Living With Kids: Linda Smith

March 26, 2013

By Gabrielle.

Maybe it’s because I know the behind-the-tour story, but I can’t help but look at this home, sigh a little, and think to myself that it’s such a perfect space to bring home a new baby. And that’s exactly what Linda and her family are planning to do – preferably not today or tomorrow, but soon! This blogger and Etsy shop owner (have you seen her cake stands?) is on strict bed rest at 34 weeks, and is hoping that her baby girl will grow a little bigger before her arrival. Until then, picture her calmly yet anxiously waiting in this home: clean, clutter-free, super organized, and crisp white with happy dashes of color everywhere you look. Enjoy this refreshing tour, Friends, and please send your best “Gain some weight, baby girl!” wishes.

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

A: Hi there! We’re a family of three, soon to become four. My husband, Greg, is a firefighter, and I am a blogger and Etsy shop owner. Our almost-four-year-old son, Drew, is equal parts mischievous little boy and artsy, sensitive old soul. Baby Girl will be coming in May (or sooner!) and I know she’ll bring with her more love and chaos than we could ever imagine!

Q: How did this house become your home?

A: We fell in love with this home as soon as we saw it. However, unbeknownst to us or our agent, it already had a contract on it. We couldn’t believe that this perfect-for-us home might belong to somebody else. As often happens, though, the previous contract fell through and here we are! There was a lot of work to be done on the home, but the resulting sense of ownership and accomplishment have made it all worthwhile.

Q: What makes you love where you live?

A: I actually grew up in this neighborhood, and love how it’s close to my family and many of our friends. The neighborhood has lots of trees, sidewalks, trails, and a lake, which makes it perfect on those gorgeous days when you just want to be outside.

Q: You work from home with a little one around, as many of do! How do you balance your time and attention, and make sure everyone is getting as much as they need?

A:  Working from home is always a balance. No matter how much you love what you do, when you work from home, it can be hard to switch gears and turn off work. Fortunately, having a three-year-old around solves that problem; they never let you get too consumed by your work! I have lots of help nearby, which helps so much. I also try to work smart by scheduling posts in advance, getting work done before my son is awake, and making work a family affair when possible. My son loves to help us pack up Etsy orders. He bubble wraps every toy and book he can get his hands on!



Q: How would your son explain what you do?

A: Because I’m around and available all day, my son doesn’t really consider me as working – and most of the time, I don’t either! He does know that I make things and ship them and spend a lot of time in front of the computer, but I really try to involve him in it all as much as possible. I hope to convey to my kids the importance of loving what you do, no matter where you work or what you do.

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

A: Our style has definitely evolved since having a child, and am sure will evolve even more once our second comes along! I think our style is a bit contemporary and a bit eclectic and hopefully very comfortable and livable. Since adding a child, we’ve added LOTS of baskets, lots of slipcovers, empty surfaces ready for play, and lots of inexpensive, washable rugs. There are definitely concessions we’ve had to make along the way. Like that beautiful coffee table vignette in your dreams? Not practical when your son wants to race cars around the coffee table. But there are lots of styles that work for both parent and child.




We have a lattice rug in the kids’ room, for example, that turned out to be perfect for train tracks, race tracks, or to build a neighborhood upon. It’s become one of my son’s favorite play places!


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: We use every inch of our home, and different areas definitely have their different purposes. We are putting our two kids into the same bedroom, so that I’ll still have my craft room for Etsy work, being creative, and my personal time. Our son loves to make art or play-doh projects at the kitchen table or on the coffee table, and we love to read cozied in one of our beds.

Our home really works best when it’s organized and streamlined; when we all know what goes where and our son can help in the clean-up process. It gives him a sense of ownership and pride in his belongings.

Q: What do you hope your design choices will teach your son and almost-here daughter? Do you put thought into what you bring into your home?

A: I’d love to think I’m teaching my child that beautiful, comfortable surroundings can be functional. More importantly, I hope he’s feeling that he is just as important a part of this household as my husband and I are.

We love to display Drew’s art around the home, and have his belongings organized so that they’re accessible, functional, and manageable. Hopefully, we’re also teaching him that less is more, and that our home works best when it’s less cluttered with excess things.

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

A: Living with my child has taught me the importance of letting go and enjoying my surroundings. It’s not really about how beautiful and coveted something in your home is; it’s about being able to enjoy what you have.


I love that I’ve had to get creative with how to make this home work best for us. Everything from choosing flooring, to creating art, to decorating and displaying and organizing, really is done with my little person in mind. Surprisingly, though, we’ve ended up with something much more creative, much more personable, and much more us that we could’ve imagined!


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

A: …that having kids doesn’t stifle your creativity; it just challenges you to think outside the box. And also this simple rule of happiness: “Do more of what makes you happy and fulfills you, do less of what doesn’t.” It relates to our home decor, our families, our free time…and yet we seem to spend so much of our time doing the opposite.

—-

Linda, I love your thought about how living with your son – and keeping him in mind when decorating your space – made you much more you than you could have ever imagined. It’s like that, isn’t it? Kids have a way of showing us who we truly are! Now, get back to resting and please tell your baby girl to do the same. We will be happy to see her when she’s a bit chubbier! Good luck, Linda, and please keep us posted!

Friends, if you have any cheerful bed rest stories to share with Linda, I’m sure she would love to read them. And if anyone is in the mood for all things pregnancy and childbirth, there’s a lovely collection right here.

