It’s 7.01pm. I pretend for a minute that all has gone quiet upstairs, chuck the baby’s bottle in the cluttered sink, stand back and survey the scene.
Yes, I think, I am bang on trend. Never mind eco vintage retro shed chic - that’s so last season. Instead, I proudly observe that our family design aesthetic is progressing ever further towards the happily-dishevelled-somewhat-battered end of the spectrum: let’s just politely say, it’s definitely “lived-in.”
Returning the State of the House back up to Level Zero (neither better nor worse than when Mr K left for work) is an ongoing process of achievement, a fine balancing act. It requires top level negotiation skills and a knack for spontaneous freehand interior styling to successfully merge the Husband’s need for straight lines and order, with my three under 5s’ daily compulsion to work the room(s) with print(s) and pattern(s) of all hues and textures.
From the friendliest brown cord sofa, customised with pockets of dusty Cheerios and fluffy raisins; to the unexpected colour pops of Calpol bottle and half-chewed miniature Noddy nestled up among the Bridgewater china; to the Banksy-esque crayoning on duck egg blue walls; to the Amy Butler cushions embellished with the peculiarly permanent pebbledashings of Weetabix - my home is an eclectic myriad of handmade details lovingly bestowed with many a gurgle, rumble or exuberant flick of the wrist.
It is a gallery of life lived in glorious, messy technicolour and I wouldn’t have it any other way. While I may sometimes long for white, photo-shoot-worthy rooms of serenity, I am glad that this wish is not for the granting. I only have to glance around to be reminded of the most recent stops in our journey together - snotty tissues, AWOL lego bricks and all. Even the untidy small shoes kicked off in anger by the bottom stair signpost a battle lost and won, a moment of reconciliation, a little voice in my ear echoing my own - “Me love you all the time Mummy, even when you’re naughty...” Grace redeeming even the lowliest of moments. No white box would afford me this constant reminder of all that is good.
Our walls reveal our hearts - crazy collaborative kid art creations splattered around the kitchen, nostalgic prints from Shirley Hughes and Quentin Blake bought for three births, a panoramic view of Porthcurno beach inviting me to breathe in deeply, my father’s cosy painting of Noah’s Ark reminding me that I am safe, even in the storm. Collages of smiling faces peer out from sunny times, while plover birds and jolly warthogs hark back to adventures B.C. (before children.) A beautiful reward board handmade by my sister points us towards the people we are all growing into.
Regardless of its “lived-in” state, our handcrafted home speaks plainly to me of those tiny yet significant moments of becoming and beauty that shape our days and who we are.