Design

The Door is Always Open in This Brooklyn Family Home

LaTonya Yvette House Tour

Stylist and author LaTonya Yvette lives with her daughter, River, 7, and son, Oak, 4, in the Clinton Hill neighborhood of Brooklyn. She moved there while she was separating from her husband, and found that the secret to creating a comfortable home was to surround herself with things that had connection and meaning. (And to surround herself with a community of friends and family who seem to know exactly what she needs exactly when she needs it.) Here’s a peek inside…

LIVING ROOM:

LaTonya Yvette House Tour

Pendant lamp: Ikea. Sofa: Article. Floor lamp: World Market. Gold tables: vintage.

On inheriting the apartment: My friend Karyn used to live here, and when told me she was buying another house, she was like, ‘I need you at this apartment.’ We are both stylists, we had always connected on motherhood, we both have this kind of bear-clawy relationship around home, and the way that it needs to feel for our families. My husband and I were starting the process of separating, and Karyn knew deeply in her body that I needed a new space.

LaTonya Yvette House Tour

On Billie Holliday: I got the print at the Goodwill on Fulton Street. I am a huge Billie Holiday fan. If Oak had been girl, his name would have been Billie. While I love her voice and range, what I find really thrilling are her songs that can be read as a political act.

On being single: There are many nights when I’m nodding off on the couch and I’m like, ‘I could just sleep here.’ Then I think, it is my apartment, and no one is asking, ‘What time are you coming to bed?’ Being alone now is scary but also liberating. I’m happy my children got to see me choose what was best for everyone even when it was an uncomfortable choice.

LaTonya Yvette House Tour

“Feelings” print: Limited edition by Timothy Goodman, purchased at Tictail.

On having a dedicated space: When I started writing my book, Woman of Color, my friend was like, you need a desk. And then she found this one for me on Craigslist. I loved it, and it helped me write the rest of the book. When my marriage was ending, people showed up in ways that I hadn’t expected. They push you to the other side of whatever you’re going through and then you do the same for them.

LaTonya Yvette House Tour

Table: Ikea. Chairs: Ikea. Family photo by Bee Walker.

On a family photo as artwork: I got this photo of us blown up with Framebridge. I like that it looks like a piece of art of New York City. This is 100% our real life. We are on the subway twice a day. You’d think the kids would be bored by now, but they still love it. They’re like wild animals crawling on me while waiting for the train.

DINING ROOM:

LaTonya Yvette House Tour

Pendant lamp: Ikea. Table: West Elm. Orange chairs: West Elm. Rug: vintage.

On mix-and-match chairs: In my apartment (and this goes for my clothes, too), I like there to be a sense of off-ness. In my old apartment, we had matching dining chairs, and I was so bored. Even if things are simple, they can still be a tiny bit weird. The blue settee was from a neighbor who was moving. I was like, This is weird. I love it.

LaTonya Yvette House Tour

On entertaining: Our parties are always impromptu and they’re always potlucks, and there are usually like 10 people and 15 children. I’ll make a salad or cheese spread, and my rule for guests is, ‘Bring a bottle or a plate.’ That’s the easiest way to entertain. We always end up having too much wine and lots of food.

On open houses: What I need, what I need my kids to be raised around, is safe. It’s safe for them to share. It’s safe for them to grow. It’s safe for them to be. I enjoy having people over, and I think a lot of that has to do with a safe space mentality, making a home where people feel comfortable and respected. We do ‘Open House Sundays.’ I’ll tell people my doors will be open from this time to this time so just come! I love having a space for people to have fun and throw it down.

LaTonya Yvette House Tour

Portrait: Jenna Gribbon.

On radios: My grandmother lived on Classon Ave in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. She had a tiny little apartment, and the radio was always on and usually tuned into Old Heaven 1580 or whatever the old Christian radio was. I love having a radio at home. The yellow dresser was from a neighbor who was moving, the same one who gave me the settee.

KITCHEN:

LaTonya Yvette House Tour

On a morning routine: Every morning, I burn palo santo in every room. It’s my ritual. I turn on music and brew coffee and burn the palo santo. The coffee and palo santo smells together are amazing. Since I wake up super early to work, I try to create an atmosphere that’s especially for me.

BATHROOM:

LaTonya Yvette House Tour

Shower curtain: Quiet Town.

On small spaces: I was like, ‘How do you design a bathroom?’ You just get a weird shower curtain that’s cool and easy to clean. That’s it!

HALLWAY:

LaTonya Yvette House Tour

Wallpaper: Wolfum.

On showing up: Oak was born with a ventricle defect, and last year he had to have surgery that required him to stay home and rest for a month. My mom moved in with us for that month. She noticed that the wallpaper was starting to peel and one day was like, ‘Well, if you go get the paste I will redo the wallpaper.’ And she did. It was a beautiful thing. It makes me emotional because hanging wallpaper is very simple, but it was a way of taking care of me. I just think it’s important for people to show up in the ways that they can. It means a lot.

