Living With Kids: Hannah Carpenter

[ Note from Design Mom: This tour was originally published in June of 2014, and is a reader favorite. If you get a chance you should definitely check in with Hannah Carpenter on Instagram — so fun to see how this darling family has grown! ]

When I put together a Living With Kids tour, I try to mix in at least one photo of the family – or just one small member of it who happens to be running through a gorgeous glimpse of a room! But never have I posted a home tour where every photo includes a family living in it. This week is different, then. And instead of distracting from the interiors and bright ideas, the Carpenters added something decidedly sweet to our peek. The home came alive. You’ll see. (And you’ll also probably laugh out loud when you read Hannah’s response to when her home works best!)

Welcome, Carpenter family!

Q: Please tell us all about this adorable family.

A: We are the Carpenters. My husband, Heath, is a writer, college English professor, and is currently getting his doctorate in Heritage Studies. His most loved authors range from the greats like NT Wright and William Faulkner to the equally great Andre 3000 and Johnny Cash. Needless to say, Heath has diverse interests…which keeps things fresh around here.

I am a freelance illustrator and, like many moms, I enjoy blogging. Between my illustration work, blogging, and homeschooling our kids, I have a full plate and a full life. Heath and I spend our lives learning the balance; the balance of home and work, of family and friends, necessity and want, of us and others, and the ultimate balance of the secular and the spiritual. We’re a good team, Heath and I.

We have four kids: Tristin (11), Silas (seven), Enid (five), and Tom (almost two). Tristin is your classic first child, responsible to a fault. She is a second mother to my other children. She loves Anne of Green Gables, Harry Potter, and manatees.

Silas is my creative child. While he can’t focus on a task like cleaning his room for longer than, oh, 30 seconds, he can sit and draw for hours. His little brain is always creating, and he can make up a killer joke:  “Why wouldn’t the wheel turn at night? It was notturnal.”

Enid is emotional and excitable and skips everywhere she goes, even from one room to the next in our little home. She loves koalas and sucking her thumb and has the power to simultaneously make you feel like the best person ever and the worst.

Tom. Oh, Tom. Tom has rocked our world. He is unlike any of the others: busy, destructive, fearless, needy, and just sweet enough that we love him anyway. We all live together in a little home in a little city just north of Little Rock.

Q: How did you end up in this home?

A: When we bought this house, we had just had our third child and were moving from a 1000 square foot condo. So moving into 1900 square feet seemed quite luxurious. Another child later, and the other kids getting bigger, these 1900 square feet are feeling smaller and smaller. Having said that, I LOVE my house. I really do.

It’s an older home, which offers character and charm, and is located among other homes that were lived in from the 1920s through the 50s by some of the leaders of our little town of Searcy, Arkansas. Before we bought our house, it suffered a fire. A local builder bought it and, while preserving the character of the home, updated and revamped it.

Because Heath and I are NOT fixer-uppers, happening upon an older home that had been updated was the perfect match for us. I only wish we could have gotten involved before certain aesthetic choices were made. There are little cosmetic things that I despise, like wall colors, tiles, and light fixtures, and if I had the time, energy, and/or money, I could change them. But for now, I am making the best of the dreadful khaki walls and am trying to focus on what goes on within these walls rather than the aesthetic perfection of each space.

Having said that, I certainly care about how my house looks and feels. We are here a LOT of the time, after all. And we aren’t wealthy, so it’s kind of a game, creating a cozy home with nickels and dimes. Most of the furniture in our house is hand-me-down or thrifted. And I like that. At least this way, when Tom takes a Sharpie to the couch, I don’t feel too sad about it.

Do I dream of painting our walls and buying new furniture or redoing our bathrooms? Of course. And do I dream of a larger space with bigger closets? Uh, yeah. Our house was built in the 1950s. It has two living areas, one of which we are using as a master bedroom, and while it’s cool to have a fireplace in our bedroom (albeit not functioning), there is no closet. But again, it’s kind of a game, moving things around, trying to decide where you’ll put your clothes or one of your kids, even.

Q: What do you love about where you live? Conversely, what do you wish could be a little different?

