steal this idea: counting stairs

The staircase is one of our favorite decorating spots. Whether a place to hang a collection of art or photographs or experiment with paint, its contained space is perfect to let your imagination run free. Look at this wonderful idea we spotted on Houzz the other day. It is the home of Jennifer and Trevor Scott in Vancouver. Filled with vintage pieces that have been lovingly repurposed by Jennifer, the founder of interior design fashion consulting studio A Good Chick To Know, it is filled with clever ideas. We love this awesome staircase! Jennifer used wallpaper from projects to liven up the stair risers. Then, she added vintage address numbers on each to inspire their daughter Sienna, who is learning to count. Can’t you imagine bounding up these stairs counting off? We can .. though by the time we get to 15, we might be out of breath.

Photo by Megan Buchanan via Houzz

More playful stair ideas:
Stairs with slides

Serena & Lily stairs

a dad explains: why a d.i.y. playset is 100x better than one you buy

Here’s a guest post from our resident dad, Chad. He’s earned some major “Dad of the Year” points with this latest project. Take a look!

We’ve been staring at an empty back yard for a couple of years now as our little toddler has grown into a full-fledged climbing monkey. Obviously we need some kind of playground of our own, but they all seem too gianormous and expensive. After spending months researching the many options, I still found myself waffling on what to get: Do I bite the bullet and buy one of the top of the line play sets, from Rainbow, Gorilla or Superior. They all offer installation and various add-ons, like a tire swing here or a climbing wall there. Would she care if it had only one swing or a trapeze bar? Yellow or blue slide? One thing was for sure, with an average price tag of about $3,000, this playset decision wasn’t to be taken lightly.

I think the reason I was obsessed with building a set for our daughter is because of my own childhood memories. I didn’t have a swing set as a child but I did know kids who had them: They were rusty, creaky and prone to tipping over. Instead of getting one of those, my father made me a club house when I was five years old. It was on eight foot stilts and sat in our backyard. I can remember watching him cut the wood as his sweat dripped onto the planks under the hot sun. It wasn’t perfect and it didn’t have a tire swing or a rope ladder, but it had a trapdoor and he built it for ME. I helped by holding the nails and standing on the 2x4s as he cut them. I watched the saw rip through the wood as he told me to measure twice and cut once. I drank a gallon of Orange Crush as he built what would become my very own Millennium Falcon, my Alamo… my hideout from the world.

Watching my father build that playhouse taught me some pretty basic life lessons — like the value of hard work and the satisfaction of doing something on your own. It also taught me the value of having friends who are willing to help out for a six pack and the joy of just hanging out for the afternoon working on something simply because they were good friends.

So back to my decision on whether or not to build or buy our playset. I asked myself: What do I want to teach my daughter? What do I want her to think of as she is swinging on this thing? That ten workers in an afternoon can come over and bang out a swing set if you have enough money for the premium deluxe package with the periscope? No, I want her to remember what it was like to help me measure and cut the wood. The excitement she feels as I drill each ladder step into place.

When the raw wood was delivered and sitting in my driveway I started to doubt my choice. When the box of bolts and plans arrived I started to worry. “What have I done?” I thought to myself. Then Isadora came out and walked across the wood pile using it as her own personal balance beam. Grinning, she asks, “Are we building my swing set today?” Yes. WE are.

Click through to the next page for details on how I pieced this thing together.


4 decorating ideas i picked up while snooping in the novogratz’s house


As I mentioned earlier this week, we recently got an invitation from LEGO that made our design-fanatic hearts flutter. Sarah C. and I got the chance to visit the Novogratz in their West Village townhouse, during a special event celebrating children and their innate sense of design. While there, we were encouraged to walk around the five-story dwelling. Each floor unveiled museum-worthy artwork, innovative decorating ideas and fun and lived-in spaces for kids of all ages — literally! In case you don’t know, the Novogratz have seven kids. One of them is named Five. And they are all insanely cute and charming hosts.


Idea No. 1  — Turn the unexpected into art.

I’m not entirely sure what this wall hanging is above these two kids’s beds, but I love it. It’s like a skin from a Maurice Sendak safari, and it is the stuff dreams are made of.

Idea No. 2.  — Use a candelabra as a jewelry organizer.

This was spotted on Cortney and Bob’s floor. It so clever it kills me. What a great way to keep your necklaces and scarves in sight while still having a bit fun with their display.

Idea No. 3 — Don’t be afraid to personalize design classics.

How genius is this? Decoupaged Panton chairs! I love that idea that nothing is too precious for a little personalization. Who cares if their a classic? Make it yours and feel free to improve upon their design.

Idea No. 4 — A bulletin board is not enough. Make it a wall.

Who cares if we don’t have 20 ft tall walls in our home like Novogratz? I am still gonna steal this idea for Isadora’s room. They have turned an entire wall into one big idea capturing space. The center panel is a fabric covered bulletin board. Its bracketed by two chalkboard panels. I’m not entirely sure how to pull this off — do you make a wall sized board and then just mount it? Or do you cover the wall itself in something? I’m thinking about this one and adding to our future projects list. If you have any ideas on how’d you’d tackle, please let me know!

Hope you enjoyed my little snoop — and forgive my iPhone snapshots! Thanks to LEGO and Novogratz for being so open and generous with their time.

legos helps little ones perfect the art of furniture arrangement

Anyone who has ever watched a little girl play with a dollhouse knows that happiness comes in small sizes. The more mini the miniature object is, the more she will fawn over it. Well, LEGO has confirmed this casual observation with a study on how kids play. You may recall that the toy company got a bit of flack when it introduced its girl-focused LEGO Friends line back before the holidays, with some saying that building toy didn’t need to be gender-slanted. But the truth of the matter is the girls love them. [They] want “realistic building and role-play, with plenty of details and a chance to remodel, redecorate and redesign in a character-based world,” says Michael McNally from LEGO. In fact, the company says, in only four months, the number of girls engaging in LEGO play has nearly tripled.

Sarah C and I were lucky enough to be invited to an amazing event last week: LEGO teamed up with the Novogratzs (America’s biggest, chicest design family), to unveil the results of a poll that found that kids begin taking interest in changing their rooms just after the age of five, saying their number one wish is to have more space to hang out and play. The setting for the event was the perfect place to talk about fun kids’ spaces: the Novogratz‘s amazing West Village home.

As the family’s matriarch, Cortney explains: “We’ve seen how room design can unleash a child’s creativity in our own family.” The above LEGO house can be reconstructed to look like a townhouse — not TOO unlike the Novogratz’s own fab dwelling.

And while the LEGO mom and dad aren’t nearly as stylish as Cortney and Bob, we find them totally cool, none-the-less. Wouldn’t you invite these guys over a drink?

Coming soon: We take you on a snoopy tour of the Novgratz’s house and their amazing kids’ spaces!

mother’s day pinspiration for a good a cause

You don’t have to twist our arms to pin cute images of nursery decor to our boards on Pinterest, but Dwellstudio and Hatch maternity have created a really good reason for us to start a new one today. In partnership with Christy Turlington Burns’ and her awesome charity organization Every Mother Counts, they have started the #stylesquared contest. Make a pinboard that captures your personal nursery and fashion style, tag it #stylesquared, and you could win over $1500 in DwellStudio and Hatch gear. But best of all, for each pinboard created, the companies will donate $10 to Every Mother Counts. Click here to read more about the contest and how to enter. And, click here for a little happy Pinterst browsing of the #stylesquared boards already created. Contest closes May 17th.