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These Days at Home

These new days at home are the most heart-bursting days I have ever known. Brimming with love and raw emotion.

We have a new baby and a new home, and in ways this means as a family we have a new life. I wanted to share what these days look and feel like with you.

This is not my typical house tour, more like a tender glimpse into these fleeting days of being a brand new family, in a home which we are renovating, while juggling two businesses.

Above left:  This is what I see from the lounge as I’m feeding Edie. Each morning I watch the glow of the autumn light filling the sky.  / Above right: A quiet moment looking out the glass sliding door onto the patio and to the street, while taking in the morning light and the trees.

In the early months of finding out I was having a baby I started looking for a new home. Not really thinking I would find anything special. Even though our beautiful quirky tin and timber workers cottage was homely and familiar, I felt it wasn’t going to meet the needs of our ‘new life’.

One Saturday night while on my laptop in bed I found this house (because where else are you going to be on a Saturday night while pregnant.) A 1968 midcentury Brutalist home.

The home had just become available for the first time in 52 years. These sorts of homes are rare where we live and you could tell even in the real estate shots that the home had such a great atmosphere and had been really loved.

The house was very different to anything I had ever been attracted to. But most importantly I felt we could raise our baby here.

Above left: The exterior of our 1968 Brutalist home and the crazy pave path which I love, that leads you to the front door which is just tucked behind the two levels of the house. / Above right: The darkness and quiet of the breakfast table before the day begins.

After a few nervous weeks of open houses and bank paperwork and what felt like competing against half of Brisbane for this unique home we picked up the keys.

At 6 months pregnant we were about to start a new chapter. When you find an original home like this it’s important to honour it’s age and it’s midcentury iconic nature, however some changes had to be made.

So like two frantic birds building a nest, we got stuck into making those changes before the baby came. Pulled up carpet, pulled up tiles, replaced the bedroom ceilings to allow new electrics to go in and put solar panels on the roof.
We are a long way off. Mainly because it’s important to take your time with any home you are making changes to. To give the home a chance to slowly reveal itself to you through all the seasons.

Above: Baby Edie on the table in her Moses basket. We place her up on the table with us while we have breakfast and talk about the day ahead. I love glancing over at her snuggled in there and still can’t believe she is really ours.

And another reason we are a long way off is because we have the most precious thing in front of us, reminding us to go slow and be in the moment. Our baby Edie.

Having a baby has really changed the relationship I have to almost everything and everyone. It’s changed because I suppose I’ve changed.

Life has become smaller, yet it feels the largest it’s ever been. The days are spent doing the simplest of things to nourish and nurture Edie – feeding, cuddling, playing and caring for her.

Above left: The view of daybreak from behind the box pleat curtains. I love seeing the silhouette of the gumtrees which are across the street / Above right: Bringing the daily bits and pieces to the table which we use for breakfast, including my new favourite cereal bowls and floppy olive napkins which I use as placemats.

The mornings at home are my favourites. I love how the golden morning light comes through the windows here, especially now it’s autumn.

After Edie has her sunrise feed, I bring together ceramics, glassware and napkins to the table and we have our breakfast and place her on the table with us too.

Above left: Breakfast is simple yet always feels special using handmade pieces, like stoneware, linen and mouth blown glassware/ Above right: These are my favourite moments of the day, just fleeting glimpses like snap shots, when I look at my husband and our baby and am overcome with happiness.

Timothy O and I both work from home, so we chat about the day ahead and plan when each other can have Edie for little blocks of time while the other one works, or while I dash to the studio to sign prints and send them out to our customers.

It’s what works for us right now and I just love having him so hands on with Edie too. Plus, I feel really lucky that my shop is completely online and fits so well with this transition into motherhood.

Above left: Breakfast time and my autumn must haves –  I’m so in love with this knitted piece now that the temperature is dropping / Above right: The glow of sunrise. I have always loved the graphic nature of powerlines.

Above left: The beautiful lustre of the brown skin of pears, like velvet / Above right: A pot of strong tea in a teapot with a cosy is always a good way to start the day.

Our new morning routine feels in ways a bit traditional. It reminds me of how I grew up. Our family always had cereal at the table every morning together while talking about what the day ahead held for each of us.

I decided I needed some ‘cereal bowls’,  just like my mums. Shallow bowls which only appeared in the mornings and were never seen again until breakfast the next day.

I asked the same potter who makes our beautiful stoneware mugs for the shop to make these stoneware cereal bowls for us, as I love living with quality pieces, plus I love it when things match.

They are so beautiful that I have arranged for the cereal bowls to be added to my shop. They have been hand-thrown and glazed in country Victoria and are available now.