A: I have lived in Arkansas all my life, and every hot and humid July I declare I won’t spend another summer here. But, alas, here I am, once again looking at summer quickly approaching. While the summers are miserable, the springs and falls make up for it. I swear I could accomplish anything during an Arkansas spring.

We live in Searcy which is 45 minutes from Little Rock. Searcy is an interesting place. There is a church on every corner, literally, and the county is dry. Think Mayberry with a Chick-Fil-A. Our house is located in the oldest portion of Searcy, just down the road from the pre-Civil War era courthouse and a century old drug store, in which you can buy a bottled coke and get a prescription filled, billing both to your account because they know you. There’s a local dinner theater downtown where you will see friends and coworkers, doctors and judges, children and people of all ages, all acting together, putting on shows, applauding one another.  Also downtown is The Rialto Theater, built in 1923, where you can see a movie for $2. It functions daily, and while it is in dire need of repair, it’s pretty cool that it’s still kicking.

My family and I can walk to the county fair parade which happens once a year around the court square. And what a parade it is! I can’t help but find it endearing: school bands, peewee football teams, monster trucks, beauty queens, and candy thrown at over-eager kids. It’s kind of the quintessential southern small-town American experience.

Now, there’s not much to do in Searcy. There’s nowhere to take your kids for an outing (except Chick-Fil-A) which makes homeschooling frustrating. And for people like Heath and myself, people who love to be pushed and inspired, Searcy can be a tough place to exist. But, like the summers, the bad is overshadowed by the good. Heath and I grew up in Searcy. We’ve known each other since we were kids. It’s pretty cool to share so much history with your spouse, and we take that for granted sometimes – the fact we have each known the same people through the years. Our parents are in Searcy. My sister and her family are in Searcy. Heath’s job is in Searcy, and because it is a college town, there are some perks here that other small towns might not have: renowned speakers, musicians, orchestras, and the like.

And even though we homeschool now, the public schools here are great. Tristin attended the public schools and had a very positive experience. Not to mention, our house is less than a mile from an elementary school, the middle school, the junior high, and the high school. If we decided to put the kids back in school, it would be an understatement to say we would have a short commute.

Another perk of living in small town Arkansas is I can stay home with my kids. If we lived in a bigger, more expensive city, I couldn’t illustrate part time. I would have to work a full-time job for sure. It’s cheap here. It’s safe. It’s Mayberryish.

If we had the opportunity to live somewhere more exciting, would we? Eh, maybe (probably), if I could take our parents and other family along. But I am a firm believer that happiness and contentment come from within. We can be and will be happy with or without a Target. The good, the love, and the support that gleam from Searcy’s citizens certainly help make up for Searcy’s deficits. And, we’re close to Little Rock. I truly love Little Rock. There are some cool people there doing some cool things; diverse food, eclectic art, talented local music – a vibrant culture and community.  Arkansas, as a whole, is worth knowing.

Q: You’re a blogger and part-time illustrator! Tell us about your work, and what it adds to your daily life and schedule.

A: I have been a freelance illustrator for the last decade and some. I’ve worked with ad agencies and magazines and businesses – locally, regionally, and nationally – but am most excited about my most recent illustrating venture. It’s called Little-Biscuits Printable Portraits. I create illustrated portraits of kids and pets that can be printed from home (or professionally). The portraits come with several fun printable templates like bookplates, party invitations, gift tags, and even paper dolls, each template incorporating the portrait. It’s exciting! And fun! And busy.

I love to blog, like a lot of moms, but finding the time to blog, illustrate, and homeschool is difficult and sometimes impossible. There don’t seem to be enough hours in the day for me to do all the things I want to do. I’m also working of a blogging project focused on Arkansas which I’m excited about. That is in the works and will hopefully happen soon, but, in the mean time, something has to be neglected, and let’s be honest, it’s usually the laundry.  Oh the laundry!

Q: How has the internet friendships and connections you’ve made changed your lifestyle? For example, are you inspired by other bloggers or sites in your day to day life with your kids? Tell us about your screen time rules for your family.

