There are plenty of things I could change about this bathroom. But I have no immediate plans to do so.
Design blogs, magazines, and Pinterest make us want our houses to be bigger/better/prettier/newer. Staged and ready at all times for a photo shoot. And as a design blogger, I’ve probably contributed to that. You aren’t seeing the mess behind me when I take detail shots. You aren’t seeing the stack of mail and boxes to be taken out for recycling that are in the next room over. Those things are not pretty, and they are not what page views are made of, and there is pressure (self-induced and otherwise) to move on to the next project. Gotta keep those clicks coming! (Note: I may be dramatizing bit here. Gotta keep those clicks coming!)
So with that in mind, I worked really hard on this reveal. I made sure the flushable toddler wipes were positioned just so next to the froggy potty.
I even had the kids create one of their art installations. We’re always surprised by the ever-changing displays they create, and today’s featured a dino in a dump truck. They didn’t even know I’d be photographing it! My darling children are pure artists not motivated by exposure and audience, but by the pleasure of creating. Clearly they are geniuses.
Our towels are blue, because they were blue at the last house. Because we had a blue bathtub. They are still blue because they are towels and they perform their function.
My toothbrush and Brandon’s are in the medicine cabinet, but we leave the kids’ out so they can access them without help. I could have bought beautiful wooden toothbrushes, but don’t Dora and Tigger, and the garish colors add so much to the scene?
Who out there loves keeping way too many bath toys next to the tub? Us too.
And do you like our lantern? It works half the time! It really draws your eye up too, so you can appreciate the wallpaper border.
I’ve complemented the lighting nicely with this very serious night light (by the awesome Matt and Kellee Milner).
And actually, the sconces do work. So does the toilet.
What else, what else? Oh right, we also have a window. We’ve left the embroidered half-curtain hanging.
Someday, I probably will make some updates to this bathroom, because decorating is fun and it’s something that I love to do. It seems silly though, that until the day came when I was ready to tackle the wallpaper or change the tub’s finish, you wouldn’t have heard a word about this room. It is a really nice bathroom and there is nothing wrong with it (well, aside from the wiring in that light). I’m guilty of focusing too often on what’s wrong, what needs to be changed, and what I want to buy, and I don’t want that to be the only narrative. This is how a space that we use everyday in our home looks, and I like it.
AbbyNovember 20, 2013 at 2:51 pm
A refreshing post. Thanks for this. It’s a beautiful, functional bathroom.
SavaNovember 20, 2013 at 2:53 pm
Thank you for writing this post. To often we think that a staged home is how people live. I would love to see more people showing real rooms.
Amy@OldSweetSongNovember 20, 2013 at 2:55 pm
I love this. Makes me want to go and shoot my entire half-done, always messy apartment.
Mary | Lemon Grove BlogNovember 20, 2013 at 2:58 pm
True that :) That room has some amazing bones … love that sink!
Jessica @ Of Sand & SnowNovember 20, 2013 at 2:58 pm
Your sincerity and authenticity = Awesome
LauraNovember 20, 2013 at 2:59 pm
This is what I love about your posts: they are real. You are a real person, with small children, and a real life. And you are practical, as moms should be. I appreciate your charming and absolutely functional bathroom.
MeghanNovember 20, 2013 at 3:01 pm
Thank you for writing this. My eyes welled with tears a bit, because I’m so caught up in the idea of making our home perfect now, completing all the decorating now, that I don’t even want to have people over. We bought our house two months ago! We have a toddler and both work full time!
We worked so so hard to buy a home for our family and it is incredibly silly the I feel embarrassed by the undone things instead of proud of the very big goal we accomplished.
JanisNovember 20, 2013 at 3:05 pm
I echo the sentiment; thank you for posting a very-less-than-perfect room. It makes me feel much better about having only made one decision since buying this house in June. We are having hardwood flooring installed in the bedrooms (it’s in the rest of the house) next week. Agonizing process to devide whether or not to match. We decided not to match the existing as it’s a light maple and the furnishings in the bedrooms will look much better on a darker wood. Now we are on to choosing paint colours…
HollyNovember 20, 2013 at 3:10 pm
You are fabulous and real, as always. Thank you for that.
