New house storage boxes from Famille Summerbelle

PinkMustardHouseBoxesInsituSide BlackBlue2BoxesInsitu 4BoxesFamille Summerbelle just came out with these adorable house storage boxes. I just love how clever and decorative they are. Yes please for my office, which is in need of organisation!

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Plus — a perfect present for the holidays, don’t you think?

xxx Esther

Advent Calendars. Time to start planning!

Ferm Living advent calnedar

December is still six weeks away, and I’m refusing to start thinking about Christmas just yet (I saw the Christmas decorations up on Oxford street earlier this week and it didn’t seem possible! Can it really be that time of year already?!). But… I do love Advent calendars — it’s one of my favourite Christmas traditions.

I saw this cool Ferm Living advent calendar (above) at Cissy Wears earlier this week and love it! (It’s actually what has inspired this post.)

Maileg advent calendar

We have the Maileg advent calendar (as shown above) and it’s a similar concept with little pockets for presents on each day. I start collecting little gifts and knick knacks around this time of year, and then come December 1st, the kids take turn unwrapping each day. It’s such a fun and exciting way to celebrate the run-up to Christmas.

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I also love the idea Meta wrote about, with little paper bags hanging along the stair railing. So fun and festive!

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And lastly, there’s the wonderful idea from Mo who wraps up christmas-themed books every year for a Christmas book Advent Calendar. Such a great idea!

Anyway, I thought I would share all these ideas now… before it’s too late to prepare. The next six weeks will zip by I’m sure!

Courtney x

The Little Square Gallery — sweet snapshots in a cool frame

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I’m not very organised when it comes to using my digital photos — I just take a photo, post it to Instagram, and then it disappears in a virtual cloud somewhere. Actually, it wasn’t very different back when I took analog photos — instead of a virtual cloud, photos would disappear in a dusty box, waiting to be organised and glued into albums…

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Friends of my parents, whose house I visited often when I was little, used to frame a selection of their photos in big collages once every year. They would choose photos of birthdays, vacations, and life in general, photos of their family, mixed with dear friends. They cut out parts of photos, circles, triangles — whatever worked — and glued them without any order or organisation. But the collages looked so cool and I loved looking at them (and finding myself in the sea of faces)!

lsg3I recently commissioned Natalie from The Little Square Gallery to print a selection of my Instagram photos.  To create a moment in time, six months of snapshots, as a visual reminder of the things that happened and made us happy. The frame arrived a little while ago, and it is sitting on our new landing waiting for it’s final spot. And we love it! I see it many times a day, and am reminded of those sweet moments. The children love looking at it as well. Casper is especially intrigued — every day he studies the photos and calls out all of the names of his siblings… sweet boy!


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Working with Natalie was such a pleasure. She helped me pick the best photos, worked on them to make them perfect in colour, balancing light and contrast, and created a truly wonderful collage, framed beautifully in a solid wood frame. The photos are giclée printed on thick, cotton-rag fine art paper, creating a really cool floating effect that sets this collage apart! I will definitely work with Natalie again, creating more of these compilations — because I definitely like these moments in time much better in a frame, than in a virtual cloud!

xxx Esther

Home & Kids (and a house renovation!)

Home_and_kids_lampWhen we moved to Amsterdam 6 years ago, we thought we would leave after a few years, so we never ended up buying a place for ourselves. We found a nice little house for rent, in a nice little neighbourhood, with a nice little backyard which is connected to other nice little backyards by way of a romantic alleyway. So our children have direct and save access to heaps of nice little neighbouring kids! We fell in love with the house and the neighbourhood, but sadly our landlord told us a year ago that he wanted his house back. (We were also outgrowing the space since we had two more children after moving in here!) So we were preparing to move again and leave our beloved house and neighbourhood, until… our sweet 94-year-old neighbour told us she wanted to sell us her house!

She bought the house when it was being built in 1953, and had lived there ever since. First with her family, then alone after her three children left the house and her husband passed away. Until, at the end of last year, she lost her eyesight, broke her hip, and had to move to an elderly home. She loved her house, and wanted another family to love it as much as she did. And this is why she decided to sell it to us. So sweet!

