One thing I love about taking a peek inside Megan’s house is that she included pictures from throughout the year. So in some we catch a glimpse of July 4th decor, and in others the space is dressed for the fall. (No matter what the season, her decor is lovely.)
Megan and her family (including 5 kids and lots of pets!) live a bit off the beaten path on some wide open (enviable) acres. And her home is filled with interesting pieces she curated and now sells in her own antique shop. I think you’ll love getting to look around. Welcome, Megan!
We met in college in Florida. A Canadian from as far north as you can get in the Yukon Territory, and a redhead girl from Montana. We fell in love, got hitched and currently have a houseful — or I should say a “farmhouse full”? ; ) Five kids, 2 fluffy white Samoyed dogs, 2 cats, 10 chickens, a hamster, guinea pig and a hermit crab named Bill!
My husband is a really smart fella, Not only for marrying me, but also because he has worked his way up in our local credit union and works as the VP of risk management after 10 years there. I homeschooled my kids for the last 10 years, and worked around them doing network marketing, as well as hosting open houses to share my love of vintage finds and re-purposed home goods.
In May 2018 a long held dream came to be and I was able to open my very own little storefront shop in my hometown. It’s called Mae & June Vintage Market. It’s a dream come true — though there are lots of ups and downs you can’t cover in a short interview.
I feel absolutely blessed to be exactly where I am in my life.
I’m the lucky girl that gets to live in her hometown. We built our house three years ago. The home we were living in before actually had more square footage, but the layout wasn’t functional for our family of seven. So after doing a little number crunching and research, we realized we could purchase land and build a home for the same price as the home we were living in.
Since I grew up with one, I had always been on the lookout a property with a creek. So when a beautiful 10 acre meadow, with old growth cottonwood trees and a creek running through it, popped on the market, I knew in my heart of hearts that’s where I wanted my family to be.
We purchased the land for $125k, and got to work drafting up all the little nooks and crannies I’d been saving on my Pinterest boards for years. It was definitely a process (as all building projects can be), but I still pinch myself pulling into the driveway, and whisper thanks to God for his goodness that we get to enjoy this place that we affectionately dubbed Cottonwood Creek Farm.
Something we added to the house when we built it, that was really fun: We hid a time capsule under the stairs, actually built-in behind a wall with no access. In it, we have the blueprints of our house, pictures of our family, a DVD of Jurassic World (because that came out in 2016 when the house was built) an old phone with charger, a handwritten letter to the finders, and a few of our favorite candies!
And it’s all closed up in a box that looks a little bit like a treasure chest. We tucked it under the stairs before the sheet rock went up. So in years to come, when someone else from our family or another family owns this house and maybe goes to do a little renovation, we hope finding this little treasure box-time capsule will make them smile — and they’ll get to learn a little bit about the family that lovingly built this Montana farmhouse!
I’ve always loved the feeling of walking into a cabin or vacation rental house that’s casually decorated — it creates ease and makes me feel comfortable. Like board games on the coffee table, mismatched chairs, a collection of found nature items — rocks, nests, feathers.
I remember having a distinct mental switch from trying to decorate my house all matchy-matchy and trying to replicate a magazine page, to realizing I can decorate my home around the people that live in it, and what they are excited about! I can create seating and put out specific items that we enjoy, just because. When you first walk into our house (after you’ve been greeted by our fluffy white dogs), you’ll find a long antique theater row that welcomes you to kick off your shoes and stay a while.
I love having a collected look that is miles away from a model home and makes everything in the house more comfortable and approachable. When it comes to design, this quote from William Morris resonates deeply: “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”
With so many people living in one space, there are definitely days when things go wild — backpacks are everywhere, the dog stole someone’s shoe, dishes get stacked high, and laundry baskets cover the dining room table.
I built my shop hours in such a way that I am off Sundays and Mondays. So we get a family day, and Sunday night everyone gets ready for the week and helps tidy up. I use Monday to catch up on any other loose ends at home. I don’t know that I would call it balance, but I would definitely call it a rhythm that works for our family.
I love decorating with antiques. There is one piece in our home in particular that I am still gaga over! It’s an enormous antique salvaged church window! It’s from a local church too, which makes it even more special to me. There was an earthquake in the 1930s here and the old stone church was destroyed. All of the stained glass was blown out of these windows but the frame remained.
There’s something about the resilience of this piece that really speaks to me and I’m so happy to have it as one of the first things you see when you step into our house!
