I was lucky enough to take a much needed day off this week and spend it with my sister, Molly and my precious nephew, Jack. He turned 3 in June, and when he says, “Ann Juweee,” which is his version of Aunt Julie, it makes my heart melt! I don’t have any babies of my own, but the design of many of the spaces I work on revolve around these small, messy, sticky little people.
So, the million dollar question is, “How do I make my home beautiful and practical for children?”
It’s easier than you think!
Here are a half dozen ways to spruce things up without having to lock any doors or install any gates.
1.First, let’s select a coffee table. Some moms I know like the ease of cleaning glass, but a larger number tire quickly of the tiny hand prints that are ever present on the surface. So, there are two great options. You could use a rustic wood table, preferably with matte polyurethane to enhance the toughness of the top. Try Meridian http://www.merridian.com/ in Nashville (and a few other cities,) or Nadeau which has numerous locations. http://furniturewithasoul.com/ .
If you’re any place else, look for a store that sells reclaimed wood pieces or Indonesian furniture. It’s often times chunky and has easy to maintain finishes.
- Table by Noir Trading
If you want something truly spectacular, look at the perfect patina on the tables from Woodstock Vintage Lumber. Better yet, have them customize to your specific shape or size. http://www.woodstockvintagelumber.com
- Showroom at Woodstock Vintage Lumber
Another option is a super cool basket that acts like a table but provides much needed storage. I just saw this particular piece at market this past weekend and loved it. It’s got great texture and cool, natural hooks to keep it closed and Thomas and Dora under wraps!
2. Sea grass, jute, or indoor/ outdoor rugs. Although I’m hesitant to type the ladder, there are some good finds that can actually be taken outside and cleaned with a garden hose! But enter with caution if you choose this route, there are many more not so good-lookin’ examples of indoor/ outdoor designs. Seagrass or jute are always my go-to for homes with children or without. Think texture, texture, texture! They look clean and simple, and animal crackers vacuum right up. However, they are not as great with spills, especially if that spill is spaghetti o’s or another bright red saucy food. To avoid permanent damage, you can find blends that have wool woven in with the natural fibers which makes them easier to clean. I talked with Fibe-Con, a company that cleans and protects upholstery and drapery. They have a treatment that even protects seagrass and sisal rugs from stains. It costs about a dollar per square foot, and after the rug is treated it can be cleaned much more easily.
- Indoor/ Outdoor rug by Ballard Designs
3. On to upholstery, probably the scariest topic to moms everywhere! Never fear, Sunbrella is here! Seriously, it’s evolved from very outdoor, black floral motifs to some pretty fabulous velvets. Yes, you read that right. Velvet! Not to mention all the other very stylish patterns and textures now available through numerous manufacturers.
- Trina Turk Sunbrella pillows via decor pad
In fact, last summer, I attended a seminar with the legendary (and very nice!) Joe Ruggerrio. He shared his new line of stylish Sunbrella fabrics and furnishings offered through Miles Talbott furniture. The Ruggerio designs are definitely worth checking out!
- Joe Ruggerio for Miles Talbott
4. Ok, it’s true. I adore white bedding. And contrary to what you may think, white is the easiest to take care of. As long as it’s washable, you’re safe. Go for a white mattelasse or white duvet cover. They look crisp and clean, and apple juice washes right out. You just can’t go wrong with classic white. And you can choose a more grown up silk in your favorite color for some beautiful bolsters.
- Bedding by Matteo
5. Paint. There is a difference. Porter Paints offers environmentally gentle Pure Performance, with low VOCs. It’s washable! Sherwin Williams has a comparable product called Duration Home that also enables you to wash away miniature finger prints.
6. And finally, what you can never get enough of, STORAGE! Of course, the basket coffee table mentioned above is fantastic, but if you’re wanting a more traditional table, what about using these useful and great looking containers for all things plastic?
- Baskets by Aidan Gray
What are your best ideas for kid-friendly spaces? Please share!
I’d love to hear you ideas!