Friday, July 9, 2010

Friendly Fridays -Small House, Big Family, Happy Life

Pat and Roger's Full House

Forget about Kate plus Eight!  For today's Friendly Friday let me introduce you to Pat.  She lives in Des Moines, Iowa with her husband Roger, their twelve children ranging in age from 3 to 21 years old  and their dog Oscar.  This 2000 square foot house built in 1904 has been their home for 14 years.  And if your jaw has not dropped yet, it will now.  Pat is also a foster mom and child advocate.  So in addition to her own children, she welcomes other kids into her home whenever a need arises. 

The Yellow Adirondack Chair at the House Entrance.

Now back to the house, which Pat has decorated beautifully in a Country Cottage Style.  There are 3 1/2 bedrooms, a kitchen, dining room, living room and sun room.  According to Pat, the biggest challenges she faces living in a smaller house are storage and closet space.  (Doesn't that sound familiar.)  To create storage she uses covered wicker and picnic baskets and a collection of armoires in all sizes and shapes.

Here is the entryway to Pat's house.  The pie tin is used by all the kids for their outdoor shoes.  The little ones have been trained to immediately put their shoes away after coming inside.  Before she got the pie tin, Pat said shoes were strewn all over the floor next to the front door.

Pie Tine in the Entryway

The dining room is the largest space and gets the most use.  The family eats dinner together at the table almost every night.  The dining room also used as a study room for the kids who do their homework at the dining table.  School supplies are stored in the green chest on the right.

For holiday dinners, children eat in the bay window ledge next to the dining table. 

This is a close-up of the green chest Pat uses to store school supplies along with linens and napkins.  A great example of functional storage that is also beautiful.  Don't miss the tiny 'Believe' sign hanging from the coat hook on the left. 

Here everyday dishes are stored.  The different plates designs add color and life to the room.  It works because the dishes are neatly stacked with each pattern grouped together.

Look at this terrific armoire with one of Pat's wicker baskets for storage on top.  And don't miss the high chair Pat created out of a high back wooden chair.  Pat also isn't afraid to display her china, as long as it is out of reach of curious little fingers.  Here her china sits atop the armoire.

This crock in the corner is filled with toys.  No need for a fancy expensive toy chest.

The living room is Pat's favorite place in the house.  Here she has created a calm livable space that the whole family can use.  Notice the armoire in back of the couch with the wheat grass stenciling and iron hinges.  Another example of Pat's use of beautiful storage pieces.

This antique desk and hutch in the living room is used as storage for glassware and crystal.  And again, Pat stores some of her favorite collectibles on top.

Pat's kitchen is only12 x12 feet square.  She has created a work surface and small eating area with the marble topped kitchen table.  Since it is counter height, and matches the white cabinets and black countertops, it visually flows with the space.

The kitchen's white and black theme continues with a white tile back splash scattered with black tiles.  Yellow walls and bright simple accent pieces add color.

Pat's sun room is tiny, measuring about 10 x 10, but it is has a full size daybed, a chair for lounging and an armoire for clothes storage.

Oscar enjoying the lounge chair in the sun room.

Rogers shirts hanging in the armoire.

And this is Pat, our 'Wonder Woman'!  She keeps a wicker basket with adult and big kid shoes in the corner of the sun room.

Isn't Pat beautiful!

The sun room day bed is painted red and paired with creamy yellow striped bedding, along with a red and white quilt.  This is not a play room, but a space for adults and older kids to 'get away' and relax.

The beadboard hallway leading upstairs is painted a warm yellow and as with every room in the house, carries Pat's simple and charming accent touches.

Upstairs, there are three and half bedrooms, with the master bedroom in the smallest space.  In one of the girl's bedrooms, Pat uses a cream colored wicker armoire.

The girls iron trundle bed is painted yellow.

Following in their mother's footsteps, the girls also store their doll clothes in wicker baskets.

Wooden twin beds in another room are painted white.  The bedding compliments the deep purple wall color.

The boys room sleeps six.  There are two sets of bunk beds and single with a trundle.  This corner shot shows the simple decor that is masculine, but also welcoming and warm.  It is worth noting that none of the bedrooms have a TV set or computer.  All those activities take place in the living room.

The master bedroom is a small room, but Pat has made it cozy and warm with honey colored walls and an antiqued iron bedstead.  The color scheme is carried through with the bedding.

And I just had to show you these cute touches Pat has on the walls of her home.  Here is a lantern original to the house, embellished with an angel.

Stenciling on the back of the bathroom door.

And a bird house Pat hung between windows in the entry way.

But the cutest thing in Pat's house is probably her 3-year-old son.

Pat's home is always filled with family, friends and laughter.  The day I was there was no exception.  And when I asked her what she likes best about her small home, she said, "I can always see and hear where my kids are.  And the house just feels alive"

Family and friends around the dining table.



  1. What a beautiful home! She definitely knows how to make the most of her home's space. Very inspiring!

  2. Oh, just love it. A REAL house for a real family. Thanks for the peak inside!

  3. That's a lovely home, obviously Pat has an artistic eye and a warm and loving heart. Thank you for sharing this family with us!

  4. That's a lovely home, obviously Pat has an artistic eye and a warm and loving heart. Thank you for sharing this family with us!

  5. Such a cute place! Loved the tour...hope you'll have more for us!

  6. Lovely woman, beautiful home, and does she ever have a wonderful talented taste in decorating! Enjoy reading this.
    Thank-you for the inspiration!

  7. Wonderful!

    I enjoy seeing how people make the most of their space--something I'm always struggling with.

    Will you write a post on your boys sharing a room, as mine do, as well?

  8. I had a chance to speak to Pat today, and she really appreciated all your compliments.

    As for a post about my boys room, I'd be happy to do that. Look for something in the next two weeks.