I run my shop with the passion of helping people add stories and vintage style to their homes — so I never stop looking for great antique finds. I source a lot of my items from right here in Montana. I have traveled to round top Texas and brought a few goodies back, but mostly I get to take road trips when it’s not snowing, and bring back beautiful things for other families to enjoy in their home.
Helena has about 40,000 people right now. I’ve heard it called a “micropolitan” city, and it’s listed among the country’s best small art towns. There are hiking trails and biking trails and multiple lakes all within 10 to 20 minutes from the center of town — and we get to see the stars at night.
We used to live right in town for about eight years, in two different homes. But we built our farmhouse 9 miles from town, so that makes runs to Costco a little easier.
We live in a generous community! All the families here find a lot of camaraderie going through winters together. : ) There’s definitely more cows in Montana than people, but it’s my home and I love it.
Another quote comes to mind: “Mother love is ever creating beauty out of chaos.”
I definitely like to have fun with my husband and kids. I’m not a great cook and only a marginal baker. I love to think of ways that we can enjoy each season that we’re in — whether that’s staying in a forest service cabin to get a little closer to nature, or planning a family movie night where we all pile together on the couch with hot popcorn and M&Ms sprinkle over the top (the best!). There was that time we took the kids on a road trip to see the ocean and play at the closest beach — which was 749 miles to the west. And we love having a fun round of “questions at the table” that draw out answers I never expect every time.
It’s never easy but always worth it, to be intentional and to create those moments and memories and connections. So if I did have a superpower it would be something along the lines of “creating beauty out of chaos.”
I hope my kids remember that through the hard times and the good times we were a “fence” always surrounding them with love. I hope that home is a place where they feel like they can rest and be themselves…always. I hope they forget about my marginal cooking!
I love the inside jokes that happen; the goofy moments — especially when our five-year-old decides to throw a spontaneous dance party!
Our two oldest are now in their teenage years which does come with its share of different challenges, and blessings. I do miss being able to load everybody up and head off for brunch in another town, or the days when drive-through hot cocoa and playing in the park was a big deal.
I wish someone had told me to spend more time being IN in the moment than trying to take a picture OF the moment. It’s so easy to get preoccupied with trying to put out a good face on social media sometimes — or just thinking that you want to have a record of this moment. But being present, and giving your heart and your attention — that’s how we can truly live.
Thank you, Megan. I love the idea of living 9 miles from Costco but being in a wide open space like this. The views of that yard are just breathtaking! And I can imagine how magical it must feel to sit outside on a fall night around the fire pit and look at the stars. Megan and her husband have truly built an oasis.
I really loved what Megan said about creating beauty out of chaos. I think about that a lot as a parent. What little moments or events are going to stick out in my kids’ minds as important parts of their childhood. What things I say, good or bad, are going to stick with them into their adult lives? I think so much of parenting is chaos — simply trying to keep your head above water. I loved what Megan said about finding ways to create beauty in those moments. What a lovely gift.
How do you create beauty in the chaotic moments? Are you good at planning family together time, or does it just happen spur of the moment? How do you create connections with your kids that will last a lifetime?
You can check out Megan’s shop on her website or follow her on Instagram. Living With Kids is edited by Josh Bingham — you can follow him on Instagram too.
Would you like to share your home in our Living With Kids series? It’s lots of fun, I promise! (And we are always looking for more diversity in the families we feature here. Single parents, non-traditional parents, families of color, LGBT parents, multi-generational families. Reach out! We’d love to hear your stories!!) Email us at email@example.com.
5 thoughts on “Living With Kids: Megan Malkin”
Thanks for sharing your dream home! I particularly like that circular white light fixture and the arched church window frames. I love your mantra of creating beauty out of chaos. That really connects motherhood with divinity, when you think of God creating order and pronouncing things good. The never-ending rounds of cleaning, laundry, meal prep, calendaring and time management–we are just creating order and beauty around us.
Love that connection, thanks for your thoughtful comments Anita:)
I love everything about this post. Have you ever considered putting all of these living with kids posts into a book? Maybe you have and I just don’t recall. I would buy that in a heart beat. This is my very favorite series on your blog because I always feel so inspired by wonderful people willing to share their lives.
Really awesome! I have found myself in the past few years wanting to move to Montana. I am living abroad right now and financially we own and owe nothing so it opened up my mind to possibilities I never thought of, but my husband’s employment is very specialized.
Loved seeing your books on the side tables. So pretty! And i loved the quite about the tea me on your wall!! I want to remember that!