From the category archives:

Home Tours

By Gabrielle.

Usually, I try to remove all time stamps from these home tours. That means cropping out Halloween decorations when possible and trying not to post summer tours in the middle of December. But Candice is good at decorating for the holidays. Like, really good. (Do you remember her Winter Wishes craft? She’s also the brilliant photographer who helped us with our Central Park family photos.) And so I threw out all the rules and begged her to share her holiday home. Her inspired Christmas decor reinforces the idea that simple is stunning, especially in excess. (Candice calls this the Anthro rule, which made me laugh. But it’s so true, isn’t it?) I hope this installment of Living With Kids offers a little inspiration, and maybe even an afternoon of cutting a billion glittery stars. Enjoy the tour, Friends!

Q: Please tell us all about this festive family.

A: Hi! Our family consists of Mark, Candice, Grant, Nicholas, Sebastian and a prideful little scotty dog named Dickens. I met Mark when I moved across the country the day before my senior year of high school started. I wish I could say it was love at first sight but really due to a rather large miscommunication when we first met it was more of a Pride and Prejudice situation. To say we barely tolerated each other is an understatement. It wasn’t until the end of the year when we were cast as husband and wife in the high school play that we stopped trying to avoid each other completely.

He moved away after high school and it wasn’t until he came back when I was a junior in college getting my BFA in photography that we knew we were in love. We were married just a few months later. We have been married for almost 15 years now and I’ve loved him every minute of it. (There is a lot more to the story including the time I set him up with my best friend…but we will just leave it at this!)

Mark is currently a Theatre Professor at a University here in San Antonio, and I teach photography online.

Grant is a new teenager and is everything Mark and I are not: brilliant at math and science with a deep love of rules and organization. I’m very grateful that there is someone in this house who loves that stuff.

Nicholas, formerly known as Cole, has decided that at the age of ten his nickname is too young for him. He also changes his name from Cole to Nicholas every Christmas season. He is charming, funny, and can make friends with anyone.

Sebastian is two. That means that you can see that there is an eight year gap between his brother and him. We waited for him to join our family for a long time and it was well worth it. He’s super smart and full of life. He pretty much rules the rest of us with his adorable demands.

That’s it. I’m painting a room black.

Share and Enjoy:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Kirtsy
  • StumbleUpon

{ 54 comments }

Living With Kids: Myla Lopez

December 3, 2013

By Gabrielle.

This tour takes us on a sweet journey through a home that lovingly embraces two cultures. From traditions and tiny travel souvenirs to a giant world map in a little girl’s bedroom, Myla and her family’s home is a subtle study in world geography. The most important lesson? That it’s a small, small place.

The Lopez family lives in the perfect spot – just a 40 minute commute outside of New York City – which was one of my family’s favorite homes on our growing list of hometowns. To further illustrate my point (and Walt Disney’s!) of how tiny this world of ours truly is, Myla’s family and mine are neighbors. Sort of. She has a cottage in Normandy, too!

It’s the most fun when paths overlap, isn’t it? For those of you with culturally blended families, or even those of you with your passports at the ready, I really hope you enjoy this tour!

Q: Please tell us all about you and yours.

A: I’ll try to simplify our story! There’s me, my husband, Richard, and my daughters, Chiara and Ines.

I spent my childhood in the Manila, Philippines while my husband spent his in Brittany, France. We now live in northern New Jersey and spend summers in our little cottage in Normandy, France. We met in our late teens and dated long-distance prior to the days of email and Internet. The great thing is that we still have actual hard copies of our correspondence that we can show our daughters, and hopefully our grandkids one day. I can’t believe it but we actually have been married for 17 years!

Loving her bedroom wall color…Just ahead!

Share and Enjoy:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Kirtsy
  • StumbleUpon

{ 31 comments }

By Gabrielle.

