Living With Kids: Meta Coleman

October 22, 2013

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.

–-

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!

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{ 54 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kristin October 22, 2013 at 10:24 am

I love this house so much. Very beautiful and fun–I love all of the color and the light. What a lovely place to live.

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2 Jenn October 22, 2013 at 10:36 am

Meta,
What a lovely home and family. My thoughts and prayers go out to you. I have recently gone through a similiar experience, and just now finding my way out. Wishing you the best on your journey. xoxo

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3 Freida October 22, 2013 at 10:39 am

Beautiful and inspiring Meta, on many levels. Thank you for sharing!

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4 Melissa@Julia's Bookbag October 22, 2013 at 10:48 am

Oh this is thrilling to finally be able to see Meta’s whole house! I’m such a big fan of her design aesthetic and the projects she features on her blog. All the little details, down to the low hanging shelf for clothes in the closet, oh my goodness!

This was an amazing post, thank you Meta, for sharing your story.

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5 janae @ bring joy October 22, 2013 at 10:52 am

So bright & beautiful–I LOVE her style.

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6 Giulia October 22, 2013 at 10:53 am

Meta, you have a lovely, lovely home. We met at ALT and I always feel very drawn to houses of people I actually met in real life – it seems like I’d be visiting for coffee. I also loved seeing your home in Anthology magazine. Thank you for sharing your story and all the best on your journey. Maybe we’ll meet again?

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7 KJS October 22, 2013 at 10:57 am

What a lovely house. And, it has such a feeling of home. Where could I find the bookshelf with the white cabinets? I love it.

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8 Koseli October 22, 2013 at 11:00 am

Meta, your house is everything I dream of. It’s exactly how I would decorate. Thank you so much for sharing it, and your story. My heart breaks for the loss of your baby boy—love and prayers. Thank you again. xo

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9 Emily October 22, 2013 at 11:07 am

What a beautiful home, I think I just pinned over half the images in this post.

Beautiful words, Meta, praying for you and your family! Thank you for sharing and helping others!

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10 sarah October 22, 2013 at 11:12 am

a creative hand can soothe a wounded heart.
i call it creative comfort.
thank you, meta, for your openness;
thank you, gaby, for sharing it!

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11 Jennifer @ Pitter Patterned October 22, 2013 at 11:33 am

Oh my, those children’s bedrooms are to die for! They are so lovely. I love the chalkboard wall with the red floral curtains, too perfectly sweet. I, too, just pinned over half the images in the post!

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12 Becca October 22, 2013 at 11:33 am

I am so heartened to read this post of a lovely, lovely Utahn as our family plans to move there next summer–Meta, I’m only wishing that I can move next door to you! Your home is incredible and your strength shines through in your words. Sending best wishes as you continue to heal.

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13 Francisca October 22, 2013 at 11:37 am

Lovely home and family. Thank you for sharing!
My thoughts and prayers go out to you all.

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14 Brimful October 22, 2013 at 11:49 am

The way Meta and her husband have weaved their children’s playthings throughout the design and decor of their home is REALLY something special. I just don’t see that many people who do it well…but they have done it superbly! Meta’s story of loss is also deeply touching. For all of us who’ve lost a baby by miscarriage, there’s a unspoken bond of compassion and understanding. Meta, thank you for being so brave to voice your experience. Here’s a little Robert Frost to soothe you on in the tearful moments:

Lodged by Robert Frost

The rain to the wind said,
‘You push and I’ll pelt.’
They so smote the garden bed
That the flowers actually knelt,
And lay lodged–though not dead.
I know how the flowers felt.

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15 Meta October 22, 2013 at 6:21 pm

What a beautiful quote. I shall remember this one.

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16 Pamela Balabuszko-Reay October 22, 2013 at 11:53 am

Dear Meta,
I am so very sorry for your loss.

We lost our son Alexander when I was six months pregnant too. Our stories are similar and my heart aches for you. We too went through years of infertility and to lose our baby was unfathomable.

I remember being in my house alone for weeks and weeks after Alexander was born. My home was of such comfort to me. One moment that made me feel like my life would continue was deciding to put a pumpkin on the front steps for fall. That simple gesture did a lot for my broken heart.

