Decorating with a Toddler…


I have struggled every since Rowan become mobile to find the balance between style and real life when it comes to decorating our place. I have showed you pictures of our bedroom (see all pictures here)…

and Rowan’s room (see all pictures here)…

…but never our real living space, because I was never satisfied. I always thought I would do more and then show you all. Truth is there just wasn’t much more I could do at this stage with her. She climbs on everything, gets into everything and pretty much can open any drawer, cabinet or cupboard we have. She is a little monkey to say the least. I decided I would just show you exactly the way it is. It may not be Design Sponge house tour quality but it is our life with our almost 2 year old. I think it is crazy when I see all the house pictures on pinterest of people with “kids”. All I am thinking is my kid would break that glass vase with the small trinkets in 2 seconds.


Our couch is durable, wipeable and hides stains. We have duck tape across our filing cabinet so she can’t get in. We have a gate across our kitchen to keep her from the stove, knives etc… We have a parking lot of strollers in the corner. There is a potty in our living room. There is absolutely nothing in the bottom of our shelves (there was stuff at one time but after a million “don’t touch that please” I just decided it wasn’t worth it). There are empty end tables and coffee table. My plants are high out of reach. The floor is usually covered with a million toys and books that I scramble to put away each day at 4:45 before Kev comes home. We move from this Loft apartment in 30 days and although I am itching to get out of here, it will be a bitter sweet day when we have to say goodbye.


  1. Wow! It looks great!

  2. I can totally relate…trying to find that balance between real life and design sponge is hard. But I think you’ve found it! Your home is gorgeous!

  3. your house is beautiful, and as always I appreciate your honesty!

  4. Wow. Love this post. You’re home is beautiful. Perfect mix of modern/minimalist and creative/cozy/quirky/comfy. I just love it! What a beautiful glimpse into where you call home 🙂

  5. What a lovely home! Seriously an inspiration…

  6. i love the way you decorate! i just posted your daughters bedroom on my pinterest and told my mom i wish i had a bedroom like that! you really should be an interior decorator! your style is so clean and stylish

  7. I much prefer your house tour over a design sponge tour! Because it’s real and lived in and is exactly how you use it everyday! It’s not styled to the hilt making people envious of other people who live in exquisitely beautiful houses… if that’s really the way they live they must spend a lot of time just standing in the corner admiring their beautiful room rather than actually getting amongst it and creating memories and living…

    just in awe of this new direction your blog has taken jen. loving it so much!

  8. Your house never fail to amuse me. Parking lot of strollers where could i ever get that? haha. Love your neat and cozy living room, I don’t mind the toilet in their I just love it.

  9. Oh yes, that’s so true! But please tell me that it’s not that clean every day in your home!!! I mean, when I clean up it doesn’t take two minutes till our two little ones mess everything up again. You could eat from our floor under the dining table every day, not because it’s that clean but full of food!!! Of course there is no escape, just go on cleaning. But I like the idea of not trying to decorate where it makes no sense.

  10. First time commenting but I’ve been reading your blog for ages (congratulations by the way!). Your house looks amazing!!! Thank you so much for this post I have an 8 month old who is creeping on the verge of crawling and it’s nice to know the practical side of decorating but still being able to have the place looking great. I can’t wait to see what you do with your new home.

  11. Bless you. I also do the last-minute sweep of toys (we have the IKEA Expedit and some teal baskets that fit in the squares, so the toys just get tossed willy nilly in the baskets).

  12. You’re doing great…just wait til the second one takes over…haha! 🙂 Just teasing, you’ll take it all in stride I know!
    Love your place and can’t wait to see the next one!

  13. I do prefer a home adapted to life, than a perfect matchy-matchy house!

  14. You did an awesome job. Seriously you have found a really good balance so far.

    Now try living in the same room as a toddler! I love how one thing becomes everything on the floor. I think it will be easier as you get a bigger home (For my sake I hope, she needs her own room for all her stuff) , she will get more places that are her’s (and you will have places where you can put a gate in front of the door and close it off haha)

  15. Brook •

    I think it’s a beautiful and functional room. Just a quick tip: Make sure that media unit and tv are safety anchored to the wall if Rowan can climb on them. They can tip forward very easily. Sorry, just a quick psa because of the her climbing pic. Sure you have done this already.

  16. I love the simplicity if your living space. I mean, really. Clean lines and simple color palette. Win win in my book!

    I will never forget when our first son turned 2. It was all I could do to keep him and our possessions ‘safe.’ I gave up putting trinkets on the end tables …. or, really, anywhere. I remember calling up my mom and saying, “Oh. My. Goodness. I completely understand why you never decorated.” She just laughed and laughed.

  17. Meghan •

    I know exactly where you are coming from. Our 17month old LOVES to get into everything. After telling her motto touch the stuff on thebottom shelves I finally realized it wasn’t fair to her. So I put all of her books on the shelves she can reach. Now she doesn’t want the other things because she can reach her books herself. Her favorite activity now is pulling all her books off theshelf a day ‘rearranging’ them.

  18. Jen it’s gorgeous! Just as good, if not better than any Design Sponge house tour! Even though they’re up high, I love all of your sweet collections of goodies, prints, plants, and antiques. Your home has a lot of personality and love! Thanks for sharing! I can’t wait to share a space with AJ and eventually a little fam!! xoxo

  19. Allison •

    Wow – that’s a lovely space! I love loft apartments.

  20. you didn’t ask for advice, so this is completely unsolicited…but why don’t you buy some buckets and put rowan’s toys into the bottom shelf? that way, they don’t look empty and she has a place to store her stuff. i am doing that with both kids and its actually nice.

    btw, your living space looks lovely. i know you are ready to move but it really looks great.

