I’m seven years and two children into parenthood, and I have to tell you: I’m wild about my kids (Harrison, four, and Hadley, seven). Ask me about being a mom, and I become a sentimental sap about the warmth of little bodies squirming into our bed on a Saturday morning or the magic of watching our kids sit, still as garden gnomes, as they watch ladybugs on leaves in the yard.

However, I’m less sentimental about Lego pieces all over the floor, sheet tents that end up as piles of laundry, art projects that reproduce overnight, and obstacle courses of shoes by the back door. As well-meaning folks mention while I negotiate with my children through the grocery store, these sweet, messy years will pass. On the upside, that means no more superglue-esque stickers on the white bath vanity (“I decorated!”). But it also reminds my husband and me that we want to relish the (mostly) joyful work of raising kids—and not spend too much time wrangling their stuff and fussing about our home.

The trick, I think, is to strike a balance with the kinds of smart design-driven solutions you’ll find in this issue. Clever family spaces will inspire you to revamp the mudroom with a dog-wash station or add some woodland-inspired whimsy to your playroom. Our feature stories reveal three different families’ homes, each of them with stylish fixes for clearing the clutter (once and for all) and creating a house that serves as an ideal backdrop for the daily lives of your family members. (I’m crazy about the built-in kitchen banquettes—beautiful, space-saving, wipeable!)

I want our home to be our kids’ safest, happiest, most creative place; the spot where they feel comfortable figuring out who they are and what they love—even if it means occasional glitter on the sofa cushions. Whatever your own family’s goals for your home, I hope this issue helps you achieve them.

This article was originally published in 5280 Home Autumn 2016.
Hilary Masell Oswald
Hilary Masell Oswald
As the former editor for two of 5280’s ancillary publications, Hilary Masell Oswald split her time between the vibrant design-and-architecture scene in the metro area for 5280 Home and the always-changing field of health for the annual 5280 Health.