LaTonya Yvette House Tour

White and red frames: Framebridge.

On writing letters to kids: When I was a kid, my mom used to write us cards as a treat. For me, even though I see my kids all the time, I’m always wondering, ‘Is there is something I’m not saying? Is there something I’m missing?’ So a letter is about filling these spaces, letting them know that I’m still thinking about them even if I’m not saying it. Or it’s about praising them. Or just saying I noticed that you did this, or I know you might be nervous about that, or thank you for being a great big sister to your little brother — just acknowledging something that I may not acknowledge on a day-to-day level.

LATONYA’S BEDROOM:

LaTonya Yvette House Tour

Bed: Ikea. Bedspread: Upstate.

On a pink bedroom: I had a pink bedroom for my entire childhood, so when I moved here and became single, I looked around the room and was like, ‘Yes, pink! You could paint the whole apartment pink, and no one’s going to say no!’

LaTonya Yvette House Tour

On dressing: I love getting dressed for myself. When I don’t dress up, that’s when my kids start questioning. I remember once when I didn’t dress up for like two days in a row, my son was like, ‘Are you happy, Mama?’ He was just checking in to make sure I was okay.

KIDS’ BEDROOM:

LaTonya Yvette House Tour

Beds: Ikea. Blankets: Upstate. Animal mounts: Target. Lamp: Egmont.

On sharing a room: I know eventually River and Oak will want their own space but right now they love sharing. It’s cute because sometimes they’ll say don’t love it, but any time one of them is in my bed, the other one will be like, ‘I want you to come back!’

LaTonya Yvette House Tour

Storage baskets: HomeGoods, similar.

On the bedroom theme: I like to think of them falling asleep in a peaceful forest every night. The lamp shines stars on the ceiling when it’s dark, and the blankets are naturally dyed with turmeric and flowers. Oak has a zebra over his bed, and River has a unicorn. My friend Jenna painted the mural in honor of the kids — you’ll notice it’s a river surrounding an oak tree.

LaTonya Yvette House Tour

Blue storage bins: Ikea. Circle mirror: Ikea, similar.

On bedtime reading: River has been really into the Addy American Girl series that her grandparents gave her. She’ll stay up and read. After cuddling them, I usually end up falling asleep in one of their beds.

LaTonya Yvette House Tour

On life right now: When I first started out on my own at 18, it was a struggle… then a door would open. A struggle, a struggle, a struggle… then a door would open. There was a part of me that was like, you have to put your head down and just do it. Now I have a backyard, and it’s so nice to crack open the kitchen door and let the kids free. They have scooters and bikes and draw with chalk. Sometimes I look back and think, Wait, we’re really here and this is our apartment. It’s insane.

Thank you LaTonya! LaTonya’s book, Woman of Color is available for pre-order. We can’t wait to read it.

P.S. Many more house tours, and LaTonya’s week of outfits.

(Photos by Julia Robbs for Cup of Jo.)

  1. Melkorka says...

    Love, love, love everything about this home tour – so colorful & filled with personality & style but also peaceful & tranquil (I adore that scene on the Oak & River’s wall) – My kind of aspirational design post!

  2. J says...

    Thank you for sharing all of this, LaTonya — it brought me such a feeling of peace simply looking and reading through it and I absolutely loved it.

    It really reminded me of that COJ post from several years back about the concept of ‘home as a haven,’ and I love that in such a beautiful way, she’s created a place where no matter what, River & Oak will know that when they walk in the door, there’s nowhere more safe, comforting, and loving for them to be.

    I also teared up a bit at the “struggle, and then a door opens” — thank you for so simply and profoundly reminding us all of something so good and true.

  3. Frieda says...

    I soo love the idea to write letter notes to your children. That’s so cute. <3

  4. Erica says...

    This is a beautiful home and a beautiful story! Also, I have a dresser set that matches the bamboo dresser with the radio on it! I inherited a tall dresser and a matching nightstand from my grandmother. I’ve never seen them anywhere else, and they’re exactly the same design :)

  5. Tara says...

    I couldn’t love this post more❤️ I can’t wait for the book to come out!!

  6. Christina says...

    Awesome interview! Love LaTonya’s home style–the dinning room with orange chairs is my favorite!

  7. Erin says...

    Beautiful space and moving story. I can’t wait to read her book!

  8. Magda says...

    I’m glad that LaTonya and many comment authors experienced an outpouring of support during divorce. I also have a young child and my experience of divorce and the aftermath has been very different. There is so much pressure on women, at least in US culture, to be empowered by every change. I feel very strongly that we also need space to say that in some people’s personal experience, some things are plain devastating, and that it depends on values, circumstances, support networks, etc etc.

