By Gabrielle.

At first glance, I would’ve sworn Meta‘s home was somewhere in Sweden. Denmark, possibly. Or Norway. It’s got all the markings of a home from that corner of the world, with its crisp white walls, heady bursts of brights, and edited knickknacks that look like they traveled a long way to get there. But, no…the Coleman home can be found in Utah!

This home tour isn’t all about pretty things and fresh decor. The Colemans endured a devastating loss earlier this year, and part of what inspired me most about Meta is the way she’s finding her way through the sadness to happy again. I wanted to share her story with you because I know there are many others trying to find that way, too. I hope this helps. And I truly hope you enjoy this tour. Friends, please welcome the Coleman family!

Q: Please tell us all about the family who lives in this crisp and cozy home!

A: Hello! We are the Colemans: Nicholas, Meta, Henrik, and Maja. My husband and I met when we were three years old carpooling to preschool. We have been friends ever since and have been married ten years. We have a six year old son Henrik, who loves to work on claymation figures (literally every waking moment). And a two and a half year old girl Maja, who loves her brother “Haek” and tries to boss him around and do everything he does. My husband is a an artist and I am an Interior designer, a furniture designer, and have a blog called One More Mushroom. We like to be together as a family, swimming, hiking, camping, visiting museums, and especially traveling.

My mother is German, so growing up I had the wonderful opportunity to spend all my summers in Germany visiting my family. During those summers we would take small trips to Italy, Denmark, England, Holland, and other countries. This opportunity broadened my understanding and appreciation for other cultures and sparked my fascination with how other people live.

My husband and I hope to provide similar travel opportunities for our children. We want them to know that there is more to the world than what is in our small community.

Q: I was shocked to learn your home is in Utah! What makes it the perfect state for you?

A: Ha! Both my husband and I are from Utah and have so many wonderful family and friends that make living here ideal for us. Nick also paints the landscape and wildlife of the west, which is still so well preserved in Utah. He and I both love to travel as well, and have been able to visit many countries together during our marriage. We like to think we have the best of both worlds.

Q: How did this home come to be yours?

A: My husband bought our property before we were married; he was a very responsible bachelor! After a couple of years of marriage we decided to build. Looking back, it was a steep learning curve for us, especially being newly married! We joke that if you can survive building a house together, you can survive anything in your marriage.

I have a BFA in photography, but when we built our house I discovered another passion for interior design.

Q: How intentional are you with the design of your home in terms of how it affects your kids?

A: I believe that a home should reflect the personality of the family living in it and only be filled with the things you love. My children are the most important part of our home, and I want their furniture and toys to be a part of our every day life.

When designing their spaces and our shared spaces, I try to incorporated their interests and make it a fun environment where they can freely express and be creative. My daughter is still too young to notice, but my son loves it when I hang or display his artwork or clay figures. It makes him feel like he is contributing to the home, and he is.

Q: A furniture designer? How did that come about? What were your influences?

A: Over a year ago I was shopping around for a twin bed for my son and I couldn’t find exactly what I wanted, so I decided to design one. I was so happy with the quality and look of the bed, but I never thought that others might be as well.

In January of this year, we lost our third child. A baby boy. Dealing with that loss has been the hardest thing I have ever gone through (and am still going through). Ever since our loss I have felt a strong desire to make something beautiful and positive come from my heartache. The production of the Henrik bed is a start in that direction, and is a tribute to my beautiful children.

Q: You’ve experienced such loss in the making of your family. You mention the act of making something being very therapeutic for you. Do you feel it’s important during rough times to express yourself creatively, especially in your surroundings? How has this process manifested itself in your home?

A: In January, my life became a living nightmare. I was six months pregnant. We were so excited and felt so lucky (especially with our difficult infertility journey) to be able to welcome another child into this world. I went to my O.B. appointment on the 18th for a routine check-up. But, after digging around with the heart-rate monitor for what felt like an eternity, my doctor couldn’t find a heartbeat.

