece is about 12×17 inches and the striping that you see is dimensional, it’s very pretty!


26 Melanie February 27, 2013 at 2:33 pm

Thank you for the info! Funnily enough, I have “Evening Dusk” saved in my Pinterest file for paint colours! Your house is further confirmation that I must really like that shade. Cheers!


27 kockey February 26, 2013 at 1:47 pm

What a lovely home! By the happy decor and family pictures hanging on the selected walls you can tell this is a home where imaginations thrive and is full of life and love. I also think there is no better way to create lasting memories for your family by treating yourself to wonderful vacation too! Thank you so much for sharing Katy.


28 Design Mom February 26, 2013 at 2:03 pm

Well shucks. I stepped away from wifi-access for a few hours and didn’t see the rude comments till just now. Honestly, there are so rarely unsavory comments on Design Mom that I really don’t worry much about moderating. I feel awful that I missed the chance to remove the rude comments before readers responded to them. Off to remove them now…

Sincere apologies to anyone who encountered such bummer comments on Design Mom today. Especially you, Katy. I know readers come here for inspiration, not conflict, and I’m always delighted with how constructive and kind this community is.


29 Margaret February 26, 2013 at 2:37 pm

I was immediately taken with the light and space of your home Katy. And your wooden floors! I can totally understand why you are happy in your home, it’s very inspiring. I love the photo collage over the computer desk. Did you paint the artwork on your children’s bedroom walls yourself?


30 Katy February 27, 2013 at 8:41 am

Thank you Margaret! The floors and light are definitely both big factors that drew me to the home in the first place!

I did paint the art on the children’s bedroom walls. We hadn’t ever lived anywhere that we owned before this house so I was excited to finally get a chance to paint the walls!


31 Margaret February 27, 2013 at 12:16 pm

I think it looks brilliant!


32 Lindsey February 26, 2013 at 2:45 pm

I love the bit about how short the time is that babies are babies. I’m nowhere near done having children, but anytime I get the urge to go back to work or feel like I should be more connected to the adult world, I just remind myself that right now is time for being a mom and later there will be plenty of time for that. I’m so happy as a mom, but it’s easy to forget from time to time that it is flying by!

And, I absolutely must live near mountains. I am from the Northwest living in Switzerland, so I’m safe, but during my study abroad in the flat Loire Valley, I really missed them. A weekend trip to Chamonix confirmed that mountains are more important than the ocean to me! It was so intense. :)

Thanks for the tour, Katy! xo


33 Stephanie Precourt February 26, 2013 at 2:58 pm

We just moved to the Oregon coast, so I have the mountains right outside my window to the left and the ocean right outside my window to the right. There is no denying that it has changed us, there is a sort of feeling that everything is okay. The beauty alone does something to the heart. I wish I knew how to better explain it, but I see it in the eyes of the people here and feel it happening to me, too!



34 Amanda February 26, 2013 at 3:01 pm

My husband and I had the pleasure of meeting Katy back when we were engaged and she had a giveaway for an engagement session. She photographed us reenacting my parents elopement (Hi Katy!). She was so kind and we will treasure those lovely pictures forever!

The home looks so warm and inviting. You can tell the light just floods in! And I love all the pictures on the wall. We’re terrible at getting things on the wall and this inspires me to run home and start nailing. Thanks for letting us in, Katy!


35 Cortnie February 26, 2013 at 3:20 pm

It’s a grown-up house but with kids – perfect!



36 Claire February 26, 2013 at 3:26 pm

This was also my favorite home in this series yet. serene, warm, stylish. so welcoming! Thanks to Katy and family for sharing thier lovely home!


37 Alie February 26, 2013 at 4:39 pm

I just love that you shared this with us! Tears welled up in my eyes as I read about (and saw images of) your home, Katie. I grew up in San Diego and thought so much that I’d always live there! We did for just eight short months, and now, much to my disappointment, we’re in the Bay Area for good. But I still love to visit my San Diego home. You made me so nostalgic!