There are stunning homes that look like they should sit on a magazine page or ten, and there are homes that look like – whoa – a lot of little children live there! And then there is Trina’s home, which is a splendid mix of beauty and beast! There’s not one space in her home that’s too precious or too perfect for her four children, but there’s also not one space in her home that doesn’t look absolutely precious and utterly perfect, either. I’m happy she’s achieved this magical blend, and I couldn’t wait to show it all to you.

Also! She is one of the lucky ones who get to relive her childhood all over again in her family home. You’ll love that part of her story. (There’s a line or two about one decorating regret that will make you misty, I bet. Tell me if you find it and have to wave off a few tears like I did!)

Friends, please welcome the McNeilly family. This is such a fun tour.

Q: Please tell us all about the la la lovely family who lives here!

A: I live with my husband, Stephen, who I met at age 15 (crazy!), and our four children.

My oldest, and only girl is Ella, age ten. I prayed for a girl and am even more grateful for her today than the day I first laid eyes upon her big baby blues.

Next is Luke, my sports loving eight year old who gives new meaning to the word sweetheart.

The last two, Liam Brave, almost four, and Rocco Royal, age two, are really close in age and are great little playmates. Liam is an old soul who keeps me company with his great conversation skills. And sweet Rocco is the best surprise I’ve ever had. He is so much of a honey that he sometimes tricks me into wanting another one.

I never expected to have four children – especially three boys – but it is better than I could have ever imagined. I call these littles of mine my brood. And as you might suspect, our house is noisy and very active. Someone is always jumping off of a couch, racing down our very long hallway with a dump truck, or singing at the top of their lungs, usually all at the same time.

So many beautiful details in this home, just ready for your inspiration file!

Share and Enjoy:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Kirtsy
  • StumbleUpon

{ 39 comments }

By Gabrielle. Photos by Alex Wolf.

Jay Wolf first contacted me to share a link showing his family’s incredible journey back from a devastating circumstance, and I was floored for a few days. And soon enough, my awe was pushed aside by a little wonder. When your life is turned upside down, how do you right it again? When all your definitions change – of motherhood and wife and husband and home – how do you write a new and improved dictionary?

Oh, I wanted to see more of the Wolf family’s life, and I wanted to show you, too. Because all through this tour and their story, there’s hope. And there’s nothing better on a Tuesday morning than a little hope, right? Please sit a while with this home and this special, special family, Friends. I know it will improve your day. Welcome, Wolf family! (Is this the first time a dad has written the interview? I think it is! Welcome, Jay!)

Q: Please introduce us to your family!

A: Hi, we’re the Wolfs: Jay, Katherine, and James. We’re originally from the deep South, but after marrying at 22, we moved to Los Angeles to pursue our dreams in the entertainment industry and law school (for me, Jay) at Pepperdine. Little did we know that decision would not only change the course of our lives, but it would also save Katherine’s life just over three years later.

Those early years were idyllic, living in a Malibu married housing apartment with a view of the ocean, loving our church community and the creative energy that is electric in the City of Angels. Our son James came along quite unexpectedly, but we relished our new calling as young parents.

Cake stands and so much loveliness, just ahead!

Share and Enjoy:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Kirtsy
  • StumbleUpon

{ 52 comments }

Living With Kids: Tina Fussell

November 12, 2013

By Gabrielle.

I devour Tina’s blog. (Truth be told, her husband’s site is gorgeous, too.) Tina is an information sharer, through and through. From Vitamin D deficiency to posts detailing how it truly feels like to move abroad to talking about sugar, almost every post feeds questions I didn’t even know I had. I love that. And I adore how her writing style is as calm as her home’s decor. Would you like to see the Fussell home? Let’s do it, then! Friends, please enjoy the tour.

Q: Please tell us who lives in this dreamy home!

A: We are Jack and Tina Fussell and we are Americans living in Copenhagen, Denmark with our three kids, Hailey (12), Parker (8), and Landon (5). Many people know our Traveling Tribe through our blog, Flying House by Traveling Mama where we write about our living abroad with kids, our favorite places to stay, eat, and shop when we travel and also what it is like to create a new home in a new country! We have lived in Copenhagen for three years, but we also lived in Morocco for three years and Spain for two prior to our move here.