MarlenaNovember 20, 2013 at 3:15 pm
Hooray! Thanks for posting this.
KarlieNovember 20, 2013 at 3:16 pm
This is why I read your blog. I feel like the absence of authenticity is what turns me off to so many design/style blogs out there. In contrast, you have a lovely home and a lovely style, but I’m quite certain you’re also a lovely, sincere person, which is why I continue coming back everyday. Kudos to you, Miss Nicole. You do an incredible job here.
CelesteNovember 20, 2013 at 3:16 pm
Awesome. I love this. It’s a good reminder that EVERYBODY has a room in their house that isn’t how they want it. Some of us have several.
Jill BrowningNovember 20, 2013 at 3:16 pm
Please write like this more often. ;)
kateNovember 20, 2013 at 3:19 pm
I love love love love love this!
Erin GodbeyNovember 20, 2013 at 3:47 pm
THANK YOU for this post! A good reminder for all of us, bloggers or not. It’s so easy to get caught up in the perception of perfection.
Elizabeth PeremansNovember 20, 2013 at 3:56 pm
My favorite blog post ever from you! :)
KaitNovember 20, 2013 at 3:57 pm
Thanks for such a genuine post. I’ve been waiting for somewhat of an ‘authenticity revolution’ in the design blog world, as polished vignettes and beautiful styling (though inspiring!) can become so exhausting somehow. Do you know what I mean?
Hats off to all bloggers who share that little bit extra. Sharing the ‘perfect’ moments requires a lot of courage as it is, so we should have a lot of respect for bloggers who take steps to keep it real!
saraNovember 20, 2013 at 4:00 pm
love this post – thank you!
EllenNovember 20, 2013 at 4:01 pm
Hooray for the mundane! Hooray for transparency! Thanks, Nicole!
Feisty HarrietNovember 20, 2013 at 4:05 pm
This is the kind of post I will share with friends, something REAL LIFE that is on a style blog. Instead of “bargain deals!” with chairs or bags or sheets or whatever that are hundreds of dollars out of my price range, and I’m a pretty average consumer.
SO, thank you for the honesty, the tongue-in-cheek, and the dino-dump truck vignette. ;)
KatharineNovember 20, 2013 at 4:10 pm
I love this post.
Staci @ My Friend StaciNovember 20, 2013 at 4:14 pm
Love this. Design bloggers may not like Dora toothbrushes, but kids do, and I love that you are letting them be kids; and not pulling out prop toothbrushes for your vignettes. Also: triceratops in a dump truck? Awesome!
jeannaNovember 20, 2013 at 4:20 pm
Thanks for keeping it real! Love this.
PaulaNovember 20, 2013 at 4:22 pm
I just started following your blog, probably arrived here via Pinterest somehow, really enjoying it. Love the honesty of this post.
LaurieNovember 20, 2013 at 4:46 pm
I ADORE slice-of-life photos where we get to see your bathroom in action (awesome potty by the way, I’m a little jealous there isn’t a grown up version). I find those much more endearing than the magazine-ready photos.
Thanks for sharing!
Lindsay SzéchényiNovember 20, 2013 at 4:49 pm
Funny! I was just talking about this last night. I posted two pretty pictures of (tiny glimpses of) my home on Instagram / Facebook and people seemed to automatically assume that my entire house is spotless and gorgeous at all times. Meanwhile I’m thinking “ummmm I just took dirty dishes out of the kitchen sink and hid them over to the side for the photo.” Just a reminder that the internet and magazines can be such a facade and that we shouldn’t get caught up in all of these seemingly perfect things. Love your post :)
Val BatemanNovember 20, 2013 at 4:52 pm
What a refreshing post. Thank you.
AlexNovember 20, 2013 at 4:57 pm
Echoing the sentiments of everyone posting – thank you for writing this. I love looking at interior design blogs and seeing how bloggers put together a room, but lately it has me feeling inadequate in my own home. It’s refreshing to know that your home isn’t “perfect 24/7” and actually looks like a family lives in it. Good job Nicole!
