As a mother to two small children I seem to spend a lot of time tidying away toys, putting away clean clothes and trying to keep the house tidy. I know I can’t be the only one who struggles to find a happy medium between a family home and a stylish home. So I was pretty pleased to come across Design Mom: How to Live with Kids by Gabrielle Stanley Blair. This book sounds like it was written for me!
Gabrielle Stanley Blair believes that a well-designed home doesn’t have to disappear when kids come along—and she should know: She’s a mother of six! In Design Mom, her first book, Blair offers a room-by-room manual for keeping things sane, organized, creative, and stylish. In this book, readers will learn: how to make it easy for little ones to help out (store dishes below counter height so they can set the table); the trick to getting kids out of their rooms so they will spend more time with the family (make it a bed room, not a living room); why you don’t need a giant fridge—even with a family of eight; clever ways to display kids’ art (did you know you can turn their masterpieces into postage stamps?); instant laundry-room upgrades; the basic ingredients for a well-stocked craft closet; and much, much more!
The book is organised by room and covers the whole house. I wondered how the tips for roomy American homes would translate to the houses in the UK which we have lived in. I need not have worried as I picked up loads of tips and enjoyed each chapter. Central to the book is Blair’s belief that function and beauty go together,which reminds me of my favourite William Morris quotation “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful”.
I’ve enjoyed reading this book so much that I kept mentioning little jobs to my husband which could make our lives easier. Eventually he decided to read it himself and has suggested even more things we can do. Our first job will be sorting out the shoe storage which is the bane of my life. Our hallway is full of shoes, school bags and PE kits so it will be a real joy to make better use of the space, inspired by one of the gorgeous photographs illustrating Design Mom.
This is a gorgeous book, great for keeping nearby and flicking through when you are in need of inspiration or for more serious planning. After 2 years in our not-so-new-home-anymore we’re realising that some things work and some don’t. This is a great read for inspiring and suggesting ways to improve our family home.
Design Mom: How to Live with Kids by Gabrielle Stanley Blair, published by Artisan Books, is available from Amazon and all good bookshops. Thanks to NetGalley for the review copy.