Friday, May 31, 2013

Final Words of Wisdom

By Ethan Lucas | At 4:00 AM | Label : | 0 Comments

This post and series is brought to you by one of my favorite places to shop for Kids, Land of Nod
Don't forget to enter my giveaway on instagram if you want to win a chance to have a kids room designed by me! I'll be picking the winner tonight! 

I hope that you have all enjoyed this series as much as I have. I feel like I've been sitting down over lunch and having a conversation with my closest friends about parenting, design and much more. I love getting a peak into the minds and homes of other mothers and bloggers and designers. We all have so much to learn from each other. I asked my panel of experts to give us their final words of wisdom on good design with kids in mind. 

Don't give up your style because you have kids.  Having kids should enhance your style.  It's a time when you can let your imagination run wild and insert creativity into your design.  My favorite homes are ones that have grown up taste with fun elements incorporated. So make your home fun and stylish.  But most of all make your house yours and let your home be lived in.  That is what makes a house a home, after all.

- Trina, La La Lovely

I have always had a place in my heart for a pretty home and have had a long time love affair with design, however, I have a deeper love for kids and family.  It is important to me to integrate the two, and I try to do that by keeping our home family friendly and not take the decor too seriously.  By selecting the right fabrics, finishes, colors and playful accessories, we have been able to live in a place that keeps us grinning cheek to cheek, in more ways than one.  I try to select accessories that are brilliant yet won't break, bold patterns and colors that hide finger prints and durable textiles that clean up with ease.  And heck, there are a bajillion and one ways to remove stains and sharpie pens from furniture, just ask Google.

I have lived by the philosophy that you don't have to keep all of your "nice" things out of sight, up high, or hidden for fear of the little ones getting into them.  Maybe I'm lucky, but early on, I taught my son "don't touch" or "mama's only" and he's pretty much obeyed ever since.  For instance, my cookbook collection in the kitchen island.  He steers clear of them even though they are really at his height.And as much as I like a super-tidy, organized, and beautiful home, there's something really endearing and sweet about finding random toys in the laundry, tiny fingerprints on the glass doors and mirrors, and seeing tiny socks laying around.  I'm so thankful to share a home with my son! :) 

My main piece of advice would be to go forward and get to work on your space. There is no reason why you can't have a finished home. Kids should learn to appreciate the beauty of things and learn boundaries. Spills and breaks may happen, but at the end of the day they are just things and your kids will learn a lesson from what happened. I don't know about you, but I want my child to have memories of the home he grew up and remember his orange ceiling, my elephant collection, or a hand me down trinket from his grandparents,etc. I don't want him to have memories of an empty space that was never truly homey. 

- Camila Pavone, Effortless Style 

My last bit of advice is to make your house livable for everyone.  You dont' have to sacrifice nice things to make it beautiful. DIY and upcycled projects are a great way to get the look you want without having to drop a ton to get it. Then if something gets ruined it's not the end of the world! 

Keep as little “stuff” in your house as possible.  Things tend to take over and start to rule the roost so try to only keep what you absolutely need or love.  There are so many baby & kid gadgets out there but so much of it is unnecessary (& ugly!!) so keep it out if possible.  Make your house as easy to live in as you possibly can.  Don’t fight how you live in your home.  Figure out how & you and your family live and make your house work for you.  (For example, if your kids always bring their crayons into the kitchen & leave them on the counter- LIKE MINE DO!!- make a spot in the kitchen for the crayons & paper so they can clean up on their own.) Get the kids involved in taking care of the house; it makes your life SOOOO much easier & makes them more responsible.  My boys love to help me pick flowers to put around the house and they’re great with the dustbuster!!  Someone (a very funny someone) said that when you first have a baby you should tell them sweetly how much you love them and then say “Welcome to my world.” As funny as it is, I do think it holds some truth.  It’s sort of the philosophy we’ve taken with regards to our house.  “Boys, we love you, but we make the rules here.”  We’ve tried to figure out what makes us all happy and created a home around that.
- Lauren  Liess, Pure Style Home


Find the right balance for your family. I don’t think you should let your kid’s stuff take over the house but I also don’t think you should try to erase all signs that they live there either. After all, it’s their house too! A home with young children has an energy all its own and with thoughtful planning and careful editing I think you create a beautiful, functional and safe environment for all to enjoy. Take the opportunity to play with colors and see things a little differently. Yes, your all glass coffee table might have to go into storage for a while, but rather than bemoan its loss, have fun with this season of your life.