I had to wait 20 agonizing minutes for the ultrasound tech to come and confirm my worst fears. My baby boy was dead.

That night I went into labor. Each contraction a painful reminder of how different my labor was. The next day I delivered a tiny perfect lifeless baby boy. The doctor required that I stay in the hospital 12 hours, which was bittersweet. We got to hold our baby in the hospital and say our goodbyes. My son Henrik even got to hold his brother. He was so sad and distraught to hear his brother had died that I thought it would help him gain some closure. And it did help. I’m very glad we let him see his brother.

This was the most surreal experience of my life, and yet it’s more real than anything I’ve ever experienced. I experienced postpartum depression with an intensity and pain unlike anything in my life. I literally felt like there was a dark cloud hovering over me controlling my thoughts and emotions. And I didn’t get to have a sweet baby to help get me through it. My heart was broken and my arms were empty.

I discovered that what was most helpful for me was to give myself rules. Positive things I had to do everyday to help myself move in a positive direction. For example, taking my kids out on a small activity, laughing with them, and making craft projects for them.

I am a person who likes to make things with my hands. To me, there’s something therapeutic in the act of creating. So, in the beginning, I forced myself to make projects. I found once I was in the process of creating, my mood would change and I would start to feel more optimistic and excited about the project…and life in general.

I think my coping skills manifest themselves in our home perhaps by the amount of projects I have going on. I keep myself busy with creative projects, which keeps me happy.

Q: For those going through IVF, any words of advice when it feels like nothing will ever work?

A: This is a tough one. My heart aches so much for the many women who must endure the pain and heartache of infertility and all the invasive procedures such as IVF. I do believe that women have a special intuition and will be guided to the right path for them in growing their family. I learned that once I let go of how it had to look and when it had to happen, that’s when things started working for us.

But everyone’s infertility journey is different and unique and personal to them. Even the failures can become an experience that will make you even greater. If nothing else it will give you more empathy and understanding for others. I am who I am because of my unique experiences…and that makes me beautiful.

Q: What are the rules you try to follow when working from home? How do you ensure that your online time doesn’t get out of control?

A: I don’t want my children growing up thinking that electronics are more important than they are, so I give myself rules (which are sometimes very hard to follow). Most days I try to work while my daughter is napping and my son is in school. I also work at night – sometimes till very late. There are, of course, times when this is not possible.

Thankfully I have a very helpful supportive husband, who also works from home.

Q: What has the online community added to your life?

A: It has been wonderful to get to know and make friends and collaborate with people across the world I would never normally meet. I think it is so important to surround yourself with those who will build you up and those for whom you want to do the same.

Q: What do you hope your children remember about this home?

A: I want them to remember that this was a home of love and happiness. I want them to feel like they can be themselves and feel comfortable in our home. I want them to always know they are more important than stuff.

Q: What has been the best part about living with your own kids? What has surprised you about being a mother the most?

A: I am not much of a morning person, but seeing my children in the morning always makes me happy and excited to start my day. Also, I love reading to them before bedtime. I think I’m surprised that I love being a mother as much as I do. It has brought me more joy and fulfillment than anything else I could ever do.

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

A: That I would learn so much more from my children than I could ever teach them. That when you think you’ve given all you can, there is always more to give. That the most powerful lessons come from the hardest experiences. Most importantly, how these little human beings would change who I am and how I love.

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Meta, I can’t thank you enough for your candor. I’m quite sure you’ve helped someone today. Myself included.

Friends, I was struck by one of Meta’s thoughts: “I think it is so important to surround yourself with those who will build you up and those for whom you want to do the same.” So many people dismiss online friendships as malarky, but I strongly disagree! I’ve found some of my best friends online. How about you? Do you have any virtual friendships that evolved into professional meet-ups or business partners? Do you find them easier to maintain than a friendship that exists in your neighborhood? I’d love to hear your experiences!

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!