Abbey, tell us a little about your family and your home.
I live with my husband, our son (2), and our daughter (3 months) in a small town between Ithaca and Binghamton, New York.
We live in a cute little house that my dad and his 5 siblings grew up in. It’s seriously amazing that they all made it to adulthood without strangling each other. This place is pretty small. It’s perfect for us though!
How do you approach decorating in your home? What's the most important thing?
We have a really casual approach to decorating. The absolute most important thing is for the people we love to feel comfortable. The bulk of our furniture is from thrift stores, Craigslist, or antique auctions, so nothing is too precious. I don’t want to freak out over a spilled glass of wine or, more typically, juice. It’s also important that it feels like home to all of us, not just me.
You have two children. How does their STUFF influence the look and feel of your home?
Honestly, I try to roll with it, but sometimes it becomes overwhelming and we have to do an occasional purge. I make it a point to have our two-year old help pick up his playroom at the end of each day because I want him to learn how to take good care of his belongings. He mostly just laughs at how ridiculous his mother is. I really can’t focus when things are a wreck though.
To make this display for artwork in the playroom, my husband used screw eyes and wire. Our son loves to color and paint, so it’s always changing.
We let our son pick out all of the artwork in his playroom and made sure to hang it lower than usual so he can enjoy it.
In which room in your home does your family congregate most often?
When friends or family are over (which is at least every weekend all year round), we tend to congregate in our dining room. My family has always been a dining room kind of family; we’re constantly arguing over politics. My husband and I don’t talk politics much with our babies yet, so if it’s just the four of us we turn on the ipod and hang out in the playroom.
Great design can be expensive. How do you get the most bang for your buck?
Craigslist, eBay, and thrift stores are the secret to our house. With two young children, we definitely do not spend a ton of money on furniture. This sofa is a hand-me-down from my parents. All of my siblings have had it in their homes at one time or another. It’s super comfortable but has definitely seen better days. It’s perfect for a family with two tiny babies, and I use blankets to mask the really bad spots.
I’ve also found that I’m willing to take more risks with inexpensive furniture. I’ll buy something for a few dollars, try it out in our house, and send it back to the thrift store if it looks terrible.
You're an artist and a blogger. How do you tend to your creativity at home?
I no longer have a dedicated studio space. I do have an office off our kitchen, but it has been taken over by our two-year-old’s teepee.
It’s been a challenge to feel productive, particularly since our second baby arrived in October, but I’m slowly getting my groove back. I look back on the last few years I spent in grad school with a newborn and wonder how I ever had time to do anything.
One secret to my success at daily time management is an egg timer; I set it for 10 minutes and try to get as much done as possible before it rings.
What is your most important everyday ritual at home?
Stories at bedtime and, it will sound crazy obvious, but telling our kids that we love them soooooo much every day is really important. Eventually they’ll think we’re weird, so we’re trying to fit in as many ‘I love yous’ as we can before they’re “too cool.”
What household chore do you hate? What household chore do you love?
I hate doing dishes, but I love vacuuming. Not really. I also hate to vacuum. Household chores are no fun.
In your home, what is one indulgence you give into?
I’m a sucker for art books; books of any kind, really. I have never regretted buying a book and love to find new bookstores when we’re traveling. Luckily my husband is a bookstore freak too. Strand and Kinokuniya in NYC and Quimby’s in Chicago are our favorites.
What are your favorite stores to shop for home?
What Home & Garden blogs or websites inspire you the most?