Living With Kids: Courtney Adamo

October 1, 2013

By Gabrielle.

There are certain moments during an average everyday when I count my virtual pals among life’s little treasures. If I’m feeling low and worrying about it, one will probably send a note from South Africa or Germany or even Los Angeles to tell me I’m not alone. And if I’m wondering what in the world to do with the Treehouse’s floors, I will be gifted with at least three or four “I’ve been there, Gabrielle, and here’s what we did!” letters. With cute photos, tutorials, and source lists.

Courtney is one of those friends. You may know her as one of the stylish partners behind Babyccino Kids. (Remember when we met Esther?) She’s a lovely mom and entrepreneur living with her husband and four children in London, and someone who sends the sweetest, kindest letters. Oh! And her house is enviably crisp and chic. If I ever decide to paint our floors white, you will know who is responsible! Friends, please meet Courtney. I know you’ll adore her.

Q: Please tell us all about the gorgeous family living in this gorgeous home.

A: Oh, where do I begin? My husband, Michael, and I are both from big families in America; he’s the oldest of seven and I’m the oldest of five! We met in Los Angeles in 2003 and moved to London together two months later. He signed a one-year contract for work, and we thought we would enjoy a year in London and the opportunity to travel around Europe. That was ten years ago this month!

I suppose the allure of European travel never grew old, and as we became more and more familiar with London, it proved difficult to leave. Having children here has also rooted us even more. We have four children: two boys, Easton (eight) and Quin (six), and two girls, Ivy (four) and Marlow (ten months). All of them were born here in London, and the six of us now have both UK and American passports.

Q: How did this home become yours?

A: We were renting a lovely house around the corner when the owners moved back to London and wanted their house back. We then set out to try to find a house in the same neighborhood, and by chance we stumbled upon this one. It was in shambles! Completely run down! But it happened to be in our price range. Both my husband and I had no idea what we were getting ourselves into, although we were attracted to the idea of fixing it up and making it our own.

We bought the house and spent the next seven months renovating it before moving in. We rented a teensy flat around the corner while we did the remodel, which meant there was a lot of shuffling around of our belongings, but it was worth it in the end.

kitchen2

Q: What makes you love where you live?

A: We live in the leafy north London neighborhood of Highgate. It’s a charming old village up on a hill, overlooking central London, and it’s filled with other young families. Our favorite thing about where we live is the proximity to Hampstead Heath, one of London’s biggest parks. We spend our weekends in the Heath, enjoying long walks together, throwing around a Frisbee, playing in the ponds, etc. You can get lost in there, and forget about the busy city surrounding you!

Q: Describe a typical day for your family, and how your home plays a starring role.

A: Michael doesn’t have to start work until after nine, which means we get to enjoy a family breakfast together before school and work. Some people have family dinners – we have family breakfasts! We all gather in the kitchen in the mornings, and while the kids usually sit at the counter while we make breakfast, we will all sit down at the big table to eat.

Michael usually takes the three bigger kids to school while I stay home with the baby, and then he heads into central London for work and I stay and work from home. I’m lucky to have a little home office in our house where I can sneak off and get some work done while the baby naps or when our babysitter/housekeeper is here. I usually work from 9:00 until 3:00, and then go and pick the kids up from school.

The afternoons are wild in our house when everyone is home; the kids usually play upstairs in the playroom or out in the garden if the weather is nice. I feed them dinner around six, and then when Michael gets home from work, the two of us put the kids to bed and then eat dinner on our own. I like having the time with him to hear about his day and to share about mine.

Q: Speaking of your work, will you tell us a little about your site? From how it’s grown to what it’s become and to what you hope it will turn into. Also, how has blogging for a living affected your family and friendships?

A: Babyccino Kids started as a blog nearly six years ago. It began as a diary between friends living in different European cities, and it evolved over time to be a bit like an online magazine for parents, covering everything from recipes, craft projects, great new products, parenting tips, and interesting articles. Over time, we built up a reputable brand and following, and we decided to start up an online shopping portal to represent a selection of stylish children’s boutiques. If, for example, you’re looking for pretty bedding for your child’s bed, you can come to our site and search in the Décor category to find a selection of wonderful shops selling children’s bedding.

