I think its fair to say that most Marylebone families are living in a space that is probably a bit smaller than would be idea, with too much stuff primarily due to kid-related clutter. One day recently when toys and crayons had taken over the living area, my husband lamented about the lack of space. I pointed out we had looked at properties (in pre-child days) in Zone 2/3 which were 3x the size and he had said its too big, at which point he replied, "I didn't realise kids have so much STUFF!"
In an ideal world, I would have a formal living area as a lovely adult space and a kid-friendly space for all the STUFF. However that was the compromise when we decided to live centrally.We all probably have too much stuff too, and Marie Kondo etc have made a living from telling us to throw away our stuff, but inevitably it gets replaced by new stuff eventually. And of course if you get rid of your child's stuff without telling them, quite often it is suddenly their "most favourite toy ever and you threw it away".
For the last 5 years, our house has been a super-kid-friendly, kid-focussed space. It is comfortable, we aren't precious about our belongings, children can come and play and have fun. However as our daughter has grown up, we are gradually seeing less plastic primary-coloured tat and so we starting to feel like we could reclaim the space at least a little bit. However I still wanted to keep the space kid-friendly so we weren't at the stage of getting in an interior designer to rethink the space etc. This is where Nete with her business Moberry Interior stepped in.
Nete is a local mum who has changed careers and is following her passion for home interior design. She has 2 children under 6 and knows all too well what we are up against when trying to have a beautiful yet practical home. She is Danish so has the fabulous Northern European eye for style and design. Nete is also very aware that at this intermediate stage of "reclaiming your home", you may not want to spend a lot of money and so is very aware of budget.
Nete came into our house and immediately pinpointed some very quick, easy and cheap things to do. We got rid of old throws from the sofa, moved a (slightly dubious patterned) rug to another area of the room, and removed doors from a tv wall cabinet we inherited from the previous owners. Just doing that, the room suddenly opened up! We moved some books around in the book shelves, and she inspired me to do a bit of decluttering of cupboards and shelves. All of this made a massive difference immediately at zero cost.
Next she advised on some possible colour schemes we could work with for the soft furnishings, as we had an eclectic collection of cushions we have acquired over the years. On her return visit she presented a couple of different colour schemes that tied in with some existing items we liked. For each colour scheme she presented a range of cushion covers and furnishings she had found online, all with sensible prices. I ended up going for ones from H&M so for under £40 I had a full new set of cushion pads and covers which look great! She also advised changing the boxes we use for toy storage to something more aesthetically pleasing. She presented some lovely affordable options as a starting point and when I used that to look around online more I found some fab wicker baskets in the John Lewis sale - so again a massive impact in the look of the room at low cost.
Nete made a scale diagram of the room and its furniture which we played around with. After a fun morning of moving furniture about we came up with ideal positioning of the existing furniture as well as a plan of action for replacing existing pieces over time. She picked out a few pieces online to guide me, we exchanged thoughts and found more options to bear in mind when we want to buy soemthing. Even though we haven't replaced our existing things yet, I now know what types of furniture will fit the look and feel of the room, and importantly what will not look good! We also talked about longer term bigger things we could do with the room if we decide to change things more dramatically.
We went through a lot of the prints and art that we have hidden away in our cupboards, and have decided which pieces will look good where, advising on the frames to go for. For someone with a poor aesthetic eye like me this has been so useful. Now I have started to understand a bit more.
Of course decluttering and staying on top of STUFF is key but the small changes made the room look so much better that it has been easier to keep it up as I want the room to stay looking nice.
Nete understands the needs of family life and had great ideas about combining needs like storage with the desire to make our spaces look lovely, all while being mindful of how much or little you are able to spend. Little things that she notices and can advise on can make a big difference, and her advice on bigger changes like new furniture are well-considered and sensible. I highly recommend her service.
You can find out more about Moberry at www.moberry.co.uk where you can also see some examples of her work. Alternatively you can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org