And your home is lovely. Exactly what I would have picked. Open, bright layout with a modern kitchen? Yes, please!


38 Tanya February 26, 2013 at 5:02 pm

My eye was drawn to the floor in every lovely room. The gorgeous rugs made my heart beat a li’l faster! I love the Photo Collage, too. And my fav pic is the one of the golden rug plus white dresser and green plant against the grey wall … delicious! Thanks, Katy.

Gabby – this Series is my favourite thing on the WWW. Every week, I grab a cup of Milo, and settle in to savour every pic and every word! Thankyou for supplying this li’l lump of happiness!



39 jennifer February 26, 2013 at 6:58 pm

your home is so lovely! love love love the use of photography!

i’m very curious about your beautiful kitchen backsplash…. what is it made of?



40 Rachel Peters February 26, 2013 at 8:08 pm

Dearest Katy,
Thank you for opening up your home to the inter-webs. What a brave move, and one that I’m sure took some planning. In addition, I’m sure that you spent a good bit of highly prized quiet time writing such thoughtful answers. May you enjoy that house and your darling family for many years to come. Thank you for sharing!


41 Ashley February 26, 2013 at 8:20 pm

Being able to design such a beautiful home is truly a great talent, a talent that I greatly admire. I’m taking a few pointers away, especially in how you display your children’s art. I know that my children love seeing their artwork hung (more like taped!) around our house and I’m always looking for new, creative ways to display it for them. Thanks for sharing your lovely life with us.


42 Gia February 26, 2013 at 8:51 pm

Such a lovely home Katy. Thank you for the wonderful tour. I was having one of those nights were dinner+laundry+tired kids+being hungry myself+an especially long full day = needing a moment of peace. I also have three children so I made them dinner, asked them to have nice dinner conversation and then stole into our bedroom to pour over your pictures and sweet descriptions of your space and your family. Thank you for the much needed moment of peace and reminder of why we have kids and how we can love them. After reading your Living with Kids, I went back to my kids a bit more refreshed, got everyone ready for bed, tucked in and then read aloud a great book we’ve been digging through during bedtime reading. Your post was the perfect reminder tonight, right when I needed the break most. Thank you, thank you.
I also wanted to let you know that while the baby stage is fleeting, our kids still keep needing us as they grow. The reasons and times they need us change but even my very self sufficient nine (going on ten) year old still needs guidance with social issues, help with homework sometimes, learning safely to use hot glue for models and sharp knives for carving. I imagine (and hope) that he and his sisters will still need me for various reasons for years to come. The reason for needing us changes but we’re still needed, so don’t fret. Your children may not always be small but they will always need you as the great mama you are.


43 Tara D February 26, 2013 at 8:55 pm

I’m really impressed with your ability to create such an open and warm home. I absolutely love your color choices. Thanks for sharing!


44 Maria Baker February 26, 2013 at 9:13 pm

I liked it! Most especially because it was approachable and real. And filled with love and light. Well done.


45 Kelly February 26, 2013 at 9:40 pm

Love the wooden floors here and the light!


46 Lauren February 26, 2013 at 9:43 pm

Beautiful home and family. Love your kids’ names. I did not enjoy living in California (we were in LA County, not lovely San Diego), but now that we live in Seattle, in February, California is not looking so bad after all… :)

I do have a question. What size frames are above the sofa in the living room? I’m thinking of doing something similar and the scale looks right for me, too. Thanks!


47 Katy February 27, 2013 at 8:38 am

Hi Lauren, thank you so much! I actually didn’t much love living in Los Angeles either, which is why we so desperately wanted to move back to San Diego which is where I grew up. The feel and pace of life is so much different down here, a bit slower and (slightly) less traffic :)

The frames are 16×20 – I know it’s a bigger size than most people might choose for a big collection but compared to the scale of a couch and the high ceilings it works – I find that people tend to be scared of big prints but I love them!