LesleyNovember 20, 2013 at 5:00 pm
This is my favorite post that you’ve written. A very authentic voice, with a touch of humor and a content smile. Well played, Balch. Well played indeed!
CatherineNovember 20, 2013 at 5:07 pm
Yay, such a great post! I just got rid of our diaper changing pad in the master bath after FIVE years, and I’m writing a post on that. It’s the little things. :)
CarolNovember 20, 2013 at 5:25 pm
Thank you for everything in this post!
Jill BroadhackerNovember 20, 2013 at 5:27 pm
This was a wonderful post! Thank you for sharing.
aNovember 20, 2013 at 5:31 pm
keeping it real – those flushable toddler wipes are horrible for older (well and newer) pipes
susieNovember 20, 2013 at 6:37 pm
thank youuuuuuuu, Nicole! Friggen right. You are truly lovely for sharing this ;)
MaryNovember 20, 2013 at 7:04 pm
Love this! Thank you for sharing. Echoing others in that I often find myself having to take breaks from reading design blogs because I start buying into the illusion and feeling down about my own home. I so appreciate seeing the reality along with the inspiration!
Mrs. KinneNovember 20, 2013 at 7:17 pm
This is one of my favorite posts that you have ever done. I had to laugh at the placement of the flushable wipes, especially because our coffee table is currently styled with a lovely canister of Boogie Wipes. :)
KirstinNovember 20, 2013 at 7:56 pm
I loved this – thank you.
HayleyNovember 20, 2013 at 8:50 pm
Thanks for posting this! I often find myself looking endlessly at other blogs, comparing my house to others and always feeling like I need to buy more/do more/achieve more, instead of just enjoying my house and realizing it will all come in due time! Thanks for being so real and honest – I have 3 bathrooms that look just like yours!!!
Dana @ House*TweakingNovember 20, 2013 at 9:10 pm
Bravo! This is why I adore most Apartment Therapy and Design Mom home tours. It’s like you are walking into someone’s real *unstaged* life. There is beauty in the everyday.
And…OMG!…your kids go potty and brush their teeth in a bathroom?!
NityaNovember 20, 2013 at 9:11 pm
Really really nice post! Loved it!
LaurenNovember 20, 2013 at 9:30 pm
Thank you for this post. We should all find more contentment in our houses. We need to find joy in what we have-thank you for the reminder
AaroohiiNovember 20, 2013 at 11:37 pm
I moved to American realised that everyone is competing too much for everything : look ( put on makeup everyday, use products in your hair etc was something unheard of where I came from). As a teen it was hard for me to not care about my unruly hair n acne spots.
Then I grew up and now it’s hard to keep up with perfect looks and a perfect house. Life should be lived, not spent making everything perfect.
Thank you for bringing a new perspective , hopefully too much competition goes down now onwards.
susanNovember 20, 2013 at 11:59 pm
“The towels are still blue because they are towels and they perform their function.”
Ha! I loved that part and this post. Kids sure add the magic — and you’re making your home lovely and happy!
DesigndianaNovember 21, 2013 at 12:54 am
I love you!
ShoshNovember 21, 2013 at 1:39 am
I love the way the towel is hanging on the bar, and also the truck and the dinosaur. It’s real life, and that’s the best.
IlariaNovember 21, 2013 at 2:33 am
I like it too! ;)
MichelleBNovember 21, 2013 at 4:55 am
Thank you for this! Real life and a bath with so much potential. :)
Miss RNovember 21, 2013 at 5:24 am
Absolutely loved this article!
JaneNovember 21, 2013 at 5:31 am
Kids really do have a way of ‘keeping it real’. Great post.
Chernee's HouseNovember 21, 2013 at 7:49 am
Awesome post – I have only been blogging for 6 months and this is what I struggle with – my home is where we live and with two kids even though in there teens is a lived in home – so I love the real life perspective…
Nicole LNovember 21, 2013 at 8:01 am
Thank you for sharing the realness of your home! We just bought a new house and knowing how I feel pressured to get it all done right away I can’t imagine how much more you must feel it as a blogger.