  9. LaTonya embodies Intentional Living. Thank you for the inspiration!

  10. S says...

    A magical read!
    I was in the same place and by reading through the lines leaving the exact same kind of marriage, I recognize your words.
    If you ever want to connect with a west coast sister in spirit, I’m here.
    My kids are now 13/8 and I’m four years out. It sounds like you already know this, but you are doing right by your kids.

  11. Liz says...

    What a fabulous piece! LaTonya is such an incredibly brave and brilliant woman. She tackles her life in a way that I greatly admire. She has fears and concerns like the rest of us, and she faces them head-on. She is expanding her comfort zone beautifully and she is teaching her children to do the same. They are learning from her (and I am, too!) that in many ways, we can create our own safe places. She also fosters friendships in a way that I envy; I tend to isolate. Thank for portraying this gorgeous and amazing woman who carries herself like the queen she is! I have learned a lot from her.

  12. Bear claw-y relationship: I can relate! What a perfect way to describe the way you think about home. I read that and I thought, “same.” Your home and family are beautiful, LaTonya. Thanks for sharing.

  13. GoldenMoon says...

    That long pearly white dress is also amazing. Any leads?!

    • LaTonya says...

      Hi!

      It’s a silk dress from Upstate (same as bedding!)

      LaTonya

  14. Louise says...

    Looking at the mural in the kids bedroom I feel a sense of calm and peace, it really is truly beautiful especially with the meaning behind it. Well done on creating a safe and happy space for your family.

  15. jade says...

    I needed this. I am in the process of getting a divorce with a 3 year old in tow. At times I feel strong and like I can do this, but at times I feel scared out of my mind. Reading the experience of other strong women, even a story about decorating one’s home, gives me hope/strength.

  16. Robin says...

    I loved this tour so much. I’m a recently divorced mom to a 3 year old daughter, and LaTonya’s words about creating a safe space were so touching. I also love her style and would love to know about her dress! Thank you!

  17. Li N says...

    Love the ritual of writing letters to your kids. I think I’ll do that for my nephews who live a few states away, and I’ll keep it in my brain for if/when I have my own! So sweet.

  18. Love this beautiful home and family! It has been wonderful to follow LaTonya online for the past fews years as she shares her journey. If you don’t follow her on Instagram, you’re missing out. Just pre-ordered her book and can’t wait to see it.

  19. Jen Nee says...

    Loving the mural in the kids bedroom! What a beautiful, meaningful depiction of the siblings’ shared bond. And what a thoughtful mama she is to set up this visual yet subtle reminder that they will always be each other’s safe harbor. ❤️

  20. Stephanie Gutierrez says...

    What a beautiful, inspiring woman in a beautiful, inspired home.

  21. Kate says...

    On Palo Santo: Please don’t buy this – it’s causing Climate Change! Cutting trees is a huge cause of deforestation in the Amazon, because it’s recently become trendy to burn in the US. I work at a conservation organization and we’re trying to work with local communities to stop them from deforesting to produce products like this – cutting down trees emits the carbon stored in trees into the air, and results in soil erosion and more carbon loss. Deforestation from production like this is a leading cause of climate change. Read more online!

    On the apt: love it. beautiful taste. I remember LaTonya from her week of outfits post – the woman’s got style!

    • Sarah says...

      Hey Kate! I love Palo Santo but I don’t like destroying the environment. Do you know of any ethically produced Palo Santo companies or alternatives? Thanks for your input!

    • Raquel says...

      Sarah – May I jump in and suggest that you burn white sage instead? It smells delicious and the intent is the same burning Palo Santo! you can buy dry white sage at WholeFoods. @Kate, would you be able to confirm if this is ok? If not, I would just use incenses!

      Thank you!

    • MW says...

      Cup of Jo, I’m a big fan, but please, please reconsider the link to Amazon to buy Palo Santo! If you will do a bit of research, it truly is not an ethical practice. I know COJ folks are heart-driven, and I appreciate all you do – please keep in mind that your links have ripple effects.

      All that said, I really love this piece. LaTonya has a wonderful sensibility, not only for the eyes, but most especially for heart and soul. Much love to her…

  22. Carol Gibson-Kish says...

    Wow! This is absolutely, hands down, one of the best home tours you’ve ever featured. Not just the photos but LaTonya’s thoughts and words. I absolutely cannot wait for her book to come out.

  23. Shelby says...

    What strikes me most is how Latonya holds herself in the pictures, sitting on the floor, curled on the couch, leaning on the doorframe like a friend listening to the story of your day. She feels so *in* her space. Note to self.

  24. amelia says...