A: I am so thankful for the internet! In fact, it irritates me when people dog the internet and blogging. While there are obvious down sides to the internet, you can’t disregard the positive outlet the internet can provide, especially for those of us living in a small town and working from home. Being a creative person, I crave inspiration. Always have. The internet and blogging and Instagramming allow me to connect with people all over the world: to share, to inspire, to be creative and, as contrary to perception as this may be, to connect with people. People like me. I have online friends! Good friends I’ve never met face to face. And, yes, that is possible.

My kids are just starting to get to the age when the internet and an online presence is appealing to them. While I want my kids to enjoy the internet and all it has to offer, I obviously can’t set them loose to peruse the web for endless hours throughout the day. What has worked for us, as far as limiting their screen time, is an app called Chore Monster. I love Chore Monster. It’s an app that let’s you create a chore list for your kids. They earn points for each chore, and you have to earn a certain number of points to obtain a reward. Oh, and they can spin to win monsters. It’s really cool.

So for us, if Silas gets enough points and does his chores, he can have 30 minutes on the iPad. Now, we’ve sort of fallen off the Chore Monster wagon as of late, but we’re working to get back on. I should probably work on limiting my own screen time, but that’s tough when your online presence is so closely linked to your work.

Q: How intentional are you in making sure each space in your home works for your entire family? Any house rules or areas specifically set up for a certain activity?

A: I’m often thinking about what will and won’t work for our family in our house. What will survive Tom?  Can Tom pull the bookshelf off the wall? Should I put a rug under the dining room table? (Of course, the answer to that is no because it would be disgusting.) Will that antique mirror fall off the wall onto my kid’s head if I hang it over their bed? Where can I store Tom’s toys that will be out of the way and still look attractive?  Can I have white walls or will they be covered in little hand prints? Where can I store all the homeschool stuff without my home looking like a classroom?

I don’t even know how to make design choices in this house without considering if it will work for the entire family. We’re a family. We have a smallish house. We’re together a lot. I want my kids to feel comfortable, while at the same time, respecting what we have. Most things we have are old, so they have learned not to jump on the furniture or it will break. They know that certain drawers require a special gentle touch to open or WD40.

And as for house rules or areas specifically set up for a certain activity, our dining room, my room, and our itty bitty kitchen are where the kids think all the “good” stuff happens. It seems my kids want to be with me at all times of the day, and while it’s really sweet, and I cherish all the jumping on my bed and dancing on my bed and snuggling on my bed, I have been known to say the words, “No one is allowed in my room unless you’re invited!” (Typically in an elevated tone.) Or, “Go play on the other end of the house!”

I like my personal space. I don’t like people in my business, which, as you can imagine, is hilarious considering I don’t go to the bathroom alone. Having said that, some of my happiest mothering memories will include uncontrollable laughter, pillow fights, and dance parties, all held in my room, on my bed, in my personal space.

Q: When does your home work best?

A: My home works best when Tom is asleep.


Q: What memories do you hope with all your heart that your kids take from this home and from their childhoods? What do you hope they remember specifically about the kind of mom you’re trying to be for them?

A: When I talked with my friend Cassie about coming to our home and taking pictures, I really wanted to portray our life as it is at its best. I wanted to show the happiness that exists within these walls. It’s not always happy. And it’s not always (ever) clean, but I want to remember the happiness. I hope my kids will remember our family, our home, and their childhoods exactly how these photos portray them. These photos will forever be how I remember this time of our lives. The good will overshadow the bad.

Q: What has been your favorite part of living with your own kids? What has surprised you the most about being a mom? What do you already miss as they get older?

A: I enjoy seeing my kids’ relationships with one another form and grow. I love when Enid tells on Silas for something and then begs for me to show him mercy. I love when Tom reaches for Tristin when he gets hurt. I love that nine out of 10 nights, the older three sleep in the same room.

What has surprised me the most about being a mom is how hard it is! It is CRAZY HARD! I had no idea. There is no room for selfishness, that is for sure.