Despite knowing that photos are staged, I ALWAYS wonder how some families really live in the homes they do – especially when they’re showing off design perfect decor with little kids running about and promoting the posts as lived-in family homes… I understand tidying a mess, but where are all the potties hiding?!
MeganNovember 21, 2013 at 8:01 am
I appreciate your post and have enjoyed reading your blog regularly for a while now. I’m actually a former Oak Parker and have loved your house since I spotted it on a walk with my now husband way back on our second date. Anyway, I was wondering if you’d comment on what this post was really about? You mentioned that you probably add to the design-blog-industrial complex, and I would argue that any blogger, especially one who does sponsored posts with large companies does. I have no issue with sponsored posts, and I am NOT being critical of you or your blog, since this is how you support your family. This is not a hater comment, just coffee-fueled curiosity. I have been noticing different trends in the various blogs I read, and have been thinking about the ‘behind-the-camera’ aspect of blogging lately. I think Victoria Smith (SF Girl by Bay) posted something about this too, a while ago. Then you posted this but I felt like there was something not said so I wanted to ask.
Again, not a hater comment, I was just curious.
jessNovember 21, 2013 at 8:55 am
This is great. As a designer I feel the pressure to have a perfect house too…but the reality is, I don’t have the time or budget (or desire!) to gut our house. I LIKE some of the imperfections (we call it “character”). It’s a 90 year old house that needs a little love…some of those projects are on a someday list, and some of them are not. We’ve lived there for a year now, and whenever I start stressing over the projects we haven’t completed (or those we haven’t even started), I remind myself that we literally have the rest of our lives to do them. :)
JanineNovember 21, 2013 at 9:00 am
Bravo for realness!
I like it when bloggers take some time to point out that their lives are still real.
Marcee ... ILLINOISNovember 22, 2013 at 2:54 pm
Certainly …. we all know you just moved into this house. Learning and growing takes time.
Noted …. floral champagne/green wallpaper …. same color as those green chairs. Maybe a tad lighter. Most likely you will remove.
carrie @ brick city loveNovember 21, 2013 at 9:31 am
“They are still blue because they are towels and they perform their function.” < THISSSSSSS. AH-men!
Marcee ... ILLINOISNovember 22, 2013 at 2:56 pm
Love that color blue. I will buy them from you Nicole. How much?
sarahNovember 21, 2013 at 10:44 am
this post is AWESOME. i’m not a blogger or designer, but instead an insatiable consumer of blogs. that, paired with a love of renovation & diy, has left me putting way too much pressure on myself to keep my house up to…um…some unseen and imaginary person’s standards? with a 3 and 1 year old it’s impossible to tackle really ANY project that i come up with in my head (repaint and reupholster a chair? HAHAHAHAAAAA). posts like this bring me back down to earth. thank you :)
Nicole JamesNovember 21, 2013 at 11:13 am
I am in love with this post. I want to marry it and make baby posts with it.
“They are still blue because they are towels and they perform their function.” YES, thank you!
“I could have bought beautiful wooden toothbrushes, but don’t Dora and Tigger, and the garish colors add so much to the scene?” Amazing! Thank you again.
Thank you for keeping it real and being humorous at the same time.
JanisNovember 21, 2013 at 1:11 pm
Such a refreshing post!! I think you’ve read my mind… I’m starting to get fed up with all the perfection in blogs and on pinterest. Thank you so much for keeping it real!!! This is why you’ve remained one of my favorite bloggers for years!!
JaurieNovember 21, 2013 at 1:35 pm
I NEVER leave comments, but this inspired me. Thank you and God bless.
Julia at Home on 129 AcresNovember 21, 2013 at 4:21 pm
It seems like some other people have felt the same way I do, but I still have to say awesome post. Thank you for doing this. Somehow, I feel much less inferior about my house now.
Jill DaleNovember 21, 2013 at 4:43 pm
Finally a post that shows that you are not completely managed by your sponsors and their desire that you link link link. I did wonder why you would buy this massive house and then turn around a complain and seem desperate to change most of it. Now you seem real.