It is odd to say after going through infertility, IVF, genetic testing and the rest that I feel like I am at a loss still (after 13 years) for giving advice for how to cope. Other than be kind to yourself in the extreme. That means surrounding yourself with love. In everything.

Alexander made me a Mom. My children Isabella and Isaac- came to us through adoption years later.

Today if you look around my home you will see signs of Alexander. We remember him visually in our home. He is one of us.

Peace be with you, always. Thank you for sharing your story, your family and your home.

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17 Meta October 22, 2013 at 6:20 pm

Thank you Kristie for sharing your story with me. My heart aches for you loss. I am so grateful for women like you who share your story with me and help me not to feel so alone. Life can be cruel and hard, but the burden can be somewhat lifted when we carry it together.

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18 Meta October 22, 2013 at 6:23 pm

Sorry, I meant Pamela.

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19 Meta October 22, 2013 at 6:32 pm

So sorry, I meant Pamela.

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20 Shannon Bradley-Colleary October 22, 2013 at 12:12 pm

Thanks so much for sharing this incredibly brave woman’s home, but more importantly her humanity in the face of such devastation. Just seeing her work is inspiring, that no matter how dark our circumstances are we can choose to shed light. xo

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21 Ellen S. October 22, 2013 at 12:19 pm

Meta – your home and your heart are beautiful. Thank you for sharing with us!

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22 Maria B October 22, 2013 at 12:36 pm

“My heart was broken and my arms were empty.”

What a devastatingly sad sentence. I’m so very sorry for your loss.

It feels silly to follow that with the comment that I love your house, but I do, for what it’s worth.

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23 Bambi October 22, 2013 at 12:37 pm

This is so lovely!
Thank you for the inspiration!

Love from Germany,
Bambi and Birdy

http://lasagnolove.blogspot.de/

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24 Paige October 22, 2013 at 12:38 pm

Love this tour – a truly beautiful home! Thanks for sharing your heartfelt story, it gives me perspective on the stressful days with toddlers – to appreciate even the rough moments.

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25 Lucille October 22, 2013 at 1:38 pm

Such a touching and beautiful story! Thank you for sharing Meta. With regards to the house I adored how her daughters clothes were hung low so that she could select what she wanted. How gorgeous it must be when she pulls something out and declares that it is what she wants to wear! A great way to give children an option for them to make decisions on their own.

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26 Lyndsay // coco cake land October 22, 2013 at 1:56 pm

Meta, love and prayers to you and your beautiful family – thank you for sharing your story… Your home is so bright and lovely and looks like such a fun and lively space for your children to grow up in! Loved this interview, Gabrielle! Meta, I also never could have known how much I love being a mama.

Also – i have definitely made some wonderful friends online! Women I just know I’d be going for coffee playdates with our kids and hanging out with if we lived in the same city…It’s quite amazing, the online community!

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27 cat @ studiohuntingbears October 22, 2013 at 2:34 pm

Meta, I follow you on IG and have followed your journey including the loss of your little boy. My heart went out to you then and reading this frank interview my heart is filled with love and warmth for you and your family. I’m very drawn to your feed as it’s so warm and family friendly. Such an amazing and honest interview.

It’s the realness of the people on IG that I follow that make the online community so special to me. I have been lucky enough to meet in real life some of my IG friends and I have long lasting friendships that have come out of it. I only wish I could visit those further afield. We do have plans for LA… fingers crossed.

The strangest friendship came from someone I ‘met’ on IG who I decided to buy something from. She being in France, me being in the UK. Having given her my works address she put a little note in saying ‘Hi from a fellow Northerner!’ It turns out that she actually lived down the road from where I live! She is coming ‘home’ at Christmas with her lovely family and we are hoping to meet for real coffee and a chat. I firmly believe that the wider online community has created deeper friendships, for me, than some of those I have closer to home and have had for longer. I’m excited to widen my horizons and actually get to meet some of these lovely online friends.