- Dina, Honey & Fitz

I know it has become a fad to say it but you truly do have to embrace IMPERFECTION. Don't be afraid to throw things away.  Decluttering often and ruthlessly is imperative, especially in a small home. Simple simple.  Buy wooden toys that look cute laying on your floor.  Choose things you both like so you don't mind seeing them out.  Teach respect for things and people but just remember kids are kids and nothing is worth wounding their little hearts. The glass lamps I mentioned in the last time I did this series... I said we moved it the bedroom so the kids wouldn't break it.  My husband broke it in the bedroom. So we all make mistakes and have accidents.. Luckily it was just a Target lamp.  

- Holly Mathis, Holly Mathis Interiors

Thank you so much to all the woman who made this series a success! 

And stay tuned next week for my Land of Nod Playroom reveal and a giveaway! 

It's going to be good!! 

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Good Design With Kids in Mind and Chelsea Horsley

By Ethan Lucas | At 4:00 AM | Label : | 0 Comments

This post and series is brought to you by one of my favorite places to shop for Kids, Land of Nod

I hope you are all enjoying the last few days of the good design with kids in mind series. Don't forget to enter my giveaway on instagram

You have a great chance to win an e-design done by me for one of your kid's spaces. It can be a kids playroom, corner in your living room, kids room, nursery etc! Just post a picture of the space you need help with and check in Friday night for the winner! Find more details over at my Instagram...

And now back to the series...

Throughout this series I wanted to take some sneak peaks into blogger's real homes and get a feel for the solutions that work for them.  Chelsea from Yours Truly is giving us tips and ideas on the solutions that work best for her. Chelsea has excellent taste and is proof that your home can have good design while keeping kids in mind! 

I'm so happy Kirsten asked me to be a part of this series! I have loved decorating my own home & the homes of clients, but making a space for kids is my absolute favorite. It's a place to let go, less rules, and more fun. Having three kids under six myself means my home needs to be kid friendly, like so many of you. I whole heartedly believe your home can be beautiful, stylish, and a place for your kids to be kids. It just takes a little more creativity (and being okay with an occasional broken item:) You can tell right when you walk in my home that I have kids, and I like it that way. Hopefully it's not because you're having to step over a toy, but because there is a playfulness and contrast to the design. Below is a chalkboard wall I painted in the kitchen. It's great entertainment for us all! It's the second home we've had with a chalkboard wall in, and I can't imagine not having one now, it's so practical and fun.

We keep the bigger bulkier toys in our kids rooms and closets since we don't have a play room. Sure things tend to make their way out throughout the day, and sure I have blocks and doll heads laying around in my kitchen, and that's okay. For me, the best way to rein in the small stuff is with baskets. Baskets, baskets and more baskets. I have catch-all baskets in almost every room of the house. A cool tribal one works great in our family room. An industrial wire basket fits well in our kitchen. The baskets in our console table, while look just decorative, are filled with toys, as are the bottom drawers of both our family room & dining room armoire's. It makes for an easy and quick 10 minute pickup when I know someone's coming over, and at the end of the day. Because the baskets are meant for anything small, my kids can even help me pick up since they don't need to know what goes where. I feel like you can put a basket anywhere too. I like them especially next to a fireplace, to help anchor a side chair, or paired up under a console table.

Books are another thing I love decorating with, and they make so much sense with kids. Most young kids know books only by their covers, so facing them out makes finding their favorites easy. You can find stacks of books all over my house. In my daughter Tate's room we hung the Ikea book ledge to create a cozy reading nook. It was cool how much more she read when her books were out on display like this. I wasn't expecting that. I also layer them on her windowsill, stack them in her desk cubby, and on a small chair. It's such an easy, charming way to bring color and playfulness to kids spaces while using something functional.

