A Beautifully Simple Chicago Apartment

Amanda Jane Jones House Tour

Graphic designer Amanda Jane Jones — a self-described homebody — lives with her husband Cree and their two young children in Hyde Park, Chicago. As the founding art director of Kinfolk and other design positions, she helped create the simple, natural style that’s become so popular in home decor these days. Here’s a peek into their new apartment…

Amanda Jane Jones House Tour

Sofa: Article. Framed print above sofa: Block Shop. Coffee table: vintage, similar. Black floor lamp: Schoolhouse Electric. Rug: Article. (From the top photo) Leaning ladder: West Elm. Chair: Gus Modern. Wood floor lamp: Blu Dot. Book storage rack: Schoolhouse Electric. Fireplace surround: Fireclay Tile. Mirrors: vintage. Watering can MÛR.

Amanda Jane Jones House Tour

Rocking Horse: Monroe Workshop. Ship kite: Haptic Lab. Letter board: Letterfolk. Toy piano: vintage, similar. World globe: similar. White planter: Food52.

How do you want your home to feel?
Simple and meaningful. Our home is a mix of old and new. I get bored with things quickly, so it’s easier to get wooden and neutral basics (rug, sofa, etc.) and add in color with accessories.

Have you and Cree ever felt differently about something — like the wagon wheel coffee table in When Harry Met Sally?
When we were first married, we painted our front room bright yellow. We both hated it, but thought the other loved it. We didn’t realize until a whole year later that we both disliked it so much and laughed so hard. Newlywed lesson learned.

Who plays the piano?
We both do! Buuuut it’s been a while for me. Cree plays Weezer’s Longtime Sunshine all the time and the kids sing it. He also plays a lot of hymns from church.

Was music a big part of your own childhoods?
Yes, I sang a ton and Cree was in a family band growing up. They practiced EVERY DAY during the school year (my mother-in-law has the most patience of anyone I’ve ever met). Music is always playing in our home these days, and we’re excited to have our kids learn piano, too.

Amanda Jane Jones House Tour

Sofa: vintage, similar. Floor lamp: Target. Coffee table: vintage, similar. Trunk under table: vintage, similar.

Amanda Jane Jones House Tour

Desk: Made by Cree. Chair: SmartFurniture. White tiered cart: Schoolhouse Electric. Pendant light: Schoolhouse Electric. Pendant light shade: Schoolhouse Electric. Paper organizer: Hay.

Amanda Jane Jones House Tour

What family rituals do you enjoy?
We start every morning talking about the day. Four-year-old Jane is a planner (like her mama) and likes to know what’s on the agenda. I work freelance, and Cree’s getting his Ph.D. in economics — so we switch off days with the kids. At night, we eat dinner together and play a few rounds of hide and seek.

What’s it like to work from home?
My office doesn’t have doors, so I get little visitors. We’ve tried to make it comfortable for them — for example, there are art supplies at my desk and an extra keyboard. They like to feel part of things for a while and then they lose interest. I love hearing Jane say she has “pwojects” to get done.

Any advice for work/life balance?
It’s okay to say no! And set boundaries. When I take on new jobs, I give myself long timelines.

Amanda Jane Jones House Tour

Table: handmade by Cree. Black chairs: Hedge House. Wood chairs: vintage, similar. Credenza: custom from 57st. design, similar.

Amanda Jane Jones House Tour

Wall shelves: CB2. Pendant light: Schoolhouse Electric.

What’s the best part of your new apartment?
It has great natural light, and we have a shared backyard, which isn’t common in Chicago. And now Miles has his own room! Before this, the poor guy slept wherever he fit — mom and dad’s room, the living room, the dining room.

Anything tough? Every apartment has its quirks.
We have a neighbor who thinks our kids play too loudly, so we’re just trying to kill her with kindness. We’ve talked to the kids about being quiet, but it’s tricky when they’re so young.

How did you pick your dining table?
I helped design it and Cree and his dad built it with wood he bought back in college. It’s such a treasure. We wanted it super long so we could have guests over — and for more future kids!

What are some home stores you like?
Schoolhouse Electric and MÛR, hands down.

Amanda Jane Jones House Tour

Table: custom from 57st. design, similar. Bar stools: Hedge House. Stendig calendar: Schoolhouse Electric.

Amanda Jane Jones House Tour

Wall shelves: handmade by Cree.

On Instagram you talk about doing Whole30. Can you tell us about that?
I LOVE IT! It has been life changing. I know it’s not for everyone, but I feel so much better and healthier. Our kids don’t eat Whole30, but they eat the meals I make and still have their favorite snacks — gold fish, pretzels, etc.

Where did the toy kitchen come from?
My father-in-law made one of the kitchens for each of his 11 children. It’s a replica of one his wife had as a little girl. I cried when we opened it at Christmas, it was such a sweet, heartfelt gift.

Amanda Jane Jones House Tour

Bed: Hedge House. Bedding: Parachute. Quilt: Parachute. Side table: vintage. Chair: vintage, similar. Side table lamp: Schoolhouse Electric, similar. Dresser: 57st. design. Dresser lamp: Schoolhouse Electric. Frames on dresser: Artifact Uprising.

Print of Christ: J. Kirk Richards, sold through Latter Day Home.