Q: How did this house turn into your home?

A: It’s funny because we didn’t even know we were going to move until a month before we moved into our current home with a camera crew from House Hunters International along for the ride to document our 20th move! Our landlord suddenly contacted us asking for his apartment back so we immediately started looking for a new place to live. Even before walking into our town home I knew it was the perfect place for us. Situated in a beautiful neighborhood not far from the city center, with white walls and floors, and loads of light… I was sold! The fact that it had a small terrace and a quiet street for the kids to play on was just icing on the cake.

It gets prettier, if you can believe that!

Share and Enjoy:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Kirtsy
  • StumbleUpon

{ 24 comments }

Living With Kids: Liz Young

November 5, 2013

By Gabrielle.

This home tour feels a little romantic to me. It’s got all the makings of a perfect story. There’s the storyteller herself, the serendipitous discovery of the perfect forever home after a series of inspiring wanderings, a painful separation of lovers, an in-house bakery and creative studio (which basically translates – to me, at least! – to a 24-hour access to gorgeous cakes and big ideas), and lots and lots of bikes. I’m not sure the bicycles add anything to the story, but they sure add fun to the Young family’s afternoons! We all want our homes to work for our families, but the Young house truly works with them. And after a lovely glimpse of this home, I think it deserves a raise. Friends, please meet the Young family and their delightful home. I just know you’re going to fall in love!

Q: Please introduce us to the family.

A: Our current crew is Tommy (2), Moses (5), me, and Ryan. Here’s a quick character rundown: Tommy has an imaginary baby gorilla he carries in the palm of his hand, rolls him in the dirt, feeds him Chicken Tikka Masala, and naps him in silky blankets when he’s cranky. Moses is a collector, digger, woods runner, bike racer, number counter, word lover, sleeper, and justice seeker. He also buzzes his hair and wants to be a soldier like his dad. Ryan was a soldier, but now he drives a big truck, fixes hospital equipment, entertains us with spontaneous song, loves his motorcycle, and adores the rest of us.

When I was little, I wore a pin on my coat that said, “Upwardly Mobile.” Apparently, I couldn’t get enough of cartwheels and hanging upside down. I still love flipping things around as a creative philosophy, now, more than my body! And I love being outside, writing stories, driving in the sun, and making a meal while the boys are shooting Nerf guns and running commando.

The Young kitchen makes me want to bake. And eat. Seriously.

Share and Enjoy:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Kirtsy
  • StumbleUpon

{ 45 comments }

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.

See how Meta turned a crushing loss into creative beauty…

Share and Enjoy:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Kirtsy
  • StumbleUpon

{ 65 comments }

By Gabrielle.

It’s got to be difficult to follow last week’s out-of-this-world tour, but the Burket family is up for the challenge! Theirs is a home – and life – edited for their specific needs. Nothing more, nothing less. Not in their home design, not in the sweet product they make, not in their social media plan, and not even with their family calendar. If you’re on the verge of considering paring down your family’s day-to-night events, I think Leslie can offer some guidance and inspire all of the over-scheduled readers in the crowd. Friends, I am pleased to welcome Leslie and her family!

Q: Please tell us how the Burket family came to be!

A: We are now a family of four. But this all started 15 years ago with a high school crush on a boy named Tom. We dated briefly as teenagers – I even joined the golf team, no experience required, to try to get to know him! – and then he called me out of the blue in college and took me to see Napoleon Dynamite. He snuck a bottle of champagne in the movie theatre, held my hand, and made me laugh like no other. I was done.

We got married a few years later and then had two kids. Trent, six, is our Lego-loving, deep thinker. His heart is as big as his imagination. Lila, four, is a spunky, loud talking, little lady. Bless her heart. She loves to help and she adores her big brother.