I think it's important to create spaces for your kids in areas other than their rooms. It is their home too. I spend so much of my day in the kitchen, so it was only natural that the chalkboard wall, as well as their play table + chairs live there. It's turned into a little snack/craft area and it's the happiest corner in our home. I always feel like a lucky mama when I see this nook, and I know my daughter feels proud seeing her artwork displayed for everyone to see. 

Art is something I hear from clients that they struggle with. I am drawn to art that means something, which is tricky since you also want it to mean something to your kids, but with out having giant puppies, or peace signs on the wall (what my kids are currently into:). For my twins nursery, since we didn't know them yet, I chose pieces that meant something to our family. A set of finger painted portraits by Tate for them, a favorite quote of mine that reminds me how strong the twins are despite their early struggle, and a print of multiple tiny homes that gives nod to our many travels and places we've called home over the years. They all coordinate yes, but more importantly they were chosen with thought and over time. It made their room feel personal even though they were too little to have any say in it.

Both my twins and daughters bedroom have lots of white. I get asked how I keep it clean all the time. Which is funny, because I feel like it's actually been pretty easy. While I don't let my kids eat in their rooms, there is always the inevitable stain. Luckily, minus the rugs, everything is removable and machine washable. My twins are two now, and the rug has stayed fairly clean. If you can find rugs that are reversible get them! They are a lifesaver when you need a fresh start. I've flipped the boys rug once, and I assume by the time they're 3 or 4 I'll need to get the rug professionally cleaned. I love having white too, because I know if something serious did get on it I can always use bleach. I honestly haven't felt the white has been much of an issue though.

Thanks so much for having me Kirsten!

Teeppes are all the rage right now for kid's spaces. I know my son is obsessed with tents and this "A Teepee to Call Your Own Teepee" from Land of Nod would make him jump up and down with excitement. Every kid needs their own space to read, play and dream and this teepee is fit for all of that! Not only is it cute but it's also sturdy and well made. This teepee is sure to be a hit for years and years to come.  

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Good Design with Kids in Mind & the Girls of Small Fry Blog

By Ethan Lucas | At 4:00 AM | Label : | 0 Comments

This post and series is brought to you by one of my favorite places to shop for Kids, Land of Nod

I hope you are all enjoying the last few days of the good design with kids in mind series. Don't forget to enter my giveaway on instagram

You have a great chance to win an e-design done by me for one of your kid's spaces. It can be a kids playroom, corner in your living room, kids room, nursery etc! Just post a picture of the space you need help with and check in Friday night for the winner! Find more details over at my Instagram...

And now back to the series...

Today we are getting a small glimpse into how the girls of Small Fry live with their adorable kids. Kids are top priority to this trio but they also all have great taste so they are constantly trying to maintain organized and beautiful homes. Here are some tips on each of them are able to create good design with kids in mind. 

Emily's boys are 16 months apart and that first year was tough! Raising two babies  while running Small Fry, Bijou Market and styling on the side left her house in shambles. She quickly switched her Saturday clean-fest to daily zone cleaning when she realized that while her house was tidy, it wasn't really clean. For her to really get a deeply cleaned home, she split her house's rooms into days. Monday is the kitchen, Tuesday the bathrooms and so on. Sure, her house is never ALL clean at the same time, but it gives her peace of mind that each room is getting the proper attention. 

She also noticed that she found her self picking up the same toys, books, socks multiple times a day. Rather than go insane, she puts the clutter out of her mind until the end of the day. Using a giant woven bag she whisks through the house picking up everything that is out of place and puts it away once. 

Jenna is a long time graphic designer and being a working mom left her feeling constantly guilty at the state of her house. On top of the guilt, she noticed a huge difference in the peace and happiness of her home and its inhabitants when it was clean. Rather than toil over the house, but never really getting to the level of clean she wanted, she found an inexpensive cleaning service. For $50 every two weeks her house is clean, she has more time to spend with her kids, less guilt, and a more peaceful home. She says she'd rather skip out on going out to a restaurant or not buy that cute pair of heels and have a clean home.

