xo-in my room: furniture for kids

I really love finding great furniture for kids, just like the charming furniture made by xo-in my room. And I also love finding out that the people behind the brand are from Barcelona – Spain. This is a three  brother adventure: one is a photographer, the one in the middle is in charge of publicity and logistics and the youngest brother is a craftsman. With this unique combination they decided to get together and build up xo-in my room.

They design, produce and sell all the furniture which is made with recycled wood and sometimes they add a vintage touch which makes them unique. Beautiful handmade, very clever and really creative.

I am big fan of them and of their blog, full of nice things! Congratulations xo-in my room!

- Maria

The Rocking Company — cool retro finds!

I think little Ava might have inherited my love of chairs! I got her one of these beautiful little Tica chairs from the new French Rocking Company and she can’t let go of it. She takes it to her bedroom at night, and back down to the living room in the morning. So cute! Don’t you love the look of these chairs? The retro design and cool colours (we have the red one) appeal to me big time. And the size is perfect for children, both for Ava (now 22 months) and also for her big sister Sara (a very tall 6-year-old).

The Rocking Company also has a selection of durable, cool bibs, made from thick and soft fabrics with an unmistakable retro feel to them as well. A very nice selection of first products — I wonder what else Sandra (the owner) will come up with next!

xxx Esther

Junior Chair from Ikea

I’m kicking myself now, but I never bought Stokke Tripp Trap chairs for my children when they started on solids.  I wish I had looked to the future and realised they would last them for years to come!

So I was very excited when I happened to come across these chairs in IKEA the other day.  We have a very high table to accommodate the tall Dutch folks but sitting at it with a normal height chair was a bit of a problem for my 4½- year-old. Now that she has this chair, she can sit in one spot without wriggling around trying to reach her plate. I will buy another one for my son when he grows out of his high chair. I love the simple design and the fact that they are super easy to clean!

Steph xo

STEK — cool pieces, bold lines


For the past few months we’ve had a little STEK rocking chair living in our living room and we’re all really, really pleased with it.
I’m loving the bold, modern lines and the great colour (I chose the olive green one). It’s an unmistakable piece in the room, it has a very strong shape, which makes it a really cool design piece and adds a certain amount of style to the room. For the kids, it’s a chair, that rocks, that they can play with, use, have fun with.

STEK is a Dutch design agency that has produced a series of lovely handmade children’s furniture, all recognisable by the strong, simple, bold and basic shapes and cool, strong colours. A great addition to every room!

xxx Esther

Nina’s House

I’m so impressed by the design of this little house. How clever it is: crib, playpen, storage cabinet and changing table all in one! Such fun, so super innovative and beautiful!! The Dutch designer, Dave Keune,  thought about all the little details: the entire roof can be opened with bright yellow ropes. The base can be lowered and the rails removed to create a bed when the baby gets older. And (I love this detail), the chest of drawers below the changing table can be opened and closed with a slight push of the knee, so that both hands can still be available while changing the baby’s nappy. Good thinking, Dave!!

xxx Esther

Kouch

I absolutely love these children’s couches by KOUCH. Hand crafted in Melbourne, they are good looking, safe, sturdy, functional and built to last (with a lifetime guarantee to boot). And they don’t sport a single Disney/Wiggles character (so your living room won’t suffer in the name of your toddlers faddish inclinations). Although specifically designed for children 1 – 5 years, the Kouch has ample room to share with a ‘big’ person for a book, a play, a snuggle or best of all… all three!

It’s good to know that they are also endorsed by specialised children’s chiropractors for providing good postural support to delicate little spines!

For more information as well as color customised orders, just click here.

– Sara

MadeIt for unique handmade finds

madeit_header72dpi-newPacked to the rafters with local designers and craftspeople, MadeIt is a virtual craft market containing a wealth of handmade housewares and goodies. It is my go-to source when I want something unique, affordable and hand-crafted. It is similar to Etsy but supports only local Australian talent.

What I love about the site, apart from the fact that everything is handmade and local, is that it brings you, in one spot, everything you can’t buy at your local shopping mall. It takes the legwork out of shopping for those unique, handmade goodies which I  love to buy but can take me forever to look for.  And of course there is something gratifying about buying a locally made gift, supporting your local economy. (more…)

Decorating a kids room (part 1)

We are in the process of buying our first home after 13 years of renting.  For the girl who was still playing ‘house’ when she was 13 (!) this is a big deal.  Most evenings I drift into sleep dream-decorating and imagining how each room will look.  The room that gets most of my ‘dream’ time is the kids’ bedroom.  It is a small room but we have decided to put our 2 children in together — they like each other’s company and we like the idea of having a spare room for guests with the other bedroom.  Over the next weeks I’m sure I will be posting various of my dream-decorating ideas but yesterday I made one of these ideas a reality — uh huh… I have made the first purchase for the room.

