Illustrator/designer Liz Libré lives in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, with her husband and three kids. (Her third child, James, was born on Sunday!) She’s one of the warmest people I’ve ever met. Although their high-rise building is very modern, Liz has made their space feel like a “cabin in the sky.” Here’s a peek inside…
Sofa: Restoration Hardware. Chairs: vintage.
On creating a cabin vibe: When we first saw the apartment, we loved the modern feel but wanted to warm it up for our family. I kept saying I wanted it to feel like a Scandinavian cabin in the sky — clean lines, but comfortable. And, amazingly, that’s really what it has become. My friend, Lizzy, who is an interior designer, suggested staining the floors and putting wooden shelves around the fireplace. Those things added instant warmth.
On Scandinavian influences: My husband’s mother was Swedish, and even though she lived in the U.S. most of her life, her connection to her homeland was very important to her. She taught her five children to speak Swedish, and amazingly, all five children have taught their children — so all 13 grandchildren speak Swedish, thanks to this one woman, which I think is just remarkable and so special.
On meaningful knick knacks: Everything is a mix of old and new, pretty and familiar. We have photos of both of our moms who have both passed away. Griffin made the wooden sculptures. I designed our framed wedding invitation, which shows the two old T-shirts we used to always wear.
On having a family home: Keeping things practical for our family has been a top priority. Our couch, rug and coffee table have all seen countless spills (red wine, coffee, even barf and blood) and they’ve bounced back so well. We couldn’t live with anything too precious, so I think that has helped keep things cozy.
On go-to dinners: Lately, it has been homemade pizza and a salad. John makes a mean four-cheese pizza, and I make a solid salad dressing. Five-year-old Griffin is the biggest salad eater in our house because of this dressing. He always has seconds.
On that magic dressing: I never measure, but it’s basically a good amount of olive oil and champagne vinegar, juice of half a lemon, one or two minced garlic cloves, a little Dijon mustard, a little mayo, and salt and pepper.
On easy entertaining: We love our table and use it for everything — eating family dinners (at one end), playing games, working, doing craft projects, folding laundry, paying bills. We celebrate all our birthdays around this table. But as much as I love sitting around a bustling table, when it comes to hosting, I secretly prefer sitting on the floor of our living room, around our coffee table, wine or cocktail in hand, with a mean meat and cheese plate two inches from my nose. Casual, boozy, picking at good food over the course of a night — that’s my entertaining jam.
On a handy sliding door: Our friend Mat is a furniture maker, and he helped us make a sliding door to separate the living area from the bedrooms once the kids are asleep. We put up the kids’ artwork, and I plan to switch it up eventually and let them paint directly on the door. I think they’d love it.
Bunk beds: Land of Nod. Blue rug: Dash and Albert. Chair: street rescue, reupholstered. Viking art: vintage. Baskets: Greenhouse. Dragon bedding: Designed and made by Liz, based on an ongoing story that she and Griffin made up about two dragon characters who travel the world. Wallpaper: Abigail Edwards.
On the magic of bunk beds: Right around the time we found out I was pregnant with our third, out of nowhere Griffin and Louise said they wanted to share a room — which of course was going to need to happen anyway. But to make it seem like it was their genius idea, we moved Louise’s crib into Griffin’s room and told them that if they were good about going to bed for a week straight, then we could get bunk beds! Their heads exploded. They did it and were so proud and excited. Now they love having friends over and playing up on the top bunk. It makes me nervous, but they’ve been careful. So far, no broken bones.
On bedtime nerves: When Griffin was young, to help him go to bed without angst, I would turn off the lights and play a little game with him that would make him smile. I’d say “Goodnight, my little _____” and fill in the blank with a funny word — like “radish” or “ice cream sundae.” He’d giggle and then repeat it back to me filling in his own word. We’d go back and forth a few times and laugh. Sometimes I’d interject “Oh that was a good one, buddy!” — to which he was very proud. It always ended the evening on a happy note.
On a bath ritual: My husband John plays music — usually reggae — on our speakers really loudly. I must be getting old because it’s almost too loud for me. It’s a real party in there! They come out singing Bob Marley in their towels.
On deciding on wallpaper: It’s called Paradise by Josef Frank (one of my favorite designers) from 1940. It’s on three walls in this little bathroom.
On choosing baby names: Our new baby is named James — he’s four days old! Each of the kids has a family middle name. To name any of our kids after one of our parents that has passed away seemed like a lovely tribute, but too heavy. So, we tucked those in as their middle names.
On remembering family: My dad was the funniest person I’ve ever known and a gifted storyteller. I want our kids to know that, so I tell them “Pop stories,” which are like my dad’s greatest hits. I try to make them as animated as my dad did and tell them as he would have. It’s amazing to see the kids’ reactions — they get that they’re funny, just like I do.
On an essential baby item: As a new parent, you definitely need the NoseFrida. That little bulb thing they give you at the hospital doesn’t do squat.
On the wooden wall: Continuing the whole cabin-in-the-sky idea, we wanted to bring wood into the apartment. These are actual planks of reclaimed wood. Using them on just one wall of the room helps keep it feeling clean.
On falling in love: My husband and I met during college in Maine. We were in the same group of friends. I played lacrosse, but senior year, I tore my ACL and couldn’t play the rest of the season, so I was around a lot more than usual. We joke that I finally slowed down enough for him to make a move!
Green dresser: vintage. Otomi embroidery: souvenir from Mexico City, framed by Simply Framed.
On a bedtime routine: Before bed, I like looking through magazines on Texture. You get hundreds of magazines. I read so many different things because of this app. Of course, I only make it through a few pages before falling asleep.
On favorite stores: For the home, I love everything that More & Co. does and stands for. They started my ceramics obsession, thanks to the Chloe May Brown pieces they carry. Peace Towel makes great towels. And, of course, Lewis! I’m so proud of our debut collection of organic crib sheets that don’t feel super cutesy.
On framing family photos: These black-and-white shots show the older kids in our favorite place on earth — the Jersey Shore! Griffin is skimboarding, and Louise has shed her bathing suit and is walking up the beach path carrying her backpack beach chair, as she does. I have the best memories from spending summers on this same beach as a kid. Now our siblings have 13 kids (!) between us, and I love nothing more than to see them play just like we did.
On pulling off a family beach day: Everyone always gets hungrier and thirstier at the beach. The key is to pack more chips than you think your kids will eat and more beer than you think you’ll drink.