Living With Kids: Brooke Fish

Brooke Fish and her family are moving — just a few streets away — because their current house was unable to grow with them, no matter how hard they tried to make it work or how often they battled city codes! So this tour of their just-sold home is a little less of a tour, and much more a love letter to the place where their earliest family memories were made. Enjoy it, Friends!

Q: Tell us who lives in this sweet home…for the next few weeks!

A: My little love, laughter, and grace filled home consists of a complete outnumbering of boys three to one: my amazing husband of nine years, photographer Adam Fish, and our two boys  Jude, who is nearly seven, and Liam, who is almost four. Due to allergies, we have no dogs or cats, but over the years there has been a Beta fish named Pinky Toe, a caterpillar named Herbert, and a turtle named Sherbet.

Q: How did it become yours?

A: Purchasing our first home was a grueling experience. We looked for months and months, knowing that we wanted to live in a little sub-division of Dallas called Lake Highlands. We had hoped to find a mid-century modern within our budget, but sometimes you have to make sacrifices knowing that your first home doesn’t necessarily mean your forever home. We didn’t fall in love with this house right away, but it did offer some great things, like a fully remodeled kitchen, original hardwoods, and walk-in closets. Over the years we made it ours with paint in every single room, a remodeled bookcase, and new doors in the rear entries. I’m so very blessed to have a skilled carpenter for a father-in-law!

Q: How would you describe your style? Has it changed since adding to your family?

A: Hmmm…my style. I guess I’d have to say bohemian-modern or vintage-modern. I love the clean lines of mid-century modern pieces, but I also have a weakness for all things vintage. I get bored with a room that is just modern; by adding other styles and periods, it creates something unique and personal. Since our littles came, I think a dose of whimsy has been added to the mix.  We don’t take ourselves too seriously and everything has to be kid-friendly. We want our boys to be able to touch and experience every bit of our home.

Q: What excites you most about decorating a space?

A: Oh gosh, I love everything about decorating a space…the endless possibilities, breathing new life into a space, putting my fingerprint on it, and change, change, change! I love change — but only in design. I pretty much have a hard time with change otherwise. I think I generally start with the function of the room, then color and scale. I tend to pack small spaces with furniture to create a homey, lived in feel. I look everywhere for inspiration: friends, art, the past, blogs, design mags, etc.

Q: Are you a DIYer? What’s your favorite thing you “did” yourself in this home? Would you do it again?

A: Oh, I am a total DIYer. I have convinced myself that I can do anything. Sadly it’s not true. Despite my love of a hammer, I can’t build furniture or any wood type item to save my life. That is such a gift that I wish I had been blessed with. My favorite thing we “did” in this house was our bookcase/kids desk in the playroom and the chalkboard wall in the kitchen. We will do the chalkboard wall again for sure. The boys love it.

Q: You’ve got such unique pieces that are stand-alone awesome. What’s your best advice for choosing and incorporating such vocal additions to a space without having them scream at each other?

A: I think you should live with what you love. As long as the scale and the colors work together…it’s magical and the different pieces tell an amazing story that’s unique to the owner. Does that even make sense? It does in my head but maybe not to others! I scour local estate sales and thrift stores for my treasures, but I love a good bulk trash find. Some of my favorite pieces in our home were rescued from an old abandoned house that was about to be demolished. We have very few “new” pieces. I should also confess here that my mother-in-law is an incredible scout with a great eye. She has found a lot of our furniture and decorative items, especially in the living and dining room. She may very well be my best treasure source.

Q: What’s your best advice for bargaining?

A: I absolutely stink at bargaining! So if you or your readers can give me advice, I’d welcome it with open arms! Regrets always come in the form of estate sales. I’ll think to myself, “What am I gonna do with that?” or “I don’t need it.” Recently I lost out on some amazing vintage windows and an old wooden shelf that would have brought such industrial, rustic charm to our living room and our garden. They were a steal, too, but it takes just the right pieces to marry modern and farmhouse-industrial well. At the time, I didn’t know if the items would work. Oh, well! There’s always the next sale. The hunt continues…

Q: A PEZ collection!

A: My husband has a great collection of PEZ dispensers that I adore. I would have never in a million years held onto stuff like that, but I’m glad he did. It’s such a conversation starter. I have to say, I wouldn’t mind if he got rid of some of his other collections though, like his Garbage Pail Kids cards. What in the world?

Q: What’s your basic philosophy to living with kids?

A: We are very much a team. If there’s a space in our home, it’s as much theirs as it is ours. The only thing we don’t allow is jumping on the “nice couch” and coloring on walls that aren’t black. The boys have a designated playroom that stores most of their toys. Their room has a few toys, too, but everything has its place. I love easy pull-out bins for their toys, games, and books. Their art supplies are tucked away by their desk in the playroom. And all of their stuff is within their reach. Funny, I don’t really remember any specific toy or clean up rules from when I was little!