    What Latonya said about moving into a new space post-separation and amidst a divorce rang true for me too. Friends showed up in unexpected ways to help me get settled in. It felt like one family ended while another began, and every time I come home I feel grateful for them!

  25. I’m happy my children got to see me choose what was best for everyone even when it was an uncomfortable choice. Good for you, you have given you & your children a gift. So much healthier and wiser than to look back years later & regret not have chosen. Struggle forever or just struggle for a while……………….

  26. Alana says...

    I love the living curtains! Any chance you know the source?

  27. I love everything about this home and her philosophy on it all. That mural in the kids’ room is dreamy!

  28. Mallory says...

    LaTonya: You made me tear up at your comment about home and safe. I grew up in one of those small communities where we did not lock doors. In our small community, that is how we told ourselves we were safe. How far from safety we frequently were. A silly facade, really. When my husband and I married, I always told him I wanted an ‘open home.’ I love the use of the word safe.
    Jenny: When I saw you authored this post, I nearly jumped out of my chair. Dinner: A Love Story was my life’s Lean In. It so beautifully articulated the struggles surrounding dinner and life. My marriage may have even been saved by my husband and I developing meals we each “own.” I happen to own Lazy Bolognese and Arroz con Pollo. We also exclusively make your pizza dough recipe. I make a triple batch and freeze it. Although I do not keep a dinner journal, I do keep a tally in my cookbooks of how many times I have made a recipe. I just passed 40 on the pizza dough :)

  29. L. says...

    *sigh* Where do you find these amazing women???

  30. Annie says...

    My favorite home tour yet! I love how this is about the energy behind the things that we have, not the actual things. And she feels like a real person! She is wonderful, and this is so well-written. Thanks for the inspiration.

  31. Carolyn says...

    ” I remember once when I didn’t dress up for like two days in a row, my son was like, ‘Are you happy, Mama?’ He was just checking in to make sure I was okay.” Made me tear up. Kids see and understand so much more than we often given them credit for; beautiful interview.

  32. Anonymous says...

    This is a beautiful space. I have two children and my husband and I recently decided to separate. I’m still picking up the pieces and it will be a long process but it inspires me to see a mother finding strength and her own rituals in her new life. I very much identify with the “bear-clawy” relationship around home so I wrestle a lot with what my own will look like in the future. In all the media surrounding us, it can be hard to digest so many images of pregnant bellies, new babies, and happy couples. Thank you so much, A Cup of Jo, for showing families come in many forms.

    • I just wanted to pop in and say, you aren’t alone and it is a long process. As a friend kept on telling me (and still does when I need it), Congratulations, you are doing it all right.

      sending love.
      L

  33. Clare says...

    Lovely family & I love her party advice – “bring a bottle or a plate to share” – Doesn’t get more simple than that!

  34. jenna says...

    Love this home tour (and all the others you’ve done)! It is SUCH a beautiful and loving space. Where are the living room curtains from?? They are perfect!

  35. Molly says...

    YES! This is soooooo great and hugely inspiring. I adore her comment about the bathroom. Sometimes I overthink things, and forget my sense of self and personality when I’m decorating my apartment, and think instead about what I “should” and “shouldn’t” do. This is a great reminder to relax and be myself when making those choices. Her apartment is stunning!

  36. Sara says...

    I love having mismatched kitchen table chairs. If one breaks, I just go thrift for another one that calls to me. I figured if Monica Gellar could pull it off, so could I!

  37. liz says...

    she’s amazing!! beautiful inside and out, apparently so is her apt.

  38. Mary Rezmerski says...

    Love everything in this beautiful apartment. It has so much beauty and spirit (like the woman herself). The pink shower curtain knocked my socks off. I want one! Great article.

  39. the best living share. thank you

  40. Lydia says...

    I love wall color in the dining room! Does anyone know brand/number/name of this color?

    • Erica says...

      Yes, me too. So curious as to what it is…

    • Christina says...

      Me too!

  41. Sarah says...

    Can’t wait to read your book, LaTonya!

  42. Emmie says...

    I have been following LaTonya on and off for years. I have so much to say! First, congrats to her for landing after a divorce. 2) The first thing I did after a hard break up was paint pink stripes in my living room and nothing has ever felt better, making those decisions SOLO is so liberating. 3) Her and her ex looked very different, like from two different worlds, white-tech nerd meets gloriously fashionable black power woman. In a weird way it actually encouraged me to marry someone who looks very different than me. Society doesn’t get an opinion about who I look good with! I inadvertently got that message from them. Anyways, still a fan.

  43. Laura C says...

    I feel like I just took a deep breath of fresh air after reading this. What an inspiring woman filled with unending wisdom. The repeated theme of people showing up when you need them– it’s a good reminder to be that person for the friends in my life. & I will absolutely be instituting Open Sundays at my home. What a kind, wonderful woman (:

  44. Alina says...

    LaTonya is one of those people I follow on Instagram and wish I was friends with in real life- just so genuine and good! And her account is always inspiring on every level- style, motherhood. Of course her apartment has the same vibes! And I LOVE that everything looks affordable/not too precious- it’s REAL!