Throw in two dogs, five chickens, building a house, and starting a company together, and I’d say we just really enjoy working together. And that’s just it.

This isn’t perfect, we certainly don’t get it all right, but we are dedicated and have found much joy in making this family work. I am thankful for everyday I get to share with our silly crew.

More bright and happy, just ahead!

Share and Enjoy:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Kirtsy
  • StumbleUpon

{ 39 comments }

By Gabrielle.

This tour doesn’t exactly qualify for our Living With Kids series. Rather, I should probably title it Living Without Her Family And Missing Them Like Mad While She Is In Outer Space! Because Karen Nyberg is an astronaut. I know. Incredible, right? Just wait until you see her daily views from her windows.

(New York and south along the US East Coast)

I couldn’t resist her generous offer to show us around her out-of-this-world living space (A little sterile, but the view!), share some of her best coping tricks (Again, that view!), and maybe even inspire those of us with kids who routinely travel as part of our careers. (A two-hour plane ride and three days at a Hilton doesn’t sound quite so unbearable when you compare it to a six-month expedition with a waiting husband and toddler son!)

She’ll tell us how she brings her family into the mission with her, how she prepared to climb aboard a rocket and leave her family, dog, and home for six months, and how she will satisfy her need to create something with her hands (She is a DIY girl and an astronaut!) and clear her mind with a good run while living on the space station.

Super inspiring. Friends, you are going to love this one. I promise.

Q: I think this is the first time I’ve described a home as “out there,” but it truly is!

A: I am currently living on the International Space Station about 250 miles above the surface of the earth. We orbit the earth every 90 minutes; that’s sixteen sunrises and sunsets every day! There are usually six crew-members living here at a time, and we exchange three crew-members approximately every three months.

I arrived on the Space Station via a Russian Soyuz rocket on May 29 with two others, and will be departing for home in the same capsule on November 11. Other residents of ISS at this time include one American astronaut (an US Air Force Flight Test Engineer), an Italian astronaut (an Air Force Test Pilot), and three Russian cosmonauts.

Her current home probably looks nothing like yours! But it’s awesome!

Share and Enjoy:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Kirtsy
  • StumbleUpon

{ 110 comments }

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.

Gorgeous kitchen and those white floors, straight ahead!

Share and Enjoy:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Kirtsy
  • StumbleUpon

{ 79 comments }

Living With Kids: Debora Kolb

September 24, 2013

By Gabrielle.

I’ve always wondered what it must be like to live in a popular vacation destination — fabulous, right?! — and this week’s tour answers some of my queries. Doesn’t everyone know one or two families who enjoyed their Florida vacations so much that they moved there? Now I do, too!

Debora and her family now happily reside in South Florida after a stint in the Southwest, and would probably tell you that life there is exactly like a vacation. Except for those pesky jobs that get in the way of beach time! Relocating came with obvious perks (sunshine and proximity to family), but also a smaller, not-exactly perfect home. Not a problem for the Kolb family, though. Here’s their refreshing story; a lovely mix of postcard-perfect and real life, which is exactly how we should all be living!

Q: Please give us a rundown on the family who lives in this fun and functional Florida home!

A: We are a busy, happy family of five. I’m Debora. Before I took on the challenges of being mom to three kids and keeper of household affairs, I enjoyed my work as a professional architect and interior designer. I keep my toe in the water and my creative side engaged, though, as I’m still licensed and working the odd design job on the side. I live design. I even appreciate bad design!

My husband Kelly is an attorney by weekday, kayak fisherman and jack-of-all-trades on the weekends. He’s a great partner and often helps bring my designs to life. One of his biggest challenges, he would claim, is the fact that he is outnumbered threefold by the females in the house; we have a trio of lovely daughters.

The eldest of our children is Taylor. Once a moody, slothful teenager she is now a college freshmen, and a delightfully kind and appreciative 18-year-old. She has survived those tough years and “come back to us” as a young woman who once again appreciates her family and life’s little luxuries. Like a home cooked meal and clean laundry!