Its a great way to meet like minded people all over the World that you would never normally get to meet and to me that can only be a good thing x

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28 Paige October 22, 2013 at 3:29 pm

Can you please tell me where you got the kitchen counter stools? Love them!

Thanks for sharing your beautiful home and family. Best wishes!

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29 Meta October 22, 2013 at 6:31 pm

I bought them at ikea, but unfortunately they don’t sell them anymore.

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30 lisa thomson October 22, 2013 at 3:45 pm

Thanks for another beautiful post, Gabrielle. Meta’s home is gorgeous. I just love the contrast of the white walls and the colorful bedrooms. Very charming. I’m so sorry to hear of your tragic loss. Losing a baby has to be one of the toughest forms of grief. You are inspiring and I love how you found something positive to focus on each day to get through.

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31 kerry October 22, 2013 at 4:34 pm

Gabrielle, now that your in the Bay Area, ever think about doing some meet-ups with like-minded moms? I’d love to meet other moms out in my area. I’m in San Francisco myself.

Meta- thanks for sharing your life.

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32 Jolie October 22, 2013 at 4:47 pm

Meta, thank you for sharing your home and your family story.
I’m just here to say hang in there – we lost our first born when he died during the birth (he was full term). Like you, I am a *maker* and I too started a business as a means of healing, and shaping my overwhelming grief and loss into something tangible and positive. Please please be kind to yourself, and give yourself time – grieving is a long road, and it has weird switchbacks when you least expect them. Give yourself permission to feel, and ignore anyone else’s *timeline*. Most of all, remember, your world will get bigger around this – you will never love your son less or miss miss him less or ache for him less, but your world will get bigger around him, and you, and it will not feel so cutting or sharp. I promise – we will clebrate what would have been Atticus’s 10th birthday in March…

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33 Meta October 22, 2013 at 6:30 pm

Thank you Jolie! this is just what i needed to hear today. you’re so right about the switchbacks, i can be doing so well and something will trigger my grief and it as if no progress has been made. i believe time doesn’t heal all wounds it just gives you perspective and like you said your “world will get bigger” I hope so.

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34 Emma October 28, 2013 at 4:52 pm

Hi Jolie –

I really love your comment that your “world will get bigger”. How very true. I lost my son 5.5 months into my pregnancy almost 4 years ago now. Whilst my heart still aches at the very thought of him and everything that I had dreamed of for us both together, that loss is no longer the only thing in my life. Thankfully it starts to fill with other joyous moments too.

Meta – I’m so sorry for your loss and thankyou for being so brave to share your personal story. Sadly you are not alone. Although hopefully you can find more comfort in the thought that this shows you will get through this. Life takes many unexpected turns which (even when we don’t want it) will make us stronger.

I adore your home, it’s magnificent. And I have nothing but admiration for your ability to start your furniture business on the back of this tragedy. That really is huge. I could barely function for a long time, well done you!

I’m in love with the kids kitchen and the doll house – where did you find them?

Much love x

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35 Kristie October 22, 2013 at 5:07 pm

Meta, I can relate to your post in so many ways and my heart breaks for you and your family. Our son passed away 2-1/2 yrs ago at 39 wks and the pain of empty arms and leaving the hospital without a baby is something that cannot be described. And having to attempt to explain something to children that we can barely wrap our heads around is so difficult. I too found comfort in my grief and healing through creative projects with kids. I immersed myself in helping out at my daughter’s preschool with art projects and it became like art therapy for me. Thank you for sharing the story that shapes your home. Your home and your family are beautiful and I hope you can continue to find comfort and heal. It’s a pain that no one should have to go through.

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36 Meta October 22, 2013 at 6:38 pm

Thank you Kristie for you comment. It is a pain indescribable. It’s so helpful for me to hear other women’s stories of grief and loss, it helps me not feel so along. Thank you and I’m sorry for your loss.

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37 Amy October 22, 2013 at 7:33 pm

Meta, your house is gorgeous. Where did the elephant couch come from?

So sorry for your loss. Hard to imagine how hard that was.