    Signed,
    A huge LY fan girl, ha, obviously

  45. Thank you for sharing the beautiful parts of being a divorced mother. This is my lived experience, too, and it’s so easy for people to see it as tragic. But, when you are centered in the blessing of your freedom, your choices, and the example of empowerment that you are setting for your children, it’s…a blessing. #hereforit

    • Laure says...

      So so true. This article and these words were what I needed to hear today as I am making those choices for myself.

    • LaTonya says...

      Sending love. Thank you. Here for it and you!

      xo
      L

  46. Gahhhh I love everything about this apartment! I just moved in to a new place in Crown Heights and I’m taking so many ideas from this gorgeous space!

  47. L says...

    Love this, love her, looking forward to getting her book too!

  48. KAT says...

    In love with Open House Sundays. Now that fall is upon us in the PNW (aka: misty and cold until next July), this’ll be a good way to get our friends/neighbors into socializing. We tend to hibernate for the most part during this time… Thank you so much, I love everything about this Latonya!

  49. mollcoll says...

    Beautiful is so many ways.

  50. Natalie C says...

    This one really got me. I am so moved by your courage, vulnerability, and thoughtfulness as a mother, daughter, community-member and general human being. Thanks for letting us peek into your home and way of living. I learned so much <3

  51. heather says...

    who else just went and bought that shower curtain…?

    • KAT says...

      Haha, right?! I just got a funky blue curtain at Goodwill and it’s going up TO-NIGHT.

  52. Christina says...

    Such a wonderful home tour and feature! LaTonya, you are incredible. Thanks for sharing your life with us!!

  53. Jess says...

    Just beautiful, inside and out. I adore LaTonya’s sweet, cool, present and resilient take on life. Such a good one x

  54. Alex says...

    Oh my gosh, that family portrait photo is the best! And the blue color in the dining room? Love it!

  55. Callie Lloyd says...

    Love this tour. LaYonya, you’re so inspiring–your home and family and you are beautiful.
    Also, I just wanted to comment that I loved seeing some writing by Jenny! This was a great home tour write up.

  56. Scout says...

    I look forward to every single house tour you feature. This one knocked it out of the park. It gets everything right, and I’m not just talking about the fantastic space. Everyone’s Wednesday needed this feel-good, pick me up.

  57. Sarah says...

    Her friends and family sound wonderful.

  58. jillian says...

    Oh, wow. I relate to this, and am inspired by this so much. I have children, 7 and 4, got separated last year, and am rebuilding a life, finding my own happiness, and decorating my own spaces. What a beautiful person and story! Thank you!

  59. Annie says...

    This is not a home tour, this is a soul tour….and it’s a beautiful one. You have created a space that is open and welcoming — it’s not about possessions, it’s about people and energy. I hope you get back all the love you are putting out in the world, LaTonya! Reflecting on how I can apply this to my life and my home…

    • Anne says...

      Perfectly said!

    • Debbie says...

      ahh, your comment made me tear up. agreed on all counts. 💕

    • Katie says...

      So well said. I found this tour inspiring in so many ways. So much heart, love, and welcome in one beautiful space.

    • LaTonya says...

      AND NOW IM CRYING!!!!!

      Thank you so much.

      love,
      LaTonya

  60. Justine says...

    Beautiful. Love all your house tours but especially this one. It was touching and inspiring.

  61. Kate says...

    Absolutely beautiful space, and LaTonya seems like such a beautiful soul. I love her outlook, and her determination and style!

  62. claire says...

    What a beautiful home she has created! I enjoyed reading about her journey and the community she has for support. The part about not thinking too much about matchy-ness and keeping things simple, creative and interesting really resonated. and that mural that a friend painted- quite wonderful. I am also sentimental about radios in the kitchen for the same reason- my mother always had one on in the mornings before school. And I love that her mother wallpapered her wall for her- it looks perfect.
    Lastly, she is beautiful and her skirt is so so lovely! I love it.
    and on that topic- I have a question about dressing beautifully every day: I love the idea, but how do people keep their beautiful clothes from getting stained and ruined as they go about their day, with cooking, cleaning, taking out the trash, errands, exercise, etc.? And if you have small children it seems extra puzzling to me. Just wondering.

    • Sasha L says...