  21. Thank you for sharing this! It’s nice to see a real, kid-friendly space… I think it looks pretty spectacular, and this gave me a lot of ideas for my own home as we work on baby-proofing everything for our little girl.

  22. Your home is lovely even with all the kid stuff parked around the house and the adult “knick-knacks” put away.

    I’ve had the same issue with my puppies. We have baby gates installed to keep them out of certian spaces and I can’t see yet ever being able to take them down. Also, there is oodles of puppy destruction (aka chewed furniture, torn carpet, etc.) that I can’t see replacing until they get out of this phase. My house is perfectly imperfect, and for now I’m just fine with that.

    (It helps, of course, that the reason our houses are not immaculate is super cute and lovable!! Gotta love little tykes and pups.)

  23. Julia •

    Your house looks lovely. Mine is just as bare because my big boy gets into everything. The loft features make it look nice anyway though! That and your wall art. It all looks lovely.

  24. I love the new direction of your blog. So nice to have more words and photos about family life. I can see why you will miss this space, it is so charming!! I love the planters you have for your windowsill arrangement. “There’s a toilet in my living room.” caption made me laugh. I forgot about those days now that my son is four. We are just getting ready to welcome baby #2 later this year and this post reminded me of the work the lays ahead. Creative and fun work though, really! Also so curious to know if you found out baby to be’s gender yesterday. Good luck with the move!!!

  25. Your house is sooo pretty! I love all the white in it good job mama!

  26. Looks great! Much better than our’s…even before our boy came 5 months ago! Can’t wait to see what you do with the new house.

  27. Gretchen •

    We had that exact floor plan when we lived there. I wonder if you moved into it when when we moved out. Yours is decorated much better! I think it looks great!

  28. I think that your house looks amazing for having a small child! You’ve managed to decorate it in a way that people know adults live in the space, and that is a big accomplishment when having little ones lol

    xo Jennifer

  29. Unnati •

    i love how bright, welcoming and airy your home is. it feels like a real home rather than house. Thank you so much for sharing!! really really looking forward to what you do with your new home 🙂

  30. we live in a condo so I totally feel you on the strollers! I keep both of ours in the downstairs washroom shower…because really why do we need two showers for 900sft?!

  31. You’ve done a great job deocrating! Chic yet kid friendly….which I understand 😉 are those barstools from crate and barrell? random question, but how do you like them? we are about to purchase three but i wasn’t sure about the backs on those.

  32. THANK YOU for keeping it real! I totally feel like I’m missing something when I see these magazine ready houses with kids. I so appreciated this! You house strikes the perfect balance between looking amazing and acknowledging that real life happens there.

  33. Are you sure you have a toddler living there? Your house is spotless! My house is a pit of despair! I’m too tired when I get home from work to clean and I don’t want to waste my weekend doing it either! I should take a vacation day to clean, but I take them to hang out with my son.

    I love your space and what you’ve done with it! Now, I can’t wait to see what you do with your new home! I know it will be amazing.

  34. your home is gorgeous. love the simple colors and open set up. seriously peaceful & cozy!

  35. Really refreshing to get a glimpse into “real” life – having a toddler changes things and it’s nice to actually see that! Your house is still lovely so don’t worry about it!


  36. Bridget •

    Your house is wonderful just as it is and on million times more beautiful than mine (I have a son Rowan’s age, so I feel your pain). Love it. Love it. Love it.

  37. Love the Olympic chalkboard sign! How do you keep chairs at your computer desk? I had to hid all the chairs to our dining room table, my daughter climbs up on the table to run around.

  38. Love your living space! So clean and open looking. 😉
    One thing that I’ve discovered is helpful in filling up the space, looking good and being functional is using storage bins on the lower shelves for things like books, toys, games and puzzles. It has made clean-up time so much easier in my house as well as helping my kiddo learn to pick up after himself. Yes, my living room is full of toys but they are quickly hidden for the evening and when company comes over.
    Congrats on the new little one, by the way! 😉

  39. Your space is so inspiring! Love it.

  40. Wow what a great space! You should be proud of it. I love the ‘Home Sweet Home’ sign! did you make it?

    Congratulations on your baby too 🙂

  41. Oh my gosh! Your house, baby proof style or not, is just amazing. Your little vignettes on the top of the shelving are so good, not everyone can put great ones together!! So be proud of your space!

  42. just curious why you have two very similar looking strollers? just curious…i have debated back and forth on my stroller and ended up registering for the city mini gt.

  43. haha, that is too familiar. We have open shelving for our dvds, but we had to take the ones out of the bottom shelves because my 17 month old kept taking them out and stepping on them. It’s nice to see another momma who doesn’t have boatloads of toys for her kiddo too.

  44. Mrs Hodges •

    Thank you for your honest. This gave me great ideas for my home. I have a 3 yr old, 1 yr old and 3 months old. So, I am busy! I like your couch. I had the fake leather and that didn’t do to we’ll once we had kids. It started to peel and make our home look dirty. The coach covers never stayed on because my 1 year old used it to pull her self up on the couch.

  45. this is the first time to your blog. I was looking for durable couaches. this blog post made me smile. my husband jokes about giving new parents the gift of installing high shelves throughout their house. tacky, but useful. your home is beautiful and looks extremely roomy. and it looks like its in nyc. brooklyn.

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Hi, I'm Jen!

Welcome to my personal lifestyle blog. It features topics such as motherhood, family life, fashion, cooking, and all sorts of adventures. I hope you enjoy what you find!

Jen Loves Kev