Above left: The quiet moments of it all / Above right: I cut a small bunch of Camellia branches from the front yard and placed them in my favourite vase. I think the original owners planted the pink camellia most probably in the early 1970s.

Above left: The Japanese Camellia Sasanqua grows outside of Edie’s nursery which is my latest tea towel design available in the shop.  / Above right: Little Edie Bird, having a tickle from me.

Above: Holding Edie in our entrance area of the new house in front of a railing which leads downstairs. The textured blocks really drew me to the house.

The first few weeks bringing Edie home were like a blur. As though a fog had set into my mind. The house felt very incomplete and I noticed just how much concrete there was and not much softness.

However, that’s just how life was and continues to be right now, and that’s ok. The carpet will come and so will the curtains. Things just take time and there is no point rushing, as I think when you rush that’s when you make costly mistakes. We want this home to be special, as we want to be here for a long time.

One thing I have done is hang some of my photographic work. Doing this has helped the home feel warmer and softer and definitely more homely.

Plus I love having the option to move these pieces around and have versatility.

 

Above left: This photographic piece ‘Weekend’ was the first thing I brought into the house once we collected the keys. While the house was settling I would dream up which piece would hang right in this spot, and the bronze tones of this almost abstract piece really sets the tone of the house. / Above right: Edie and I in the doorway of the original bathroom.

The first thing I brought into the house when we picked up the keys was actually this extra large print.

I just knew this piece would set the mood for the entire house. That special piece you see as soon you walk through the door each day.

These sorts of pieces become incredibly sentimental to the way we live our lives and the daily memories we make.

Above left: Edie and I having a cuddle / Above right: The ‘new life’ accessories, my faithful leather bag and Edie’s Moses basket.

Above: The lounge room, which feels really open and expansive. There are two patios on each side which let the air and light flow in, and you can see through to the mountain outline of Taylor Range to the west.

One thing which really drew me to the house what how large the living area was. Two wide internal concrete steps take you up to the main living space which is flooded with natural light from both the east and the west.

The ceilings are much lower than what I have ever lived with. That’s the nature of a 1960s home.

How I’m tackling this is by having lower furniture and using my horizontal photographic prints from my print collections to add dimension lengthways, to help open up the space.

It’s been a really interesting shift as I’m such a vertical fan, however introducing the horizontals really add so much dimension to the low ceiling living spaces, especially above the sofa, in nooks and over the bed.

Above left: The ceilings are low, so I have added photographic pieces to help add dimensions to widen and expand the wall space / Above right: A quiet moment with just Edie and I.

Above left: I could stare at her forever, reading her little face and watching her expressions / Above right: This is the spot I would like to have a built-in bookshelf made, to display our collections of books and ceramics and to hide the air con unit. One day.

I’m feeling built-in furniture will be the way forward with this house. I love the atmosphere that custom built pieces give a space and this approach really lends itself to the age and style of the house – built to last.

Plus adding layers of secondhand finds for originality.

Above left: Low slung chairs help to bring the eye down low, while the leaning extra large photographic print ‘Pandanaus‘ leads your eye up / Above right: The living room, with some of Edie’s favourite things to touch, like the lambskin.

Above: I’m constantly photographing our moments together. I want to hold onto these days so badly.

Whenever I start to feel overwhelmed or a bit anxious that time is slipping away with Edie I pick up my camera.

Photography has always played a big part in my life, though now it plays an enormous role. Picking up that camera and documenting what’s in front of me is vital.

Life, right now. To record these special simple moments as a family and attempt to hold onto the time together really calms me.

Above left: An edge of the vintage cane coffee table I found in Marketplace with a warm mug of tea and the new tea cosy / Above right: I quiet moment to recharge while Edie is sleeping.

Another thing which calms me is enjoying the small moments. Like a simple cup of tea.

I have been using my tea cosy lately to keep my tea warm, since it’s rare to enjoy a whole cup at once these days.

I asked my local knitter who made mine to make some for the shop. There are a handful in stock now, in two colours – this cream one and a beautiful grey.

Above left: A cut banksia branch from the garden frames a stack of much read books / Above right: A nook in the lounge room with a wild seascape adding drama.

Above left: Our bedroom feels like a little soft haven in amongst all the concrete right now and this is sometimes where I feed Edie / Above right: Looking down at her in my arms and staring at her little cupid bow lips and nose.

Edie is 12 weeks old now and she is feeding every 2 hours, which can be demanding at times, though I know she won’t be this little forever, so I’m savouring holding her in my arms. I could stare at her forever.

I adore the night time feeds and the just before sunrise feeds. When it feels like the whole world is sound asleep and it’s just her and I.

