Welcome to the September 2014 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Home Tour
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have opened up their doors and given us a photo-rich glimpse into how they arrange their living spaces.
We live in a cheap, 1950s council house. (For my non-British readers who may not know what a council house is, basically the council owns the house and we rent it from them for a relatively small amount of money (compared to privately renting). We’re very lucky to have a council house. The waiting lists are years long.) It’s one of many houses the council hurriedly built after the second world war, and was never meant to stand longer than a couple of decades. Fast forward sixty years and these houses are still standing, albeit reluctantly: terribly insulated, badly designed and with cheap, plasterboard walls that won’t hold any weight. But having said all that, I love our home.
After years of living in a tiny bungalow with only a shared garden this place is like a palace. We have a large front garden and a huge back garden (the only drawbacks being the amount of grass to cut and that unfortunately we don’t have a garden fence). We have three bedrooms. We have a dining room! Generally, in the UK, you have to be pretty wealthy to afford a house with such luxuries, and I feel very lucky to have such a home. We’ve only lived here for ten months and I still treasure the amount of space we now have. The gratefulness I feel is one of the reasons I strive so hard to keep the place clean and tidy. After years of living in a tiny space, crammed to the rafters and impossible to keep clean, I love living in my relatively tidy, clean home (even if keeping on top of the cleaning does make me slightly crazy!).
Anyway, let me take you on a tour…
Let’s start with the hall. The HALL! We have a hall. A proper, functional hall. A place to keep coats on hangers. Somewhere to put our bookcases with our beautiful books on show. Nookie really loves flowers, so we always have a vase of fresh flowers on a table. I can’t tell you what a difference to a home having a real hall makes.
This is our living room, and it’s probably one of my least-favourite rooms actually. We have a lot of pets (eight cats and two large dogs), and this is where they tend to hang out. We have a massive dog bed that always smells like dogs and takes up a huge area. The sofa has to be covered otherwise the cats scratch it, and the covers are always hanging off from Nookie climbing all over the place. Even the sofa isn’t that comfortable any more after years of cats sleeping on the backs and Nookie bouncing on it. The wallpaper (which was up when we moved in and we can’t afford to change it), is that sort of textured stuff which the cats love to put their claws in, so everywhere there are scratch marks and places where it is peeling off.
Still, there are things I love. Real curtains that open and close. In our bungalow the curtain pole kept falling down so in the end we just had curtains pinned to the window that we could never open. It looked horrible. All our paintings and photographs are up in here. And I love our large, working fireplace, which is a huge novelty.
This is our dining room, which has always been Nookie’s play room. We do have a small folding table, which we bring into the living room for dinner, but otherwise the room is completely devoted to Nookie. This is one of my favourite rooms. It’s so warm and welcoming. Her toys are spread out where she can get to them and her artwork decorates the walls. She loves it in here.
I really have a love/hate relationship with the kitchen. It’s badly designed, with no where near enough work surface space. The thin, plasterboard walls mean we can’t have any shelves up, so even more surface space is taken up with cooking equipment. Also, the cat litter tray lives in here, which is just gross and always smells, but there is no where else we can put it.
But, the lack of space means we’ve had to come up with creative solutions for storage to maximise work surface space. We’ve squeezed shelving units into nooks and crannies and stacked high. We’ve stored things under and over. I especially love our spice rack which is screwed to the back of the lobby door. Everything is where I know it is, and it works for me most of the time (although Hedgehog finds it very stressful cooking in there).
This is the family bedroom. We all sleep in here. Thankfully the room is big enough to accommodate a kingsize bed and a single bed pushed together, as well as enough storage for all our clothes. My favourite thing about this room is the wallpaper (it was the only room we wallpapered when we moved in), and my beautiful Banksy print. Otherwise I don’t generally favour this room. It’s always messy. Nookie loves to lay in bed watching films, and also eats most of her meals in here. The beds are always unmade, there are generally crumbs everywhere, and various drinks and half-eaten meals on the bedside table. The dogs also sleep in here at night so three large dog beds litter the foot of the beds, which isn’t great.