You know, kids are exhausting. They require a lot of work, but they are so cool. I wish I could be as cool as most kids I meet. Kids have this quality that only exists in childhood – a joy, an optimism, a confidence, a genius that we lose as we age. I love their carefree disposition. I love the crazy outfits Enid wants to wear and with such confidence! It makes me sad when I see that start to fade as they get older. I’m gonna miss that for sure.

Q: Please finish the sentence: I wish someone had told me…

A: I wish someone had told me not to be afraid. I feel like I come at parenting from a very fearful place, and I hate that. I want my kids to be brave and strong and daring and always on the lookout for a challenge. I want them to travel and learn, to push themselves and live without fear. Fear is such a crippling thing, and when it starts to creep in, I start to become a bad parent, a bad friend, a bad person.

It’s a spiritual strength to be brave…one I crave and am continually working toward.

–-

You laughed, didn’t you? Oh, Tom! Hannah, thank you so much for the tour and introduction to Searcy. It sounds like a pretty nice place to raise a family.

Friends, what is your approach to parenting? Is it fear-based, too? How do you overcome your natural worry and panic? I know there’s so many of us in the same mindset, so words of wisdom are really welcome!

P.S. – Are you interested in sharing your own home with us? Just send me a note! It’s a lot of fun…I promise! Take a peek at all the homes in my Living With Kids series here.


Photos by Cassie Jones.

92 thoughts on “Living With Kids: Hannah Carpenter”

  1. I haven’t had a chance to read the entire article, as my kids are crazy, but I glanced through the pictures and will go back to read the rest later (I LOVE these posts!).

    I did manage to catch the ‘my house works best when Tom is asleep’ and LAUGHED OUT LOUD. Because, yes.

  2. My home certainly works best when my 2 year old Violet is asleep! And my favorite pic is Enid in her room. As much as I love these tours I have to remind myself that the homes are lived in and rarely looks as neat & tidy as they do in the photos so THANK YOU! Your home is beautiful as is your family!

      1. Ha! I thought the name was so sweet & gentle but turns out I don’t have a shrinking Violet at all (of which I’m grateful) rather we call her Voracious V! Good luck with your delicate flower!

  3. Oh, this made me laugh. I have three kids and the youngest, Ben, just turned two. You have described him perfectly when you described your Tom. I do sometimes wonder if we will all survive him. Anyway, your house is very cute, your family is adorable, and your general outlook on things is very inspiring. Great interview!

  4. I loved this tour, especially because all of the photos included the family members enjoying each other or the space they live in. I hope we see more tours including the family members!

  5. Oh, this was just…perfect.
    It was exactly the inspiration I needed today to “keep on keepin’ on” with parenting, and creating, and life. Also, it made me excited to have four kids (we have three now, with plans for a fourth). :)
    Thank you so much Hannah (and Gabrielle!) for sharing!

  6. Thanks for this sweet portrait of your life & home, Hannah. I always enjoy homes that seem down-to-earth because, well, that’s my life too right now with small children. This was so nice to read.

    1. Wow! How sweet, Lynne! And I love the photos, too;) They will always be treasured for sure. My dear friend Cassie Jones knows how to pull at your heart strings with her photos.

  7. We could have retired anywhere and chose Arkansas! Hannah is so right about it is a place worth knowing! I had a Tom with one of my three kids. Spoiler Alert: Everyone lives…

  8. What a great tour! I am crazy jealous of your sketched family portrait.
    I also love the tent over the bunk bed. What a great way to create a little private area. Very cute!

  9. Oh, Tom! Everyone needs some Tom in their life…

    Arkansas rocks! My parents bought a lakehouse there and we look forward to our week-long visit all year. My husband and I always schedule an overnight to Little Rock – it’s a cool little city!

    And Searcy! When I did my study abroad in London, there were two brothers from Searcy in my program. I grilled them constantly about life in their little town – I was fascinated! I’ve always thought it sounded like a Eudora Welty story – this post adds to the romance.

  10. This is my favorite house tour of all of them. Thank you for showing a real lived in home complete with pictures of how the family lives in it. This is the kind of house tour that I need!