Aside from cleanliness, Jenna's new year's resolution was to become more organized. She says that for her that means that everything in her home has a place. Using organizational systems like bins, baskets, labeling drawers and dejunking has helped her tackle this long time goal. 

In her son's room she took the time to organize with him, educating him on where toys should go so that she sends him to tidy up, he knows where everything goes too. 

Nicole's design style is super minimal and clean. Without realizing it she picked a pretty narrow color scheme of black white and gray with pops of yellow throughout most of her home. This makes it so easy to rearrange decor and furniture! With such standard color choices, you can imagine that the realm of possibilities when shopping is large!

Outside of Small Fry, Nicole does photography as as side business. Her schedule is jam packed down to the minute and she says not being home does wonders for her home's cleanliness! She cleans her home top to bottom on Monday's and then tidies up every day in between. She also says having a play room with a closable door right off the kitchen makes clean up a breeze.

Thanks girls! And make sure you check out Small Fry. It will become one of your new daily reads. 

We just laid down this new Candy Dot rug in our new playroom and it is amazing! This rug screams, "fun"! The dots are raised which creates a fun effect to drive cars over and it's nice and soft which makes it a great rug for playing on. This rug has every color under the sun in it so it will go with almost any decor scheme and boys and girls alike will love it! 

This post and series is brought to you by one of my favorite places to shop for Kids, Land of Nod

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Can Kids & "Nice Things" Co-exist & The Best Fabrics & Finishes to Use With Kids

By Ethan Lucas | At 4:00 AM | Label : | 0 Comments

First things first! I hope you had a great memorial day! And secondly I wanted to make sure you know about my instagram giveaway going on right now! I am giving away one kids room e-design!! That's right. If you have a kids room that needs some design help you could win an e-design plan designed by me! 

So make sure you head on over, follow me on instagram and enter the giveaway! 

And now back to our series! 

Today I am asking the experts if kids and nice things can co-exist? And also what are their favorite fabrics and finishes for kids. 

I believe that kids and nice things can co-exist, just not perfectly.  I love decorating with white which is not normally deemed kid friendly.  I used to use dark colors in order to be practical but I hated the colors I was using.  I finally just started lightening up my home because it made me happy.  I'm still happy with my white walls, finger prints and all.  If you go light like I did just make sure to use a semi-gloss as flat paint is really hard to clean up.

As far as furniture goes I love a mix of old and new.  Old pieces are great with kids because the more banged up...the more character.  If you are opting for a lighter couch (which truthfully is hard to keep clean) than opt for slipcovers that can be thrown into the wash.

And, if anything is very precious or has a special memory attached to it by all means put it on the top shelf.  There are no guarantees.

- Trina, La La Lovely

I want to be able to shout "YES!!" to this question... but honestly?  The answer is more like, "meh".  We've had our fair share of mishaps around here and not everything has survived the carnage.  One thing I do swear by though is microfiber.  Both our couch and our dining chairs are microfiber and no amount of thrown food, baby throw up, or even dry-erase marker has managed to penetrate them. 

- Stephanie , Modern Parents Messy Kids 

I absolutely think you can have a beautiful, magazine-worthy home with kids - it's all about making thoughtful selections and being realistic. Pillows are going to end up on the floor so make sure they have zippered closures and can be washed. Spills will happen so select floor coverings accordingly. Would I leave an heirloom Tiffany glass bowl on a coffee table with 3 toddlers running around. Um, no. But you also don't have to live in a personality-less, brown filled home. If there are things you love and can't bear the thought of having broken, then yes, place them out of reach. But don't banish them all together. As kids get older and learn to control their impulses a bit, I think it's important for them to learn boundaries. In the meantime, here's my cheat sheet list of things that work great in houses with kids. 