And finally here is Nookie’s “bedroom” (we also have a spare room which serves as a general storage room, and a small bathroom of course). I like this room. At the bungalow we slept in a loft bed which has now been put in this room and converted into an extra play space. At the top we put floorboards down so Nookie can climb up and play up there on a large, flat wooden surface. And underneath we’ve made it into a little den complete with fairy-lights and blankets to lay on. She also has some of her favourite toys under there. She loves to play in her “play bed”, as she calls it, and it always goes down a hit with her friends.
So that’s our home. And I love it. :)
Visit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
(This list will be updated by afternoon September 9 with all the carnival links.)
- Being Barlow Home Tour — Follow along as Jessica at Being Barlow gives you the tour of her family’s home.
- A Tour Of My Hybrid Rasta Kitchen — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama takes you on a tour of her kitchen complete with a Kombucha Corner, a large turtle, her tea stash, and of course, all her must-have kitchen gadgets. Check out Hybrid Rasta Mama’s most favorite space!
- Dreaming of a Sisters Room — Bianca, The Pierogie Mama, dreams, schemes and pins ideas for when her younger daughter is ready to move out of the family bed and share a room with her older sister.
- Building a life — Constructing a dream — Survivor at Surviving Mexico-Adventures and Disasters shows you a glimpse inside the home her family built and talks about adaptions they made in constructing their lives in Mexico.
- Why I’m Sleeping in the Dining Room — Becca at The Earthling’s Handbook welcomed a new baby but didn’t have a spare bedroom. She explains how her family rearranged the house to create Lydia’s nursing nest and changed room in spaces they already had.
- The Gratitude Tour — Inspired by Momastry’s recent “home tour,” That Mama Gretchen is highlighting imperfect snapshots of things she’s thankful for around her home. Don’t plan to pin anything!
- Our Home in the Forest — Tara from Up the Dempster gives you a peek into life lived off-grid in Canada’s Yukon Territory.
- natural bedding for kids — Emma at Your Fonder Heart shows you how her family of 3 (soon to be 4) manages to keep their two cotton & wool beds clean and dry (plus a little on the end of cosleeping — for now).
- I love our home — ANonyMous at Radical Ramblings explains how lucky she feels to have the home she does, and why she strives so hard to keep it tidy.
- Not-So-Extreme Makeover: Sunshine and Rainbows Edition — Dionna at Code Name: Mama was tired of her dark, outdated house, so she brightened it up and added some color.
- Our little outdoor space — Tat at Mum in search invites you to visit her balcony, where her children make friends with wildlife.
- Our Funky, Bright, Eclectic, Montessori Home — Rachel at Bread and Roses shows you her family’s newly renovated home and how it’s set up with Montessori principles in mind for her 15-month-old to have independence.
- Beach cottage in progress — Ever tried to turn a 1980s condo into a 1920s beach bungalow? Lauren at Hobo Mama is giving it a try!
- Conjuring home: intention in renovation — Jessica at Crunchy-Chewy Mama explains why she and her husband took on a huge renovation with two little kids and shares the downsides and the ups, too.
- Learning At Home — Kerry at City Kids Homeschooling helps us to re-imagine the ordinary spaces of our homes to ignite natural learning.
- My Dining Room Table — Kellie at Our Mindful Life loves her dining room table — and everything surrounding it!
- Sight words and life lessons — The room that seemed to fit the least in Laura from Pug in the Kitchen‘s life is now host to her family’s homeschool adventures and a room they couldn’t imagine life without!
- A Tour of Our Church — Garry at Postilius invites you virtually visit him in the 19th-century, one-room church where he lives with his spouse and two kids.
- Preparing a Montessori Baby-Toddler Space at Home — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares the Montessori baby-toddler space she’s created in the main living area of her home along with a variety of resources for creating a Montessori-friendly home.
- The Old Bailey House — Come peek through the window of The Old Bailey House where Erica at ChildOrganics resides with her little ones.
- My New House Not-Monday: The Stairs — Claire at The Adventures of Lactating Girl shows you her new laminate stairs in her not-so-new-anymore house.
- To Minimalist and Back Again — Jorje of Momma Jorje shares how she went to the extreme as a minimalist and bounced right back. Read how she finds it difficult to maintain the minimalist lifestyle when upsizing living space.
- Our Life As Modern-Day Nomads — This family of five lives in 194 square feet of space — with the whole of North America as a back yard. Paige of Our Road Less Traveled guest posts at Natural Parents Network.