The Art of Living with Kids: Myths

There are a whole lot of stories and requirements that I’ve heard over the years about how a family can live with kids. And I can debunk them all. Often when listening to a family rattle off needs that their kids require I’m thinking, man these sound like some shitty kids. But then I meet them & they’re awesome. They are always awesome.
I understand that most of what parents say their kids require are what the parents require to cope with the huge responsibility of raising kids and they’re busy hectic day to day lives. And listen I hear you. I am right there with you. I just see it from a different perspective. Precisely why you hired me in the first place.

Myth 1: We can’t have nice things until our kids move out.

Stop. Having kids is not a punishment. Your life doesn’t have to stop being good or even luxurious. Who is going to teach these kids what it’s like to live well if everything they see looks like it belongs in a preschool? Kids learn by example. I would argue another important life skill that is learned by continuing to live a good life with kids is that they learn how to take care of their surroundings. Age appropriate of course. Silk velvet sofas are out for you right now, but that doesn’t mean you have to have microfiber. Ick.

  • If you’re buying new then by Crypton or Indoor/ Outdoor fabrics for your sofas and chairs. Sure they’re a bit more expensive but not more than buying double of everything, one for cheap when the kids are little and one for nice when they’re older. If you buy quality upholstery to start then you can simply reupholster when it’s time, rather than buying new. This is also better for our environment, the environment your kids will be living in 60 years from now.

  • If you’re trying to use what you have then reupholster in Crypton or Indoor/ Outdoor fabrics or have your existing treated to be stain repellent.

  • Buying a quality piece of furniture means your kids won’t ruin it. Yes jumping on that $200 sofa will break it. It’ll be broken. That doesn’t mean the quality sofa will also break if it’s jumped on. Quality furniture holds up a million times better than the less expensive. It’s always true with furniture, you get what you pay for. And also teach those kids not to jump on furniture. Life lessons.

Myth 2: My kid like {cars, Frozen, cats, etc} so everything I buy them is themed around that.

My son is obsessed with vehicles. Obsessed. So we mostly buy him cars, car books, car shows, etc. Because he loves them. I get it. Making your kid happy is fun. But he doesn’t have car bedding, car art, car light fixtures, car stickies on the windows, car blankets, etc etc. He doesn’t partly because I don’t think it’s healthy to indulge this obsession too much. But also because he lives in our house. Our house is going to look like a house. Not like a playroom. Not like Disney World.

Myth 3: My kid spills too much, we can’t have nice rugs.

First, a nice rug is easier to clean. Second, did you know that wool is a natural stain repellent because of the lanolin inherent in it? Also antique rugs generally have a lot of pattern. Stains blend nicely into the pattern. You don’t even notice the occasional stain. I’ll also mention that cheap rugs offgas and it’s not good. Especially for your precious new bundle that is spending a lot of time with their face in the rug. It’s not healthy. Another bonus to antique rugs is that the pile is generally worn down quite a bit so they’re easy to vacuum.

Here are values that I think kids pick up on through living in their environments:

  • Art appreciation. When designing kids spaces I concentrate on buying good art. That doesn’t mean expensive. AJ’s art is from student art shows, my own art, and antique pieces. They aren’t stodgy. They are fun but also able to grow with him. No art that matches the bedding.

  • How to mix patterns and furniture. When a kid lives with furniture that’s not a matching set they pick up, in a subtle way, how to choose what they like for themselves. They know that just because a dresser has a matching headboard that they don’t have to get it. It helps them learn to think for themselves.

  • When a kids home isn’t set up to make everything that happens work out just fine. Say if they spill something on the sofa and now it’s stained they understand why we shouldn’t eat on the sofa. It sucks as a parent, I know, to learn this way. But it’s the only way that really works. Kids need to know that life doesn’t revolve around them.

  • I want kids to learn to appreciate what they have. Too often kids furniture is meant for a single time period in their lives. I strive to incorporate antiques into each child’s space. Pieces that will grow with them. Pieces that they can always have. Sure you’re not going to give them Benjamin Franklin’s writing desk, it doesn’t have to be precious. Because it will get knocked around. But that only adds to the patina of a good piece of furniture.

Do you have questions about incorporating your kids into your homes without sacrificing style? Let me know and I’ll answer them here. Contact us for your home redesign, we’d love to recreate your family home!