48 Mrs. LIAYF February 26, 2013 at 10:46 pm

This is my favorite LWC post so far!!! I LOVE how you honestly balance affordability with practicality and design. Raising 3 children is not inexpensive, but your home looks fun and lovely and not staged in the least. I wish you were my neighbor so my 5 year old and 4 month old could have play dates!

Oh, and we live near the (very cold) ocean in the Pacific Northwest. Our son’s elementary school is 2 blocks from the beach and smack dab next to an inner-city old-growth forest with owls! We love that he is growing up near the lovely Pacific!


49 Mandy Byron February 26, 2013 at 11:35 pm

Love your home! How did you do the awesome hot air balloon wall in the kids room? Did you paint that? I love it! And your yellow and gray bedroom is wonderful. Makes me want to redo my colors!


50 Katy February 27, 2013 at 8:35 am

Thank you so much, Mandy. Yes, I painted the kids’ room. They were enamored with hot air balloons at the time and they picked out which animals would ride in them (hence the killer whale, ha!)


51 Mandy Byron February 28, 2013 at 6:36 am

Wow! Fantastic job! Love all the animals they picked out.


52 Jess @ Make and Do Girl February 27, 2013 at 12:19 am

It’s a great thing to aspire to to have your house say, “We live here.” Bravo, Katy.


53 senior living February 27, 2013 at 2:01 am

Great home! I noticed your storage cabinet and I think it’s a wonderful way to organize all those toys for the kids. You’re home looks really well-organized and I just love it!


54 Sunshine February 27, 2013 at 6:59 am

Katy- The house is lovely! So bright and airy and full of life! Living with kids is amazing and hectic and messy, but you’ve done a beautiful job of balancing it in your home, it looks cheery and peaceful – a sanctuary for your family! Thank you so very much for sharing!!!


55 Aymara February 27, 2013 at 8:54 am

What a great home and family! Love that pic of the kids at the dining table :-)


56 OMySunshine February 27, 2013 at 10:20 am

LOVE this home. Edith’s nursery is AMAZING. I love the way you have edited it for function as well as amazing style. I love yellow throughout and you have definitely inspired me to use it more in my home. Drooling here! I love this series, but I especially love to see a home where it is seems more realistic when living with children. Taking Friday off and going to Ikea myself….


57 Hannah February 27, 2013 at 10:25 am

Wow, what a fantastic home. It’s the type of house I’d love for myself, the decor and personal touches are really lovely. Beautiful home, beautiful family. Thanks Katy for sharing!


58 Karen F February 27, 2013 at 10:53 am

such a beautiful home! you strike the perfect balance between grown ups and kids – your home isn’t overrun with kids’ stuff, but you can tell kids live there! it looks like such a happy place. thank you for sharing it with us!


59 Kelly February 27, 2013 at 11:43 am

Katy, your home is just lovely! I can feel the ocean breeze and laughter through your photos. Would you mind sharing some sources? Where did you find your sofas and rug? Also, how did you print those amazing pics above your desk? Thank you in advance!


60 Katy February 27, 2013 at 1:55 pm

Thank you Kelly! The rugs in my room, Edith’s nursery and the living room are all Flor. I’m kind of addicted to their catalog. The sofas are from a local shop so I don’t think that you can order them online, we chose the style and then could customize the fabric/length/depth/etc and had it made for us. I love them!

The prints above the desk are just 4×6 prints of shots I took with my iphone, I had them done at a local place and just trimmed off the extra blank 2 inches on the side. I mounted them all on foam core and cut them down to size before adhering them to the wall. It was time consuming to say the least, but I really like the effect.


61 Elyse February 27, 2013 at 8:43 pm

I love your house. I felt at home through your images. I live how light and fresh it feels. I love
It. Bravo. And to the person who made rude comments I say “poo poo” to you! Grow up!


62 Regina February 27, 2013 at 9:35 pm

I echo the sentiments of the others who’ve said that this is a home I would want for myself! I love everything about it. Thanks for the inspiration!


63 Niki February 28, 2013 at 5:59 pm

Oh, I love this one! So warm and inviting. Thanks for sharing!