HiltyNovember 21, 2013 at 5:26 pm
I’m so glad you did this post! I love your blog and designs. Forgive me, I’m only sort of self-promoting here but I just started this thing on my blog called ~ Sh*t I Love ~ and I want people to take photos of stuff around their house and send it to me to remind themselves and my other 5 readers that they do currently own things they love. See here: http://www.letsblogitout.blogspot.com/2013/11/sht-i-love-1.html
JudyNovember 21, 2013 at 6:30 pm
I loved this message although I am fascinated by the Pretty-in my home and all the homes featured on line. I love hearing about their favorite colors and how they choose what they do in design. Your boards are genius! And TMI I started following you as a surrogate for grandchildren. Your kids are beyond adorable and I never hear how they are driving you crazy-or maybe they don’t – you seem very calm and reasoned so probably established yourself as “She who must be obeyed” early on. Enjoy your new home and a great family and thanks for sharing.
Kate S.November 21, 2013 at 6:48 pm
Oh my goodness, thank you for this. My husband and I are starting the process of buying our first house and have a pretty modest budget. As a longtime design blog reader, I’ve gotten sucked into the fantasy of creating a perfect house and have been having a hard time reconciling myself to the fact that we’ll probably have to buy a far from perfect house and live in it for many years before we can do any major improvements. Much as I appreciate having such free access to inspiration via blogs, I have definitely fallen prey to the tendency to get caught up in thinking living spaces need to be (or even that they can be) perfect. It’s refreshing to have this reminder that, fun as decorating may be, often times those less than perfect rooms really suit their purpose just fine (and we all have them!). There’s more to a house than how pretty it is! Thank you :).
MichelleNovember 21, 2013 at 8:34 pm
Thank you times a million for this post! I was just thinking of I subscribing from some home dec/design blogs a few days ago. Seeing everyone else’s wonderful updates and such can make a girl a little less satisfied with her own digs, sometimes!
My husband and I have owned our first house now for about 6 months. It had everything we wanted in a house… Plus lots of real wormy chestnut wood paneling. The wood was almost a deal breaker for me… But I am SO GLAD I got the location we wanted, the yard I wanted, a basement, enough bedrooms, and plenty of character when I would have sacrificed many of those things to have a newer, more standard house. Well we lit up the fireplace in our wood-walled, wood-ceilinged formal living room a few weeks back… And it was amazing. So cozy, so perfect. Some of the wood may come down eventually, but I love my home with all of its quirks and I am fortunate to be able to have it.
Thanks again for sharing your home’s imperfections.
KellyNovember 21, 2013 at 9:48 pm
Adorable post. As a Mom, my favorite make me smile moments are when I’m alone picking up the house, kids at school, husband at work and I come across the Dino in a dumptruck, Superheros lined up in a row ready to get blasted by a pirateships cannon and hot wheels in a dragon’s mouth. Too precious to tidy up.
Jennifer LauraNovember 21, 2013 at 9:55 pm
Great post Nicole!
debbi in TexasNovember 21, 2013 at 10:20 pm
Thank you for your honesty and how many of us see all those perfectly staged photos and wonder if someone “really lives there”? Those perfect living rooms can’t really be comfortable? I appreciate “real”. Nicely done.
JessicaNovember 22, 2013 at 12:27 am
High five, lady! Just got home from work and this is just the post I needed. Life just IS, man! The other day I showed someone a picture of my dog on my bed, being adorable. She said, “Wow, you must get a lot of fur on your bed!” What? That’s living. I would rather snuggle my pooch in bed than worry about the fur! We’re all just humans, making our way through life, hopefully enjoying it!
StephanieNovember 22, 2013 at 5:39 am
I always read, rarely comment. Fabulous post! Your bathroom is beautiful and real. Everyone has fantasies about what they want to do to improve their space, but there’s so much value in enjoying the everyday beauty.
MaryNovember 22, 2013 at 6:49 am
Thanks for sharing real life photos. They are just what I needed to see right now. As a Mom of three, my house is frequently not camera ready, to put it mildly. Your pictures made me smile and take a breath. Now I’m off to tackle my not camera ready kitchen…. Again.
