Hannah of huffmania
I fell hard for the photos of Hannah Huffman back when Shari featured her on The Glass Doorknob. Since then, I have enjoyed politely stalking her pretty Flickr and reading her hilarious side notes. Doing this home tour with Hannah sealed the deal. As a person who often opens her front door and says, "Please excuse the house, but we live here," I appreciated Hannah's realistic approach to home life with children, one that celebrates not only daily living but makes space for small bursts of personal joy—whether that's painting the front door yellow or showcasing a favorite art piece or her kids' colorful creations. It's all worth celebrating. As any mom can attest, it's the perfect touches of love and magic that make a house a home. Am I right? You're about to find out.
1. Tell us a little about your family and the size of your home.
My husband and I and our three children live in a tiny (700 square foot) two-bedroom, one-bathroom bungalow. We bought it back when there was just three of us. On a good day, we like to call it cozy. On a bad day, well, I probably can't say what we call it. It is our first home, and I really do love having a place to call our own, even if it is a small one. We like to talk about "when we have a bigger house," but a secret part of me will miss this place.
Wreath on Hannah's yellow front door—"I love the yellow. It makes me smile every day."
2. How do you approach decorating in your home? What's the most important thing?
Most of what is in our home is pragmatic. Of course, I would love to have that big beautiful white couch from Crate & Barrel, but I couldn't live with the stress of keeping strawberry jelly fingerprints off of it, and it probably wouldn't fit through the door anyway.
I often think that I would like to put more energy and purpose into actual "decorating," but life just seems to keep moving. We are very lucky to have many friends who are talented artists that are generous with their work and fill our walls, which in turn gives us a personal connection to what gives our space personality.
Painting from friend Jeremy Collins
Because our house is small (I'll stop harping on it I promise), it is important to be able to change things around often. My husband likes to move bookshelves and chairs here and there, and I do the same with photographs and Polaroids.
My most impressive decorating feat? Back when I was pregnant with Eliot, I saw some framed baby footprints in a Martha Stewart Baby magazine. The fact that I managed to remember to bring the watercolor pad to the hospital all three times is a miracle in and of itself. I don't even feel guilty that it took me another year and a half after Arlo was born to get them framed and up on the wall.
Framed footprints from Hannah's three
3. How do your children and their opinions, tastes, and STUFF influence the look and feel of your home?
Immensely. They already outnumber us, and who knew one little girl needs so many "friends"? A few years ago I finally had to tell myself: Well, your house isn't a catalog. People actually live here.
Collette arranges her friends on her bed
The kids love love love to draw, so we have a steady supply of markers, colored pencils, crayons and a huge stack of recycled office paper always on hand. I was inspired by some internet friends to buy artist's tape and now our walls (and doors) are covered in masterpieces. Sitting on my bed with the laptop, I am staring at no less than 13 sun faces, Collette's signature drawing, and let me tell you, that big smile is infectious.
A few of the kids' masterpieces
Last year Eliot was sad about not getting mail, so I asked some of my Flickr contacts from around the world to send him a postcard. We put up this big map, and we place pins whenever he gets mail. It turned out to be a great thing to talk about during dinner as well, since it's right above the table.
Eliot and his map
4. You're an archaeologist. Has this inspired your tastes or your decorating?
The two things people always ask an archaeologist is if they have found any dinosaur bones or gold. Sadly, I have found neither. As far as having actual artifacts at home, I guess I take the same stance as Indy; they belong in a museum.
I do think that my work has given me a greater appreciation for the history of things. One of my favorite things to thrift are vintage photos, especially portraits.
5. You take a lot of beautiful photographs. What household chore do you tend to back burner most so you can tend to your creative life?
Oh you know, cleaning. I'm wonderful at tidying up. I'll wash and fold laundry and put it away, and I have to have the kitchen in order. But that deep cleaning. That certainly goes by the wayside. And if the sun is shining, well forget about it. If the weather is nice, you'll find us outside.
Mom and Dad's bed, a popular play place, especially when stuck indoors
Our front porch is our second living room. We use it from mid spring to late fall—dinner, playing, or a good old fashion porch sit.
We painted our house last spring and I worked hard to convince David that blue and yellow was the way to go. I love it. It makes me smile every day.
The front porch and second living room
6. What is your most important everyday ritual at home?
David and I are lucky enough to split the day at home with the kids. I work the first part of the day, and he works the second. I already loved to cook, but having time to enjoy the process instead of feeling rushed after a long day at work has really become important to me. Eliot and Collette have started helping me, which has been interesting to say the least, but so wonderful to sit down to dinner and say, "Oh yes, Eliot made the corn."
7. Do you have a favorite piece of furniture or decorative item in your home? Tell us about this item.
I actually have two. The first is a watercolor portrait my aunt painted of me when I was four. It used to hang on the wall in my Grandmother's house, and I can still remember that feeling of awe I would get as a kid knowing I was in an actual painting. A few years ago my Grandmother surprised me with the painting as a gift for Christmas. It's still in the same frame and has all this great patina on the glass. I would never ever reframe it.
Portrait of young Hannah, painted by her Aunt
The other item is our favorite green chair. Several years ago, we stopped by a friend's house to let her know we had just gotten engaged, and her parents were pretty excited for us too. David took a seat in the green chair and exclaimed out loud just how great it was. Right there on the spot her father gave it to us. "It's yours! Congratulations!" Our first piece of furniture ever.
The green chair (pillow made by Shanna Murray, fabric from Stephanie Congdon)
8. In your home, what's one indulgence you give into?
Fresh flowers. Definitely. I felt a little guilty buying flowers in the fall and winter. One week I came home from grocery shopping without any and David noticed. "Where are the flowers?" All my guilt went out the window at that point, knowing everyone enjoyed them, not just me.
Oh and cheese. Good cheese. We spend way too much money on cheese each week. It's ridiculous.
Fresh flowers and favorite photos propped in the window sill
9. What are your favorite stores to shop for home?
Even though we don't have one in Kansas City, we are pretty addicted to IKEA. With the birth of each child we have trekked to an IKEA. I'm not joking at all. Where else can you get a bunk bed for $99, and how else do you fit three kids in one room?
Eliot's on the top bunk and makes it his own space. I figure it's only fair since he gets so little space to himself anyway. Let the kid put stickers on his bed and tape things on the walls.
Eliot's top bunk
Locally I like to troll craigslist and thrift stores. I have two good friends with amazing estate sale luck and have received more than my fair share of phone calls about things I must have. They're always right too.
10. What are your favorite Home & Garden blogs or websites?
I don't have any that I am addicted too. I like to look at Domino but not too much because it makes me feel "wanty." I love Flickr too, so much great design inspiration there.
Every spring I think this is the year I'm going to plant a little garden (that never happens). so I find myself at You Grow Girl quite a bit.
Thank you, Hannah. It was a pleasure for sure.
Don't miss our previous Show & Tell Home Tours:
Something my kids handmade
A fun holiday at home with my family
Some time off!
Something just for me, like a plush robe