We’ve been renovating the house for a few months now, and hope to move in later this summer. It’s such a big job and so exciting — it’s the first house we have ever owned! We’ve been designing, selecting materials, fittings, tiles… and of course I’ve been secretly looking around for some new ‘details’ as well. ; )

Home and Kids is one of our shop members and I particularly like their style. I found the black metal wire lamp in the photo above in their shop, and am so in love with it! I can’t wait to see it in our new house, but for now it looks perfect on that vintage side table next to our couch. I also am eying this mirror for our toilet, these wire trays and baskets for my new office (!!), and this Paris pillow for the couch.

There is also a wonderful children’s decor and gift selection, where you can’t go wrong with finding presents, toys, or other desirable little things like these cool Amy & Ivor mocassins that have Casper’s name on them.

In fact, I’m going to place a little order immediately, as sale is now on!

(Oh, in case you are interested — here are a few photos of our house renovation…)

(more…)

Jim Flora wonderful wallpaper

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Jim Flora  (1914-1998) was a mid-century artist known for his album covers and some fabulous children’s books (The Day the Cow Sneezed, for example), and his illustrations are truly wonderful. Recently, a series of wallpaper was brought out in cooperation with Flora’s estate, all using the original art and illustrations from his archival music images, paintings and abstract designs.

Jim Flora wallpaper space

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I just love these wallpapers! Jim Flora’s illustrations may date from around 70 years ago, but all of these wallpapers feel so incredibly fresh and modern… Also, they are sweet and playful, but wouldn’t be misplaced in rooms for bigger children (adults even). I’m contemplating getting the instruments wallpaper above for Pim’s room. I’m sure he would love that!

xxx Esther

 

Armadillo & Co handmade rugs

Armadillo & Co Pinwheel rugs

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Our friend, Jodie Fried, who longtime readers might remember from the Angawandi Charity Project or even before that, from the Bholu brand of quirky soft toys, is a woman of many talents (and apparently many successful business ideas!). She recently started a new company called Armadillo & Co which offers a stylish selection of handmade, natural rugs. She works with traditional artisans in India who specialise in varying weaving techniques, and they only use natural fibres like wool, jute, cotton and hemp.  Being a mother, she not only offers a gorgeous selection of rugs for your home, but also a lovely and vibrant children’s collection as well.

She very kindly sent me one of her rugs for the girls’ bedroom so that we could see and feel the quality of the rugs, and it is the perfect addition to their bedroom. The colours are perfect in there (see photos of their room below)! Don’t you think it looks like it should be paired with the print on the fireplace mantel, the print on the left?

Armadillo & Co rug in girls bedroom

rug in ivy's room

Armadillo & Co is an Australian-based company, but you can now find a selection of the children’s rugs from Nubie here in the UK, including the Daisy Weave rug in the girls’ bedroom.

x Courtney

Upside down plants!

Plants in your interior must be back in fashion! I see them everywhere (we’ve been pinning plants on our Pinterest board too if you’re interested). I’m really enjoying the greens that I’ve been collecting in our home — it just makes things look so nice and ‘fresh’.

One of the new additions I got for our house recently is this fun upside down ‘Skyplanter‘ from Boskke. I love the concept behind it, and it is so amazing to witness that plants really like to grow this way! You can see a list of plants that especially love to live in the Boskke planter here. Amazing, don’t you think?

xxx Esther

Beautifully designed Little Quote Jars, by Make History!

Ava will be four in less than two weeks! I can’t believe my baby girl is getting so big so fast… She went through a huge growth spurt the last half year, both physically and intellectually, and she’s rapidly developing into a little school girl. Sweet!

I love having conversations with her. She’s talking so maturely at times, but at the same time keeps making adorable grammatical mistakes, or is combining two words into one (my favourite Ava word at the moment is ‘clapplause’ — which she requests every night after she’s finished her plate).