How do you choose artwork?
Mostly, art is something we aspire to have. If we’re going to spend the money, we want it to be a forever favorite. We just bought a new Block Shop print that we love, but it’s really just not our season for art buying. We’ve framed a bit of photography, since that’s a more cost-effective option for now. We like to take photo booth photos and frame those throughout the house. They make me laugh so hard every time I see them.

Amanda Jane Jones House Tour

Bed: vintage, similar. Rug: Rugs USA. Dresser: Modern Hill. String lights: Bright Lab Lights, similar. Profile print: A Family Print Shop. White lamp: Land of Nod.

Doll house: Pottery Barn Kids.

Amanda Jane Jones House Tour

I know you guys wear lots of vintage. Do you have vintage home pieces, too?
Jane’s room is mostly vintage. My mom found her bed and desk at a garage sale for under $100! Cree is our Craigslist guy. He searches for “mid century modern,” looks hard and finds all the deals. I don’t have the patience for it.

What are Jane and Miles into these days?
Yesterday Jane asked me to call UPS to let them know she needs a Halloween costume. She thinks those guys give her all her clothes! Miles is a major cuddler. He always reaches for me and says, “Mama hold you.” It makes my heart explode.

What are some of your go-to kids stores?
I really like Fawn Shoppe, The Land of Nod, Arcade and Monroe Workshop.

Did you ever consider having the kids share a room?
Yes, we tried for six months and it was terrible. They’d wake each other up at night and then get each other up at 5 a.m. Miles was just too little.

Amanda Jane Jones House Tour

Crib: Land of Nod. Print: Schoolhouse Electric.

Amanda Jane Jones House Tour

Glider: Gus Modern. Alphabet print: Tree Hopper Toys. Giraffe: Monroe Workshop.

Amanda Jane Jones House Tour

Hanging lamp: Kovac Family, similar. Peg rail: MÛR. Shelves: IKEA. Basket: Vuela Boutique, similar.

Where do you hang out with Miles?
I sit in the glider with him all the time! I didn’t have one when Jane was a baby, and I knew I needed one with him. It made all the difference. Ours is by Gus Modern; I like that it’s simple yet also comfortable and functional.

What books are your kids into right now?
Anything by Jon Klassen! The Press Here books are a favorite. We like Paddington Bear, and the book Pool is so beautiful. We also enjoy the classics like Good Night Moon and Blueberries for Sal. The outward-facing shelves make it easy for him to choose a book, and he loves having them within reach. Every single day I find him sitting reading to himself — it’s the sweetest thing.

Amanda Jane Jones House Tour

Peg rail: MÛR . Woven market backpack: similar.

Amanda Jane Jones House Tour

Amanda Jane Jones House Tour

What cool cartoon line drawings in your hallway. Can you tell us about them?
Jane drew those! She gives her drawings such personality. I thought that blowing them up would be a fun way to show her how much I love her work.

What are your go-to family spots in Chicago?
So many! The beach is my favorite — we picnic, fly kites, look for treasures. No matter our moods, it’s an instant day changer. A few others: The Lincoln Park Zoo, Parsons Chicken and Fish (the outdoor patio is great for kids), The University of Chicago campus (for bike rides), Bang Bang Pie (for biscuits and pie) and Antique Taco (the pork taco salad is what dreams are made of).

Do you think you’ll live here for a long time?
Not likely, since Cree will be done with his Ph.D. program in two or three years. Then he’ll apply for jobs and we’ll probably have to move to a new city. It makes my heart ache a little to even think about it.

Thank you so much, Amanda!

P.S. Looking for color? Check out this Seattle home and this Brooklyn townhouse.
Want advice for small spaces? Here’s a 250-square-foot family apartment, a teeny Brooklyn flat and an actual tiny house.
For international tours, see this dreamy Parisian apartment and this home in the Japanese countryside.

(Photos by Petra Ford for Cup of Jo.)

  1. This might have already been asked but my eyes were getting tired combing through the replies… I would love to know what Amanda thinks about their article sofa? Is it comfortable, enough for binging tv shows or a long movie? I was actually considering buying from them but was unsure considering I couldn’t sit on it first. ?

  2. Ellen says...

    This post has me all weepy and brought back all kinds of memories. I used to live in Hyde Park at 54th and Woodlawn and shared the most amazing apartment (just like this one) with a roommate in grad school. Love the peaceful and clean vibes!

  3. Kali says...

    I preface this with, I have OCD, BUT, is there a reason all the artwork is hung off-center? Especially when it’s just one piece? Like the art above the sofa for example. Maybe the point of view for the photo is just wonky, but, it makes me wonder if there’s a story behind it. Obsessive minds want to know… ;)

    • Unless a print or prints fill up most of the wall, off-center looks better (IMO as a graphic designer). It’s sort of like the rule of thirds in photography / the extra white space feels more refreshing and the asymmetry makes it more interesting.

  4. aw says...

    Rugs would help with those neighbors….

    • Joy says...

      The complaints are when they’re outside in the shared yard.

  5. Catherine I says...

    Beautiful apartment. Thanks for the book recommendations, just requested some from my library. I love new book recommendations for my toddlers and me :).

  6. Natalia says...

    For affordable art you could go to all different museums websites and look trhourgh their galeries. there’s some classic artwork that you can download for free, to then print and frame!