I found these lights from Swedish company, Nud Collection in Skandium. They are such a simple idea but beautifully executed (isn’t it always the way with good ones!).  Textile cables with a porcelain lamp holder which takes an E27 light bulb*. My idea is to get 5 or 6 different colours (and my do they do great colours!) and group them together hanging them at different heights for a ‘chandelier’ effect. (more…)

Family Life

31Most parents discover fairly early on that if they want to meet in a cafe with friends and have any hope of conversation (one that spans more than 10 seconds), then a distraction for the children in the form of a book/toy is imperative. It allows at least some semblance of communication between the adults whilst in the company of young children — where you can form a full sentence… in one go!!

Many cafes in Melbourne answer this need, providing crayons and butcher paper to occupy the kids. And that certainly helps! But Family Life Home & Café in Grattan Street, Prahran goes one step further. Not only is it a divine Balinese inspired space, incorporating a cafe and boutique, but it has a gorgeous imaginative play area for the children. (more…)

Very portable kid’s desk

ikea stoolI just love it when people come up with different ways of using an object; it’s nearly like inventing something new!
Apparently the Ikea Bekvam step stool is quite prone to being reinvented. I particularly like this idea from lovelydesign to use it as a children’s desk. It’s great for small flats but also as a portable back-up desk.
You can take it in the kitchen while you cook or in the living room while you read the papers (do you still have time for them?).

-Michela

Giggle

giggle.jpgI’d read about trendy kid’s shop Giggle a few times (most notably in Cookie magazine), and finally had the chance to check it out this week.  I have to say, it lives up to its expectations of being a well-edited, fun, bright kid’s shop.  The boutique stocks all the trendy brands, with a slant towards great design and colors that pop.  It’s a great place to outfit a modern nursery or pick up a sure-to-please gift.  After all, who can resist something from a shop with a name that brings a grin to your face?

xx Rebecca

A mountain even little people can climb

knebe.jpgI have one of these babies who loves to climb up on EVERYTHING. She can’t walk, can’t talk, but she can definitely climb! Her greatest joy in life is having a mountain built for her out of lots of pillows. The assent of a 50 cm high mountain can keep her happy for the longest time and when she gets on top she is as proud as if she was Sir Edmund Hilary himself.

To celebrate this budding mountaineer I could not keep myself from investing in her very own mountain…. in the form of her very own beanbag. I fell in love with this great toy/design piece a while ago and finally gave in. Isn’t it great? It is made to look like Sweden’s tallest mountain, the Kebnekaise (I guess in Sweden even the mountains are well designed!), and is created by a very talented design team called Little Red Stuga. You can get it via Little Fashion Gallery or through the Little Stuga website.

As they say: If the baby will not come to the mountain, the mountain will come to the baby… (or something like that!)

– Emilie

Blankie

blankieWith a granddad who divides his time between houses in Belgium and France, grandparents and a (tiny) weekend house in the south of the country, and friends all over Europe, our little family is on the go pretty much every weekend. I must say that we’re becoming quite handy at getting everything organized: clothes, laundry, toiletries, food, etc.
My daughter asks every morning to what country we’ll go today!

I find this Blankie a really handy addition to our ‘on the go’ lifestyle. It’s the perfect size for the kids. They use it in the car, on the couch, for playing and camping in the garden, etc. It’s great because it’s warm, fluffy and soft but it rolls up to a tiny package and is very light. It is also conveniently machine washable, and I find it handy to have around for little guests.
Available through Gifts Like These.

xxx Esther

Monthly news from Milk Magazine

Dior MacintoshPop chicken feet:
What is this Macintosh with giant chicken feet on it? It is a Dior Mac! With its poppy colours, your little one will want to wear it even when it does not rain. If she has trouble falling asleep she can always count chicken feet, instead of sheep. Dior ’60s pop trench in piqué cotton, chicken feet print.

Arfa by SirchArfa by Sirch:
Following the Maison et Object fair, we have been able to admire the new designs by the German Sirch. After designing toys, these Bavarians have turned to designing kids furniture. They have dreamed up a beautiful desk, made out of wood and felt. Available in three colours, it is accompanied by a chair or a stool, designed with the same clean lines in mind. You can already order it on File dans ta chambre, the site that is always on top of the most sparkling novelties.

Kup Kup LandKup Kup Land:
This Spanish artist whose creative universe is called “Kup Kup Land” creates collages. In mixing bits of paper sourced from all over the place and fabrics such a felt she creates dream-like worlds. Sometimes they are animal dreamscapes and sometimes scapes of rain clouds. The easiest way to discover her world or  purchase her work is by visiting her Etsy shop.

-Sophie Carré at Milk Magazine

Merci

merci.jpg It’s been the talk of town. Merci, Paris’ newest concept store opened its doors last week. When I visited it was so new, they were still finishing off the paintwork.