We have essentially taken the hard task of searching out of the online shopping equation, and made it easy for parents to find the best children’s shops online! We would love for it to become the first place parents go when they are shopping for their children; a trusted place to find inspiration and the best online shops. We’re also planning our first ever live shopping event this year in London, and it would be really great if it’s a big success and we can host them in other cities around the world!

Q: How intentional are you in the day-to-day design of your home? And have you found yourself editing your style to accommodate your kids? How has it changed – for the better and for the worse!

A: Michael and I both have an interest in home design, but we have a limited budget so we’re often hunting for the most affordable-yet-stylish options when it comes to decorating our home. We’re always trying to think of creative, affordable solutions for storage, which is something we don’t have much of in this home.

There are a lot of bags, crates, hooks and other storage pieces throughout the house to handle our needs, and I can’t count how many different baskets I’ve scattered around, many of which are holding toys, toys and more toys!

I think the kids have taught me to be more fun and playful in my home design. I love decorating children’s rooms most because you can have more fun with colors and accessories, and the rooms can really be a reflection of the children and their interests.

Q:  With four kids, how do you stay organized in your home? We’d love any secrets you could share!

A: I have always been really, really tidy. Even as a little girl, I always made sure my bedroom was immaculate! My mom joked that my sister’s room looked like a tornado swept through it, and mine always looked like I was hosting the queen!

In our house, I am constantly tidying and organizing, and putting things back into place. I let the kids be as messy as they want to be in the playroom and in their bedrooms, but I try my hardest to keep the living spaces as tidy as I can. I swear my brain just functions better and I am a happier mama when things around me are organized.

Also, I’m not a hoarder. I’m a believer of less is more. My closet is teensy; all my clothes fit into that little space to the right of my bed, and I like it that way. I try to minimize the clutter all around the house to keep things more tidy and organized. Most importantly, we have a housekeeper who helps with the cleaning and the laundry. I don’t know how I would cope without her!

Q: What memories do you hope your children take with them from this home?

A: I hope they remember all the fun they had together. I hope my boys remember all the late night chats they had when it was past their bedtime when they should have been asleep. I hope they remember the impromptu dance parties we had in our kitchen, the sunny days spent out in the garden, the wintery days in front of the fire, the morning snuggles in our big bed, long baths in the big bath tub, and of course all the special holidays and celebrations we’ve had here.

Q: What has been your favorite part about living with your own kids? Does your heart break a little at those moments when you realize they’re growing up and there’s no way around it?

A: Because we live in London, so far from family and childhood friends, we have a really strong family unit. It’s really rare that we’re not all together on any given day, and weekends are always spent together. We don’t have any outside obligations or family events to attend.

My children hardly ever ask for play dates because they know they have each other to play with, and I really love how well they play together and how close they all are. I love watching them interact with each other and love seeing the different relationships form between them. How lucky they are to have each other!

My biggest goal as a parent is to raise children who love each other, and who will want to spend time together even when they’re all grown up. Having come from a big family, I am so thankful for my siblings, and I really hope my kids will feel the same way.

And yes, of course, my heart aches every time I think about how quickly time is flying by. I wish I could just slow it all down!

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

A: Not to stress about the little things so much. To be fair, my parents have always told me this. I just wish I had listened a bit more!

I try to remind myself to relax, slow down, and enjoy the moment without worrying if the house is tidy or if dinner is prepared or if I’ve ticked everything off my to-do list that day. It’s more important to be present in the moment, especially when spending time with the kids.

–-

Courtney, thank you for taking us on a tour of your beautiful life. We happen to share a parenting goal: “…to raise children who love each others, and who will want to spend time together even when they’re all grown up.” There might be days when I don’t fold the laundry or we have scrambled eggs for dinner, but I try to check that objective off my to-do list every day!

Friends, what would you say is your one non-negotiable, get it done every day no matter what goal as a parent?

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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{ 63 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Brimful October 1, 2013 at 10:30 am

I am so delighted to see this feature on Courtney’s house….what a beautifully warm home! Brimful just joined Babyccino Kids and corresponding with Courtney has been wonderful. She really has special knack for exuding authenticity via email. I love that!

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2 Mary October 1, 2013 at 10:44 am

What a gorgeous home! Happy and bright and colorful and just really lovely.

