Yes! There were so many things I learned during the process– which was especially interesting since I was pregnant during the entire renovation. I wrote a blog post about my best renovation advice, but a few nuggets might be to do tons of style research (I love Pinterest and decor magazines for this), plan ahead and budget (I created budget spreadsheets for both renovation costs and design costs), and go with your gut! At the end of the day, it’s so important to really LOVE the elements of your home. Make sure you’re choosing things because you are obsessed with them, not because they’re trendy!
I believe that true elegance is measured as much by people’s ability to feel at home and at ease in your space as much as it is by actual decor elements.
I wish I had been able to renovate without the ticking clock of expecting a baby and all the stresses of nesting and moving my family cross-country. That said, I think it inspired me to make decisions quickly and that’s definitely a plus when it comes to moving the design process along!
One of the major things I learned after baby number one was introducing baby “stuff” in to your home in a way that makes sense for YOU. For Marlowe, we had an adorable playroom set up, but it was upstairs in a tucked away area of the house and we NEVER used it. It was such a waste. Instead, we were constantly shuttling toys and bouncers etc down to our living room and kitchen where we actually like to hang out. Now I’m more savvy about creating fun AND chic family spaces that speak to everyone’s needs.
My kids’ rooms were the design challenges that I was most excited about in our new home! Once I knew I was having a boy, it was so easy for me to decide on the nursery. I wanted something graphic and cool, that wasn’t too “babyish”. I want his room to work for him long after the baby phase! I found a wallpaper from Flat Vernacular that I flipped for, and styled the entire nursery around it. I must say, it’s currently one of my favorite rooms in the house.
There are definitely quite a few prints in Baby Boy Martino’s room! Our family room is filled with color and prints as well, I find them to be so energizing and joyful. I definitely favor more graphic and bold baby gear because it fits in seamlessly with my decor!
Well, these days, I have the baby bump to contend with as well, not just a messy house! The funniest thing recently was actually reaching behind my body with one hand to hold a fistful of fabric so my waist looked more defined…I need all the help I can get right now. Ha! But the crop feature is also always your friend. It’s amazing how perfect a picture can look when the mess is nicely cropped out!
I would describe my home style as comfy contemporary. The bones of my home are pretty traditional, but I like invigorating it with more youthful, fun style using color, pattern, and texture. I think our homes should be cozy but also not take themselves too seriously– and I believe that true elegance is measured as much by people’s ability to feel at home and at ease in your space as much as it is by actual decor elements. I love that the Jonathan Adler Crafted By Fisher-Price pieces are as functional as they are stylish. The wood accents are so chic and lend the pieces that mid-century modern vibe that Jonathan Adler is known for– and make them look ultra luxe. The animal accessories are so cute, too!! And the overall feeling of the pieces are adorable and vibrant without being cutesy– it’s a really nice design balance. They keep babies’ well being in mind while also accounting for the fact that parents don’t stop loving beautiful things just because they become parents! I’ve been a fan of Jonathan’s for years, and I’m so relieved he has partnered to join the baby gear movement.
I’m all about storage! It’s so important to have a place to put everything that looks chic in your space. In our new home, we created a family room off of the kitchen that is as much a restful respite for us as it is a place for children to explore and learn. I had built-in toy bins custom made for the space so that all of our kids toys can be put away easily at a moment’s notice. They still inject a great vibrant color story in to the space but I don’t want my guests tripping over a doll stroller. At least not after a couple cocktails!
The nursery needs to be all about comfort– FOR YOU. I tell every mama I know to really invest in a great rocker or glider…because she will be spending the majority of her life sitting in it for those first six months or so! Babies need very little, and they don’t care how “cute” their space is– but you do! Choose things you love. When investing in furniture or decor pieces, make sure they’re things that can grow with your child without the need to buy more or different as soon as they are out of that infant stage.
By the way, I’m a huge fan of a “Sip And See”– a party where you organize for everyone who wants to visit with the baby to come over for cocktails and snacks on the same afternoon. This way you organize one party instead of constantly hosting. It’s a lifesaver! However, if I need to whip my house into shape quickly, cleaning off the surfaces is key. Put everything unsightly (I’m talking to you, breast pump, burp cloths, wipes, diaper cream) in a basket, bin, or closet, and then put out a beautiful tray with a pitcher of iced tea or lemonade, some pretty glasses, and a lit candle. Fluff the couch pillows, turn the TV off, and put some ambient music on. I also am a huge fan of long, flowy kaftan dresses for postpartum visits. They are so flattering to still-swollen mama bodies, and feel as cozy as a nightgown. They also make you look like a domestic goddess, and often have deep-V fronts for easy breastfeeding. Yes, please! I favor ones from Rachel Pally and Tory Burch.
Photos by Stephanie Elliott