An Ode to Your Dwelling: Mae Barber

It’s no surprise that we have a love for interior design. The foundation of audwell comes from our belief in the importance of thoughtful design and how it impacts the space we live in every day. In fact, we love good design so much that we wanted to peek inside the homes of other parents that we admire and ask them a few questions. As parents, we are all trying to balance the vision we have for our home and the reality that children bring (hello mess). We figured there was no better way to receive design inspiration, DIY advice and favorite finds than interviewing others with a love for design.

Mae Barber's (aka @maeberganbarber) home feels like a breath of fresh air. Mae is mom to Harrison (3) and Margot (8 months) and still manages to keep her white kitchen looking picture perfect. We asked her a few questions about how her home has changed after having children. 

  • In one word, describe your home’s decor before you had kids: Simple
  • In one word, describe your home’s decor AFTER you had kids: Natural
  • Do you have a dream investment piece that you’re holding off on buying until your kids are older (and let’s be honest, less likely to ruin): Is it weird that I don’t? My home style has really evolved to being a natural space — I want it to always feel warm, comforting, intentional, and put together. We’re that family who still buys the white couch, even with a toddler and a baby — that’s the beauty of performance fabric, right…? We’re actually moving from this home in June, so I’m working on designing our new space now, and so far I haven’t held back on anything because of the kids.
  • Is there one item in your house that you know you’ll replace once your kids are older and less messy? Probably our leather ottoman. I would really love a chic coffee table. Maybe even with sharp corners if I’m really feeling wild.
Smiling baby next to a beautifully arranged ottoman
  • Best tip for kid proofing your house (while still making it feel like you live there too): Alllllll the soft corners (aka ottomans instead of coffee tables), and alllllll the wipeable vegan mats (padded and non) to easily clean up any messes. I’ve found the LESS things we have, the better. Our space isn’t overwhelmed, and therefore we’re not as overwhelmed. The kids’ toys are kept in neutral baskets - since they’re in our living room — so they’re always there and easily accessible for the kids, but blend in. There is a playroom right off the living room in our new home so all their things will be in there and I’m so excited to design that room just for them.
  • Favorite DIY project in your home: I have two! The first would be our kitchen backsplash — I painted our old green glass backsplash white and it made ALL the difference. The second is our little half door that separates the kitchen to the mudroom. It was a baby gate for the longest time, and then we realized we kept it up even after we didn’t need it — because it was so convenient to have that space a little bit separated. So, we had my dad build a custom little door and it has added so much charm and is super practical. 
  •  Favorite spot in your home: Our deck! We put it on a few years ago, and live out there basically from April - November. We have 2 sets of French doors leading out to it, so we leave them open and it really feels like an extension of our home. 
Deck with two children
  • Favorite sustainable find: I’m luckily the daughter of an architectural woodworker, and a mother with great taste (who doesn’t like to get rid of anything..) — so I frequently “shop” their home. I recently found a console table my dad built back in the 80s, and had him refinish and repaint it for me and it’s the perfect piece for our living room. I also found both of the kids Stokke Tripp Trapp chairs second-hand and refinished them! They’re like new now.
  • Favorite inexpensive item in your home: Probably our kitchen table! It’s IKEA and has held up really, really well. 
  • Random item in your home that your children are obsessed with: The remote. Always the remote. Oh, and my husband’s foam roller.

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