Of course there is a pink flamingo! Just ahead…

Share and Enjoy:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Kirtsy
  • StumbleUpon

{ 20 comments }

Living With Kids: Ashley Reese

September 17, 2013

By Gabrielle.

The major element in Ashley and David’s story that intrigued me right away was the path to finding their home. I don’t want to spoil the ending, but it was less of a path and much more of a hike. A hike up Mt. Everest! With very little equipment or even a guide, at times! And they traveled the same grueling, often heartbreaking trek to find their daughters. In so many ways, the Reese family has worked hard for the life they’re living, but I know they wouldn’t have had it any other way. This is one of those stories where the end justifies the means. I’m so touched and inspired by this remarkable family in so many tangible ways, and I hope you will be, too. Friends, I’m pleased to introduce the Reese family!

Q: Please introduce us to the family who makes this house a home!

A: Our family of four lives in this little house: my husband, David, and our two busy girls, Amelia (Mia) and Julianne (June), ages four and 18 months. The locals call it “the white chapel on the hill” because it is so tall, white, and just plain conspicuous set against our rolling plains of farmland.

David and I are both students for a second time after deciding to make career changes. I taught high school English and History, and am now studying Speech and Language Pathology. He owned a landscape design and construction business, but is now is studying to teach high school Science and does personal fitness training on the side. We thought it’d be fun to cover the entire career spectrum before we hit 30!

Like most parents, our girls are the joy of our lives. We realized early in our marriage that our children would need to arrive unconventionally after several rounds of IVF, and now couldn’t be more grateful. They don’t look a thing like us, but I tend to forget that. Some biological mechanism kicks in when you adopt – particularly when adopting from birth, I think – and although my girls both have beautiful brown-skin-chocolate, as Mia describes the look, and David and I are pretty run-of-the-mill for our corner of the globe, I can’t fathom pinching a white bum or kissing a head without curls.

We are a high-energy family and tend to be either doing, creating, or dreaming something up to do or create. We spend a lot of time outside hiking, running, and biking. My husband runs ultra-marathons competitively, while I run just enough to claim sanity, and our four-year-old runs laps on a dirt track around our house as her specially tailored time-out. We thoroughly enjoy growing, assembling, and consuming good food, appreciate interesting architecture, and although we don’t have traditional television, as a self-diagnosed Anglophile, I can never pass up a good period drama or British detective series!

open kitchen shelving, sparkly wallpaper, and a backyard to make you swoon…all just ahead!

Share and Enjoy:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Kirtsy
  • StumbleUpon

{ 58 comments }

By Gabrielle.

I normally begin these Living With Kids tours with a stunning shot of the kitchen or a vibrant welcome from the entryway. But today, I am starting off by showing you a few highly covetable pairs of children’s boots. They are the coolest, as are all the offerings from a fairly new Dutch shoe brand called de Vries. And now we get the chance to see inside the equally cool designer’s home!

Her name is Lilian de Vries, and she is a talent. When she first wrote to me, she casually mentioned she is a shoemaker. Too fun! I consider hers an artisan career that would be fantastic to announce at dinner parties. Or home tours! “Hello. My name is Lilian, and I make fabulous shoes. It is nice to meet you.” Friends, it really is nice to meet Lilian. You’ll see. Please enjoy the tour!

Q: Tell us about the family who makes this house a home!

A: I met my husband Charles in 1996 in Rotterdam while I was in art school. We used to live there for ten years in a great apartment. Two years after our daughter Ella was born in 2003, we decided to move to a house with a garden that was also closer to my work in Amsterdam, and we ultimately ended up in Utrecht, the center part of the Netherlands.

More dreamy sunlight-washed rooms ahead!

Share and Enjoy:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Kirtsy
  • StumbleUpon

{ 10 comments }

Living With Kids: Anna Keep

September 3, 2013

By Gabrielle.