  7. It’s so interesting to me when others comment negatively on posts like this, as if we all want to see a messy house on the internet. Does it trigger insecurity, jealousy? I understand where they are coming from, but I truly think they are missing the point. Home tours are meant to inspire, connect, show us how others live, and initiate introspection.

    I think Amanda inspires and uplifts so well. Not just in this home tour (which is lovely), but through her consistent style direction on Instagram. She is lovely and I loved seeing her home. Thanks for sharing. xx

    • Emmanuella says...

      …and to each their own. This house is actually a little too messy for my taste. Not that there’s trash or piles of laundry anywhere but the little pieces here and there look cluttered to me. Funny, how personal style goes. :-) Still always interesting to see what others do to style their homes.

  8. Brooke Reynolds says...

    I love Amanda’s style. We try for a similar minimal feel in our home and often get some great questions asked by people:
    “So when are you guys going to paint?” (We just did! Our walls are white.)
    or “When is the rest of your furniture arriving?” (Umm, this is it!)
    You just have to laugh! To each his own. Carry on!

  9. Alex says...

    I love this house tour. The Shaker aesthetic works so well in their apartment. It’s simple and calming – something that I’m striving to achieve in my apartment right now. And the very achievable price points on so many of her furnishings are reassuring that I can get to my version of “Shaker Calm”.

    Kind of off-topic but, I also really enjoyed reading about Amanda and her family. Even as an atheist who grew up in a non-religious family, I’m interested in how religious or spiritual people operate. Lately, being a new-ish mom and trying to comprehend the current political climate, I find myself feeling a bit lost. I’ve started trying to create alternative ways to build like-minded community and support. Even things as simples as bi-weekly “toddler happy hour” at the local beer garden with our neighbors, or professional affiliations with socially responsible groups, or reading through the comments here! Would love to see more posts about building community in the age of the internet, or would that be too conflicting with the blog platform?

    • Heather says...

      I love the thought of posts about community building, Alex! Heartily seconded!

  10. Summer says...

    I love this tour/home. I love this families style. I am very inspired :) Thank you for sharing your home with us!

  11. jac says...

    Oh my gosh, I love Kinfolk. This apartment is beautiful. I’d fill it with plants. TO THE BRIM. I like seeing cool religious people (whatever religion). Where oh wear is her top from?

    • elizabeth says...

      Def looks like Ace & Jig to me!

  12. CM says...

    Lovely space! Thank you for opening it to us!

  13. Tasha Varpio says...

    Absolutely lovely home – thank you Joanna for featuring such great spaces. Your blog introduced me to Ashley Muir Bruhn and Kendra Smoot. I follow Amanda on instagram and have to admit I was so looking forward to reading this post.

    Amanda I have been eyeing that block textiles print. Although I too am not quite in the season for art buying, I might have to make an exception for that piece!

  14. MaryMargaret says...

    Kudos to you, Amanda Jane Jones, for rockin’ it out early on to help make your life now the way you want it to be! What a beautiful home built on a bedrock of hard work, hustle and faith. Love your sweet space and family!

  15. Shannon says...

    What a beautiful home. Thanks for spotlighting a religious family.

  16. Emily says...

    Amanda, would you consider doing a post about your experience with Whole30? I would love to hear how it’s worked for you. Do you recommend it for weight loss, for example?

    • I’m currently on day 7 of my second round of Whole 30! It’s a great program to use as a reset – you cancel out sugar, gluten, dairy, alcohol, and eat mostly protein, vegetables, fruits and nuts. You can still eat lots of satisfying meals and preparation is key to success! I found it helped with digestion, lessened bloating, and made me much more conscious of what I put in my mouth :)
      I lost 14 pounds the first round and my husband lost 20 – although they forbid you from weighing yourself until the end of 30 days, so it’s really not focused on weight loss. We’re going to Hawaii next month, so I’m admittedly using it partially for the weight loss benefit ;)
      It’s the first diet/nutrition program I’ve managed to stick to! We bought the Whole30 guide and the cookbook for tips and recipe inspiration off Amazon. I definitely miss wine, but it’s so worth trying!

  17. I appreciate you featuring a religious family on your blog. I always love ❤️ your house tours. I liked this one very much.

  18. Liz says...

    Dear Fellow Cup of Jo Readers-

    Although so many of the comments here are really lovely, I do not understand the ones that are not (on this post or any of the others that feature someone’s home, beauty routine, or style of dress, etc.). It seems to this old fashioned girl that it might be good to remember the often forgotten words in today’s world, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” All of the lovely people who open their homes/lives to us are terribly generous. Imagine how excited they each must be to be featured and to read through the comments. If their joy can’t be shared and celebrated, then perhaps it is best not to say anything. A little kindness goes a long way, especially in supporting each other! XO

    • Annie Green says...

      Agreed. It seems unusually harsh and bordering on the envious. It is clear that they have worked hard – still are – for what they have. Glad you said this because I hummed and haahed about making the same point.

    • Emily says...

      Thanks Liz,

      This desperately needed to be said. While everyone is entitled to freedom of speech, I think it is important to temper that freedom with grace.

      The beauty of home tours is the diversity of aesthetics that inspire a wide ‘taste’ spectrum.

