Living With Kids: Megan Isennock

I’m so excited for you all to meet Megan today for Living With Kids. Megan and her husband, Rob, and their two kids live in a super cool apartment in Baltimore that used to sit on top of an event space/ gallery. And now that we are stuck inside for the foreseeable future that space has become a kids gymnasium/ play space/ lounge. And I am sure you can already tell from the intro photo that Megan and Rob’s house is full of some impressive and amazing artwork. Welcome, Megan!


A Few Things

Hello, Friends. How are you? How was your week? It feels strange here because we’re having an unusual heat wave for this area — it will be 96 degrees in Argentan today. I grew up in St. George, Utah, a town that hits over 100 degrees for 3 or 4 months of the year, so 96 isn’t a record breaker or anything, but it’s pretty much the hottest it’s ever been either time we’ve lived in France.

This area is not really built for this kind of heat — no A/C, no sprinklers, etc. — so we’re keeping our shutters closed during the day to keep out the hot air, and we’re hanging out on the first floor of our rental, which is much cooler than the 3rd floor. We’ll be eating sandwiches for dinner so we don’t heat up the kitchen with the stove or oven, and we’re keeping cans of Evian Mist nearby when we need a quick cooling off (these misters are much more affordable here and sold pretty much everywhere).

Yesterday in the evening, Ben Blair took two of the kids to check out a nearby lake, and tonight, we might track down a swimming hole on the Orne River. How about you? How is your weekend shaping up?

I’ve got a really good list of links this week. Here are a few things I’ve wanted to share with you:

19 links this week. Come see.

Did You Know You Can Finish Wood Floors with Soap?

I’ve been trying to figure out what we want to do with the wood floors in the attic. If possible, I’d like to avoid sanding them down. I really like the patina they’ve developed over the decades, and I want to preserve the history of the floors as much as we can (we’ve found 3 more pieces of shrapnel since the last discovery). I’m also interested in using a traditional, natural finish that protects the wood, but is also really kind to it and doesn’t change the current color; something really safe.

I’ve been asking around for a few weeks, and our friend Gjisbert brought up the idea of a soap finish. Soap as in soap + water. He said it’s very safe and natural, and gives a really soft finish, and that it’s easy to clean (you just use more soap).

I’d never heard of finishing floors with soap. It sounds like a folktale! His advice sent me down an internet rabbit hole on soap finished floors, and it turns out that in some parts of the world, it’s a very common and effective way to finish and protect wood floors. Here’s what I’ve found:

Everything I could find on traditional Danish soap finishes. Come see what I found and share what you know.

Living With Kids: Keri Dunn

I think you’ll really enjoy getting to know Keri today. She wrote to me about her family’s recent decision to downsize to a much smaller home (right during COVID!) and I thought it sounded like a great story. I appreciate how thoughtful Keri was about the decision and how she was motivated by a desire to spend less money on housing and maintenance and to have a smaller ecological footprint.

Even thought their house is small it’s got tons of light and bright white walls and feels plenty big. It’s worth peeking into every corner. Welcome, Keri!


Winckelmans Tile Factory

Over the weekend, while we were in Lille, we took a tour of the Winckelmans tile factory. The tour was actually the primary reason for our visit to Lille. We’re using Winckelmans tile for the bathrooms in our renovation — I’ve never ordered custom tiles before and wanted to see what the process was like.

And honestly I was blown away. The materials, the handwork, the science, the quality, the history. The whole thing is such an art and a skill. And getting to see the bags of colored sand turned into basically indestructible tile right before our eyes was such a cool thing.

I’m going to take you through our tour and tell you everything I remember. I took a ton of photos, so it will be a visual tour too.

Come see the tour!



Design Mom is all about the intersection of design and motherhood. I'm Gabrielle Blair (some people call me Gabby), a designer and mother of six. I think you're going to love reading Design Mom.

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