There are a few moments in this tour when my heart aches for Anna. She currently lives in the home she and her former husband built and dreamed of living in for their family’s future. As we all know, though, some of the most beautiful plans are the ones that change into other plans altogether. Still beautiful, just maybe unexpectedly so. The marriage is no longer, but the boys and home Anna and her ex built together are still thriving. And so, I can happily tell you, is Anna.

I didn’t know her circumstances during our correspondence — homeowners and I email a lot back and forth throughout this process! — but I always thought of her as so upbeat and positive in her words and decoration. I had no idea of what she may have endured emotionally to get to this point. Her honest answers were probably difficult for her to write, but I believe she made herself write them to remind herself (and us, too) that lessons are everywhere, just waiting to be learned. The hard way, the easy way, and all the ways in between. I love this tour so much, and thank Anna from the bottom of my heart for giving us so much of her own. Friends, please meet Anna.

Q: Please tell us about everyone who lives here!

A: I share my home with my two freckled boys: Ross, aged ten, and Ben, aged eight. Plus, at last count, nine goldfish, four wild green parrots, and a rotation of hamsters. There is also a puppy dog coming soon! Our housekeeper named Sharlena hails from Zimbabwe, and she and her teenage son, Thami, also share our property in a garden cottage.

Cute boys’ rooms, straight ahead!

Share and Enjoy:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Kirtsy
  • StumbleUpon

{ 39 comments }

By Gabrielle.

Buying land and building a home takes so much more than a clear vision. There’s always a headache-inducing budget involved, isn’t there? Made all the more agonizing when that budget keeps increasing throughout the process! Because you want that gorgeous wood floor, that dazzling light fixture and all the others that coordinate, and spectacular kitchen drawer pulls and – darn it! – they’re custom. It must be hard to reconcile dreams and dollars. Carey and her husband’s plan almost didn’t make it to the kitchen cabinet hardware, but luckily they were rescued by a contractor with a heart (and vision) of gold. This is a good story with a beautiful ending, and one to which I probably mega relate because of our French cottage! For those of you also in the midst of building fever, read on (and good luck!). Friends, meet Carey Denman!

Q: Tell us all about the lucky family who calls this place home!

A: My husband Jory and I live here with our four children: Ella, Samuel, William, and Amelia. Ella is eight and has a penchant for horses and anything that sparkles. Our second born child, Samuel, is seven and loves Legos, balloons, and pancakes. William, five, has a mischievous streak a mile wide; he has been known to paint his whole body with black paint and has a fondness for anything on wheels. And Amelia, our fun-loving three-year-old, usually has a doll tucked under her arm and a bag stuffed full of miscellany draped over her shoulder.

I homeschool this raucous bunch and write a column about the adventures of parenting for my local newspaper. I also tend to a large garden that makes my heart happy, and dabble in making herbal concoctions. My husband is a nurse at a nearby hospital, an avid outdoorsman, and a man dedicated to loving our children in real and tangible ways.

The Denman backyard goes on forever and ever!

Share and Enjoy:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Kirtsy
  • StumbleUpon

{ 33 comments }

By Gabrielle.

Oh, is Emily refreshing! Hers is the classic and always happy-making story of a family living in not their forever home…but their growing home. I love that term. And I also adore that the Hart family hasn’t pushed pause on living with kids with style just because of that fact; they choose to make pretty when they can, always with an eye on whether it’s a smart project for resale value. So sensible. But so difficult to resist when you’re craving new kitchen cabinets, right? Friends, I’m pleased to introduce you to Emily. I just know you’ll enjoy peeking into her home today!

Q: Please tell us about everyone who lives here!

A: Josh, Emily, Blake, Luke, and Gracie the pups all reside together in our little home. I’m Emily, a stay-at-home-mom-blogger-photographer, who has a love for home decor and finding old things to make that love affordable. I’m enamored with vintage objects, old houses, and dusty books, and I sometimes think my home will start to smell like a library soon if I’m not careful.