      I personally appreciate a clean, bright aesthetic. Given the sensory overload and stimulation that accompanies life in a big city, I relish coming home to a calmer space. Amanda, thanks for opening up your home to us! :)

    • Sid says...

      I agree. I find it strange that people seem to feel so personally threatened/insulted by homes that are: 1) clean/tidy and 2) decorated in a style that is different from one they’d choose for themselves. I think we can all safely assume that people clean up (and/or hide messes) before they let people take photos of their home. I’m also apparently in the minority because I WANT to see different, tidy, inspirational homes. If I wanted to see pictures of messy houses covered in dirt/pet hair/kid messes, I’d just look at ones of my own home :) I also appreciate that people are willing to share pictures of their homes – it must be a very vulnerable thing to subject your personal private space (and apparently parenting) to the judges of the Internet.

    • Jess says...

      Agree. Shouldn’t we all be applauding this woman who worked so hard earlier in her life to be able to have what she has now? Yes, it’s fair to ask how she does it. And yes, there are women and men everywhere who work hard and don’t have what she has. But someone’s own personal lack of things should not make us resent someone else who has worked hard. Life isn’t fair, and that can be a tough lesson for all of us. But as fellow humans we should be able to rejoice in something like this, a woman and husband who have worked hard and have a beautiful home and family.

    • Sarah says...

      YES! I follow Amanda on Instagram and am continually inspired by her. She works hard or her job, family, church and community and does it all with grace and humor. She has worked hard for years and years. We should be applauding her and supporting all women working toward and achieving their goals!

    • Cait says...

      Agreed and thank you for saying this! I love this home. I have a very demanding, stressful career so when I get home I need it to be like a quiet retreat, whereas being surrounded by bright colors can feel a little like I’m being shouted at by the walls, furniture, etc. But I’ve never seen one of the more colorful homes on here and felt the need to comment “Yikes, so loud!” Different people enjoy and appreciate different aesthetics. I simply think “not for me” and move along. Even just saying something like “I personally would need more color, but what a beautiful home” would be nice instead of “I feel sad for children raised in this environment” – Really?! Any kid would be lucky to live in such a nice space!

      Also, it is ok to as someone how they do it, but keep in mind it’s not always a happy story. A co-worker a bit younger than me owned a beautiful condo in a very nice building in one of the most expensive housing markets in the US. She was able to make the down payment because her mother passed away when she was a pre-teen and she inherited insurance money when she got older. The envy I felt at her being able to afford it quickly vanished.

    • kelly libby says...

      Amen!!! Why do so many people feel such a desire to give everybody their opinion all the time; especially towards strangers on the internet. I really do not understand the need. It bothers me so much that I have made a personal policy of NOT responding to mean, cruel or just uninformed comments on social media, anymore. I just refuse. In fact, when i’m reading news stories, i try my best to not even READ the comments. It totally ruins the experience and then that nastiness is with me all day. As well, It saves a lot of time and mental energy to live my live away from that crap. The world NEEDS kindness, compassion, empathy — not cruelty.

  19. Janine says...

    They have some great Chicago recommendations. Maybe you could tap them for an upcoming Chicago City Guide?

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      great idea, janine!

  20. This is exactly my version of a home! I love how the space is so bright and open, and still super cosy!

  21. Gilli says...

    Beautiful airy space! How does one blow up the drawings? That is a great idea! Also, I have 3 kids and a white couch works great, IF it is a slip cover, bleach until it falls apart!

  22. Adore this home – simple, spacious, thoughtful, heart-felt. Love! Also love that Amanda mentions loving a Whole30 way of eating!

  23. SanDe says...

    I am not LDS, but I have to say it was good to hear that this family makes their spiritual life and church a priority. Many of the people featured in this space are pretty non-traditional. It’s almost like it isn’t cool to talk about attending church or family spirituality. I really enjoy reading about Amanda and her family, and I wish them well in their future endeavors.

    • Rachel Elise Simmons says...

      i totally agree!!! well spoken!

    • Natalie says...


    • PJ says...

      Non traditional as compared to your own traditions? I too used to think the Sun revolved around the Earth.

    • L says...

      I’m curious what in these posts makes you feel like it isn’t cool to talk about church or spirituality. I certainly agree that it isn’t common to hear about it in a lot, but there are a ton of aspects of life that also aren’t typically covered in these. What makes you feel like it isn’t cool, rather than just that it’s not what these posts are about?

    • Jess says...

      Who cares what’s cool? Just be yourself.

    • kelly libby says...

      Yes, totally agree!!! I’m Catholic and it’s often “uncool” to feature people with faith. Let’s change that!!!

  24. What a sweet, sweet home.

  25. AJ says...

    Wonderful light! That enormous dining table next to that window, looks like such a good spot…

  26. Julia Christensen says...

    I would love to know what white paint colour they have used here!

    • Julia says...

      Thank you!! This is the exact colour I am considering for our new home. There is a lot of wood in the home, so I have wondered whether the undertones of chantilly lace would be too cool. But I love the way it looks in your space, which gives me confidence! Thanks for getting back to me!

    • Claire says...

      I have chantilly lace in my home too and LOVE it!

  27. Anna says...

    I find it so interesting how I love these kind of spaces- minimalist, simple, pure aesthetic perfection- in interior posts, but can’t live in one for more than a week in real life without getting anxiety. (Thanks, airbnb, for making that clear.)