      I love your question about beautiful clothes for everyday. For me, feeling beautiful means wearing what I want, what makes me happy, and I don’t worry if it’s fashionable, or if it gets ruined by work or cooking (almost all of my clothes are from thrift so I don’t feel anything is too precious). Today, I’m wearing my favorite stretch jeans, a black short sun dress and a black tiny cardigan with metal buttons that I adore, a favorite delicate gold necklace and big shiny gold hoop earrings (it’s rainy today so also thick wool socks). It’s comfortable, suitable for my life caring for children, but most important, I feel beautiful in this outfit. When I say I dress for me, this is what I mean. I’d love to hear from others, how do you do you and feel beautiful in your skin?

  63. Mona says...

    I want to hop on a plane and head right inside her open door and hang out with her. Such a lovely space.

  64. Kelly says...

    I love her Instagram and her sweet kiddos, and I was beyond psyched to see this tour! Even more lovely and thoughtful touches than I expected. That mural had me a bit teary. Lots of love to everybody!

  65. Meg says...

    You are beautiful, your children are beautiful, your home is beautiful. Your persistence making safety out of uncertainty is beautiful. Well done, mama.

    • This, 100%. So well said, Meg!

      LaTonya, your house is as beautiful and welcoming as your spirit. Thank you so much for sharing.

  66. Becca says...

    How often does a design post bring tears to my eyes? Never before. What a beautiful apartment, family, and post.

  67. Alison says...

    I loved this house tour so much- the style, the realness, and your child raising philosophies. Thank you!

  68. Amanda says...

    That perfect baby blue wall with the orange chairs… I have been so in love with her dining room since I first saw it on her instagram. After seeing my best friend go through a divorce, I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. It’s amazing to see LaTonya handle it with grace and capture all of the goodness in her life down to the smallest details. Even though that door closed, she sees that she’s surrounded by so much love and support. That is a hard place to get to and so admirable.

  69. Rainbow says...

    By Jenny?! Whaaaa!

    Also, yeah, LaTonya is seriously amazing and I can’t believe she’s right here in my neighborhood! Gorgeous gorgeous woman/family/home!

  70. aina haina says...

    This is one of the best interior design posts you’ve ever had here. I love that it’s really not about the design, but about the person who occupies the space, her story and her character. You probably try to do that with every home design post, but with this one, it really shows through. Well done.

    • amy says...

      they’re all so good in this way. that’s why Cup of Jo of Jo house tours are my forever favorite and the only ones i really read.

    • Sasha L says...

      Amy and Aina, you put this magic into words so well! That’s exactly it, what makes these home tours so amazing and often touch such deep cords.

    • Natalie C says...

      Agreed agreed agreed!

  71. I love so much about your home. After reading your blog (thanks Cup of Jo! I’m excited to read the words of a fellow minority blogger), it is undecidedly very you and your family.
    I love…
    The subway photo
    The colorful child chairs matched with their table
    The blue settee
    The book matching chairs.

    You are driving inspiration for my husband and I to build a family friendly tiny house in the backyard of our Bnb which is too small to accommodate children at the moment.

    Thank you!

  72. Sasha L says...

    LaTonya and her life are just beautiful. I love when posts reveal the struggles too, I want to learn from others about resilience and coping. What she said about life, struggles and doors opening, and about pinching yourself *this is really my life!*, just resonated so deeply with me, so much wisdom there.

    Also, that mural is just wonderful. So much lovely and kind mothering in this post too.

    Best wishes to you and your family LaTonya, love to see more from this beautiful person.

  73. Jacqueline says...

    What a beautiful space and life LaTonya has created for herself and her children. I appreciate how intentional she is about her choices, and how she’s used the painful loss of her marriage to inform those really lovely choices about how she wants to parent and live.

  74. Such a cozy space! I love the old desk!

  75. Susan says...

    This was just the most beautiful tour. The home is beautiful, yes, but reading LaTonya’s words left a knot in my heart and a lump in my throat! Her honestly and her love for her children, family, and friends completely shine through.

  76. This is beautiful! I’ve followed LaTonya on Instagram ever since you posted her Beauty Uniform a few years ago and have loved seeing her navigate parenthood, as part of a couple and now as a single woman.

    I’m so looking forward to reading her book!

  77. Rachel says...

    What a wonderful tour. The home is beautiful and, as a mum who is going through a separation, I appreciate LaTonya’s reflection on what kind of home (and life) she wants to create for her children.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      i’m so glad, rachel. thank you so much for your note. wishing you all the best as you navigate this next stage! sending love.

  78. Liz says...

    Beautiful space and person! Really enjoyed this.

  79. Jennifer Hope says...

    LaTonya’s concept of “off-ness” in dress and interior space. Yessss. <3

  80. Anne says...

    wow, i love EVERYTHING about this apartment!! 😍
    The idea of a peaceful forest for the kids bedroom is so lovely and the mural painting is beautiful!

  81. “It’s a river surrounded by an oak tree.” I just melted. What a beautiful way to honor your kiddos and their names and help them feel at home in their own space!