64 MelissaM March 1, 2013 at 1:25 pm

Katy, You have some great style. I felt so “at home” in your home tour. My favorite is how you have such fun photos of your family all around your house. Are the photos over your desk mounted on something or directly on the wall??
Thank you for sharing your cozy and friendly home!!!


65 Katy March 3, 2013 at 2:04 pm

Thank you Melissa

The photos over my desk are photographic prints that I mounted onto foam board and then cut into squares – so the squares are each on their own piece of foam board, and then adhered to the wall. It was a very time consuming project but we thought it would look better than having them flat on the wall.


66 Kelly March 2, 2013 at 5:59 am

Hi Katy,

I really love your home. I love all the colours, especially all the yellow! May I ask what is the carpet in your bedroom? with the yellow stripes?


67 Katy March 3, 2013 at 2:03 pm

The rug in our room is (like the one in our living room and Edith’s nursery as well) Flor – modular carpet tiles. I believe the one we have in our bedroom is discontinued but everything they sell is beautiful!


68 Heidi March 3, 2013 at 12:02 pm

Katy, I love your home. I understand the love of San Diego-we moved here almost 3 years ago, and I never want to live any where else. And I’m going to venture a guess that you went to SDA for high school-my daughter goes there now and I am blown away when I think of how lucky she is to see the ocean every day! :)

Gabrielle-this is my very favorite feature-I love getting to see how other families live!


69 Katy March 3, 2013 at 2:06 pm

I did go to SDA and I loved it! Even at the time I felt so lucky to see the ocean and have real open windows and breezes (no AC!) in the classrooms. Your daughter is lucky to go there.


70 Erin March 3, 2013 at 9:32 pm

We are looking for a home in SD and keep getting very discouraged. We want to be close to the 5 for our commutes, good schools… but the prices. I don’t want you to give away your privacy, but can you tell me some areas that you were happy with… are you in Encinitas? That is currently our preference, but we are striking out.


71 click this March 22, 2013 at 8:51 am

You’re so awesome! I don’t believe I’ve truly read through something like that before. So good to find another person with original thoughts on this issue. Seriously.. thank you for starting this up. This web site is something that’s needed on the internet, someone with a bit of originality!|


72 Becca April 28, 2013 at 2:08 pm

Thank you so much for your generosity in showing your home. I can’t wait to have kids (I’ve always wanted 3-4), and I’m inspired by your airy, open, colorful, simple spaces. I took note of how you placed the kid-sized table by the window in the living room. Perfect use of space! I have always been crafty, although I have yet to learn to use my sewing machine. You inspired me in that department as well – I want to make colorful pillows and such! :)

In answer to you question about nature affecting us: YES! I am thankful EVERY SINGLE DAY that I moved from Davenport, Iowa to Seattle, Washington. I ADORE the Pacific Northwest, and my need to be outside and my need to simply play increases every year. My husband and I fly kites, we go hiking, our favorite smell is the clean air from all the evergreens. Yes, Yes, YES. Especially if you are a visual person, like me. :)


73 Christina Simon June 9, 2013 at 10:38 am

The house is gorgeous! I really love the photo board in the office area.


74 Elizabeth July 25, 2013 at 7:02 am

Can I ask how you attached the foamcore-mounted photos to the wall?

What a beautiful home!


75 maryam September 18, 2013 at 12:12 pm

I love your home
Katy <3


76 filo November 20, 2013 at 11:12 am

Hi Katy and Ben,

What struck me most about your home was the amount of light, gentle colour and love for your family that permeated the photo’s. Thank you for allowing us into your home, there’s alot of love there.


77 Alicia Chipman December 7, 2013 at 7:31 pm

I love your house and your aesthetic! Thanks for sharing. Where did you get your media cabinet? We are looking for something just like that!


78 Jeannie Blue January 9, 2014 at 7:59 pm

Hi- I love LOVE your photo wall made of square photos, the one above the desk. Can you tell me how you did it? Is it on canvas? Thanks for sharing a peek of your life with the world. Very adorable.


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