The man behind the home is my husband, Josh. He’s my absolute and complete opposite…and thank goodness for that. I always joke that we cancel each other out, which is much needed for our individual strong personalities. He’s a banker by trade, and a triathlete and health nut by choice. I’m a wannabe health nut, so when I’m not sneaking french fries I’m usually following his lead and making a healthy meal.

Our boys – oh, our boys! Blake is ten, with an emerging entrepreneurial spirit and a budding talent for broadcasting when he’s not finding ways to sneak in way too many video games. Luke is almost three, and his nickname is Lil’ L because of his penchant for rapping and hip hop dancing. His love for music brings us all together in the best ways, usually during a kitchen dancing session or a YouTube video playing fest where Josh tries to find the clean versions of all his old favorite hip hop tunes. (Not an easy task. by the way!)

The cutest kitchen table coming up next!

Share and Enjoy:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Kirtsy
  • StumbleUpon

{ 36 comments }

By Gabrielle.

I’ve known Esther was stylish ever since the launch of Babyccino, which has grown from a parenting blog written by three friends scattered across Europe, to an internationally consulted site for those seeking unique inspiration with a cultural twist. Their kid-friendly city guides and well-researched boutiques are goldmines. But her home takes living with kids with style to a whole new level. It’s visually stimulating, yet calm. Color everywhere, but they somehow all blend together. Even her day-to-day basics look cool the way she’s curated them! (See kitchen utensils below to see what I mean.) This is one of those homes where the lines between adult and kid decor are completely blurred, and beautifully so. Welcome, Esther!

Q: Please tell us all about this Amsterdam-based family!

A: My husband, Tamar, and I met 13 years ago when I was just finishing my studies in Delft. We both wanted to explore the world a little bit, so as soon as I got my degree we moved to New York together where we stayed for three years. Just before we moved to Brussels, Tamar asked me to marry him in a helicopter above Manhattan! We got married in Antwerp in 2004, and one year later we lived in London where our children Sara (2005) and Pim (2007) were born. We now live in Amsterdam, where we’ve had two more children: Ava (2010) and baby Casper, who was born in 2012.

Q: What makes you love your home in Amsterdam?

A: After a few years in Amsterdam, we found this little house for rent and we immediately fell in love with it. It’s built in the 1950s and has beautiful big, steel windows and cool mid-century design details. It also has a little front yard where we can park our bikes, and a small garden in the back where we can grow herbs and some vegetables. All the houses in our block are connected in the back through a little pathway, so our kids can always find our neighbors’ children to play with in one of the gardens. I also love the fact that where we live is very close to the centre of Amsterdam, but it still has the feel of a little village!

One of the main advantages of living in Amsterdam is the fact that it is such a compact city, and that it is totally laid out for the use of bicycles. My husband works around the corner from our home, and the shops, schools, and crèches for the children are also within walking distance. With the bike or the bakfiets (cargo bike), we can get to anywhere in the city in a less than a 30 minute bike ride.

Although we love living in Amsterdam, we also love to travel. Which is easy as our international airport (Schiphol) is only a seven minutes train ride from where we live!

The kitchen wall that will prompt most of us to get out the hammer and nails!

Share and Enjoy:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Kirtsy
  • StumbleUpon

{ 42 comments }

By Gabrielle.

Remember Sarah? She showed us what life really looks like when you’re living with kids during a major home renovation. She also took my breath away with photos of their toddler daughter helping rewire the kitchen’s electrical (Not really! She was completely safe!), but Sarah just laughed at my worry (Really. She is completely cool like that.)

As she told us, “I’m planning to create a checklist to determine if you are emotionally and mentality capable of handling renovations with small children! I imagine most people are not. Here’s my advice: Be flexible and adaptable. If you are not that type of person, just don’t even think about it!” I hope she makes that list, don’t you? It would be hilarious to read.

But my favorite piece of wisdom from Sarah is this: “Even though the safety of our children is a high priority, our philosophy is to let the kids experience life…not protect them from it.” Pretty wonderful.

