[ Note from Design Mom: Our home tour editor, Josh Bingham, wasn’t available this week, so I’m bringing back a favorite from the archives. This home tour was originally published on October 1st, 2013, and it’s still a favorite. Courtney Adamo, the hostess in the home tour, has since added baby number five to her family, and moved from London to Byron Bay in Australia. ]
There are certain moments during an average everyday when I count my virtual pals among life’s little treasures. If I’m feeling low and worrying about it, one will probably send a note from South Africa or Germany or even Los Angeles to tell me I’m not alone. And if I’m wondering what in the world to do with the Treehouse’s floors, I will be gifted with at least three or four “I’ve been there, Gabrielle, and here’s what we did!” letters. With cute photos, tutorials, and source lists.
Courtney is one of those friends. You may know her as one of the stylish partners behind Babyccino Kids. (Remember when we met Esther?) She’s a lovely mom and entrepreneur living with her husband and four children in London, and someone who sends the sweetest, kindest letters. Oh! And her house is enviably crisp and chic. If I ever decide to paint our floors white, you will know who is responsible! Friends, please meet Courtney. I know you’ll adore her.
Hello there. Oh, where do I begin? My husband, Michael, and I are both from big families in America; he’s the oldest of seven and I’m the oldest of five! We met in Los Angeles in 2003 and moved to London together two months later. He signed a one-year contract for work, and we thought we would enjoy a year in London and the opportunity to travel around Europe. That was ten years ago this month!
I suppose the allure of European travel never grew old, and as we became more and more familiar with London, it proved difficult to leave. Having children here has also rooted us even more. We have four children: two boys, Easton (eight) and Quin (six), and two girls, Ivy (four) and Marlow (ten months). All of them were born here in London, and the six of us now have both UK and American passports.
We were renting a lovely house around the corner when the owners moved back to London and wanted their house back. We then set out to try to find a house in the same neighborhood, and by chance we stumbled upon this one. It was in shambles! Completely run down! But it happened to be in our price range. Both my husband and I had no idea what we were getting ourselves into, although we were attracted to the idea of fixing it up and making it our own.
We bought the house and spent the next seven months renovating it before moving in. We rented a teensy flat around the corner while we did the remodel, which meant there was a lot of shuffling around of our belongings, but it was worth it in the end.
We live in the leafy north London neighborhood of Highgate. It’s a charming old village up on a hill, overlooking central London, and it’s filled with other young families. Our favorite thing about where we live is the proximity to Hampstead Heath, one of London’s biggest parks. We spend our weekends in the Heath, enjoying long walks together, throwing around a Frisbee, playing in the ponds, etc. You can get lost in there, and forget about the busy city surrounding you!
Michael doesn’t have to start work until after nine, which means we get to enjoy a family breakfast together before school and work. Some people have family dinners – we have family breakfasts! We all gather in the kitchen in the mornings, and while the kids usually sit at the counter while we make breakfast, we will all sit down at the big table to eat.
Michael usually takes the three bigger kids to school while I stay home with the baby, and then he heads into central London for work and I stay and work from home. I’m lucky to have a little home office in our house where I can sneak off and get some work done while the baby naps or when our babysitter/housekeeper is here. I usually work from 9:00 until 3:00, and then go and pick the kids up from school.
The afternoons are wild in our house when everyone is home; the kids usually play upstairs in the playroom or out in the garden if the weather is nice. I feed them dinner around six, and then when Michael gets home from work, the two of us put the kids to bed and then eat dinner on our own. I like having the time with him to hear about his day and to share about mine.
Babyccino Kids started as a blog nearly six years ago. It began as a diary between friends living in different European cities, and it evolved over time to be a bit like an online magazine for parents, covering everything from recipes, craft projects, great new products, parenting tips, and interesting articles. Over time, we built up a reputable brand and following, and we decided to start up an online shopping portal to represent a selection of stylish children’s boutiques. If, for example, you’re looking for pretty bedding for your child’s bed, you can come to our site and search in the Décor category to find a selection of wonderful shops selling children’s bedding.
We have essentially taken the hard task of searching out of the online shopping equation, and made it easy for parents to find the best children’s shops online! We would love for it to become the first place parents go when they are shopping for their children; a trusted place to find inspiration and the best online shops. We’re also planning our first ever live shopping event this year in London, and it would be really great if it’s a big success and we can host them in other cities around the world!
Michael and I both have an interest in home design, but we have a limited budget so we’re often hunting for the most affordable-yet-stylish options when it comes to decorating our home. We’re always trying to think of creative, affordable solutions for storage, which is something we don’t have much of in this home.
There are a lot of bags, crates, hooks and other storage pieces throughout the house to handle our needs, and I can’t count how many different baskets I’ve scattered around, many of which are holding toys, toys and more toys!
I think the kids have taught me to be more fun and playful in my home design. I love decorating children’s rooms most because you can have more fun with colors and accessories, and the rooms can really be a reflection of the children and their interests.
I have always been really, really tidy. Even as a little girl, I always made sure my bedroom was immaculate! My mom joked that my sister’s room looked like a tornado swept through it, and mine always looked like I was hosting the queen!