  28. Faith says...

    Beautiful home and family. :) I lived in Chicago for eight years and miss Antique Taco and Bang Bang terribly!

  29. Amber says...

    Do you have a source for the living room pillows? Love the simple tone on tone look!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      i’ll ask!

    • Katherine Friedland says...

      Would love to know!

  30. Emmy says...

    Gorgeous home and furnishings!

    I used to live in Hyde Park, and just seeing the shapes of your unit brings me right back! Some of my friends had apartments in the neighborhood with almost the exact same layout in places. There is something so particular about those Chicago two/four/six flats.

    • Meg says...

      Yes! That is such a Hyde Park style apartment!

    • Karin says...

      Ditto–it makes me homesick! Does Cree go to Univ. of Chicago?

    • Anna says...

      I lived in Hyde Park too & it brings me right back! Love that neighborhood, it’s such a unique one.

  31. sonja says...

    I now have 15 tabs open to check out some of the sources :). thank you for sharing your beautiful home and family with us! I was wondering if you could share your white paint shade as well? I’m loving how warm and clean it looks in the photos.

    • it’s Chantilly Lace. we love it too!

  32. Chelsea says...

    Beautiful home! I love the Article sofa and their prices are very reasonable. Can someone that owns one let me know if they are very durable? I have 3 kids ages 6 and under, so durability and budget are very important (but I would love to have something that’s more my style than the current hand-me-down we own).

    • yes! they are both really well made. I was slightly worried about the light carpet, but it’s textured enough that it doesn’t show any wear. It looks just as good today as the day it arrived. I’ve been pleasantly surprised!

      and the couch is really durable – my kids keep jumping on it (even though I ask them not too, ha!)

  33. I live in Chicago, so I love seeing a Chicago home. How many bedrooms and bathrooms is their apt?

  34. Andrea says...

    Thank you for asking about the role of religion in their lives. This isn’t something I see a lot, although it is really important aspect of life. If you did a house tour of our home, you’d see the St. Brigid’s cross over the door, the Christ Pantocrator mosaic reproduction from Hagia Sofia, a crucifix over our bed from our collection and various pictures of saints in holy cards. I love glimpsing religious art in homes. It makes it so much more personal to me.

    • Paige says...

      Yes!! I agree!

    • edie says...

      agreed. appreciated that inquiry.

  35. Denise says...

    Lovely home indeed. A little color would go a long way in that space though.

  36. Hannah says...

    I love how the print above the couch is off center. Wise design choice that I wouldn’t have thought to do myself!

    • Amanda says...

      Same with the bedroom wall hanging! I immediately noticed how much I liked that it made a cozy little space out of the side table and chair rather than bringing everything together centered over the bed.

  37. Stephanie Oneill says...

    I she like roommates because I’m moving in! I’m in love with her apartment! :)

    • Joanna Goddard says...


  38. Beth says...

    I so enjoyed reading this – mainly getting to know the apartment owners though! They seemed so well-balanced and sensible. I loved the part about this not being their season to buy art. Home tours in general are usually financially aspirational (and frankly, unrealistic), which made this so refreshing to read.

  39. Saskia says...

    What a beautiful family home. Feels so inviting!

  40. Samantha says...

    How do people live like this with one person doing their PhD and the other one only working 20 hours/ week?! Seems unrealistic for most of us. Please tell me your secret!

    • Hannah says...

      Haha, that was my first reaction, too! My grad school salary was barely enough to afford a shared room, basic car expenses, and lots of ramen.

    • Annie says...

      Yes, seriously!

    • Em says...

      I’m going to guess it’s a combo of Amanda working really hard in her field and now gets to choose her clients (and I bet they pay her a premium)! And I think she is an Instagram influencer so I believe she gets paid to advertise for companies that align with her aesthetic.

      Also, they don’t drink so I bet they have saved a lot more than the rest of us who have had (sometimes steep!) bar tabs throughout our 20s! Haha

    • Emma says...

      My thoughts exactly!

    • Em is spot on. ;) I worked really hard before I had kids (over 60 hours a week) so that I could charge more after I had kids and work less. It was my ultimate goal to be able to work from home and be with my kids as much as possible. And yes, I also do work with companies – take photography for them and help share their work in exchange for discounts on furniture and or trades. We feel so lucky we get the opportunity to do this!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      I think families’ finances can be set up in so many different ways — personally, I worked a full time job, plus a second (or sometimes third) job in the evenings and on weekends throughout my entire twenties in order to pay off school loans, afford to live in NYC, etc. and i saved and saved and saved, and i bet amanda did a similar thing in order to have the flexibility to stay home with her kids once they arrived. it’s easy with house tours and instagram, etc., to wonder how people’s lives look so easy, but there is ALWAYS a backstory and often very hard work and sacrifice. since these aren’t finance stories, i don’t ask them about that, but if people are up for sharing in the future, we can always try to shed some light. thank you!

    • kelly libby says...

      Many academic programs at the PhD level pay stipends and/or they may be working for the University/Hospital they are studying at. I’ve heard of families in the Boston area doing this. Perhaps it is similar in Chicago?