  11. Hands down, my favorite house tour ever! As a mama of three little ones (and a little girl who seems a lot like Tom), I simultaneously feel at home and inspired by this family and home. Her illustrations are fantastic, too!

  12. I vote more family members in the pictures! And messes! And things that aren’t perfect in our minds but look perfect to the rest of the world.

  13. What a lovely family and home. I completely agree about the whole fear thing. I come from an extremely fear filled family and, in my opinion, it is just so crippling and negative.

  14. I love this house and how they’ve made it look modern while retaining that vintage feel. I live in a home from the fifties too and love knowing that another family lived and loved here. Such a great feeling!

  15. Great tour Hannah! My husband and I went to Harding, were english and art majors, and now live in North Little Rock. Even though we are close, there is no place like Searcy. I find myself missing it, especially in the fall! Thanks for sharing your family and space!

  16. Here’s my very simple, old fashioned, comedic philosophy on the fear thing. Moms are built to make sure all the birds stay in the nest and don’t fall out and break their necks. When someone is 15 minutes late coming home we just naturally seem to go immediately to “I know they are dead on the side of the road somewhere!!!!” and then we work out way back towards more rational possibilities like “there might be traffic” or “practice got out late”, or “flat tire.” It doesn’t just extend to children either – I laugh at home many girlfriends I have who will admit to checking at night to make sure their husband is still breathing. Anyway, it seems like Dads are there to push the kids out of the nest and give them scary adventure at the appropriate time, even if they might break their necks, because they have to leave us and live their own life. If Mama’s hearts had their way we’d be trying to diaper and bottle feed 45 year old sons and daughters for fear they might starve to death or not be able to find a bathroom on their own. Haha. And of course roles between parents are always very flexible and the pushing and holding on tightly role switches back and forth and there are many different kinds of families today. All that love is a good thing, but as parents we all suspect that on some level that fear has to be kept in moderation to keep from complete absurdity! lol. But there will always be those days when it feels like it will kills us to let them take steps away from us.

    PS: Hannah, thank you for saying out loud that sometimes moms have to go to their bedrooms & just be away from everyone for a few minutes. It’s a self-care must but it seems hard to admit that sometimes we just need a few minutes of no one touching or talking to us even when we love these people to the depths of our souls. :)

  17. My favorite home tour yet! Hannah is very cool, grounded and real. I love her quote about not living in the ideal house/location: she is right, contentment does come from within, not where you live. I wish we were neighbors!

  18. I love this home tour! The best aspect of it is how honest and real Hannah is in all of her answers. I totally get the fear parenting, the need to be alone and have private space, the want of quietness when a certain child is asleep, the things we wish for in our imperfect homes. It’s all great and I totally feel it. It’s so true, parenting is really hard. It’s hard to get over the fear-based parenting. My husband is really working on me with that one. He’s always telling me to relax and not to worry and I’ve definitely gotten better. Without that fear, I have more fun with my kids. It works! Thank you for this! I so enjoyed reading about Hannah’s wonderfully imperfect life!

  19. I love this very real house tour! So refreshing. I’d love to know if Hannah sells family portrait illustrations like the one of her family in the top photo. It’s spectacular! I saw the individual portraits on her website but wondered about the family one.

  20. Oh what a lovely home and family. My son sounds very similar to Tom, our house works best when he is sleeping too ( that’s not very often!) Your home looks like such a fun and happy place to grow up. Thank you for sharing it was a lovely read.

  21. This was a fantastic home tour! I’m pregnant with our first (after 10 years of trying) and this post gets me so excited to watch how our family grows and lives together now that we’re finally adding a child to the mix! We have a 1,200 sq. ft. home built in 1940, and I wonder if it will become too small as our daughter grows. I hope not. I prefer smaller spaces. 1,900 sq. ft. isn’t tiny, but I can see the challenge of having 6 people live there. Still, your home is so warm and delightful, Hannah!

    1. Thank you, Alisha, for your kind words! I like small homes, too. It just takes more effort to keep things minimal, which I still haven’t mastered. Stuff seems to accumulate.

  22. Did you do the sketch of your family, Hannah? It is lovely!! I checked in your shop and didn’t see anything like it. Let me know?

