We moved into our Brooklyn home six years ago, but so much has since changed — colorful walls! a new sofa! boys with giant feet! — that it felt like a good time to share an update. Please come inside…
Sectional sofa: Maiden Home. Coffee tables: Maiden Home. Painting: Rosemarie Auberson. Gold pillows: Article. Blue floor pillow: Amazon. Green round pillow: Schoolhouse. Geometric pillow: Dusen Dusen. Floral pillows: Etsy, made with Josef Frank fabric. Round mirror, Anthropologie, many years ago; similar. Floor lamp: Lostine. Shell chair: DWR. Rug: Lulu and Georgia, similar.
On creating a haven: Life is all the things — fun, joyful, exhausting, hard, beautiful. During ups and downs over the past few years, I’ve wanted my kids to feel safe and loved, so I’ve tried to follow the guidance of smart women: make home feel like a haven and let your eyes light up when you see your child. Sometimes the important things are actually the simplest, don’t you think? Even when life gets chaotic, these two things I can do.
On a new sectional: We used to have two smaller sofas, but as the boys grew older and taller, we needed more space to stretch out. Preteens are long-legged! So, I did a bunch of research and found Maiden Home. They have lots of options (fabrics, colors, lengths, etc), and we chose the Varick, which feels relaxed and comfy — think: oversized arms, low-slung profile, long cushions. Now we regularly stretch out for naps, movie nights, board games, holidays with lots of guests… My friend said it instantly turned our home into the party house, which I love.
Sectional sofa: Maiden Home. Coffee tables and side table: Maiden Home. Frames: mix of vintage and Framebridge. Table lamp: Crate and Barrel.
On family photos: When Alex recently moved to another apartment, I wondered what the redecorating protocol was: should I take down photos of him? Should I pack away his books? But it felt wrong to immediately hide all evidence of this wonderful, important person who had been in my life for the past 15 years. Also, more important, during this transitional time, I didn’t want to swap out photos of the boys’ dad and make the house feel unfamiliar to them. So, I decided to trust my gut and left things up for now. As we move forward, I figure we’ll replace them with new family memories and snapshots.
Wall color: Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace. Yellow waffle towel: Hawkins New York. Cupboard paint: Farrow & Ball Down Pipe.
On family meals: We usually have simple dinners, like pesto pasta or tacos, and the boys help cook. Toby sautés shrimp with mango and makes his famous chocolate chip cookies. Meanwhile, Anton’s a self-proclaimed ‘god at eggs,’ he says, so he’ll scramble some while playing 1940s Wartime Radio on Spotify, which feels very on-brand for a kid who was born looking 80.
On eating for one: On evenings when I’m home alone, I like eating cheese and crackers, plus a fizzy drink; or I make a big salad. Then I watch a TV series — right now, I’m between shows, if you have any suggestions? (This Reductress headline made me laugh.)
Deer bed photo: Katherine Wolkoff. Clock: Junghans, similar.
On entertaining: Once or twice a week, we’ll invite people over in the evenings. We keep it very casual and order pizza and salads or make ice cream sundaes. One thing I’ve realized is that it’s easy to obsess over details beforehand — does this shirt look okay? should we find a bowl for the chips? have we ever cleaned the windows? — but you forget any worries as soon as your friends walk in the door and start talking and laughing. So, now we just go for it and never regret it.
On mingling: Last Christmas, I taught the boys how to mingle, a parenting experience that still makes me laugh. Before our adult friends came over, I told the boys that people would naturally separate into small groups (‘How do you already KNOW that?’ said Toby, wide-eyed), and at the start of the party, the role of the host is to float between groups and chat for a few minutes at each one. The boys excitedly accepted the challenge and spent a half hour rotating between clusters. ‘Okay, gotta go!’ Toby told some friends, at one point. ‘My five minutes are up!’
