Leya Williams-Albert of Curious Bird: Show & Tell Home Tour

Sheri Reed

Leya Williams Albert baby Felix
Leya Williams-Albert of Curious Bird
(with her son Felix)
Today, graduate student, crafter, photographer, and brand-new mama Leya Williams-Albert of Curious Bird gives us a Show & Tell Home Tour.

Let's go on over and see how new baby Felix is making his place in Leya's Philadelphia home.

Come on inside ...

Leya, tell us a little about your family and your home. 

My husband Dustin and I have been together for almost 14 years (married for three in September). We moved to Philadelphia from North Carolina four years ago so he could do a PhD in Experimental Psychology.

We reside in a 1920s-era two-story row house in South Philadelphia with our newborn son, Felix, and our 14-year-old cat, Mortimer.

living room kitchen
Felix and his Dad on the move from the living room to the kitchen.
How do you approach decorating in your home? What's the most important thing?

It's important to me to have a home that feels cozy and lived in and that makes me happy as I walk through it. I love color and texture and objects that mingle together to tell a visual story. My husband and I are committed to not spending tons of money on decorating our home, so buying second-hand and coming up with creative solutions is key.

vintage sideboard dining room
A vintage sideboard scored on eBay stores linens and other items.
You have a brand-new baby boy, your first child. How is his STUFF influencing the look and feel of your living room?

Well, the look of our living room has definitely changed since Felix arrived. For starters, we began refinishing our vintage coffee table a few weeks before his due date and have yet to complete that project. Still not sure what we were thinking.

Overall, I guess not having a coffee table right now has freed up the space for some of our newly acquired baby items, some of which fit in the room better than others. For example, Felix naps in a lovely Cariboo bassinet that looks great in the room, but his cradle swing has a harder time blending in. However, I must admit that I love having a big swing (that plays music and tweets like a bird!) in the corner of the living room because it means Felix has arrived! I'm certain there will be many more design challenges having to do with Felix's toys and gear presented in the years to come. I'm looking forward to it.

living room chair
A sunny spot to read and relax in the living room.
In which room in your home does your family congregate most often? 

The entire downstairs is an open floor plan with the living room, dining room, and kitchen all flowing together. We spend a lot of time downstairs cooking, eating, doing projects, watching movies, and in the summer, we often move our dining outside to our little patio located right off the kitchen.

patio garden
A family favorite: dining out back next to the small garden.
Great design can be expensive. How do you get the most bang for your buck?

I'm really committed to finding items on Craigslist and in thrift shops and then refurbishing them. I did this with several pieces in my son's nursery and came away quite pleased with how each of those projects turned out. For as long as I can remember, I've loved digging through thrift shops and antique stores in search of hidden gems. I've found the majority of our furniture and objects while poking around with no plan in mind. I am also a big fan of finding new uses for inexpensive items from IKEA.

co-sleeper bed bedroom
Felix's Arms Reach Co-sleeper next to the bed.
bedroom rocker
A corner of Leya and Dustin's bedroom, good for reading or baby rocking.
Tell us about a DIY project you have taken on recently and love.

Once again, Felix's nursery is full of DIY projects. I found a really ugly glider on Craigslist and after some sanding, a coat of paint, and recovering the cushions with vintage fabric I had been hoarding, it has been transformed from super-ugly to a pretty nifty-looking glider. 

The glider found on Craigslist after it underwent a major transformation.

nursery crib tree mural wall baby room
A hand-painted tree with felt and paper leaves in a corner of Felix's nursery
Another new DIY project I'm really proud of is the changing table we created for our downstairs using a simple IKEA utility cart. As it turns out, it is the perfect size for the changing pad and the perfect height for my husband and me.

kitchen dining room
Felix's downstairs changing area sits in a corner of the apple green kitchen.
You are a working mom as well as a creative person. Do you have a room or space of your own?

I have my hand in a lot of pots. In addition to blogging, crafting, and attending graduate school, I work outside of the home as a behavior therapist (think play therapy) for children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders. I have worked with kids for several years and I'm certain all the time I spend with small children influences the things I make and my photography.

I have a tiny home studio in which I sew and draw and scheme about new projects, but I should also admit that it's not uncommon for my sewing machine to find its way to the dining room table (sometimes for longer than my husband would like).

studio sewing
A reusable baby wipe sewing project in the works in Leya's home studio.
What is your most important everyday ritual at home?

The morning smoothie (fruit, yogurt, juice, blender): healthful, bright, delicious, a reminder of the fundamental goodness of the world. It sets the perfect tone for the new day. 

In your home, what is one indulgence you give in to?

It's hard to name just one: Fresh flowers, houseplants, good local/organic food, and quality linens (I love a high thread count).

kitchen window sink plants
Plants fill the space above the kitchen sink.
What are your favorite stores to shop for home?

I love shopping on Etsy. I have found so many fantastic items there, both handmade and vintage. IKEA is always a favorite. Another great online resource for the home is ABC Home -- they have really great sales from time to time. I'm also a fan of Anthropologie and their new garden/home store, Terrain.

prints artwork frames
Favorite prints and artwork by friends.

bathroom Flensted mobile
A colorful Flensted mobile hangs in the bathroom.
What Home & Garden blogs or websites inspire you the most?

There are so many wonderful home and garden blogs, but a few of my favorite reads are: Design Sponge, Apartment Therapy's ohdeedoh, Decor8, and Bloesem. I also love looking around Flickr for home and garden inspiration.

family photos
Family photos and artwork fill the upstairs hallway.
Thanks for the lovely tour, Leya. See and read more from Leya Williams-Albert on her blog Curious Bird.


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