    • Nina says...

      yes

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      i agree!

  82. Jeannie Pham says...

    I am moved to tears by the beauty of her, her family, and her home!!! Thanks for letting us in, Latonya, I cannot wait to read your book!

  83. Trish says...

    Love that desk! And you sound like a great mom and a fun person.

  84. kay says...

    beautiful!!!

  85. This home feels a bit like poetry – from her art choices, photos, and the colors she’s added throughout her home. I loved reading her struggles and triumphs and clearly all done with grit and love! Thank yall for sharing it all.

  86. Stephanie says...

    I love that the kids’ beds match their mom’s! So sweet and connecting. I’ve never thought to do that before but might try the next time I’m looking for a bed.

  87. Kathryn says...

    I love following LaTonya on Instagram- her account is one of my favourites. Can’t wait for her book!

  88. Amanda says...

    This is the first time a hour tour has ever made me feel emotional. LaTonya’s home is so full of joy. Thanks for sharing it with us.

  89. Amy says...

    I’m super curious about this too!! I have all of Jenny’s cookbooks and while I’m terrible at cooking from cookbooks, I read them from time to time to reassure myself that I’m not screwing up my kids and perfection is not the goal ;)

  90. I want to be LaTonya. Isn’t she dreamy! I love open Sundays. My friend had Beach Saturdays with hours to drop by and meet them. Relaxing togetherness rituals are wonderful.

  91. steph says...

    The love and realness oozing out from this family and they way they do life/live in their home…it is good for the soul to see people living their best most authentic lives. Thank you for the inspiration LaTonya!!

  92. Jennifer says...

    I think this is my favorite CoJ home tour so far. Beautiful space, and LaTonya is lovely. I love how she mentioned cultivating a feeling of safety at home by making it a place where others feel welcome and comfortable.

  93. MA says...

    I really love how you can hear their voices in these interviews. It’s like Latonya is talking directly to me about her shower curtain or becoming an adult. She has beautiful, authentic style. Thank you for sharing her home!

  94. Sarah says...

    Beautiful. That looks like such a fun home to grow up in.

  95. JW says...

    Oh, this is by far one of my favorites. So much beauty & strength.

  96. Michelle Bengson says...

    I loved this. All of it. Her house, her style, her gratitude and voice. Thank you for sharing and inspiring!

  97. Katherine says...

    Lovely, lived in home. Her personality and priorities are reflected beautifully in her home. I adore her Open House Sundays idea – love how low key and easy it seems; what a good way to stay relaxed and stress free while enjoying the company and comfort of friends and family.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      i loved that idea so much, too! and kind of fun to see who shows up :)

  98. I can really relate to LaTonya describing the process of struggle and advance. I often think of my life as moving like an inchworm. Glad to know I’m not alone!

    • Maria says...

      You’re definitely not alone, Jennifer! :)

  99. Amy says...

    Gorgeous space, gorgeous family. And that mural! I’d call it gorgeous but then you all would tell me to get my hands on a thesaurus!

  100. Alexis says...

    Love this piece – what an inspiring way to deal with change.
    also love her couch. where’s it from?!

  101. A Martin says...

    Sooo sooo happy to see LaTonya and her kids featured here! What a beautiful and peaceful home! 😍And I may start burning some palo santo, live that idea.

  102. Lindsey says...

    1) LATONYA!!! What an inspiring human being. So happy to see you featured here. I always feel like you own your own life, you know? You own it. ❤
    2) JENNY!!! Are you going to be part of the CoJ team?!?!

  103. Lauren says...

    Can you please share the paint color in the dining room? Thanks!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      for sure — she’s checking on it right now! xo

    • Nadine Hughey says...

      It’s sooo inviting.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      she said she wasn’t able to track it down, sadly! it’s benjamin moore but she’s not sure of the actual color. it was painted before they moved in. i love it, too!

    • Victoria says...

      This is totally unscientific, but we had samples of Farrow and Ball’s “Borrowed Light” that we used for our kids’ room, and it looks very similar. According to the internets, the BM equivalent is “Glass Slipper”. Again I am just looking at the picture but you might check it out! I agree it’s gorgeous and so subtle.

    • Cynthia says...

      I agree with Victoria; I just painted my bedroom and bathroom Borrowed Light and it looks very similar. Beautiful home and family!

  104. Maggie says...

    “Sometimes I look back and think, Wait, we’re really here and this is our apartment.”

    Love this sentiment, and what a wonderful life LaTonya has created for her children!

  105. B says...

    Beautiful woman, beautiful children, and beautiful home. I loved her sharing of her story. She seems so strong and grounded, which is beautiful in itself.

