Living With Kids: Kate Lao Shaffner

I think sometimes the biggest times of growth in our lives come when we shake things up a bit (or a lot!). Today’s Living With Kids story is such a great example of that. Kate and her husband took an opportunity to sell their home, take a new job and move to the other side of the planet with their two small kids. And not only that, they rent an apartment in a building with Kate’s work colleagues, which means she might find herself riding in the elevator after work, arms full of groceries, with her boss. 

Kate has a great perspective on being happy with what you have and really making the most of your surroundings. Come say hello…

Read more to see this darling rental that is styled to inspire!

The Treehouse: Master Bedroom Remodel with Before & After Photos

Ready to see some before and after photos of our Master Bedroom remodel? We’ve been living in the finished space for over 5 months now, and I am happy to tell you that every single day I wake up and grin about the new space. Not exaggerating. I love it so much. I don’t know if you remember, but it was such a weird space before. Yes, the room had lots of potential — interesting angles, tons of windows + skylights, great views of our little forest, a big balcony and wonderful light — but the layout just didn’t make sense at all.

Tons more photos and all the details. Keep reading.

A Few Things

Hello, Friends. How are you? How was your week? Our big event of the week was getting to see Hamilton! We bought tickets back in December, and the kids were counting down the days the entire time. Our four youngest kids are some kind of Hamilton Superfans, I swear. And the show was every bit as wonderful as they dreamed it would be. Any Hamilton fans at your house? Have you had a chance to see it? If you’re curious, you can see some photos from our evening here.

My to-do list today is epic, but before I tackle it, here are a few things I wanted to share with you:

13 compelling links, straight ahead.

Modern Outdoor Furniture That’s So Good Looking, You’ll Want to Use It Indoors Too

The forecast for the next few days is exceptionally stunning here in California. So my attention has turned to our balconies and patios. Two sources that I keep turning to for outdoor inspiration this year are CB2, and the Modern by Dwell Magazine line at Target. Both have a baseline of affordable prices, and even better, both are having limited time sales on outdoor furniture right this minute, so now is a great time to take a look if you’re thinking about updating an outdoor space.

These are the pieces that caught my eye most:

Row 1:  Oceans 2pc Wood Lounge Chair and OttomanOutdoor Dwell Sofa  –  Ixapa White Lounge Chair
Row 2:  Stackable Bench –  Ixapa White Love Seat  –  Alexandria Metal Gold Chair
Row 3:  Gala Gold Lounge Chair  –  Ratan Set with Table  –  Dwell Orange Posture Chair & Ottoman
Row 4:  Acapulco Black Egg Chair  –  Maya Wood Lounge  –  Tropez Striped Sofa

How about you? Any outdoor pieces you’re considering this year? Any special finds you know I would love?

P.S. — I’m dying over this LED chair and table set. Modern, sleek and white on it’s own, then lights up any color you choose. More outdoor picks here.

How Do You Feel About Hiring Out Your Laundry?

If you found yourself with some extra money in the budget for household help, which tasks would you hire out first? Babysitting? Yard care? Housekeeping? Perhaps something specific — like getting your gutters cleaned, or having your exterior windows washed (especially the ones that are upstairs and hard to reach)?

When we first moved to Oakland, we hired a housekeeper/assistant right away. She would come for 10-15 hours per week and would help with all sorts of things, like basic housekeeping, school pick up, or a grocery store run. She might also assist on a video shoot, or tackle a particular non-everyday task like making sure all the burned out lightbulbs in the house were replaced. When the weather was good, she would blow the leaves from our balconies and try to keep the exterior spider webs at bay (a constant battle at The Treehouse).

I never asked her to help with the laundry. Keep reading for a discussion.



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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