You’ve got to see the kitchen…Lula did an awesome job on the electrical! Ha!

Share and Enjoy:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Kirtsy
  • StumbleUpon

{ 11 comments }

By Gabrielle. Images by Iris Thorsteinsdottir for Kid & Coe.

I’m fond of our home tours for a lot of reasons, but one of my favorites is that it gives me the chance to truly learn about living with kids in every corner of the world. Practical advice and personal experience from real families are the best, made even better with pictures and local accents! As I mentioned to Laura this week, you just never know where you’ll want to move your family tomorrow. Perhaps to Bristol? It sure sound lovely. (And then there is the matter of Banksy, graffiti artist extraordinaire! How cool would it be to casually name-drop him as your neighbor?) I know you’re going to adore Laura and the Hall home, and I’m also pretty sure you’re going to love the company she keeps, known as Kid & Coe, especially if you’ve got little ones and despise traveling with all the gear they seem to accumulate! Welcome, Laura!

Q: Tell us all about your sweet family living in the UK!

A: Four of us live here. I’m Laura, the Communications Manager of Kid & Coe, traveler, magpie, and generally creative person. I’m joined by my husband Matt, an IT risk consultant by day (yawn!) but a dastardly food blogger and inventive cook by night (yum!). There’s also our bumptious three year old daughter Olivia, who loves to sing and read, often at the same time, and our four-year-old cat Sukie, who I rescued when she was just five weeks old. She’s lovely but thinks she’s a human most of the time.

Q: How did this house become your home? (And please tell us what it’s like to buy or rent in Bristol…just in case any of us are interested!)

A: We love our home so much! We bought it four years ago after living in a hip city center apartment, because we wanted to be near a park and to have a family in a lovely area. I got pregnant within a month of moving in. I have so many friends on this street and the next who all have three year olds. Who knows what they’re putting in the water!

One of the best things in my life was getting pregnant while living here. We live on top of a hill, and one day I was puffing up it, heavily pregnant, when a lady opened her door and invited me in for tea. She had a bunch of other mums from the street having tea in her garden, and just like that I was invited into the Richmond Street mums club! It’s lovely, and I really like that the vibe is like that round here.

More of this darling home…plus a bomb shelter! Just click!

Share and Enjoy:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Kirtsy
  • StumbleUpon

{ 26 comments }

By Gabrielle.

Elise Morris has a super cute son, so it’s kind of  fitting that she has made him a home to match! It’s fresh, bright, rugged inside and out, and mostly uncluttered, except for beautiful treasures and fun bits, and airy enough to hold a young boy’s ideas. All of them. To add more cool to the mix, Elise is an artist. Her work is so soothing that I found myself zooming in for minutes on end at the art in her living room. (I think you will, too!) For some unknown reason, I couldn’t help but think that she must be a patient and wonderful mom to Jonah…simply from her brilliant use of color and talented brushstrokes! I’m sure there’s a connection, right? While we discuss that, let’s welcome Elise and her little guy. Enjoy the tour, Friends.

Q: Please tell us who makes this sweet house a home.

A: I live here in the Bay Area with my four-year-old son Jonah, two cats, and an involuntary bug collection that varies from day to day. I am a single mom with primary custody, and a full-time working artist. I am also a crazy project planner, organizer, and multi-tasker! Jonah is a very curious and suddenly talkative preschooler who keeps me on my toes.

Q: How did this home come to be yours?

A: After going through an unexpected divorce, I had to move out of our condo and sort everything out.  Jonah was two years old. I wanted a fresh start, so I considered locations a bit further east where I already have some good friends. The goal was moving to an area where Jonah could have space to play and be able to attend good schools. I never would have pictured myself living in a suburb, but as it goes, having a child makes the priorities clear.

Elise’s gorgeous living room painting, just ahead! Prepare to sigh!

Related Posts with Thumbnails
Share and Enjoy:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Kirtsy
  • StumbleUpon

{ 25 comments }