  23. What a lovely house tour. I loved everything about it – very inspiring. Hannah’s words about enjoying her kids relationships with each other were so moving.
    Curious about homeschooling – we are considering embarking on it – our older one just finished first grade, middle is about to start kindergarden, and the baby (Thom!) , but don’t know where to start. Any advice? Especially while managing freelance work and life with three little ones?

    1. Jules, I’ve tried to reply to this comment several time swith no luck! For some reason my comments wouldn’t publish?? I would be so happy to talk to you about homeschooling if you want to email me, but be forewarned, I am NOT the best homeschooler! I will offer what little advice I might have though. I’ve done a couple of posts on my blog about it, if you’re interested. A good place to start since your kids are young is the Core Knowledge Series. http://amzn.to/1vKf95w

  24. Hannah! I loved your tour! I can relate to ‘making do’ – putting up with the beige walls, the hand me down furniture and not quite enough space! Also your talk of fearful mothering – and wanting your bed not to be bounced upon quite so often! Thanks and good luck with your exciting business!

  25. Of all the Living With Kids series, this has been my favourite – so happy, and real and truthful about family life! Your house is great but more important, you all look great in it! Thank you for your lovely answers. x

  26. lovely home tour…loved seeing the family IN the space. And, I know she hates her khaki walls, but they do look lovely in the photos.

  27. This really does seem like a home that is far more about the people than just walls and furniture. What I see is the love of a family.
    Hannah your family is beautiful all the more so for your honesty. Oh how this feels like my life at times – wishing for a few minutes to myself, and a clean load of laundry packed away. And Tom .. just like my little boy. It’s constant chaos around here. If you lived closer I’d love to have you over for a coffee.
    All the best, xx.

  28. I always look forward to the home tours but sometimes they make me feel disheartened about our own un-ideal flat. But this one made me so happy. Not just the happy pics, but your honesty living with colours that aren’t right, for example. I can get so caught up in planning and dreaming about how our house would be if I had time and money to spare, this is a reminder that to focus on the family we’re growing here, and make the most of the ways our home suits us rather than the ways it frustrates me. Thanks!

  29. Definitely one of my favorites too!
    Thankyou for sharing your family and life with us Hannah, it all seems so truly wonderful and very happy!
    I’m struggling to keep it all together with just one 2 year old, so I took such inspiration from this – thank you!

  30. Best. home. tour. ever. I have read every single one of the “Living With Kids” tours and this is, hands down, my favorite. Hannah!! You are such a gem! I love what you wrote, how you expressed your feelings about parenting, how you have created a place where your family’s souls can just BE, and it’s OK (especially when Tom’s asleep:))
    I love what you wrote about living without fear–it has its purposes when fear spurs action and change, but sitting, nagging fear is SO crippling, and for me it is a daily practice to remember to live with optimism and gratitude instead of trepidation and second guesses. Thanks for sharing your home and family with us, Hannah.

    1. Nora, Nora, Nora!!! Thank you! When Gabrielle sent me the questions for this tour I didn’t know where to begin. So I’m thrilled, to say the least, that you actually got something out of it! And the fear thing is probably my biggest obstacle as a parent.

  31. Loved this tour…felt like the first one that was REAL! Actually looks like children live in the house. Thank you for sharing.

  32. I related to this so much! We live in a smaller town 45 minutes outside of Atlanta. It’s not as charming as your’s sounds, and we don’t have family nearby, but I love how it feels safe and secluded, but isn’t too far from the more interesting things Atlanta offers. I also have 4 kids and am homeschooling. Our house is a little smaller than yours and I’m trying to “own it” on a nickels and dimes budget (though yours has a lot of charm that my cookie cutter lacks). If we ever need to find a change of scenery, maybe we should check out the Little Rock areas. Your home and family are beautiful. Thanks for sharing them with us!

    1. Oh my, the small town. Only other people who have lived in small towns can fully relate to the plight. It’s wonderful! It’s terrible! You take the good with the bad, no? And, yes, Little Rock. It’s a good place for sure. Big enough to offer stuff to do, but small enough that you don’t loose a sense of community. Thanks for reading! And for commenting!