In our house, I am constantly tidying and organizing, and putting things back into place. I let the kids be as messy as they want to be in the playroom and in their bedrooms, but I try my hardest to keep the living spaces as tidy as I can. I swear my brain just functions better and I am a happier mama when things around me are organized.
Also, I’m not a hoarder. I’m a believer of less is more. My closet is teensy; all my clothes fit into that little space to the right of my bed, and I like it that way. I try to minimize the clutter all around the house to keep things more tidy and organized. Most importantly, we have a housekeeper who helps with the cleaning and the laundry. I don’t know how I would cope without her!
I hope my children remember all the fun they had together. I hope my boys remember all the late night chats they had when it was past their bedtime when they should have been asleep. I hope they remember the impromptu dance parties we had in our kitchen, the sunny days spent out in the garden, the wintery days in front of the fire, the morning snuggles in our big bed, long baths in the big bath tub, and of course all the special holidays and celebrations we’ve had here.
Because we live in London, so far from family and childhood friends, we have a really strong family unit. It’s really rare that we’re not all together on any given day, and weekends are always spent together. We don’t have any outside obligations or family events to attend.
My children hardly ever ask for play dates because they know they have each other to play with, and I really love how well they play together and how close they all are. I love watching them interact with each other and love seeing the different relationships form between them. How lucky they are to have each other!
My biggest goal as a parent is to raise children who love each other, and who will want to spend time together even when they’re all grown up. Having come from a big family, I am so thankful for my siblings, and I really hope my kids will feel the same way.
And yes, of course, my heart aches every time I think about how quickly time is flying by. I wish I could just slow it all down!
I wish someone had told me not to stress about the little things so much. To be fair, my parents have always told me this. I just wish I had listened a bit more!
I try to remind myself to relax, slow down, and enjoy the moment without worrying if the house is tidy or if dinner is prepared or if I’ve ticked everything off my to-do list that day. It’s more important to be present in the moment, especially when spending time with the kids.
Courtney, thank you for taking us on a tour of your beautiful life in this Living With Kids feature. We happen to share a parenting goal: “…to raise children who love each other, and who will want to spend time together even when they’re all grown up.” There might be days when I don’t fold the laundry or we have scrambled eggs for dinner, but I try to check that objective off my to-do list every day!
Friends, what would you say is your one non-negotiable, get it done every day no matter what goal as a parent?
P.S. — Take a peek at all the homes in my Living With Kids series here. And if you’d like to share your own home with us, just send me a note! It’s a lot of fun…I promise!
105 thoughts on “Living With Kids: Courtney Adamo”
I am so delighted to see this feature on Courtney’s house….what a beautifully warm home! Brimful just joined Babyccino Kids and corresponding with Courtney has been wonderful. She really has special knack for exuding authenticity via email. I love that!
What a gorgeous home! Happy and bright and colorful and just really lovely.
What a lovely house! My husband would say it looks “cold” because there is so much white, but I disagree – I think it is such a lovely warm and beautiful way to decorate a house, not cold at all!
One of the things I love about this series, Gabrielle, is that I walk away totally inspired as a parent AND get a huge dose of home/design inspiration at the same time. I always leave these posts thinking about the quality of our family life, what we can change, how we can live more adventurously & boldly and how the most important things are our love & bond as a family….and I want to rearrange something in our house, haha! Lovely inspiration for home & family today. Thank you Courtney for sharing & Gabby for continuing to inspire us!
Hear hear! Perfectly said, Kalanicut. There’s a gorgeousness in this home that just makes me reflect (again!) on family, design, and how to create a space that we want to live in and enjoy every day (not to mention how to live more adventurously and boldly). Thanks for sharing, Gabrielle, and thanks for the spot on comment, Kalanicut.
Best home tour so far! So lovely!
Loved this! I love how the wood was stacked in the little alcove. Tell us more about that Homestead print!
I love her clean but warm style, and the lovely art throughout the house. Thanks for the inspiration!
Really love the clean style. Cool but warm and colorful too
Great home! Thank you for the peak Courtney. The mudroom sink? I’m pretty sure I could stand there all day looking out that window! And Gabrielle, I totally agree with kalinicut! This is my very favorite post every week.
I used to take the Highgate tube station when I lived in London. What a wonderful neighborhood to live in.
Lovely home! Are the kitchen’s wood floors new? If so, what kind of wood are they? Thanks!
The floors are new, and they’re just oak floors. We went with a waxed finish, and it means they’re really durable and water-resistant, so they work really well in the kitchen. xx
What a beautiful home. I would move in in heartbeat and not change a thing. Lovely.
I thought this looked familiar and I noticed that I had pinned this kitchen 2 years ago after the DS home tour! Still love it.
Just beautiful! Inspiring, too.
Gabrielle, you mentioned at the onset of this interview, about the times of being down, and I read your posts. Just today I remembered this song and thought of the benefit it can be to so many…to help understand what another is going through, or to put into words what someone may be experiencing. “The Fall” is a song by a young, very talented 18 year old man who has dealt with depression in his family.
