No matter where Jenifer Altman lives, whether in the Midwest, Brooklyn, or her newest home in Asheville, you can be sure her space will be photograph-worthy. Good thing for us she’s a brilliant photographer! But that’s just the tip of her professional iceberg; she’s also a sublime cook who shares her skills with gusto, a writer whose words rival the beauty found in her Polaroids, a wife to Den, and the mother of three little ladies who seem to be grooving happily in her creative footsteps (Exhibits A and A, if you please.).
Also, as you’ll discover in about three seconds, she’s an inspired interior decorator deep down who’s found the formula to creating an acutely artistic yet entirely livable home. Enjoy this first peek at Jen’s newest space! It’s a beauty.
Q: You’ve experienced a few major and emotional moves within the last few years, but you seem to get your house in stunning order almost right away. Is that a conscious, deliberate act to help you all feel settled?
A: We have had some major moves lately! And I’m not sure we’re done, but we are for a least another year or so. And yes, it is very important to me to have a space that makes me feel settled. Rooms do not necessarily have to be finished, but there has to be a sense of order; the walls need to be painted and artwork hung. My undergrad work was in Interior Design which really helped me hone my aesthetic, and I just really know what I love at this point. I know what works for the way we live, and what is just not feasible.
Q: What’s the first thing you do when you move into a new space?
A: In this home, we painted first. Well, we actually stripped layers and layers of wallpaper first! The interior had not had any updating since the mid-80s, and I really loved the all white walls we had in our apartment in Brooklyn. I wanted to keep that clean, open look in this house.
When you first walk in, there is a huge space with parquet floors and a cathedral ceiling; it’s our sitting room and dining room and those white walls covered in art are such a lovely and welcoming way to enter the house. We also set up the girls’ rooms; we want them to feel comfortable and settled as soon as possible. Our girls are pretty resilient and adventurous little things — always asking about the next trip — but they also know that space is sacred.
Q: Does each home dictate a certain theme or emphasis? Your first home we saw was soft and dreamy. Your New York space was bold. And this space seems so airy and light, almost like it has wings.
A: Maybe it’s being a photographer, but I feel like the biggest differences in these spaces is the light, and that obviously lends itself to a host of things. Our home in the Midwest was a 1927 Dutch Colonial and the lot was surrounded with trees. We painted most of the rooms varying shades of greys; I think the combination of that dappled light and soft colors made it a bit dreamy. Our home in Brooklyn only had three windows and two French doors; it’s the main reason we kept the walls white, trying to keep it as bright as possible. And I remember as a design student being completely enthralled with artists’ spaces in NYC with art covering every inch of the wall. I wanted that in this space.
This home is by far the largest we’ve lived in, and that alone can really change the feel of a space. I found it pretty intimidating at first to not necessarily fill the space, but to create a feeling that the space was full. I think if you asked our friends and family, the overall “feel” of all our homes has been the same: we define that with our presence and our love. If anything has changed, I think that it’s the subtle infusion of colors since the girls were born.
Q: Do you have a short list of objects that always move with you and are unpacked first?
A: Art, cameras, certain books, Starck Ghost Chairs, Kartell Bourgie Lamp, and my Kitchen Aid mixer!
Q: What’s your favorite space in this home?
A: Really everywhere. I want to feel at home and happy in every space in our home, so I did my best to infuse each space with love. We have yet to get to our home office space, but I feel at home even in our guest room! I do love sitting in our pickled wood living room in front of the fire and watching football, though — a simple, but true pleasure.
Q: When does your home work best? How would your girls and husband answer?
A: I love a beautiful space — but with three children, it must also be highly functional. There is a place for everything and I get kind of crazy trying to keep it that way, but I’d much rather be a little crazy trying to keep it orderly than a lot crazy living in chaos!
I think Den loves the fact the property has a work shed in the back he can escape to when needed. My seven-year old loves having her own room, and her two little sisters — who are just 14 months apart and who are connected at the hip — love having their own space as well.
My apologies for the photo overload, Friends; I simply couldn’t cut even one of the photos she sent! An extra-special thanks to Jen for reinforcing my love of creating beautiful spaces in which to fill with equally stunning memories, no matter how far or how often you roam. I’m with you! Also, don’t you admire how Jen’s turned every space in her home into a favorite? It’s a good design goal, as well as a solid organizational and happiness-inducing endeavor. Isn’t there always one room we neglect? What’s yours? Perhaps it’s time to show it some love!
P.S. — If you’d like to share your home with us in my Living With Kids series, drop me a note. I’d love to hear from you!