  33. I loved everything about this article. We have also chosen to live in a smaller town, and it’s hard, but I can raise my kids without Target! That made me laugh because I moan that often to my husband. And I don’t think I could ever have thrived being at home if I didn’t have the internet. Just really lovely, lovely home and family. Thank you for sharing!

  34. This is one of THE BEST ‘living with kids’ tours and interviews I’ve read on Design Mom! (and they’re always fab!) Just loved every word. Adore the house, the lifestyle, her thoughts, which really helped me. I come from a position of fear based parenting as well, and I have to struggle against and through it every day.

  35. One of the best yet! I love that the house looks lived in and not totally styled just so for the pictures. Happy family, happy home. Love it. Also appreciated the comments about fear. I’m sure something a lot of us can relate to.

  36. What a fun article about a fun family!
    I grew up in Arkansas, and thanks for bringing me back to the vision of small Mayberry like towns that exist there. I will be visiting Arkansas again in July and I totally get your feelings about the heat! But when I am there, I enjoy the fresh air and the outdoor beauty of the Ozark Mountains which is like no other place in the world to me. Have you visited Blanchard Springs Caverns in Mt. View? It is a great place to take kids.
    My mom just finished having some medical treatments in Searcy, so we are familiar with your area. Sounds like you are truly enjoying family life there!

    1. We don’t always enjoy everything about Searcy, but it forces us to focus on what’s most important. And we have to be creative to create fun for ourselves, which can be a good thing.
      You know, I can’t believe this, but I have not been to Blanchard Springs! I’m putting it on our Arkansas to-dos!

  37. This is my favorite line. “But for now, I am making the best of the dreadful khaki walls and am trying to focus on what goes on within these walls rather than the aesthetic perfection of each space.”

    That really stuck out to me and hit me between the eyes. I have a junior, sophomore and 5th grader. I know what they’ll remember when they’re older is what happened within our walls, rather than what it looked like. Thank you for the reminder. I love your family and your home! :)

    1. You know, sometimes I get caught up in what the house looks like, and then our relationships seem to suffer because of it. My mom never let the way our house looked interfere with time she could spend with us. She was never afraid to make a mess or enjoy the house. I’m not as great at that as she, but I at least had a good example.

      Thanks so much for the sweet comment! And good luck with those kids!

  38. I loved this tour, too. I agree with so many comments above but wanted to also mention: Hannah looks so much like Zooey Deschanel! (And I mean that in the highest of compliments; both ladies are lovely!)

    Thanks for sharing your fun home and beautiful family.

  39. Real* was the word that came to mind and inspiring for all those of us who create cozy spaces on a “nickels and dimes” budget as well. And happy and beautiful too.

  40. Pingback: What makes a name a name? – Baby Name Blog - Nameberry

  41. What a fun surprise to see someone from Arkansas featured in LWK. I met Hannah in a fashion show years ago…so beautiful then, but more now, I think, seeing these photos. Glad to know the years in between have been sweet.

  42. Hands-down my favorite home tour to date! Not because of the design (though I do love it too), but because the soul of the family comes through in every image and every answer.

  43. Hannah!! Ohh man I loved this post, loved this home, love your honest, funny, authentic voice, and totally relate to so much you say! About whether or not to hang the antique mirror above the bed, and your thoughts on the social media and community, you are so my sister! Thanks so much!

    1. Elena, I welcome new sisters with open arms! It’s nice when we realize we’re all pretty similar in our thoughts and concerns. Gives us validation, no? Thank you very much for reading and for leaving such a sweet comment!!

  44. Felicia Patten

    If you know this family, count yourself blessed! They are gems!!! So full of life. Love you Carpenters! Great post!! And pictures :)

  45. I think this is the best post I’ve seen of this series! The pictures actually show the family LIVING with kids. It’s not all staged vignettes of super tidy rooms. More like this please.

  46. Love the your blog but when I clicked on the blog link in this post I ended up with a nasty malware that took me hours to clear! Just thought I would let you know.

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