This is the home where Kirsty lives with her four men, three of whom are under eight! At first glance, you might not see bold traces of their existence, but that’s just because Kirsty’s overwhelmingly feminine and clean romantic style is such a scene-stealer. It’s a trick, isn’t it, to retain your aesthetic and make it work even when you’re a tad outnumbered? It’s clear that this is a home designed to foster bright memories and happy moments, whether you love pink or not! Please enjoy this one, friends!
Q: Please tell us all about you and your men!
A: My name is Kirsty and I’m mom to three magnificent little boys: Parker is seven, Monty is five, and Elliot is two. I’m also a wife to (the equally magnificent but who probably won’t enjoy the adjective too much!) Phil, who has been the love of my life for the past 12 years. Our family lives in Green Bay, Wisconsin, but I’m originally from South Africa and moved to the US when I was 15.
My husband is a music pastor at our church. I’m a stay-at-home mom most of the time, but about 20% of my week is spent teaching ballet and jazz to 60 little ladies. While dance has been a lifelong passion for me, I’ve recently started freelance writing and photography for a few local magazines, as well as portrait photography for families in the area — newer endeavors but opportunities I adore. And I also write a blog called Lovelies in My Life, which is a sort of photo journal celebrating the beautiful things in life.
It’s not been until very recent years that I’ve finally had opportunity to snatch moments of time to stretch my creative muscles again. A delicious reality for me!
Q: How did this bright and airy home become yours?
A: We were on the hunt for a home six years ago when we first moved to Green Bay, and this house was love at first sight for both of us. Phil and I had very different ideas of what we wanted in a home, and so both had to compromise a little. I was longing for a charming historic home; one with a swooping staircase and wood floors, nooks and crannies, and a claw foot tub! He was happy to find a cookie cutter in the newest neighborhood that required no renovations.
This 1960s ranch ended up being a glorious middle ground for us. It had been recently updated, which appealed to him, but there were so many sweet details for me. And we knew the kids would go absolutely crazy for that tree house in the back yard.
Q: Was it perfect as is, or have you made changes along the way to make this home better fit your family?
A: The house was really lovely from the beginning, and since I was pregnant with my second little man at the time, I was so thankful for a home that wouldn’t challenge us right away. It required just a touch of paint, though the bigger job was decorating a space that was quite a bit larger than anything we’ve owned before. We changed several light fixtures (I have a soft spot for chandeliers!), sewed oodles of throw pillows, scoured estate sales and thrift stores for tufted sofas and chairs, and I worked on some paintings for the large expanses of wall space.
Creating a happy and comfy place to raise a family was an ongoing job for me as my family grew from one to three in a few years and our needs continued to change. Our smaller antique dining table was replaced with a long farm table and an easy-to-climb bench. We’ve changed and redecorated with each little boy that’s entered our family to suit our family’s new needs and interests.
At this point in time, we’ve not made any really fancy furniture purchases for our home because there’s just no sense in it! I’ve become an expert slip cover-er, as our couches take quite a beating!
Q: From the photographs, it looks like your style — even while Living With Boys! — is still fairly feminine and beautiful. How have the boys altered your style? And do you make a conscious effort to keep some feminity in the house?
A: I am, without question, a girly-girl. The things that catch my eye are most often feminine and romantic, but I’ve never actually made that intentional in my decorating. It just happens that way as it’s what I love. Living with boys has been such a pleasure for me (I have only sisters), and I have loved incorporating the boy things into my home.
You’ll see it most often when you take a closer look: the scooters parked in the laundry room next to the fire truck, the drums and guitars tucked under our TV stand next to the quilts, Buzz Lightyear and all his friends in baskets throughout the house and chilling on the couch, and all the art projects that they’re constantly taping to our walls. That’s what a normal day looks like, though we make a song and dance about tidying up before bed.
My husband is incredibly laid back and is happy to care only for the technology in our home and allow me to be responsible for the aesthetics. He’s a musician, so music and instruments are a huge part of our lives; a common scene would be all four of my guys making a giant “noise” together!
Q: What’s your favorite room in the house?
A: The fireplace room is my favorite. We have unbearably long winters up here, so that room becomes my solace during those frigid months. We love to stretch out on the couches snuggled under a blanket with a book while that fireplace crackles. It has a wall of floor-to-ceiling windows which boasts a pretty breathtaking view of our woodsy backyard during the snow-covered winters. It’s a cozy place to nap and an inspiring spot to create.
Q: Any favorite DIY secrets to share?
A: I love to find lackluster vintage art prints and to bring them back to life. I really enjoy oil painting, and have found that a few strokes of colorful oils can turn one of these cheap prints into something quite beautiful. It’s such a fun and inexpensive way to decorate our walls!
Q: Can you share your top three happy-makers in your home?
Any and all music makers. Quilts and afghans. Little treasures from South Africa.
I’ve already mentioned music makers. And as far as blankets? Well, we all love a good snuggle and have quilts on every bed in the house. We have hand-knit blankets that were given to the boys as gifts when they were born, and there are some that we inherited. Others are found treasures and someone else’s story, now part of ours.
Growing up in South Africa has been the single greatest influence in determining what I find beautiful. The colors, patterns, and textures of my favorite flea markets infuse every aspect of what my eye is drawn to. I love the exuberance and happiness of the hand-made objects from those markets, the gorgeous paintings, the glass bottles wrapped in rainbows of seed beads, the hand-painted tin dishes, and the incredibly cool printed textiles. These treasures mean so much to me as they conjure up a childhood spent on soil far away and keep those memories rich for me every time I catch sight of them.
Q: What do you hope you’re teaching your boys with your home and design decisions?
A: I hope that what they see at home will encourage them to ask questions, and that from those inquiries they will hear the stories that have made Phil and I who we are today. I hope that they will develop a yearning to travel and see this beautiful earth. I’d love for them to develop an appreciation for time past and the oddities and beauties that live still.
But most of all, I hope to teach them that while it’s great to have lovely things to fill your home, we do not put much weight in them as they’re not forever; what is most important to us is each other, and not what we’ve acquired.
Q: What do you wish your boys will remember from their childhood home when they grow up?
A: I want it to be their absolute happiest place in their memories. The place where they first became Tarzan and wilderness explorers in the jungles of our back yard. Where they banged up their knees learning to ride their bikes, and sledded down the hill in our front yard. Where they learned to love dunking rusks in tea as much as their mom did, and where their dad taught them how to play an expert game of hide-and-seek. I hope they remember all the love we have for each other in the place where this family started growing together.
Q: Please finish the sentence: I wish I had known…
A: I wish I had known that there was no sense in worrying about the future. Though I knew it deep down, I suppose I just couldn’t grasp it properly.
I wish I had known that God’s plan for my life was indeed perfect for me, even though I was weary of it at the time. It is…more than I dreamed it would be.
Thank you, Kirsty! I so love to hear when a life turns out to be better than the one in your dreams.
Friends, Kirsty’s top three happy-makers seem so simple, don’t they? Music, quilts, and treasures that remind her of her own childhood: all items related less to a home’s decoration and much more to the core comforts of a home. Tell me: What are your top three happy-makers in your own home? Are they simple or extravagant? I’d love to hear about both!