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3 Jennifer October 1, 2013 at 10:44 am

What a lovely house! My husband would say it looks “cold” because there is so much white, but I disagree – I think it is such a lovely warm and beautiful way to decorate a house, not cold at all!

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4 kalanicut October 1, 2013 at 10:52 am

One of the things I love about this series, Gabrielle, is that I walk away totally inspired as a parent AND get a huge dose of home/design inspiration at the same time. I always leave these posts thinking about the quality of our family life, what we can change, how we can live more adventurously & boldly and how the most important things are our love & bond as a family….and I want to rearrange something in our house, haha! Lovely inspiration for home & family today. Thank you Courtney for sharing & Gabby for continuing to inspire us!

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5 Helen October 1, 2013 at 10:57 am

Best home tour so far! So lovely!

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6 Ann October 1, 2013 at 11:00 am

Loved this! I love how the wood was stacked in the little alcove. Tell us more about that Homestead print!

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7 nadya October 1, 2013 at 11:02 am

I love her clean but warm style, and the lovely art throughout the house. Thanks for the inspiration!

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8 Dale Coykendall October 1, 2013 at 11:15 am

Really love the clean style. Cool but warm and colorful too

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9 Ellen S. October 1, 2013 at 11:27 am

Great home! Thank you for the peak Courtney. The mudroom sink? I’m pretty sure I could stand there all day looking out that window! And Gabrielle, I totally agree with kalinicut! This is my very favorite post every week.

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10 Angel October 1, 2013 at 11:29 am

I used to take the Highgate tube station when I lived in London. What a wonderful neighborhood to live in.

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11 Kate October 1, 2013 at 11:50 am

Lovely home! Are the kitchen’s wood floors new? If so, what kind of wood are they? Thanks!

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12 Courtney October 13, 2013 at 7:21 am

Hi Kate,
The floors are new, and they’re just oak floors. We went with a waxed finish, and it means they’re really durable and water-resistant, so they work really well in the kitchen. xx

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13 Giulia October 1, 2013 at 11:51 am

What a beautiful home. I would move in in heartbeat and not change a thing. Lovely.

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14 Giulia October 1, 2013 at 11:57 am

I thought this looked familiar and I noticed that I had pinned this kitchen 2 years ago after the DS home tour! Still love it.

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15 Christina October 1, 2013 at 11:53 am

Just beautiful! Inspiring, too.

Gabrielle, you mentioned at the onset of this interview, about the times of being down, and I read your posts. Just today I remembered this song and thought of the benefit it can be to so many…to help understand what another is going through, or to put into words what someone may be experiencing. “The Fall” is a song by a young, very talented 18 year old man who has dealt with depression in his family.

I had never experienced anything like depression until last November when I could not seem to recover from an early miscarriage. I went four or so months locked in my own brain – having to figure it all out before I could admit to anyone anything was going on – climbing back into bed for hours every day after delivering the kids to school. Though I have a strong marriage and a strong family/friend support system, I was never so alone. This song is so beautiful. Ethan, the writer, composer, singer personified depression and in my limited experience, he hit the nail on the head. I am fine now…in part b/c one friend saw what was happening to me b/c of her own experience and she humbly intervened. She truly understood me.

God bless you and all who experience depression.

http://chirb.it/vv9FIN

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16 Joanna October 2, 2013 at 6:03 am

Thanks for your words xxx

Beautiful house tour. I agree with the sentiment about siblings wholeheartedly.

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17 mamaV October 1, 2013 at 11:53 am

beautiful!

can you share the shade of gray you use in your bedroom? looking for something just like it! thanks so much!

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18 Courtney October 13, 2013 at 7:23 am

Hi mamaV,
We created the colour by mixing different shades of Farrow & Ball paint. It’s the same paint that we used for our kitchen cabinets! (Sorry I can’t be more helpful.) x

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19 marian October 1, 2013 at 12:09 pm

You may have pushed me over to edge regarding a yellow couch. I just slip covered a big long one in drop cloth and am feeling more bold about dying it a wonderful yellow (oh how my husbands eyes will roll)

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20 alison October 1, 2013 at 12:16 pm

The Best! So in love with her style and space :)

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21 Esperanza B October 1, 2013 at 12:31 pm

These can be the house of my dreams!!! I agree with Helen the “Best home tour so far!”