- Dina, Honey & Fitz

I truly believe kids and nice things can co-exist!!  We’ve got “breakables” in our house and yep, sometimes they break.  (Lamps seem to break more than anything else around here.)  In terms of pretty, kid-friendly options for furnishings-   I’ve had luck with white washable slipcovers on furniture, along with good leather and stain-treated velvet. I use a lot of wool rugs and sea grass rugs because not only are they beautiful, but they can really take a beating.  I don’t have much that’s truly “precious,” more just things that I’m crazy about that I’ve found over the years.  When we have a baby or toddler around (every other year or so it seems at this point! – 3 boys so far ;)  the breakables move higher up around the house and some go away for a while and come back when it’s safer for the object & the child ;) ;)  I love collecting old paintings and I’ve found that artwork is something in our home I’ve never really had to worry about the kids wrecking.  I’m also a fan of hutches and open shelves for the same reason- things are safer up on the walls & out of reach.  Also, having touch-up paint around is key for fingerprints, the occasional crayon or just general random grossness that I may find on the walls.  I have the same paint color in almost every room in our house which makes it easier.
- Lauren  Liess, Pure Style Home

I completely understand the need to baby-proof a home, for safety reasons when littles are growing and curious.  I do believe, however, that decor and kids can co-exist.  Once kiddos reach a certain age, they are able to understand what is for play and what is for pretty.  It is fairly simple to find lovely decor that is not breakable, which can be kept at lower levels, and nicer more fragile items can always be displayed on higher decorative shelves and bookcases. 

When it comes to furniture and fabrics, I have found that indoor/outdoor fabrics work best in heavily used kid areas.  We upholstered benches in the playroom with outdoor fabric, as it repels stains and is easy to clean.  I like to use outdoor throw pillows, inside on the couches for the very same reason.  Our family room has a large leather couch, and boy oh boy has that been a decorating road block for me.  But it has held up maintenance wise better than any other furniture we have ever purchased.  As we have slowly been upgrading the furniture in our nicer living area and kitchen, I knew I had to find something that would still work and be durable with kids, but not be leather!  I have found that polyester velvet cleans up so nicely, which is what we ultimately ended up going with for both our sofa and a cozy reading chair.  

In our kitchen/dining room, I tried numerous seating solutions before finally just going with what I had wanted all along, which was white slipcovered chairs.  I thought I may have been asking for punishment, but every couple of months I just toss them in the wash, and they look like new.  Sure, it's an extra step, but they are so comfortable and I just love the softness they add to the dining area, yet if the kids or I spill on them, they are completely cleanable.  We also paired the table and chairs with a bench upholstered in a moleskin fabric, that also wipes right up with any spills and has also been really great with kids.  Last but not least, I am a rug addict, and a few have been really perfect for our family: Flor carpet tiles which can be lifted, washed and replaced, natural fiber rugs which hide stains and are easy to clean and dark wool rugs, which again, easily disguise traffic and any kid prints.  

Our "everyday suede" Pottery Barn- the Pearce sectional is super kid-friendly.  Every sippy cup spill wiped clean with soap and water.  We do eat here occasionally too and I just vacuum it about once a week to catch the crumbs. The "baby-safe" large faux-leather ottoman stayed with us until my son was about two, then I exchanged it for an oval mirrored coffee table.  I love the new look, the only downside is that the mirrored top gets lots of fingerprints from James playing with his toys on it and I have to wipe it down almost daily if I want it to look nice.

 These wooden bench seats are particularly good for kids because there is no fabric to clean and they are pretty indestructible. We eat, color, and do play-dough on this table.

 Our home has a large entryway, perfect for riding bikes and motorized scooters, but I really prefer those be kept in the garage and ridden outside!

I think that they can. It always makes me laugh when my friends kids come over and are always grabbing at the decorations and touching everything.  I guess that my girls were just raised to know that we don't touch the "stuff".  At the same time, my friends let their kids wrestle and play rambunctiously in their house and I don't.  I think it's about setting rules from the beginning and sticking to them. 

Kids and nice things can co-exist! I always said that I would never change my home just because I had kids and  while I only have one child and he is just 17 months I have yet to make any major changes. 