Make History!, the company we know from the gorgeous Time Capsules, has recently come up with another beautifully designed product, the Little Quote Jar. A simple glass jar with an oversized cork top, with enough space to hold the (included) notebooks and pencil, and a slot in the top to ‘post’ your quote. I’m loving it! It permanently lives on our table, in close reach to us all,  so we can immediately write down all the funny things we say. (And it looks beautiful!)

xxx Esther

PS I loved reading Joanna‘s post of the sweet things her son Toby says. Toby is the exact same age as Ava!

Darling, luxurious blankets from Sture & Folke


Karin Stenmarck is a Swedish designer living in Switzerland, who makes her collection of Sture & Folke blankets entirely by hand, using only the most high quality materials like Liberty fabrics, cotton velvet and natural linen. Her blankets are really beautiful; they are the kind of baby product that you just love to keep around in your house — baby, or not! The toddler comforter has a wonderful, generous size (I use it as a lap blanket myself all the time), and the different little ribbons on the front are not only stylish decoration, they are also great for babies who love to play with them.

xxx Esther

Sweet wall hooks from Luez Design and Play

Luez Design and Play is a small New York-based design agency which is all about fun and simple design. The designer, Laura Rodriguez, creates products that appeal to both children and adults, and that will continue to add character to your home as your family grows. I love this little House Wall Hook, an adorable little decor piece by itself, but a useful hook at the same time. It is available in three pretty colours, and comes beautifully wrapped in a cardboard box, which includes screws and plugs to hang it. It would make such a cute gift (for a housewarming maybe?).

All items from Luez Design and Play are designed with love in New York City, and made with love in the USA.

xxx Esther

Sur ton Mur — affordable art prints

Montreal based company Sur Ton Mur offers a lovely collection of affordable art prints by some of Quebec’s best children’s books illustrators. The selection is carefully curated, of high quality, and very diverse thanks to the different techniques and styles of the illustrators.

All Sur Ton Mur artwork is signed (and, if applicable, numbered) by the artist. So if you like the prints above, make sure you pick them up quickly!

They would make wonderful additions to any little kid’s room, wouldn’t they? (Plus, there’s a great selection of prints for adults too!)

xxx Esther

Spring is here! Say it with pillows.

Because yesterday was the (official) first day of spring, I finally finished a little project I have been working on… Pillows! I used mixed techniques to put words on them — embroidery, appliqué, and painting with textile paint. I especially enjoyed the embroidery work — it’s been a long time since I did embroidery, and I forgot how much fun it is!


Happy spring everyone!!

xxx Esther

Bring spring inside!

Spring is around the corner! And very literally so — my neighbours pruned their trees last week and I brought some of the branches in. And look! The forsythia, cherry blossom and magnolia are so pretty. (And Ava also pruned the neighbours’ flowers, oops!)

xxx Esther

Playtime Paris standout: April Eleven

Every gorgeous object in the stand of April Eleven is not only designed, but also entirely handmade by the sweet owner and designer Charline herself. We loved the no-nonsense design, the usability of the objects, the beautiful fabrics, and above all, that gorgeous little baby swing.

xxx Esther

My house tour featured on Houzz

The lovely Lauren from Houzz asked to pop over a few weeks ago to take some photos of our home and do a little interview about our house renovation project. She and photographer, Noah Darnell, stopped by just as we were serving pancakes, the kiddos still in their pyjamas. They snapped these photos before taking photos of the rest of the house, and I love that they captured the Saturday pancake ritual in our home. (Usually I am in my pyjamas too, of course! But still!)

If you would like to see photos of our home on Houzz and read about our renovation, you can click here. Thank you Houzz for the feature!

x Courtney

(All photos by Noah Darnell)

XL angels by Jurianne Matter

Jurianne Matter is a Dutch designer and I’m a big fan of her work. The clever ways she uses paper and patterns is just wonderful! These XL angels are new in her collection and are such a lovely way to decorate your house for the holidays.

