Living With Kids: Looking Back

December 24, 2013

By Gabrielle.

Hasn’t it been such a joy to peek into other families’ homes? Now that we’re working on The Treehouse (and The French Cottage!), I even more fully appreciate all the thought and care and decision-making that goes into turning a house into a home. I say it a lot, but it’s so much more than paint colors and couch positions.

It’s slipcovers even though you dream of suede. It’s crazy-bold patterned throw rugs instead of your favorite shade of white. It’s realizing your favorite color has suddenly turned into the same color your kids love, which is on the complete other side of the spectrum as your favorite shade of white. It’s baskets full of nonsense that you fill back up every night before you head to bed. It’s dirty dishes. So many dirty dishes. It’s trying to pick out paint colors and returning home with seventy square samples of pink. It’s night lights in the hallway, toothpaste in the sink, and a swing in the living room. It’s turning the couch to face the window because the forecast is snow tomorrow. It’s make do when all you really want is make new. It’s planning for the someday while enjoying the right now.

And to think, it all began with a pink couch and an orange chair! From that fun jumping off point, I’ve learned something new every Tuesday…

Like foyers can be fabulous. And those gorgeous coats of yours don’t have to be hidden away in a closet.

Sinks with a stellar view might make the never-ending dishes a little less miserable! (And hidden televisions are the best.)

As a matter of fact, stellar views can really turn a day around. Especially if you ever find yourself 250 miles above the surface of the Earth. As you do.

Round dining tables positioned close to a chalkboard wall inspire sweet conversations and maybe a few adorable drawings of food. Laundry rooms equipped with a chalkboard somehow have the same effect. (And in the same tour, we also learned the importance of having an Art Barn. Sigh. On my wish list, for sure.)

Speaking of dining rooms, they’re even better when they double as a library, craft station, and homework hub. Plus sewing station. Phew. That is one hard-working room!

There is always room for art. And there’s always a space that can be carved out just for the one who needs it most.

Family collections don’t have to cost a million bucks, but they should bring back a million wonderful memories every time you catch sight of it.

Stairs can take your breath away on your way up to bed. They can even teach you math.

And the space underneath a staircase is simply magic, no matter how you add it up. For a tiny Harry Potter room or even a cozy nook in which to nap.

Turns out, you have mixed feelings about taxidermy…but you do love a good all-white aesthetic with generous and well-collected pops of color. (And sometimes, you don’t even notice the taxidermy with a final answer like hers.)

Often, it’s the wild location of these tours that steal the show. Backyards as far as the eye can see, with a tree house that makes the main house jealous, and a heart-wrenching story that makes us hug our families a little harder at the end of the day.

In the end, it’s all about the family who lives in these homes. Families that grow quickly, families that grow preciously, and families that grow up and head off to college. Sniff.

The New Year will undoubtedly bring many more inspiring families with lovely living styles, but I sure won’t forget the ones who shared themselves with us already. Special thanks to all of you, and a hearty invitation to the rest of you to show us how you’re living with kids, too! Just send me a note! It’s a lot of fun…I promise!

P.S. — Take a peek at all the homes in my Living With Kids series here

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{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

1 rachael December 24, 2013 at 11:14 am

Living with Kids is what originally brought me to Design Mom. I just LOVE this series! I look forward to every Tuesday :)


2 Sara December 24, 2013 at 12:22 pm

I needed this post today. Your opening remarks were just what I needed to hear as I’m scrambling around my house trying to make it perfect for Christmas Day, getting more and more frustrated by piles of junk, socks everywhere (why are there always socks everywhere) and a fresh dirty dish every time I turn my head. It’s good to keep in mind that this is a stage and one day I might have everything exactly as I want it in my home, but this magical time of year for my kids is what I should be focused on. It’s amazing how easy it is to lose sight of what is important. I know I’ll miss this chaos one day….I think! Merry Christmas and thanks for all the wonderful work you do to keep moms like me feeling inspired and grateful throughout the year!


3 Jane Foster December 24, 2013 at 12:23 pm

Lovely to see the photos of my pink sofa and orange chair again!
I deeply regret getting rid of that pink sofa – I loved it but it wasn’t very comfy!
Happy Christmas to you! Xxx


4 Aimee December 24, 2013 at 12:36 pm

I love love love this series!


5 Jessica P December 24, 2013 at 12:56 pm

Love love this series and love your thoughts on what makes a home…beautiful. Merry Christmas Design MOM. (Hoping to seeing more “smaller spaces” in 2014.)


6 Margaret Petry December 24, 2013 at 3:46 pm

Phew! When you started off, I thought this was a “finale” post and you were stopping the series. I love the Living With Kids series! Gives me inspiration every time. :-) I’m glad it’s continuing!


7 Rea December 24, 2013 at 7:42 pm

I love this series so much! I always look forward to this and I sure learned so many life lessons. Happy holidays! :)


8 Sarah December 26, 2013 at 10:19 am

hooray! it’s so nice to hear a very hip, design savvy mom talk about dealing with toothpaste in the sink, dirty dishes, and baskets full of nonsense. that’s my world, and that is why i love this blog!


9 Jo Dee December 26, 2013 at 11:59 am

Amazing inspiration! LOVE IT. Thank you for sharing.


10 Tasha December 26, 2013 at 12:18 pm

Well stated!
“It’s make do when all you really want is make new. It’s planning for the someday while enjoying the right now.” – Love that!
I DO enjoy the “now” as these become the memories. But it is so easy to slip into the “I wish…I want…” thoughts. Without these though, we’d have no dreams. So I suppose a gentle mix of it all is where I strive to be.
Going to have leftovers with my parents , husband, son and future daughter (in law)…that’s what makes me happy and makes a home a home.


11 Angela December 26, 2013 at 1:39 pm

I wake up each Wednesday morning looking forward to a quiet coffee and ‘living with kids’ series. It always inspires by reminding me how wonderful it is to be part of a family. Thank you!


12 simplyblythe December 26, 2013 at 7:10 pm

beautifully said.


13 Trish December 26, 2013 at 10:15 pm

Your comment about not costing a million bucks but bringing a million memories, they are the stuff that makes a home. All the treasures that give you joy each time you use, touch or just spy and remember!!! That’s what makes this series so precious to us all – these are homes, not magazine shoots. Well done Gabby for the inspiration they provide, the warm sighs of ‘I’d love to do that’ and the little dreams that might eventuate.


14 kelly harp December 26, 2013 at 10:31 pm

love, love, love this series. endlessly interesting to me! what a great recap – thanks :)


15 CeeBee December 27, 2013 at 10:44 am

For someone who says writing is hard for them, you make it seem effortless! Your second paragraph above is so wonderful, descriptive, true, and poignant! Thank you for bringing us this series. It’s a highlight!


16 Tanya December 28, 2013 at 6:17 am

Your Living with Kids series is my absolute favourite thing on the WWW!

Happy New Year,


17 lisa thomson December 28, 2013 at 10:48 am

Thank you for this beautiful blog. I just love the living with kids series. It’s so beautiful, just like everything here at Design Mom.


18 Tricia December 28, 2013 at 10:41 pm

It was a real honor to be a part of this truly interesting series. I look forward to it every week :). Thanks Gabrielle! Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year.


19 Lisa Fyfe December 30, 2013 at 6:33 am

I love this series. It is so inspiring to see how other families live and make it all work.


20 Charity December 30, 2013 at 9:22 am

If you ask me everybody loves peeking into someone’s decorating head/house. It’s inspiring on more that just a decorating level though too. It helps me to realize I can do this (!) when I am not sure if am going to get a shower.


21 get more info May 27, 2015 at 8:43 pm

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