1st tip: Set boundaries: Even though my little guy is still really young and doesn't understand everything I say I still show him and try and teach him what things are off limits in the house. Mainly these items are things like lamps, vases, photo frames, and artwork. I don't want him touching these things because if they fell they would break into a million pieces and possible hurt him, but secondary they are things that I picked out because I loved them and don't want to see them disappear.  Of course even with my constant pleas of don't touch that I have had a vase or two hit the ground. I may pout for a minute or two, but seriously it's just a "thing" and no one got hurt so it's easy to get over it.
2nd  tip: Take Precautions:  If you are super attached to something or have something that is super expensive or one of kind it's probably best to store it for a while during the toddler stage. I think in the majority of cases are home aren't filled 100% with to the trade/1st dibs antiques so it's safe to say you would probably only be storing one or two pieces while your little gal or guy gets a bit older and understands the concept of not touching something and being careful.

3rd tip: Call in for reinforcements: A couple of additional items in your closet will help out when you have kids.

- 3M command velcro strips:  So I can velcro down a vase or lamp that Hudson is constantly grabbing for some reason or another.
- 3M command decorating clips so I can hide lamp cords that look oh so tempting to pull. 
- Krazy Glue: So a broken vase, etc can be glued together quickly before I lose any pieces
- Carpet Cleaner: In case my little artist spills something on my favorite rug and let's face it in my home they are all my favorite
- Bleach Pen : In case my all white sofa gets a stain
-Museum Putty : I use this on the corners of my framed artwork so they can't be taken down easily

4th tip: Anticipate: You know your child(ren) so if you know they have a trigger like they just love to grab that elephant figurine (I have an obscene amount of elephants) and it's on the high shelve of your bookcase and they are going to try and climb then make sure you place it on a lower shelf so they can grab it. I know that Hudson loves yanking flowers out of a vase so I always place my flowers out of sight level so he doesn't freak out.  Doing little things like this can help pretend tears from both parties.

5th tip: Relax. I have clients all the time that get me to design beautiful spaces and present design plans and then I never get to see the finished product because they don't want to order anything because their child is going to climb on the sofa and fling him/her self off it along with dangle themselves from the chandelier and pull down every window panel they put up and dance on the coffee table, etc. I honestly think that's going a bit overboard. I know many people have active kids that like to get into everything, but I think if you follow the tips above you'll be able to have a nicely designed room that both you and your children can enjoy. In my living room I  have an all white sofa with pillows made out of designer fabric that cost a pretty penny,  vintage lamps I adore, a glass coffee table and window panels held up by clips and we hang out in there all of the time. Yes on occasion their has a mishap, but overall everything stays put. 

Kid friendly fabrics:

- Velvet (linen or cotton)
- Vinyl (In order to make it more design friendly I would go for a textured option like an ostrich:
-Outdoor fabric (comes in a huge array of patterns and price points. A designer favorite is Perennials Fabrics
-If you are ordering to the trade favorite many companies now offer a nano-tex treatment to their fabrics that will help with stains and spills. 

- Camila Pavone, Effortless Style 

I love using non-kids fabrics and designs in kid rooms.  We all know the "theme" cartoon character type space is not a fave of desginers but I continue to be in love with the trend away from "kid room cliches" and the increasing use of chic fabrics in kids rooms...really al kids need and want are books and a few toys to make it their fabric or furniture is really off limits for a kid space as long as it is safe and farily durable! Kids love antlers and wheels and things that light up and color! If you are a perfectionist white slips probably aren't for you whether you have kids or not.  They are hard to keep perfect but if you really love the look of a white sofa like I do you can make it work with spot cleaning and washing. Most things will come out but they may leave a dingy little spot of aftermath.  You have to decide if you can live with that, often you can just flip a cushion or hope the stain is where a pillow will be!  If you have an inexpensive IKEA ektorp or PB sofa you could even have an extra set of white slips.  I love white, it brightens my older cottage and its not perfect but  that is okay.  And if you get a stain on a print or color you cant use bleach.  I also like borax for my whites.

- Holly Mathis, Holly Mathis Interiors 

We love our "What's Cooking" Kitchen appliances from Land of Nod. The neutral colors make it easy to give to a boy or girl. And if you don't have your own playroom this Kitchen set would fit in seamlessly to any living room, bedroom or kitchen. Jett seriously spends hours making food and tinkering around in his kitchen. Not only do these items look great they are also sturdy and are sure to last for however many cooks you have in your kitchen. 

Missed the series the last time around? Read the answers to the same question from a different panel of experts here
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