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22 Lindsay October 1, 2013 at 12:36 pm

I spent 4 months in London on a Study Abroad, living on the quaint streets off of Notting Hill Gate. That is where I met my husband, who was also on the same Study Abroad. We will always have a special love for London, and I have always wondered what it might be like to live there with our family of 7 one day. Thank you Courtney for allowing me a glimpse.
I too look forward to this series EVERY Tuesday, thank you Gabrielle.

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23 emily October 1, 2013 at 1:07 pm

really love how uncluttered all the walls are…really makes the art stand out. And, love her houseplants everywhere. and, I agree…those white floors are incredibly inspirational!

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24 Jane October 1, 2013 at 1:18 pm

I love Courtney’s style! Such a beautiful home!

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25 Zoe - SlowMama October 1, 2013 at 1:45 pm

There is so much I adore about this house tour… I’m always a sucker for white and this reminded me why. I love the contemporary yet rustic feel of the space, the pops of color, the shade of grey in the kitchen, the relaxed feeling I had while gazing at the photos. And I’m a huge fan of that dresser/cabinet in the bedroom.

Great style, lovely family. Thanks for a peek into it all.

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26 robyn October 1, 2013 at 1:58 pm

Gorgeous home! I took would love to know what kind of wood was used on the floors in the kitchen and also the master bedroom paint color, if you wouldn’t mind sharing. Thank you!

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27 Judith October 1, 2013 at 2:26 pm

I’d have to agree with spending time each day loving (and liking!) each other, and finding a way to serve someone else. I work on equipping my kids with independence and thoughtfulness, so that they can go out of our home as adults who will change their world for good, and for God.

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28 Jennifer B. October 1, 2013 at 2:34 pm

Lovely home tour! This article about the importance of siblings still resonates with me, as I, too, hope my children remain close friends for all their lives.

http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1209949-1,00.html

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29 Courtney October 13, 2013 at 7:29 am

Jennifer,
What a great article! Thank you for sharing it. xx

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30 Blaze October 1, 2013 at 2:40 pm

Love love this tour! I follow Coutrney on instagram & always love seeing sneaks of her beautiful home. I was so excited to see more when I saw she was featured this week! And I love her answers to the questions as well!

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31 JennyW October 1, 2013 at 3:04 pm

One of my all-time favorites for this series—I love the honesty both in her interview, and in her decor!

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32 Natalia October 1, 2013 at 3:50 pm

Gabrielle – I’d say the non negotiable every day goal is just to make him laugh! I such a big fan Courtney, her site and her home! I think I just picked those same tiles for our bathroom remodel!

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33 kirsteen October 1, 2013 at 3:57 pm

Love this interview. Such a gorgeous home, and a lovely family.

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34 Lori October 1, 2013 at 4:00 pm

Such a great insight to a beautiful family, thanks for sharing!

http://www.wildandgrizzly.blogspot.co.uk

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35 Lindsey (Cafe Johnsonia) October 1, 2013 at 4:25 pm

Oh! This is my very favorite home tour. I love every single thing about this home, but especially those white floors! Sigh. I’m majorly jealous now. Thanks for sharing it with us, Courtney!

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36 Katy @ All Sorts of Pretty October 1, 2013 at 5:16 pm

This is my favorite LWK post EVER! I’m obsessed with this home, I want to move right in. I’m just about to paint every wall, trim, and ceiling in our house white and I hope I can find the perfect color like she has managed to do here!

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37 Annie October 1, 2013 at 6:11 pm

Love love love this!

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38 kim October 1, 2013 at 7:17 pm

love it. simply beautiful. Courtney has such an eye for detail, don’t you think? x

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39 Em October 1, 2013 at 8:32 pm

SO beautiful. One of my very favorite tours ever!

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40 Trish October 1, 2013 at 8:37 pm

What a beautiful home. I am in love.

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41 Jenna October 2, 2013 at 1:59 am

I’ve seen this kitchen before and it’s my go to for my next kitchen inspiration! It’s so nice to see the rest of the house – thank you! islandbluebird.wordpress.com

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42 Lauren October 2, 2013 at 7:10 am

I knew this was a London house from the first picture before I even read the first words…so distinctly London, I love it.