      I find that living simply, cooking at home, buying 2nd hand and renting a small apartment helps me save lots of money in a big city. I also don’t drink much except for wine at home. However, I love love love love to eat out. And, that’s where all my $ goes.

      It’s hard and I hadn’t been doing as well as i should but I’m back on the journey. I’m always amazed how much we WASTE; money, food, time, energy. Tonight — homemade butternut squash bisque and PBS.

      But, i’m curious, too. :)

  41. I love this home! I’m from Chicago originally and it’s making me homesick for that beautiful architecture. I’m also decidedly non-religious but it was neat to hear from someone whose aesthetic I connect with that makes it a big part of life. We can’t all be the same!

    As a photographer I love the use of hanging photobooth prints.

  42. LaurenB says...

    I loved the UPS comment – too funny! My 3 year old always asks “did Mail Lady bring that?” — the grocery store and hardware store are pretty much the only places we take him shopping, so he’s convinced that you order everything else on a computer, and Mail Lady brings it to you! For weeks, he told everyone he saw that “Mail Lady brought me a big kid bed!!” which was questionably accurate at best, but adorable.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      yes, haha! we lived in an apt building with a doorman for a year, when toby was 3, and he was SO sad about leaving robert when we moved. robert was so, so, so sweet and wonderful with the boys, and then toby added, “and he also gives me presents and packages!” haha, he thought all the school clothes and christmas presents were coming from robert :)

  43. Claire says...

    Dying to know how that Article rug is holding up with two little people in the home. It looks so clean! Would Amanda recommend it for a house with a resident toddler?

    • so I was worried about this too, but it looks just as great as the day it arrived! it is off white and lightly textured, so it hides all the imperfections we’ve created thus far. Also, we try not to wear shoes in the house (chicago has a major lead problem, so we like to keep the outside dust and dirt from our shoes out!). We also keep snacks in the kitchen or dining room, and that keeps it clean too!

  44. Awww, Amanda! It’s so fun to peek inside your space, and how nice to see a home that’s as thoughtful and lovely as its occupants. Thanks for sharing.

  45. Love it Amanda! New place looks amazing!

  46. Cynthia says...

    I like the mix of modern and old. Her daughter’s bed is beautiful.

  47. Stephanie says...

    I love the print at the end: What good shall I do today? Any idea if this is something they purchased and, if so, where. I would love to hang this where our family can see it each morning. So inspiring!

    • We have this in our house too! We got it from Best Made Company!

    • Stephanie says...

      Thank you so much, Myndi! I found it!!

    • it’s by best made company. xx

  48. Eliza says...


  49. Really cool. Love how they achieved a totally clean look without going all white. It still feels inviting.

    • Bridget says...

      I LOVE thanks for the reality check!

    • Alyssa says...

      This made my day ?❤️

    • check out my insta stories for what Jane’s room looked like at the end of the day. ;)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      haha! of course toys are put away for a photo shoot (and things generally tidied up), but amanda is very open on her instagram about showing her kids playing during the day, spreading everything out, etc. they are a very sweet, laid-back family.

  50. Brooke Anderson says...

    This house is fantastic. My little 2.5 yr. old says, “Mama hold you” too! So precious. Will you please share where the little black car/truck toy is from? Also the little wooden animals the kids are playing with? Thanks!!

    • little wooden animals are from rikumo and monroe studio. black car is from huzi toys. :)

    • Jess says...

      I love those animals., too I buy them at The Gardener at the Ferry Building in SF.

  51. all i could dream of is for a husband who could build furniture *swoon*

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      haha i had the same thought! he builds such beautiful pieces.

  52. Sara says...

    We have the same dresser in our kids room except that within 10 minutes it was colored on with markers and crayons… At least it was only $35.

  53. amy says...

    I can’t believe their lack of clutter! So envious. Gorgeous home!

    • it’s all in our closets. ha! ;)

  54. Celeste says...

    First woman who’s been realistic that sometimes you have to cut down to part-time work with kids on this blog. Brava!

    • kelly libby says...

      Yes!!! Totally agree! We women should be reminded that there are MANY different options for moms and that staying home with your babies is not sad nor settling… and it doesn’t mean you’re rich. Often, it’s quite the opposite scenario.

  55. So much love for this – I’ve long admired their aesthetic sensibility ever since I stumbled into Amanda & Cree’s blog however many years ago! It was always lovely seeing them around campus while I was an undergrad, although I never quite had the guts to go up and say hello. Wishing them all the best xo.

  56. K says...

    Love the thoughtfulness of blowing up and framing Jane’s drawings. They are really special.

  57. Christine says...

    I couldn’t believe the reference to Jon Klassen!! His parents have the most amazing B&B in Niagara (Canada) that my husband and I have been staying at for years. I didn’t know if people outside of Canada knew about Jon and his hilarious books!
    (If anyone is curious, the B&B is called the Woodbourne Inn and it’s Heaven on Earth).

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh my gosh, that is so cool, christine! thanks for the tip!

    • Jacqui says...

      My nieces LOVE Jon Klassen’s books, Christine, and they live in New Zealand. He is pretty popular here. You’re so lucky to be able to visit the B&B.

  58. Annie Green says...

    Shame about the neighbour. Kids playing too loudly. These are very small children so what can they be doing that is so noisy? I rather admire the kindness approach, though.
    In answer to the question above: I have had my home shot twice for magazines and the second time was when we had young kids. Pre-shoot, things get tidied away. Fair enough.