If you don’t know Jurianne’s work yet, check out the rest of her designs here — the pop up posters are so beautiful, and many of her other products make cute little gifts to pop in the mail for far away friends… (All available through Bijzonder Mooi.)

xxx Esther

Tips for decorating your child’s space

Children are so playful and fun and it has been very rewarding for to me to represent a child’s personality through their space.  A child’s space doesn’t have to follow all the rules that adult spaces follow and can be more whimsical and creative.

I thought it might be fun and hopefully helpful to share a few of my tips for decorating children’s space:

Tip # 1:  Give your children a space where they can be creative and express freely.  I think it’s important to provide a space for productivity; drawing, painting, and sculpting.  Children learn to problem solve by being creative and making “messes”.  This “creative nook” doesn’t have to take up much space, and can be a wall or a small desk.  My children love drawing on Maja’s large chalkboard wall.  And it has also helped eliminate my daughters desire to draw on all the walls and furniture in our home.

Tip #2:  Keep books, toys, and clothing easily accessible to encourage healthy independence.  For example, in my daughter’s room I have kept most of her clothing hung low where she can reach and dress herself, along with her favorite toys and books. The storage items that I would not like her getting in to are kept in the red bins on the top shelf.

Tip #3:  Give your child an everyday environment that is warm and inviting.  For example, in my children’s bathroom we have framed prints taken from some of our favorite sea voyaging books.  As well as other small accessories and pops of color that add warmth to the bathroom, and make it feel more childlike and a fun place to spend time.

If you’d like to see our entire home as well as some more of my ideas on decorating you can see our home tour featured on Design Mom.

– Meta

p.s. To read more from Meta, visit her inspiring and creative blog One More Mushroom.

Sharing a room — a girl’s and boy’s side

Sara and Pim have shared a room since Pim was born. I recently asked them if, when we have a bigger house, they would like to have separate rooms or still share. They both said they still would like to share! So sweet. Sara is now 8, and Pim is 6, and I imagine that in a few years they will think differently. But for now, they’re happy together.

They share a fairly big room, and I tried to decorate it to each give them their own ‘identity’ in the room, with a more boyish and a more girly side. The rest of the room is unisex. Checked red and white curtains and a huge wallpaper tree by Inke bring the two sides together and make the room ‘one’.

To give Pim’s side of the room a more boyish appearance, we painted a big blue square above his bed. We put up the beautiful house shelf boxes by Ferm Living to display some of his treasures, and a sweet knitted garland by OeufNYC. On his bed the gorgeous harlequin bedding of Olli Ella, and a personalised pillow from Petiotes. Beauregards the Wolf doll is from BlaBla Kids.

Sara’s side is definitely girly — we bought her antique bed on Ebay and painted it white, and I made her a flowery patchwork quilt myself last winter from a batch of Liberty fabric scraps.

You can find the sweet mushroom nightlight at YadaYada, and the Maileg mice at Sisters Guild.

Pretty soon, Casper is moving in with Ava as well — Ava is looking forward to it!
Do your children share rooms? Did you, as a child? (I’m an only child, so I always had my own room!)

xxx Esther

A fantastic Glow In The Dark Owl Poster

How cool is this Glow in the Dark owl poster? Fast asleep during the day, but when the lights go out, Mister Owl wakes up and keeps an eye out for whoever needs the reassurance. It is available in a fantastic neon pink or orange, and (literally) brightens up any kids room.

Available from the wonderful lifestyle & gift shop, The Kid Who.

xxx Esther

My house, featured on Design Mom

The wonderfully kind and thoughtful Gabrielle from Design Mom has featured my home, and an interview about our family life, in her Living With Kids blog series today.  What I love about this series is that she asks such thought provoking questions — she really tries to draw out the kind of answers that give a genuine glimpse of each family’s day to day life. She goes beyond the usual ‘where did you buy that sofa’ type of question and really delves deep. (I nearly had tears in my eyes as I typed my answers out!)

I am extremely flattered to have been invited for the interview and to be included among so many other great families and homes in this series. You can see the photos of my home and read my answers here. Thank you Gabrielle!

x Courtney

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