Wall color: Farrow & Ball Parma Gray. Bubble photo: Stuart Allen. Frame: Framebridge. Striped stool: OKA. Dining table: Lulu and Georgia. Navy chairs: Anthropologie. White chairs: DWR, similar. Floor lamp: Urban Outfitters. Bar cart: vintage from Craiglist. Rug: Lulu and Georgia.
On the joy of paint: How would you describe your home decor style? Over the past year, I’ve gotten into reading House and Garden, the British shelter magazine. It’s so good, and let me tell you, the Brits love their colors. Every room seems to have wallpaper or paint color, which I knew from my grandmother’s house, but I hadn’t really done in my own. So! Inspired, I decided to paint our dining room blue. It took a while to find a pale one that didn’t read ‘baby nursery,’ or feel cold, but I finally landed on the lovely Parma Gray.
Wall color: Benjamin Moore Peach Parfait. Pennant: Books Are Magic. Desk lamp: Target, sold out; similar. Striped throw: Brooklinen. Sheets: Brooklinen.
On growing up: Nine-year-old Anton is in that in-between stage, where he watches anime and listens to hip hop, but still sleeps with stuffed animals and requests lullabies. I love the years where they have one foot in childhood and one foot in adulthood; and you never know which one you’ll get at any given moment.
Wallpaper: Lewis. Sheets and duvet: Brooklinen. Basketball lamp: Pottery Barn Teen. Car photo: Matt Porter. Framed personal photo: Framebridge.
On teenager dreams: Meanwhile, Toby is very, very excited that on his next birthday he will officially be a teenager. (Can you believe?!!) He plays basketball on his school team and has gotten us all into the Warriors. Basketball is addicting! Have you seen The Last Dance? Even if you’re not a sports fan, the story is wildly compelling. And Toby recommends playing Horse at the park, if you’d like a fun game with your kids.
Wall color: Farrow & Ball Calamine. Duvet cover: Heather Taylor Home. Sheets: Brooklinen. Pillows: Marlow. Gold throw: Parachute. Bedside tables: Zara Home. Bedside lamp: Lostine. Floral painting: Jenny Pennywood. Boy painting: Kim McCarty. Sheepskin rug: Jenni Kayne. Larger rug: Loloi. Bench at end of the bed: Anthropologie, similar.
On a room of one’s own: Nowadays I sleep by myself in this bedroom, and the pink paint makes it feel like a womb. To be honest, bumps in the night sometimes freak me out, but mostly I love sleeping like a starfish and reading books until I can’t keep my eyes open.
Round mirror: Amazon. Bookshelf: Etsy, similar. Plate: Chloe May Brown.
On a mirror tip: Our friends Hollister and Porter stage New York apartments for real-estate agents, so they know how to make spaces look beautiful without spending too much money. Their big tip, when they came over for dinner and I asked for home advice, was to get a big, round Umbra mirror. “We use them in every apartment we decorate,” they said. “They’re the biggest cheapest mirrors we can find, and they work well for rentals because you need only one nail.” Done and done.
Sofa: vintage, similar. Car linocut: Hugo Guinness. Stool: Zara Home, similar. Throw pillows: made by a friend, similar.
On a home sweet home: We moved around a lot when I was little — at first, countries, and then different houses in Michigan. Then, when I came to New York after college, I moved between many apartments over the years. But now we’ve lived in this home for almost seven years, which feels gloriously long. When I look around, there are layered memories in every corner — Anton staying up past bedtime, Toby writing a note to the tooth fairy, friends bringing over cookies — and it fills my heart. I’m grateful for this house for being a safe shelter during the pandemic and for always letting us fill it with noisy children and smelly cheeses and Motown playlists without ever once complaining. We really love it here. xoxo
Thank you for reading, as always. Please let me know if you have any questions, and I’d be happy to answer! xoxo
P.S. More house tours, and 12 readers share their cozy corners.
(Photos by Alpha Smoot for Cup of Jo. Styling by Victoria Maiolo for Cup of Jo.)