Even if you are just in Paris for an afternoon, it is worth checking it out. A huge loft style space houses a florist, an eclectic bookstore, a wonderful vintage collection, designer clothes at a discount, homeware and a great kid’s clothing and accessories area. It is the kind of place you can pick up a delicate Isabel Marant necklace for 20 euros or spend several thousand euros on a sofa. (more…)

Ikea hacking

ikeahack.jpgWe all love Ikea, don’t we? It’s pretty cool, modern and most of the things are practical and durable. But the planetary success of this furniture maker means that homes all over the world are filled with the same pieces. I don’t mind so much if everyone else has the ivar bookcase, or the benno cd storage unit or the expedit storage system. But you might, and so do other people. That is why a new branch of DIY was invented, and it’s called ‘Ikea hacking’.

I discovered Ikea Hacker a few months ago while browsing the internet and I have been following its updates regularly. The site collects the ideas and projects of people who have found new ways of using Ikea pieces. Some are simple, just different ways of using a product, while some are serious DIY projects.  But they’re all interesting to look at — it’s amazing what people can come up with for a benno cd tower, or an expedit or the ivar! (more…)

A big bed

big bedWhen I first got to know my husband, I was living in Delft (where I studied), in a tiny studio apartment. I loved this place — it was my first little house completely for myself and I thought it was just perfect. It was so tiny that it would only fit a very small bed, about 90 cm (3 feet) wide — plenty of space for me though, and even my new beau fit in! You don’t need a lot of space when you’re in love…

Not even one year later, the boyfriend and I moved to New York together. We took nothing but three boxes of clothes with us. We rented a tiny little one-bedroom apartment in the then upcoming neighbourhood of Cobble Hill, and we loved this place — it was our first little house together and we thought it was just perfect. We inherited the bed of the previous owner, a lovely girl who was moving to the other coast to get married. It was about 120 cm (4 feet) wide — more than plenty of space for the two of us!

About three years later, my fiancee and I moved back to the continent. We took back a little bit more than three boxes (there were a few Eames chairs for example), but we left the bed behind in New York. (more…)

Laptop pillow

laptop2.jpgLaptops are truly great because you can take them with you wherever you are, but that means you end up using the computer in very unsuitable places. I don’t know if this happens to you, but I often tap on the keyboard or browse the internet keeping the computer on the armrest of the couch and with my shoulders twisted and cramped. Not healthy at all!!!
Bräda the new laptop support from IKEA is doing wonders for my shoulders. It’s a moon shaped plastic board on top of a cloth bag that stays level on your laps or any uneven surface. It’s such a simple product and it does not even look that bad!
I truly recommend it to any computer addict!

-Michela

Rietveld crate chair

crate chairThe other day I was at my friend, Miriam’s house. Miriam is an architect, like me. In fact, we studied together, and lived in the same students’ house!
Miriam’s daughter Myrthe is exactly one week younger than Pim (our son), so it is cute to see them together. Of course, we’re constantly joking that one day they might end up getting married…
Well, I think Pim should definitely consider this, because Myrthe is already working on a fantastic dowry — she owns a chair that makes her future MIL (me) green with envy: a Rietveld Crate chair!!

Rietveld is one of the Netherlands’ most famous designers/architects. He designed this chair in 1934, and because his ideology was to design beautiful things within everybody’s reach, he used packing materials (old crates) to create this chair, and also, in a pre-Ikea way of thought, sold it in do-it-yourself kits.
Rietveld’s grandson and great-grandson (who oddly are the same age) recently re-developed the crate-chair in kiddie size – a third of the original size. How cool is that! A wonderful chair for my grandchildren, I would think… ;-)

xxx Esther

Keet in Huis

KeetKNSM island used to be quite a rough and industrial part of the Amsterdam harbor before it was transformed into a very cool residential island, and nowadays, this is where you can find one of the finest kid’s lifestyle shops of Amsterdam: Keet in Huis.
Keet in Huis (‘Mess in the House’), sells everything from furniture, bed linen, interior accessories, baby buggies, toys and books, which, you might think, by itself is not so extra-ordinary at all, but if you consider the amazing taste levels of the owners, you would be sold like every other mother who has ever set foot in this shop. Wonderful!

I can spend hours in ‘Keet in Huis’, and have an especially hard time pulling myself away of the downstairs bedding area. My kids don’t mind, because there is a lovely little play area where they can meet little friends whose mums are in a similar situation (stuck with the choice: which duvet cover to pick?).
Courtney, who has been a few times (it’s always on her list of things to do in Amsterdam), finds the bedding to be extremely Dutch. This means, according to her, that there are loads of very bright colours, and tons of gingham. This is probably true, as there are loads of bright colours in my kids’ bedroom – and loads of gingham! (more…)

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