I had never experienced anything like depression until last November when I could not seem to recover from an early miscarriage. I went four or so months locked in my own brain – having to figure it all out before I could admit to anyone anything was going on – climbing back into bed for hours every day after delivering the kids to school. Though I have a strong marriage and a strong family/friend support system, I was never so alone. This song is so beautiful. Ethan, the writer, composer, singer personified depression and in my limited experience, he hit the nail on the head. I am fine now…in part b/c one friend saw what was happening to me b/c of her own experience and she humbly intervened. She truly understood me.
God bless you and all who experience depression.
Thanks for your words xxx
Beautiful house tour. I agree with the sentiment about siblings wholeheartedly.
can you share the shade of gray you use in your bedroom? looking for something just like it! thanks so much!
We created the colour by mixing different shades of Farrow & Ball paint. It’s the same paint that we used for our kitchen cabinets! (Sorry I can’t be more helpful.) x
I came here to ask this, too. I’ve been searching for the perfect color for my kitchen cabinets for four years. I love yours, and I think that shade would look great on mine.
You may have pushed me over to edge regarding a yellow couch. I just slip covered a big long one in drop cloth and am feeling more bold about dying it a wonderful yellow (oh how my husbands eyes will roll)
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The Best! So in love with her style and space :)
These can be the house of my dreams!!! I agree with Helen the “Best home tour so far!”
I spent 4 months in London on a Study Abroad, living on the quaint streets off of Notting Hill Gate. That is where I met my husband, who was also on the same Study Abroad. We will always have a special love for London, and I have always wondered what it might be like to live there with our family of 7 one day. Thank you Courtney for allowing me a glimpse.
I too look forward to this series EVERY Tuesday, thank you Gabrielle.
really love how uncluttered all the walls are…really makes the art stand out. And, love her houseplants everywhere. and, I agree…those white floors are incredibly inspirational!
I love Courtney’s style! Such a beautiful home!
There is so much I adore about this house tour… I’m always a sucker for white and this reminded me why. I love the contemporary yet rustic feel of the space, the pops of color, the shade of grey in the kitchen, the relaxed feeling I had while gazing at the photos. And I’m a huge fan of that dresser/cabinet in the bedroom.
Great style, lovely family. Thanks for a peek into it all.
Gorgeous home! I took would love to know what kind of wood was used on the floors in the kitchen and also the master bedroom paint color, if you wouldn’t mind sharing. Thank you!
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I’d have to agree with spending time each day loving (and liking!) each other, and finding a way to serve someone else. I work on equipping my kids with independence and thoughtfulness, so that they can go out of our home as adults who will change their world for good, and for God.
Lovely home tour! This article about the importance of siblings still resonates with me, as I, too, hope my children remain close friends for all their lives.
What a great article! Thank you for sharing it. xx
Love love this tour! I follow Coutrney on instagram & always love seeing sneaks of her beautiful home. I was so excited to see more when I saw she was featured this week! And I love her answers to the questions as well!
One of my all-time favorites for this series—I love the honesty both in her interview, and in her decor!
Gabrielle – I’d say the non negotiable every day goal is just to make him laugh! I such a big fan Courtney, her site and her home! I think I just picked those same tiles for our bathroom remodel!
Love this interview. Such a gorgeous home, and a lovely family.
Such a great insight to a beautiful family, thanks for sharing!
Oh! This is my very favorite home tour. I love every single thing about this home, but especially those white floors! Sigh. I’m majorly jealous now. Thanks for sharing it with us, Courtney!
This is my favorite LWK post EVER! I’m obsessed with this home, I want to move right in. I’m just about to paint every wall, trim, and ceiling in our house white and I hope I can find the perfect color like she has managed to do here!
Love love love this!
love it. simply beautiful. Courtney has such an eye for detail, don’t you think? x
SO beautiful. One of my very favorite tours ever!
What a beautiful home. I am in love.
I’ve seen this kitchen before and it’s my go to for my next kitchen inspiration! It’s so nice to see the rest of the house – thank you! islandbluebird.wordpress.com
I knew this was a London house from the first picture before I even read the first words…so distinctly London, I love it.
Oh my — such a pretty house and lovely family!
Love this home :). Love the tidbit about your boys and their late night chats; I have two boys 14 months apart, and I can hear them in their room, laughing and whispering WAY past bedtime :).
My favorite among favorites – so warm, clean, inviting, unique, playful. Love your aesthetic! Love this series!
this has been my favorite LWK to date! thank you!
This is an absolutely beautiful home, I hate the fact it’s not mine!
This is the epitome of what a house could look like or should look like with children. It’s absolutely gorgeous. How I would love that fireplace in my room and that kitchen with those skylights- so good.
Your house is gorgeous! I really enjoyed all of your artwork and how the bright colors play off of the light walls. Might I ask…where did you get the horse throw pillow and, especially, the large vertical, city-scene, orange print in the room with the 5 small prints and fireplace? I’m in love with both pieces! Thank you!!!
Thank you for the lovely compliments about my home.
The horse pillow comes from Cheeky Monkey Home: http://www.cheekymonkeyhome.com/
The tall vertical print is by Sanna Annuka. I love her prints: http://www.sanna-annukka.com
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