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43 Janet October 2, 2013 at 7:22 am

Oh my — such a pretty house and lovely family!

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44 Sherri October 2, 2013 at 7:46 am

Love this home :). Love the tidbit about your boys and their late night chats; I have two boys 14 months apart, and I can hear them in their room, laughing and whispering WAY past bedtime :).

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45 CeebeeNorthern October 2, 2013 at 8:06 am

My favorite among favorites – so warm, clean, inviting, unique, playful. Love your aesthetic! Love this series!

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46 jenny October 2, 2013 at 10:49 am

this has been my favorite LWK to date! thank you!

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47 Alice October 2, 2013 at 12:20 pm

This is an absolutely beautiful home, I hate the fact it’s not mine!

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48 Victoria October 2, 2013 at 2:11 pm

Perfect!!

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49 Erin October 3, 2013 at 12:00 pm

This is the epitome of what a house could look like or should look like with children. It’s absolutely gorgeous. How I would love that fireplace in my room and that kitchen with those skylights- so good.

xx Erin

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50 Steph October 3, 2013 at 2:11 pm

Your house is gorgeous! I really enjoyed all of your artwork and how the bright colors play off of the light walls. Might I ask…where did you get the horse throw pillow and, especially, the large vertical, city-scene, orange print in the room with the 5 small prints and fireplace? I’m in love with both pieces! Thank you!!!

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51 Courtney October 13, 2013 at 7:33 am

Hi Steph,
Thank you for the lovely compliments about my home.
The horse pillow comes from Cheeky Monkey Home: http://www.cheekymonkeyhome.com/
The tall vertical print is by Sanna Annuka. I love her prints: http://www.sanna-annukka.com
xx Courtney

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52 DeBalino October 7, 2013 at 8:18 am

What a beautiful home! One would never know there were kids living there – let alone four! And they have so much fun in that gorgeous living space, at that! What a great feature! And a fab mom!

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53 kim October 7, 2013 at 1:28 pm

this home is unbelievably welcoming and cozy. as a new mom, it’s nice to know you can have the best of both worlds aesthetically. thanks for the inspiration courtney!

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54 Jill October 7, 2013 at 9:52 pm

I am so inspired by her beautiful , light-filled home. What a beautiful family life. Thanks for sharing!

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55 Sarah Haight October 10, 2013 at 9:36 pm

Love the dresses/masks hanging on the wall..where are they from? Also, it looks like you have either a wooden or fabric unicorn on the mantel of the room with the yellow couch…where is it from? Also, are the floors original hardwood? If not could you please let give details on wood/width? And while you’re at it, can you please just send your whole home my way ;)
love love love….well done!

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56 Courtney October 13, 2013 at 7:37 am

Sarah,
Thanks for the sweet comments!
The tutus on the wall in the girls’ room are from Tutu du Monde: http://www.tutudumonde.com/
And the floors are hardwood, they’re just basic oak floors with a waxed finish, which makes them really durable and water resistant (good for a kitchen).
x Courtney

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57 Sandy November 10, 2013 at 2:09 pm

Lovely house. Am looking for exactly the same thing to hang dresses up on the wall. Could you share where the tree hangers are from please? Thanks!

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58 Lena October 10, 2013 at 10:31 pm

Absolutely gorgeous, thank you for sharing! The kitchen is my dream kitchen, lovely!

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59 Kate October 27, 2013 at 3:51 am

What a truly divine home. So much to love here! I’d love to know where the E & Q personalised throw cushions are from in the playroom? Now excuse me while I pore over these photos again….

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60 Melissa de la Fuente November 8, 2013 at 5:44 am

What an incredibly beautiful home. So full of warmth and love. It looks so cozy and happy and comfortable ,beautiful. I totally understand the ” tidy since you’re a little girl” bit. I was the same way, always had to have everything put back and organized so I could think clearly. I love this tour.
Xo
Melis

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61 Hilary November 20, 2013 at 11:24 am

Where is that mustard yellow couch from? Its beautiful!

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62 Lizzie November 23, 2013 at 3:56 am

Your house is just beautiful. I am expecting my first baby in a couple of months and would love to know where the cot is from? Thank you

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63 Sarah January 26, 2014 at 11:20 am

I am obsessed with your baby’s crib. Would you mind sharing where it is from?

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