Mary in NJ
MeaganNovember 22, 2013 at 7:58 am
The whale shark next to the toothbrushes is a common occurrence at our house!
MinaNovember 22, 2013 at 9:04 am
Honestly? I totally love it. : ) I think it’s charming and real. The cartoon toothbrushes really bring the whole look together. ; ) I really do love it though. You’re right, it can be intimidating for non-blogger, real people to see these house tours of perfect homes. So, it’s nice when we can see what real life looks like in someone’s space. Refreshing.
MichelleNovember 22, 2013 at 11:07 am
This is Michelle again from a few comments up… I meant I was thinking of “unsubscribing” from home dec blogs! :)
CristinaNovember 22, 2013 at 11:13 am
This is great…I appreciate they realness because it’s true, I can get caught up in the things I don’t like about our house. I moved into my husband’s house, and we are still evolving our style. Much of his furniture are pieces I would never choose, and I’ve struggled trying to create an aesthetic that makes us both happy only to covet the beauty and freshness of rooms I see on my favorite blogs. Thanks for the reminder that beauty is not perfection and for allowing us this glimpse into your children’s space.
EmilyNovember 22, 2013 at 11:27 am
Thank you for reminding us that everyday life is as beautiful as the staged/edited life.
Tina SlocumNovember 22, 2013 at 12:44 pm
Your bathroom is charming and cosy…I adore it for so many reasons. Enjoy it with the warm wood, vintage bits and wallpaper….a fab room for a bubble bath in the warm glow of yesteryear.
Cathy NicholsNovember 22, 2013 at 12:54 pm
I love this post as well. When I look at all of the beauty online, I feel a lot of pressure to make my own home beautiful. Yet how can I deprive my children of Dora toothbrushes? And I usually spend much more time in the studio painting than doing home décor. It’s lovely to see how you’ve melded the staged with reality here. Thank you.
RoyNovember 22, 2013 at 3:53 pm
It’s refreshing to see someone be so real about their home. Definitely made me smile, especially because you are so caring about your kids. I love it.
JeannaNovember 23, 2013 at 9:49 am
You are lovely. And this post was honestly delightful. Thank you.
TaraNovember 23, 2013 at 4:24 pm
I struggle with these feelings everyday, and as a new blogger I feel like every image has to be perfect-that because I’m not seasoned at this ol’ blogging thing I cannot show the “real” bits and pieces of life. Thanks for your honesty! XO
selenaNovember 25, 2013 at 9:03 pm
echoing all the love. and I always recommend that potty to new PT’ing moms!! we loved it.
Mike BowmanDecember 4, 2013 at 2:42 pm
Nicole I love this post! So many design blogs take immense pains to present unrealistically ‘perfect’ representations of homes that it becomes daunting to casual DIYers, remodelers, and homeowners just trying to nicen-up their space. People are getting sick of the “too perfect” representations we’re bombarded with all the time, hence why we’re seeing more of these “real bodies” Dove advertisements and more reality tv focused not on celebrities but small-town, ‘normal’ folk. Your blog post reminded me of that, and it’s refreshing to see something real in the design blog space. Cheers!
Mike BowmanDecember 4, 2013 at 2:45 pm
Also: Truck-commandeering Triceratops for life!
m @ random musingsDecember 5, 2013 at 11:03 am
That embroidered curtain is too precious – I’ll happily take them off your hands :-) The best part of this post were the toothpaste specks on the mirror trim. Thanks for sharing
sarahJanuary 7, 2014 at 1:58 pm
Thank you for sharing the realness of your home.
Makes me feel even more inspired than I would by the “regular” photos.
Now I know I’m in good company – kid toothbrushes and all.
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lara janeMarch 12, 2014 at 5:39 pm
I know this post is oldold but I randomly stalk your blog and drool over your gorgeous home. I do hope that this is one of the spaces (along withthe beautiful kitchens!) that will receive a minimal redo. It’s not my house so I don’t get a vote, but if this were my bathroom I’d rewire for a new overhead light fixture and remove the wallpaper. The fixtures here, and all of the brass, GORGE. Love it.
As does everyone, I applaud you for keeping it real!
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