    • Moira says...

      Not sure if it’s a downstairs neighbor, but they don’t seem to have much carpet, which probably doesn’t help the noise factor. Many apartments in NY require a certain amount of floor to be covered with rugs to lessen the noise. Having a toddler of my own, i can say that rugs are a definite necessity for us!

    • Elizabeth says...

      Cree and Amanda sound like lovely people and cognizant that what is normal to them may be disruptive to others. I admire their “kill with kindness” attitude, too. Maybe the neighbor believes that his/her home is also his/her sanctuary and resents the noise.

      I’m from Utah — highest birthrate in the nation. Kids are our biggest crop! And although very small children are indeed precious, I can tell you that they are capable of a great deal of noise.

    • Andrea says...

      Our 12 year old godsons play basketball in their living room in a NYC apartment building. I wonder what their neighbors think about this.

    • haha, exactly. I told the photographers they had to be quick! my kids are like little tornados! xx

  59. I love how open the space is!


  60. Marlena says...

    This apartment is DIVINE. It is very rare for me to like such a whitewashed neutral style because they usually lack warmth. But they have nailed it here. I am going home straightaway from work tonight to have my littles draw pictures like the one’s shown on the second to last photo… what a clever idea. :) Love this!

  61. Anon says...

    I have noticed that people seem to chose toys for their kids to match their homes aesthetic this really a thing?

    I don’t remember seeing common people toys say brightly colored fisher price ones in these homes(although I don’t like too much electronic toys sometimes kids want what they want)..I’m curious.

    Thank you!

    • Sonja says...

      It’s totally a thing I do! Our aesthetic is similar to their home but with a bit more color and texture (though this tour is the cozy minimalist interior of my dreams!) and the toys match. Our son is two so we still exercise a lot of control over the toys he has and he goes to a Montessori school so they toys there are pretty paired back. He’s got a wood toy kitchen, a navy dipped denim teepee, wooden blocks, wooden trains, etc. We try to keep his toys as simple as possible so his imagination can run the show. And bonus points that the simpler wooden toys also last longer, don’t have batteries that would drive me nuts, and look nicer.

    • Mac says...

      I don’t know if this is how everyone does it, but I keep our “ugly,” primary colored, plastic toys put away in baskets, cupboards, etc. We definitely have them, but I keep them put away. But pretty toys are both toys and decor!

    • we also have the bright colored toys, they are just hidden in the bins and baskets. ;)

    • Johanna says...

      I only chose beautiful wooden toys for my firstborn. On her third Christmas Eve she shouted at me: “I LIKE PLASTIC MOM! PLEASE GIVE ME PLASTIC TOYS!” Two kids later we have loads and loads of ugly plastic stuff and horribly loud electronic toys. Happy kids though ;)

  62. Dana says...

    She’s a freelance graphic designer and he’s a grad student? How on earth do they afford a place in Hyde Park and all these fabulous things inside it?

    I know I shouldn’t be so upset by this, but it is very frustrating to see these examples of people-with-money living so well.

    So, so, so many Americans cannot live that way. Perhaps we should look at this material splendor as “inspiration,” but…maybe there is another lesson here? Maybe we could exalt those who are of meager means but still make their homes and neighborhoods beautiful.

    I know you sometimes feature people that live in more affordable homes; the last time someone commented about this, you posted a link to Elizabeth Suzann’s warehouse-home. (Hardly a good example, I think, right?)

    • Blair says...

      As far as Chicago goes, Hyde Park is pretty affordable. Tons of young families and grad students live there.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      elizabeth and her husband lived in a small building (basically, the spot where a security guard might have a small office, right at the edge of the entrance/parking lot area) on her warehouses’s property since they had poured all their savings into the business. they were amazing at making it feel homey, even though they were on an extremely tight budget.

      as with all our series (house tours, beauty uniforms, etc), we try to feature a mix of styles, family structures, colors, locations, budgets, etc. here are a few others on a tighter budget, if you’d like to see. thank you!

    • Joy says...

      I think this profile actually has great examples of living within a budget. AJJ states in the article that they can’t at the moment invest in art, and points out framed photo booth pics and her daughter’s art as money-saving ideas. A lot of the furniture is vintage (daughter’s bedroom furniture under $100, it states) and AJJ also gets deals or even free items for posting them on her Instagram feed. Hyde Park is a relatively affordable neighborhood in Chicago and this is also an apartment, not a large home. I like that this couple chooses things carefully and thoughtfully and are creative about getting a certain look, rather than going to Arhaus (or I don’t know where) and shelling out thousands for a catalog/magazine look.

    • Joy says...

      Also her husband MADE the beautiful dining room and kitchen tables! Saved a ton of money there.

  63. Meghan Edwards says...

    Am i doing parenting/decorating/life wrong? How is it possible to have house plants on the floor, books in fancy book racks on the floor, art on the wall within inches of the crib, art hanging low on the wall, things you want to keep on low bookshelves all with small children?? This is 100% not realistic for families with young kids. Is anyone out there really living like this? If so, please tell me all your secrets.

    • Sari says...

      I agree! This house does not look lived in at all, and my toddler would be pulling everything off every shelf.