Above left: A medium size Seaweed Pearls hangs above the bed, reminding me of my time spent on Satellite Island, the small island off Tasmania in the deep south / Above right: You will always find water on my bedside, especially now while breastfeeding, I’m always so thirsty.

Our bedroom feels gentler than the rest of the house and it’s such a special place to retreat to and rest with Edie. I have added a few more layers to this room, including two favourite pieces of my work, Seaweed Pearls and Wilder. 

Every piece I bring into our home sets the mood for how I want to feel here.

Above left: Edie’s nursery is very raw. It will come together in time, but there is no point rushing just yet / Above right: This is where you will find me often, on a bounce ball, bouncing Edie to soothe her. Within about 90 seconds she goes from a crying baby to a calm baby.

Two things which are helping me adjust to life with Edie that we do everyday is use a bounce ball and escape to the front yard, as her nursery is still a way off.

When Edie is being ‘fussy’ (aka, crying and needing to be settled) we bounce. It has been a life saver with her for when she just can’t be settled.

The bouncing mimics what life felt like for her inside my tummy, bouncing and jiggling around as I ran around town and this really soothes her.

Above: She has just started to ‘hold on’ when you pick her up. like a little koala holding onto your shoulder and neck.

Above left: I love to throw an old sheet on the lawn and just relax outside with Edie / Above right: Now that it’s cooler I love to dress her in all the knits and keep her little head warm with an old school bonnet.

The other thing we do is throw an old sheet on the front lawn of the yard and lay down together on the grass.

After giving birth it has taken time for my body to heal, as she really burst out (ouch), so laying down with Edie feels really comfortable and we can stare up at the sky and forget about the washing which is waiting to be done and just ‘be’.

Above left: The native banksia called ‘Golden Candlesticks’ which grows in the front yard / Above right: Timothy O, Edie and O, on the front lawn of the house.

Above left: The best part of the day, bath time / Above right: The fibreglass screen in the bathroom the original owners put in. It has pieces of fern, grasses, leaves and even a couple of butterflies.

Bath time is such a favourite moment of the day. The bathroom is very unique with a built in shallow bath and an original fibreglass panel window, which is layered with collected pieces of nature – very 1960s.

When the afternoon lights hits the panel it erupts in golden light.

Above left: The simplicity of home life / Above right: Forever grateful for this little human to come into our lives.

Every day feels special in some way right now and the simplest of moments are huge.

When she smiles back at me my heart just bursts into a million pieces. I have never known this kind of happiness, ever.

Hope you enjoyed seeing into our ‘small life’ right now.

Can’t wait to share more with you soon.

Kara x

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32 Comments to “These Days at Home”

  1. It’s a beautiful home, the bricks are so chunky, love how your pieces look so right here also.
    Every moment is special, enjoy.

    • Hi Madonna, thank you for your comment. I received your precious gift last week. I was so blown away by your thoughtfulness and your talent. You are incredible. Edie and I are sending you a little something back xx

  2. Hi there Kara,

    Congratulation!

    Thank you for sharing your real, raw and beautiful moment at your home, and with your family..

    We are need real and raw in live.. xo

  3. This made me well up with warm tears, thinking back to my own early days with my babies. Thank you for sharing and taking me there again. Just beautiful.

    • Hi Tanya, I think its a universal feeling isn’t it – thought early days / weeks / months with a baby at home, and all the emotions and feels. xx

  4. Ooohhh Kara, l love it how you so generously share these precious glimpses of your life. Wow it feelsy so tender and caring perusing it… what a joy to see you and Edie and O so happy. Thank you for these beautiful words and images couragous woman! Lots of love and your home in mcm style totally rocks xxxx

    • Hi Merit – such a special time at home. I never want these days to end. I’m so pleased you enjoyed seeing the glimpses! xxx

  5. Kara , how very special the images of yourself, Edie and Timothy are. Congratulations on becoming a Mother… Enjoy these special times with your baby and every best, warmest
    wishes for you in your new life going forward.

    Warmest wishes,

    Rita Gibbs

    • Dear Rita, thank you for such a heart felt message – thank you.
      These days feel very precious indeed.
      Take Care Kara x

  6. I just adored this story Kara … such precious moments … and your home is *sigh … just gorgeous. Thank you for sharing x

  7. Oh my! I looked at you in your latest email, and I thought has Kara had a baby? You were absolutely glowing! What a delight little Edie is, and such a gorgeous house, I’ve been renovating houses since I was 19, and after 23 of them, and at 64, I think I have one last one in me!! Enjoy your beautiful girl, she will touch your heart forever all life’s best, Francie from, Coromandel, New Zealand xx

  8. Beautiful, enjoying life as you should & thank you for sharing, a reminder to all of us to take time and seek out our best life

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