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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A Gathering of Links VI | Rachael Gathers | Rachael Gathers
April 7, 2013 at 2:49 pm

{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Shannon { A Mom's Year } March 26, 2013 at 10:39 am

So much to love here! The jello molds are fantastic–I have some old copper-y ones from my grandma that I never thought to use as wall art! And we have two vignette-less coffee tables for the very reasons you said (plus clothes-folding, piles of books, and homework).

And three cheers for this: Having kids doesn’t stifle your creativity; it just challenges you to think outside the box.”

Best wishes for getting through the bed-rest phase. :)

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2 Ma March 26, 2013 at 10:48 am

Well, my son was late and both my girls were born early at 36 weeks and 6 days. As one of my Irish friends put it, “Women are always in such a hurry.” :) Your daughter can’t wait to come out and see all the beautiful, bright colors of her home! I was on modified bedrest with my second. Everything will be ok especially because you are already at 34 weeks! :)

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3 Caitlin in MD March 26, 2013 at 1:25 pm

I must know where that coffee table came from!

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4 linda (burlap+blue) March 26, 2013 at 1:39 pm

World Market! We love it:)

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5 linda (burlap+blue) March 26, 2013 at 1:39 pm

Thanks, Gabrielle, for such a sweet feature!!! So honored to be a part of your lovely blog. xo

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6 ABBY March 26, 2013 at 1:52 pm

Hi Linda!

I love the zig zag blue and white rug in the second to last picture. Would you mind sharing more about it?

Thank you! Lovely home!
Abby

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7 linda (burlap+blue) March 27, 2013 at 7:42 am

hi abby! I got that rug from homegoods! thanks!

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8 Kelly March 26, 2013 at 3:47 pm

What a beautiful home! I especially love those gorgeous green accent pieces.

Linda, I am sending you good “stay put” vibes for that little one! I’m also due in May so I will be 34 weeks on Wednesday.

Here’s to happy healthy girls!

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9 Cheltz March 26, 2013 at 3:47 pm

That last month of pregnancy always seems to last forever, but on bed rest and with a small boy, it must really be inching by! Hang in there, Momma! This will someday be a distant memory, and you’ll have a beautiful daughter to show for it!

I love the old dressers with the fun, colorful hardware (that I’m guessing you redid?), the old seed company boxes, and all your antique, blue glass.

I love the line about making work a family affair, and how you’ve obviously made your son the priority. You’re doing a good work :).

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10 Heidi S March 26, 2013 at 5:58 pm

I was on bedrest for 7 weeks with my twins. By the end I only fit in an old nightgown of my mom’s-and I willow a hole in it-but it all worked out. My babies were big and I had to be induced if you can believe it! Sending good thoughts to you and your little girl!

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11 L March 26, 2013 at 6:33 pm

All the best, Linda. It must be so trying to just lay there. I recall after the birth of my daughter, I was unable to walk for approx. 1 month (pubis synthesis-ouch!) and all I wanted to do was weird and ordinary things like iron, sweep, wash dishes, make supper…all the things we [I] typically grump about. Although that was a rough and scary time in my life, it’s a chapter that I am glad happened. It gave me an entirely different perspective on many things and it allowed for an appreciation of the simplicity and wonderfulness of everyday things that when all put together make our lives extraordinary. I know this sounds a bit strange, but try to enjoy the stillness as you anticipate the birth of your daughter. Take this time to conjure ideas about all the wonderful things you will be able to do as a family of four! After I was feeling better, our first outing was to the beach! Daydream about simple pleasures and may that bring you sustenance in the next few weeks!
You have a beautiful and meticulous home. I love the green wallpaper (??) in the hutch. Stunning!

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12 Stephanie March 26, 2013 at 9:11 pm

Such a sunny home! Linda, best wishes for a healthy baby girl. I’m glad to see someone else aiming for a shared kids room…we also have an almost four-year-old and a baby due in May!

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13 Danielle March 27, 2013 at 7:24 am

Love the drawer pulls, the wooden herb boxes hung on the wall, and the blue-tipped legs on the green chair. Lots to love about this home. Thanks for sharing!

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14 Julie March 27, 2013 at 9:49 am

linda: We’re thinking of you.
Could you tell me where the green and white paper in the back of your hutch came from? I LOVE it!

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15 linda July 9, 2013 at 2:36 pm

So sorry it took me so long to respond! it’s actually a stencil! see the project here:
http://burlapandblue.com/2012/04/30/stenciled-china-cabinet-a-tutorial/

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16 Lauren March 29, 2013 at 10:10 pm

Beautiful home, Linda.

I was on bed rest with all four of my kids, and all I can say is hang in there. Soon it will all be a memory, and you’ll have your healthy little girl. And don’t be too eager to move around at 34 weeks. I did, my water broke, and my little girl was in the NICU for two weeks. Time in bed always trumps time in the NICU.

Give your son lots of snuggles, read lots of books, and watch all the period dramas you can find on Netflix. :)

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17 Kate March 30, 2013 at 1:36 pm

Beautiful details! Can you tell me where you found your storage bench for the entry way? We’re having trouble finding one that’s not too deep! Many thanks…

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18 real estate springfield mo April 10, 2013 at 11:26 pm

The kitchen cabinets are gorgeous! Wood toys are are not just toys but art!

Rose

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19 Mark McKnight April 11, 2013 at 10:43 pm

What a lovely home! I love that green chair and the rooms.

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20 Tania April 15, 2013 at 7:38 pm

Beautiful home and much love to you as you patiently await your baby girl! My 2nd daughter was born 5 months ago and while it is more chaos as you say, the love that it brings–from spouse to siblings–is amazing.
I love the burning fire in front of the teepee– did you make that?! Awesome!

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