  106. Carrie says...

    This was the best tour! How is it even possible to be this cool/intelligent/ creative/beautiful/nurturing/etc?? Would love to hear more from her on CoJ

  107. Katie says...

    all of the artwork is great! I love how it seems so handpicked and not at all generic. Beautiful home!

  108. Gina says...

    I love love love the living room paint color. What is it?

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      i’ll ask!

    • LaTonya says...

      Also painted before we moved in! But i’ve been told, Stonington Grey Benjamin Moore.

      x

    • Ashley C. says...

      I love it! I was going to ask the same question. Do you happen to know the shade of blue in the dining room as well?
      It can be so difficult to find the right color of paint!

  109. YAY! I love LaTonya and her blog and am so excited for her book!

  110. edie says...

    DINNER A LOVE STORY + CUJ = Cup of Story?
    lolz. I’m done. excited!

    • Mandy says...

      Same ❤️❤️❤️

  111. Ashley says...

    Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous. Her space manages to be peaceful AND vibrant.

    Where can I find those espadrilles??

  112. Erin W says...

    Can we just have a round of applause for that bathroom as well as the sentiment “how do you design a bathroom? You just get a weird shower curtain that’s cool and easy to clean.” Sometimes I feel like home design blogs, tv shows, etc. make me feel like if I’m not designing and editing and buying pretty things for EVERY inch of my home I’m doing something wrong. This is especially difficult when you live in a rental apartment that can’t be changed much, and when you’re on a limited budget. I really love home decor, but I will read a design blog where someone is like “HOW could anyone POSSIBLY have such ugly curtains, or WHY would you have an old tv stand that looks like that”. And I’m like, “because someone gave it to me for free or I got it for $10 at a thrift store”. I try to get things for my home that will make me happy, but in the end not everything can be beautiful and perfect. So really I just appreciate the idea of getting things that you think look cool if you can, but not worrying too much about designing every element of a space.

    • Flora says...

      Yes! The shower curtain thing is genius! I have a beige rental bathroom and I am plotting right now….

    • Jennifer says...

      Yes to everything you said, Erin!

    • Sasha L says...

      Same!! It’s a bathroom lol. It’s ok if it’s clean and functional and that’s about it.

    • Shannon says...

      I so agree with this and am really starting to appreciate a less designer-y look at home… LaTonya’s kitchen, for example, has nothing you would ever see on a design blog, but something about it just exudes love. It seems like doing the best you can with what you’ve got is actually what makes your house feel like a home.

  113. McNeill says...

    I love LaTonya–so much style and substance and heart. Can’t wait to read her book!

  114. Libbynan says...

    Love this apartment! You can tell that real,actual people live there. So bright and open….it breathes. My daughter is a reading interventionist in a junior high and I am definitely buying the book for her “girls of color.”

  115. Colleen Wenos says...

    Wow, I love everything – the affordable art, the kids’ names. What a lovely space.

  116. One summer I lived in England. The mom of the family is an educator and facilitator of community—it’s beautiful what she does. So, we would trek down this big hill her townhome was on in London and buy all kinds of flowers and a bird bath from a garden shop. She turned the back garden into a lush, inviting space. Then, on select Saturdays, she’d advertise around the neighborhood that mum’s could come, she’d provide childcare and delicious refreshments for all, and the mum’s could escape in the back garden and be refreshed. I would love to do something like this sometime for people. Open house or weekly potluck parties…

  117. Jill says...

    I wish I lived in NYC and could come over on Sunday. :-)

    • Anne says...

      me too!

  118. Renee says...

    Beautiful apartment, so light and airy! I check in on LaTonya’s blog daily an just pre-ordered her book yesterday. She will always be a fave of mine.

  119. Jessica says...

    Wow, the world is small. For some reason (luck?) I was led to LaTonya’s Instagram just a few weeks ago and have been happily following her ever since. It’s really nice to see how she does her thing in more than a single snapshot.

  120. Kelsey says...

    Sorry, I skipped to the bottom because I got too excited- is Jenny going to be a COJ contributor now??? What an amazing pairing! Ok, off to read the piece!

    • Katie says...

      **fingers crossed** yes please!

    • Laura says...

      Ditto!!

    • Angela says...

      Oh my gosh. Yes. Jenny has changed my life!! Found her through Cup of Jo and her cookbooks are my dinner bible(s).

    • My question as well!

    • Also waiting to see if Jenny will be regularly contributing!

    • Maria says...

      I hope she will!

    • Jenny Rosenstrach says...

      This was such a nice comment thread to see on top of all the LaTonya love. Thank you for noticing the byline!

      You will probably be seeing more of me here! Joanna is my hero and we have a few things brewing.

      PS: I hardly feel I can take credit for this post because LaTonya was such an easy interview. Everything she says is gold. (The outtakes might be enough for a sequel to Woman of Color, are you listening LaTonya?)