kids and the importance of risk

My neighborhood has the best playground ever. Thinking about how these ideas apply to designing interior spaces for children… Any ideas?

That’s a Big Slide. Is it Safe? Source: Roslindale Wants To Play

Posted in simple things

15 tips for parenting two

I recently met a new client who is getting ready to have her second baby. While I have a long-term design plan for them, in the short-term I will have to incorporate ways to make life a teeny bit easier with an infant and a preschooler.

Here are 15 tips gleaned from my dim memories of the early days with two.

  1. Invest in a sling or carrier designed for infants, and use it at home. You’ll need your hands free to wipe boogers and bums, prep food, play trains, find pacifiers, and make bottles. Extra points if you can pee without putting baby down.

  2. Depending on the age of your older child, you may be able to set up a bin, drawer, or cabinet in the kitchen where they can get their own snacks and drinks. When they realize they are STARVING, you may be in the middle of dealing with a 4-alarm blowout, or be trapped on the sofa while breastfeeding. If they know where and how to get what they need, it will empower them and prevent a meltdown.

  3. Keep ready-to-grab healthy, nutritious snacks and water handy for YOU, too. Meltdowns in sleep-deprived adults are not unheard of.

  4. Be prepared to change diapers almost anywhere in your house. Your older child may not be ready to be alone while you handle the aforementioned blowout. Set up small changing stations, or just keep diapers, wipes, etc., in the rooms you spend the most time.

  5. If you didn’t baby-proof for your first, or maybe you un-baby-proofed, DO IT NOW. You won’t have to worry about your older child getting into something or getting hurt on something while you’re occupied. And, if, like mine, your first child was a perfect angel and you never needed to baby-proof, I guarantee that your second will be a climbing, jumping, scavenging little heathen, like mine. It is very likely that you had all eyes on your first when they started crawling around, and were able to teach them what was safe.

  6. Whatever your older child’s bedtime routine, think about how to safely keep your baby nearby. During bath times, baby may need to be in a bouncy seat with you in the bathroom. When you’re putting big sister or brother to bed, it may be best to carry baby in a sling or carrier, or move that bouncy seat into the bedroom. You’ll want a comfy chair in the room in case baby needs to be fed in the middle of all this.

  7. Ideally, baby will sleep near you and NOT near your older child. You may have blocked from your memory the fact that you and your partner will not sleep through the night for at least 6 months, if you’re lucky. You will be getting up to change, feed, and settle your baby several times every night for the foreseeable future. If you have the space, ensure middle-of-the-night festivities happen in a part of the house.

  8. Hopefully this can all happen without your older child waking up. A white noise machine in their room can help immensely.

  9. Plan for your newborn to be in a bassinet, co-sleeper, or other safe sleeper designed for infants, in your bedroom or in a room close by for the first weeks. Maybe longer, depending on your baby, and definitely on the same level of the house. Stumbling up or down stairs in a sleep-deprived state is not a good idea, for your safety as well as your baby’s.

  10. When you decide you and baby are ready, move them into their crib in their own room. You may still be getting up at night with them, so you’ll need a comfy chair in the nursery that you can fall asleep in, or even a bed. A client once told me she was glad we invested in a comfortable sleep sofa in her son’s nursery because she often slept on it.

  11. Don’t underestimate the benefits of a comfy chair. I’ve mentioned them twice already. You might want one in the playroom, too.

  12. If your older child is still sleeping in a crib, and you plan to use that crib for your newborn, you may not need to make that transition before the baby arrives. You will have a few months when baby isn’t ready to sleep in the crib in their own room. Depending on your toddler’s personality, they may feel better “giving” their crib to their little sibling after they get to know them better.

  13. Get out of the house with both kids. Your focus during the first weeks will be on maintaining normalcy for your older child, so your newborn will be napping, eating, and pooping on-the-go. Infants are portable and adaptable, at least more so than toddlers and preschoolers.

  14. Pack a ton of snacks in your diaper bag, and include changes of clothes for EVERYONE. Spit up doesn’t discriminate.

  15. Ask for, and accept, help. If you have two kids and no housekeeper, and your house is clean, you are cleaning at inappropriate times. Just one example.

Having more than one child is a roller coaster, for sure. It is impossible to realize how much attention you focus on your first child, until you have an infant who needs a significant piece of that attention. Welcome to multitasking like you’ve never known it before. I call it Keeping The Kids Alive. Stay strong. You got this!

 

 

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my thanksgiving plans

thanksgiving

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family photographs

Some designers advise keeping displays of family photographs in private areas, like bedrooms, but I respectfully disagree. Nothing makes a home feel more personal than putting your memories up where you can share them with others, especially when you are hosting holiday gatherings for friends and family!

Here are two gallery walls I designed and installed for a client recently.

In the family room, I sketched out an arrangement that fit into a finite rectangular area. My clients, one of whom is a talented hobby photographer, chose their favorite pictures of their family. We went with matching custom frames and mats to unify the various sizes and orientations. Because I’m a DIY kinda girl, I did all the framing myself with the help of the artists at The Framers Workshop in Brookline Village. Hanging them required a level, painters tape, hammer and picture hooks, and A LOT of time and patience from both me and my clients!
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In the stairway, square photos in simple black frames create a classic arrangement that can be admired from the first and second floors. Installing this wall was much faster, because everything was the same size, but this project tested my long arms, my sense of balance, and my bravery in facing my fear of heights.

Gallery wall black frames



I think both walls look fabulous!! What do you think?

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back to school

No words of wisdom or seasonal tips. Just a photo of my kids, because I’m so proud of them. 🙂

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styling

Sometimes a client already has the right accessories, and just needs some help arranging them. This client wanted a modern, understated look to her newly-remodeled living room.

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from beige to bold

Golly, it’s a busy year! One project that I am especially proud of is a family home in Needham. I’ve been working with this family for almost nine months, and the house has already been transformed. A few rugs and accent furniture pieces need to be finalized, and the finishing touch of accessories has not even begun, but I can’t help but give you a sneak peek.

The living room and dining room are the first rooms you see once stepping into the foyer of the house. We had originally decided on a soft neutral taupe for the walls to keep it simple, but once the painting began in the other rooms, my clients were so inspired they wanted to go more dramatic.

Living Room - before

Living Room – before

Dining Room - before

DIning Room – before

We had already ordered the sofa in a red herringbone texture, an armchair in a cream-and-tan woven ikat, and the window treatments in persimmon trellis embroidery on pale linen. Their dining room chairs were recovered with a kid-proof cayenne Ultrasuede. With so much pattern and color in the furnishings, I was thrilled to be able to bring drama to the walls as well.

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Fabrics with our original wall color — meditation AF-395

After perusing Houzz for inspiration, we decided on a deep chocolate brown with a hint of red: Fresh Brew 1232 by Benjamin Moore.

Living Room - after

Living Room – after

Dining Room - after

Dining Room – after

I am in love with the way it turned out! And more importantly, so are my clients. I can’t wait to show you the finished space in a few months!

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