35 thoughts on “Living With Kids: Jenifer Altman”
“I’d much rather be a little crazy trying to keep it orderly than a lot crazy living in chaos” – Love that quote!
OMG this one has to be one of my favorite features you’ve collected. i love her sense of style. simply, family friendly and yet sophisticated enough to inspire.
This home is gorgeous!! I’ve been following her work for a while, her house is as beautiful. Can’t imagine how do you move all those little details from one city to another! but they are what brings real life to the place, congrats for a great post again!
I have been huge fan of Jen Altman for a while, stalking her home tours and blog. She is truly an inspiration, reminding me my home does not have to look like all the magazines. She nails it every time…beautiful, cozy, lived in homes.
I wish I could be a child growing up in that home! What an elegant, magical, and WARM setting for the tragedies, comedies, and adventures of childhood. Thanks for sharing these!
‘Rooms do not necessarily have to be finished, but there has to be a sense of order; the walls need to be painted and artwork hung.’
I love that. Such great advice for anyone who moves a lot. Or I guess, now that I think about it, anyone who moves at all.
Your home looks beautiful and put together, but comfortable and welcoming as well.
Oh, these Living With Kids things always crack me up. It was a dream of mine to live this elegantly BEFORE kids. Though always inspiring, I fear I am beyond hope now.
Beautiful home… can you please find out where she found the cable wire picture holder that is in the picture with the lavender walls? I am searching high and low for this and coming up empty. Thank you, Rossana
I think what they are using is something similar to this: http://www.ikea.com/us/en/search/?query=DIGNITET at IKEA.
Here is a picture of it in use from Ohdeedoh: http://www.ohdeedoh.com/ohdeedoh/inspiration/hang-kids-art-on-a-curtain-rod-092852
Rossana, I have seen the cable picture holders at ikea.
Love her sense of style. My husband and I are going for a similar look and the photos are giving me tons of ideas!
Beautiful! I love the breakfast nook chairs…
I’m absolutely in love the hanging light over the dinning room table. Has anyone seen anything like that anywhere?
I believe it’s from ikea
can I move in right now? I love homes that are decorated with style, look modern, but that are obviously also lived in. This is beautiful!
Jen is such an inspiration!❤
does anyone know where that white bottle on the table is from? the one that looks like a milk bottle.
thanks for all the love and thank you to gabrielle for asking me to be a part of this series!
and yes! the wires are from ikea – so is the lamp over the dining room table.
and the milk bottle is from target! ;)
I’d also like to move in
I love this series! I feel like tearing up my house today after seeing Jen’s house (i mean that as a compliment). So inspired.
I lovee that you have a wall you can write on. Spectacular.
These modern chandeliers are also very beautiful
what a wonderful home. full of life and creative energy! love this series :)
Hi! Love the homely feel of this house. I was wondering where I can find te wire and clips to hang artwork on the wall like a washing line shown in one of the pics?
Seriously love it! Beautiful homes with beautiful girls.Can you please tell me the name (or brand) of the plastic tower toy with the little white marbles that sits on the white shelf in the kid’s room? My brother and I used to have one (from early 70s) and it was one of those things that I loved to touch and play with. Even when I was wayyy past the right age ;) I gave it to a cousin who had a baby but sadly she gave it all away. I think about it often for my own girls. Have any idea where I could find one?
Misfits in a frame!!!
I wish my place looked half that good! With kids design gets thrown out the window…and practicality is what happens. Glad to see she has incorporated both! LOVE the big chalk board wall!
I love that every room has a comfortable spot to plunk down cozily with a book. And I love the dining room table centerpiece, the cross-stitch sampler mixed in with Audrey Hepburn (so cool!), the braided rugs–it’s all so warm and inspirational. But what I love most is that you can tell actual children live here. :-)
This is my favorite of all her homes so far. So serene, cozy yet stylish at the same time!
I’m dying for the chrome chairs in the first picture. Anybody know what they are/ where I can find them?
“There is a place for everything and I get kind of crazy trying to keep it that way, but I’d much rather be a little crazy trying to keep it orderly than a lot crazy living in chaos!”
That really says it all about her homes. Wonderful tour, TFS!
I’ve enjoyed all the tours, but I do especially love this one – because there’s stuff! I like a lived-in look, not museum, and I think everything here is so beautifully arranged and homey. It just makes me smile!
Jen is such an inspiring person, in every way. <3 Wonderful piece on a wonderful woman!
Asheville is lovely but, oy, it ain’t Brooklyn.
Jen – Where did you get your table? Love it!