Q: What’s written and drawn on your chalkboards?

A: We keep scripture, calendars, and smiley face rewards on the chalkboard in the kitchen. The smiley faces go up and down all the time! The other stuff gets changed monthly. The boys draw on the kitchen one a lot as well. Since it’s right by the table we use it all the time to explain stuff to them or do spelling words. It’s kind of like a white board in a brainstorming meeting!

There’s also one in our master bedroom that I use to write messages to the hubs. Sadly that doesn’t get changed as often as I’d hoped.

Q: If money wasn’t a factor, what would you add to your home tomorrow to make it more your perfect home?

A: Ha!  You have no idea how timely that question is. Although money is always a factor, we just purchased a new house and sold the one you see in the pics. We had hoped to build a photography studio above our garage, but due to city codes we were told we couldn’t. So, we found a mid-century modern fixer upper just a few streets away and will begin remodeling very soon.

We’re so excited, but will also miss our current house. Since it was our first home and our youngest was born here, it holds a ton of memories. Before we move, I hope to have the littles each do a journal about their favorite memories within this house and then turn it into a book for them.

Q: Finish the sentence:  I wish I had known…

A: that we couldn’t build above our detached garage! (Sniff, sniff.) Such a silly rule. We are going to miss our sweet neighborhood bunches and bunches.


Thank you so much, Brooke! Promise you’ll show us your new home as soon as you’re all settled!

Friends, have you ever outgrown a home? Was it bittersweet? And where did you end up? Nearby, like the Fish family, or did you take the opportunity to try someplace completely new? I’d love to hear your experiences! (You already know what we did!)

P.S. — You can find all the homes in my Living With Kids series here. If you’d like to share your home with us, drop me a note! I’d love to hear from you!

28 thoughts on “Living With Kids: Brooke Fish”

  1. Beautiful home!

    I really love this series. I love seeing how other families decorate. It is giving me such fabulous ideas for my own house!

  2. I do love this series too (agree with above). I mean – love it. At a loss for words here – but can say…. I love the glimpses of lives parallel to my own (with kids)… love the ideas… the warm, beautiful, eclectic homes, etc….

  3. Elizabeth Brooke

    Lovely home! Where is the good morn sign and the nutrena home? Good luck with your future home!

  4. So beautiful! My kids have old school desks in their rooms too. I love mixing vintage with new. Good Luck with the remodel! Our home is for sale right now and we already have a 1920’s bungalow fixer-upper picked out to buy if our home sells.

  5. I grew up in Lake Highlands, and my parents and grandparents still live there. I would love to see this house up close. There are some great bones in that area.

  6. I get so excited every week when your Living with Kids post pops into my reader!
    Love this one so much. So many beautiful, creative and inspiring details. And a house clearly very full of love.
    Thanks to you and to Brooke for sharing x

  7. Gabrielle! Thank you so much! You made our home look lovely. What an honor to be a part of this series! I can’t thank you enough.

    Julia – the Nutrena sigh was a score of my MILs on a road trip back and forth to Des Moines and Nebraska back to Texas. My hubs had it in college!

    Elizabeth Brooke – the Good Morn sign was a dumpster dive find of my hubs while on a photo shoot. Gotta love the freebies!

    Thanks for all the lovely comments as well. you all sure know how to make a gal feel good. xo

  8. I wish you would show pictures of the outsides of these lovely homes… they are often referred to, but that would really help in getting a general sense of what it is like.

  9. Your home is beautiful Brooke! I can see that it totally fits your personality. I know the new house will be even better. I love that you have made it a space to be enjoyed and lived in by the whole family.

  10. This home reminds me of our first home in San Francisco. It was perfect for my husband and I and our two little dogs, but once we had kids it felt cramped really quickly. Our son’s room was also the guest room, office, and dining room ;)

    We took the opportunity to move to a family friendly community still very near the city, and have never looked back. Our neighbors brought us banana bread the day we moved in. Its hard to overlook that!

  11. I live in Lake Highlands and I am curious how you found out you couldn’t add on to your garage? This is in our plans as our family grows since we love our house and our street.

    1. If your garage is detached from your home, there’s some city code that says your garage roof line, can’t be higher than your home. Or something crazy like that. The city said NO and our contractor said if we tried to fight it…we’d lose. :(

  12. This house is just beautiful! Love the fun mix of old and new! And such a great playroom! Thanks for sharing- I SO look forward to this series every week :)

  13. I am madly in love with the cubed wall shelving unit that you have the Pez in… Did you build that yourself? I must have one!

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