Icon - Arrow LeftAn icon we use to indicate a rightwards action. Icon - Arrow RightAn icon we use to indicate a leftwards action. Icon - External LinkAn icon we use to indicate a button link is external. Icon - MessageThe icon we use to represent an email action. Icon - Down ChevronUsed to indicate a dropdown. Icon - CloseUsed to indicate a close action. Icon - Dropdown ArrowUsed to indicate a dropdown. Icon - Location PinUsed to showcase a location on a map. Icon - Zoom OutUsed to indicate a zoom out action on a map. Icon - Zoom InUsed to indicate a zoom in action on a map. Icon - SearchUsed to indicate a search action. Icon - EmailUsed to indicate an emai action. Icon - FacebookFacebooks brand mark for use in social sharing icons. flipboard Icon - InstagramInstagrams brand mark for use in social sharing icons. Icon - PinterestPinterests brand mark for use in social sharing icons. Icon - TwitterTwitters brand mark for use in social sharing icons. Icon - Check MarkA check mark for checkbox buttons.
You are reading

Can Minimalism and 5 Kids Co-Exist? A Design Couple’s Child-Friendly, Clutter-Free Home

Search

Can Minimalism and 5 Kids Co-Exist? A Design Couple’s Child-Friendly, Clutter-Free Home

November 19, 2021

When most of us see a blank wall, our urge is to cover it—with photos, posters, art, or color. But in the inviting home of Maria and Paul Le Mesurier, the founders of UK furniture company WoodEdit (see our story about it here), there is not a hint of wall art to be found, nor is there much color. “I can never see the point of using lots of different shades of paint,” Maria, who acts as the brand’s creative director, tells us. “Every hour of every day of every season, the light changes all the time, so the white walls do, too—which, for me, gives so much variation in itself.”

In spite of the couple’s minimalist tendencies, there’s plenty of arresting visual interest inside their 17th-century abode. Instead of color, Maria and Paul (an osteopath-turned-furniture-maker) rely on found foliage to breathe life into rooms. And in lieu of patterns, they emphasize textures, prioritizing natural materials like linen, terra-cotta, sisal, and wood in their home. They may be living in a brick-clad former stable in a West Sussex estate with five kids, ranging in age from 4 to 18, but their home exudes a quiet, sunny serenity that feels more Mediterranean than English Channel. (Maria’s father’s family hails from Madeira, Portugal.)

“We live quite minimally, I don’t like having lots of things— just what is needed. I find it calming,” says Maria. The key to maintaining a tidy minimalist home with children who may not share the same goals? Layering. Lots of layering. “There are spills and stains everywhere. I throw lots of jute rugs everywhere to cover the worst bits. As for the sofas, I layer them with linen throws and blankets.”

Read on for more great tips on how to make minimalism work in a household with kids.

Photography by Maria Le Mesurier.

maria styled the front door of the le mesurier family home with some of her fav 9
Above: Maria styled the front door of the Le Mesurier family home with some of her favorite baskets. The baskets—many of which were bought on trips to Portugal, Italy, and Spain—are her go-to storage tool for keeping clutter at bay.
tellingly, among the 30 or so products on woodedit&#8\2\17;s web store are  10
Above: Tellingly, among the 30 or so products on WoodEdit’s web store are five types of boot racks and peg rails for corralling outerwear and galoshes. “I’m not sure who makes more mess, the teenagers or the little ones,” says Maria. “I think all of them! I hang endless baskets from the peg rails and lots get chucked in them—Lego pieces, cars, hats and gloves, loo rolls.” Just beyond the entry is an old French armoire; the space behind the linen curtains on the right are “a useful place to chuck things.”
their kitchen table style \1 in walnut is available via their store and also co 11
Above: Their Kitchen Table Style 1 in walnut is available via their store and also comes in oak and ash. All of the wood used by WoodEdit is FSC-certified, meaning it comes from sustainably harvested forests. In the corner are a trio of very old fruit-picking baskets now used to contain firewood.
in the kitchen, maria allows for a pretty display in one open cabinet but every 12
Above: In the kitchen, Maria allows for a pretty display in one open cabinet but everything else is kept behind doors for a streamlined look. Terra-cotta tiles, a very forgiving flooring when it comes to spills and stains, cover the majority of the ground floor.
maria le mesurier woodedit house tour kitchen island
Above: Another WoodEdit design, this simple and trim kitchen island anchors the space. The pendant lights are from Baileys Home, a Remodelista favorite.
maria gravitates to a naturalistic palette of whites, corals, and browns. in th 14
Above: Maria gravitates to a naturalistic palette of whites, corals, and browns. In the winter months, she swaps out light-colored fabrics for darker ones, like this Portuguese terracotta-hued linen curtain in the kitchen. “I took the door off when my teenage daughter drove me nuts continually slamming the door and use a linen curtain instead now,” says Maria.
branches of silver birch in an antique italian pot make for a beautiful moment  15
Above: Branches of silver birch in an antique Italian pot make for a beautiful moment in the sitting room. “I love rescuing fallen branches and bringing them in. Sometimes I give them water and sometimes not. I love seeing them dry over time—they look just as beautiful to me,” says Maria. The walls throughout are painted Farrow & Ball All White.
behind a sofa covered with a spanish gingham blanket is a spot for maria to dis 16
Above: Behind a sofa covered with a Spanish gingham blanket is a spot for Maria to display some of her favorite objects: very old Italian glass bottles and Italian olive pots.
many of the curtains in her home are made from repurposed fabrics. case in poin 17
Above: Many of the curtains in her home are made from repurposed fabrics. Case in point: here, an old monogrammed French bedsheet was refashioned as a fabric shade.
&#8\2\20;in the play room, the walls are very damp. i stapled hessian sacki 18
Above: “In the play room, the walls are very damp. I stapled hessian sacking to the walls, so we can delay the repair! I love the earthy feel of it and always use natural materials,” says Maria, who likes to cover sofas with layers of washable linen.
in the bathroom, maria repurposed a sturdy branch she found on her property as  19
Above: In the bathroom, Maria repurposed a sturdy branch she found on her property as a curtain rod. The shell, bought in a Spanish market, holds soap.
in the serene main bedroom, portuguese linen curtains surround the bed. 20
Above: In the serene main bedroom, Portuguese linen curtains surround the bed.
in her young daughter&#8\2\17;s room, a trio of handmade grass animal heads 21
Above: In her young daughter’s room, a trio of handmade grass animal heads from Spain, available on the WoodEdit site, keep company.

For more UK homes we admire, see:

Have a Question or Comment About This Post?

Join the conversation

v5.0