    • sjm says...

      Every kid is different. When we had my son we baby proofed like mad. Ends up he’s rather careful and didn’t even attempt to pick up the delicate ceramic pieces of our handmade nativity set as a toddler. It’s just his personality and it surprised even us. If we have another it could be the opposite story!

    • Renee G says...

      My 2.5 year old son, who I thought was very responsible with “crayons stay on the paper!”, just colored all over his play kitchen. LOL! That’s the thing about whites and neutrals – it only takes ONCE. Just one time those PBJ fingers escaped the dining room without being wiped and there goes the afternoon having to scrub the resulting couch stain.

    • Renee G says...

      I don’t understand how white couches and rugs can be kept clean with toddlers. I mean, I try to be very strict about food in the dining room or shoes off at the door – but with white, it just takes one slip up!!

    • Vrie Lee says...

      I was going to ask the same question!! How do they upkeep the house without the youngest one touching & pulling everything? Absolutely love the stylish design with a minimalist touch though! Only wish that my 8-month-old would not destroy anything we leave on the ground level. Very curious how is it possible if you have young ones at home? Did they have the same arrangements when Miles was starting to crawl? What did they baby proof the space?

    • Sabrina says...

      I have three little boys, 6,5 & 3 and they trash our house everyday! That beautiful home wouldn’t stand a chance!
      I feel like my kids are on the wilder side, but we also live in the country so I can send them outside to run around and go crazy!

    • Sarah D. says...

      Our 3 were born within 3.5 years and we’ve always had books stacked on a bench, toys super accessible on or near the floor and light colored upholstery. Our kids grew up this way so they just got used to it – so yes this style works for some. However, it’s a slightly different story when we have guests over for play dates?

    • we keep toys and bins and books in every room in our house, so the kids only are interested in those things surprisingly! xx

    • Jess says...

      We have 5 kids and have pretty much kept out our breakables and other fancier things. Kids can be taught no. It’s a combination of teaching and then not caring a whole lot if something does get ruined. Half of our kids are adopted, so it’s not just a genetic predisposition to letting things be. Sometimes I think we’ve developed a societal conscious of “they’re kids” and therefore can’t do x,y or z. And that is definitely true for some things, but certainly not everything. I think our expectations of our kids should be higher.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      yes, so interesting! with our family, toby would never pull things from shelves — he would just play with his toys and leave the grown-up stuff alone — so we had bookshelves, stacks of records, etc., really low down in our home and it was totally fine. but then anton came along and he got into EVERYTHING, haha. i think it might depend on each kid’s personality, too.

    • Taylor says...

      Totally kid dependent. 3 kids all under 4. The oldest we didn’t need to babyproof. There was the occasional thing, but very much a rule follower and a bit rigid. #2, gah, he’s the kid that will throw spaghetti, bite, color on stuff and then take off his diaper and poop on the floor ? #3 personality yet to be determined. So yes, if my kids were all like #1 I could see this working no problem.

    • Jess says...

      I keep a chalkboard/whiteboard easel with dry erase markers in the try right next to my piano. My son NEVER colored anywhere other than that dry eraseboard, so I just never worried about it. He’s a classic rule follower. As soon as his little sister could get the cap off a marker and no one was looking, she colored all over that (blonde wood) piano. Every kid is different! Fortunately, she took the threat of the markers being put away seriously and hasn’t gone off the board since. My kids are five and nearly three, and that is the only time I can think of either them purposely damaging something – and I keep books low to the ground, art supplies within easy reach, a house plant on the floor in the playroom, an accessible snack pantry and a floor level cabinet of board games. We teach our kids to be responsible for their toys and clean up after themselves if they want to have those things.

      Re: the comments above about flashy, noisy, brightly-colored plastic toys, kids don’t need them. They need open-ended toys that encourage creativity, like magnatiles and blocks. They need art supplies and musical instruments. They need dress up bins and books. They need a few soft friends and blankets to feel cozy and secure. They need space to move their bodies. And they don’t need a ton of any of the above except maybe space, which can be found outside.

      It’s so silly to criticize a family for not buying into mass consumerism and lust for disposable, environmentally destructive THINGS.

    • kelly libby says...

      It’s called boundaries and saying, “no”. And, I think it’s vastly missing from most American families/households (and, yes, I’m American and am a professional nanny with a Psychology degree. As well, my mom hosted a home day and my sister has 4 kids). You can be loving, warm, kind and be the grown up who has rules and boundaries.

      White wouldn’t be my color of choice and would be unrealistic in my home however children do not need to behave like mad animals and “trash” a house every day. That was NEVER allowed when i grew up and it’s not allowed now. If they are that wild, perhaps a few hours at the playground would help or changing their diet or a solid time out practice. Why is it acceptable for anybody to “trash” a house?? That is teaching so many awful qualities to a child.

      I find it outrageous that families adhere to a policy of anything goes now that we have kids. You are the parent and you make the rules starting when they are very young opposed to many parents who try to start when the kids are much older. Kids appreciate boundaries. Also, children can have spaces where they are allowed to play and places that are off limits.

      It seems way past the time to expect more from our children. They are pretty awesome, smart, kind beings.

  64. Kayla says...

    This space! And those kiddos (I’m a professional nanny so…They’re adorable!)