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38 kim @ DESIGN + LIFE + KIDS October 22, 2013 at 8:54 pm

Just moments after reading your story, a friend of mine called me to say she had just lost her baby. It was her third child and an unexpected one. She’s a very strong person, but she finally let out for a moment and cried. I’m going to share this post with her and in hopes she can feel some comfort in reading it. Thank you for being so candid. And your home… beautiful.

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39 Dayve October 22, 2013 at 11:20 pm

Totally fall in love with the house. So warm & cosy. Sorry for the loss.

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40 Nina October 23, 2013 at 12:44 am

Meta is such an inspiration. I love how she describes the need to make every room and every experience in the house a good one for her children. I have never thought to take that idea into other rooms in the house, but since their in the living room and dining room just as often as their own room I should incorporate their things there as well. Thank you for this!

Nina | http://itsazooatthezoo.blogspot.com/

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41 Meta October 23, 2013 at 1:00 am

You have a dream house! I’m loving everything! Congratulations for all that you have achieved – your husband, children, and business.

My heart ached reading your story. I’m glad you found ways to find ways to get out of the clouds. I recently learned about Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep (https://www.nowilaymedowntosleep.org/) and I’m encouraging photographers to contribute to this beautiful project.

Prayers and thoughts for you – from one Meta to another.

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42 Fée des étincelles October 23, 2013 at 3:00 am

What a beautiful house! It seems so noce to live in.
I’d like to know where you got the little kitchen for children?

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43 Sherri October 23, 2013 at 6:21 am

I’m sorry for your loss. I do think you have a beautiful, comfortable, loving home, and will continue to build many happy memories there. I like the comment about friends too – totally agree. As I get older, I do try to follow that credo – to surround myself with people who build me up – are supportive / nice to me. There are many who will try the opposite. And… I do really appreciate my online and blogger friends.

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44 gina October 23, 2013 at 6:26 am

My goodness — everyone has a story — & stories in the details —- so much strength projected into goodness. I hope Meta feels this in return in multitudes! Thank you for sharing such a beautifully tailored house and such a story.

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45 Kirsten October 23, 2013 at 8:09 am

Meta, your words were so clear and lovely-just like the home you have created! My favorite words were that your unique experiences are what make you beautiful! That is so true. Thank you for sharing! Ich umarme dich!

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46 Ashlea Walter October 23, 2013 at 8:24 am

I love everything about this tour – the design, the photos, the words, the sentiments. It really hit home as we lost our first daughter at 27 weeks. It’s so important to spread the message that there is light after such a dark time. Thank you for sharing!

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47 Micah October 23, 2013 at 8:44 am

So much beauty in this post – the home, the words, and the growth, and even the emotion it produces while reading it. Meta has a beautiful family, home, and outlook on life.

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48 Sheila October 23, 2013 at 1:22 pm

Meta, my heart goes out to you. I love that you have rules to help you find the rainbow that is surely there under such sadness. The pictures of your beautiful home made me smile, and I hope you find joy & comfort in the whimsy and beauty of your home. Did you recover the loveseat with the adorable elephant and striped fabrics? I imagine sitting there reading to little ones which would be such a source of happiness. Sending you love + light.

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49 Jane Hudson October 23, 2013 at 3:28 pm

Totally in LOVE with this house, everything about it is totally gorgeous.

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50 Amy Hackworth October 23, 2013 at 5:37 pm

Meta, you’re a beautiful person, and your home is just so lovely. Thanks for sharing your story and your grief with us. Love, love, love to you! XO

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51 Patricia C. October 24, 2013 at 12:05 pm

This is by far, my favorite home, and family, in your Living With Kids series. All the small and special details throughout the home are beautiful. I also loved reading Meta’s words- inspiring and honest. Thank you!

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52 Anna Kitchens October 27, 2013 at 7:59 pm

Emotionally provoking and inspiring words. Design-wise, I caught the Marimekko (yay, Finland!). I was wishing for a source list for everything!

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53 Martha October 29, 2013 at 3:58 pm

gorgeous home, thanks for sharing.

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54 Renay Ponce March 25, 2014 at 7:40 am

Love your stylish home! So sorry for your loss. Wanted to know where did you get your pretty wallpaper by the stairs?

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