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A Happy Medium
(Between Style and Kid Friendly)

One of the biggest obstacles I faced during my home renovation was making our house kid-friendly. To me, kid-friendly means the following two things:

  1. Designing with minimal sharp edges and keeping breakable objects out of arm’s reach.
  2. Utilizing surfaces and fabrics that are easy to clean and can stand up to any marker, Play-doh or juice.

I love when I look through home magazines with the spreads of those wonderfully beautiful and decorated rooms, with the husband and wife standing there and their young kids climbing on the couch or sitting on the table. What I also truly love is the amount of tiny occasional tables that flank each armchair with a teeny-tiny vase with a perfect floral arrangement cascading over. I also especially love the gorgeous collection of blue chinoiserie pottery that sits at the foot of the fireplace or the stark white cotton couch with matching pastel pillows. Not on any planet would that picture-perfect room stay in that form for more than three minutes. But it does look damn good when it’s done up by the stylist!

There are plenty of pieces I wanted to incorporate into my design would have looked so good, but, I also knew that someone would eventually suffer, either one of my kids or my beautiful furniture.

The place where we spend most of our time is, of course, the kitchen. For the island counter, I chose an easy to clean surface because I knew that’s what would get beat up the most, but equally as important for me was choosing the seating around the island where we eat dinner.

Personally, any form of cotton fabric seating in the kitchen is the kiss of stain stick death. So instead, we chose white leather counter stools to match the rest of the white kitchen, and these guys have truly put up an immense battle against everything from tomato sauce when we’re making pizza to smushed Play-doh to markers and crayons and even red wine! let’s be fair, my husband and I make messes too.

My suggestion is to design your space and pick pieces that you love and then figure out if they’re conducive to your kid’s lifestyle. If you think the corner is too sharp or you absolutely love the fabric but know it’s going to get ruined in a day, find a compromise. If it’s something that you can change out once the kids get bigger then it won’t be too much of a loss. But, if it’s a kitchen counter or a substantial piece that you know you will never replace, then go with what makes you happy but at least try to childproof it for a few years.

There was definitely a debate or two between my cabinet guy and myself in regards to having white cabinets and white counters and white everything when you’re living with little kids. Yes, white objects and kids don’t usually mix. But to me, it actually makes more sense. When I see the amount of dust and let’s just call it, “yucky stuff” on these cabinets on a daily basis, I think, had these cabinets been a dark wood, I wouldn’t actually see the “yucky stuff” just sitting there undetected… now that’s yucky!


My boys sitting at the counter as soon as they were installed…. What I had been waiting for!

Cabinetry is one of the most expensive things you’ll pay for, and it is not something you can switch out every few years when your kids are grown. So think about what will truly make you happy, with kids, with pets, with whatever, and compromise on other things.


Take another fun look inside Alisa’s home in this Houzz article.

For more design inspiration, find Alisa’s home and others inside the pages of, “Your Home, Your Style” By Donna Garlough.


Alisa Kapinos has been a fashion stylist and personal shopper for almost 15 years. She started her career in fashion working for a Boston based magazine as their Fashion and Beauty Editor and then went onto become their Editor in Chief. During this time she produced and styled countless photo shoots, working with top designers and top photographers. She has been lucky enough to attend many New York Fashion Weeks, also styling shoots for commercials and print ads, as well as assisting in styling Samantha Brown on the Travel Channel and the Jonas Brothers on their Boston stop during their musical tour. She then began her career as a personal stylist to some of Boston’s most notable people, as well as women and men from all walks of life. What her clients love about her is her attention to detail, her understanding of personal style (not just what’s trending), and her ability to mix high end with affordable pieces that fit everyone’s budget. Through her work in the fashion industry, she has also partnered with many charitable organizations to bring awareness and raising money for their causes. Recently, Alisa has taken her passion for interior design and has worked on a few interior projects for local clients. She has had her own home, which she renovated herself, featured in a home design book and a few home websites. Alisa’s greatest loves are her husband of 11 years, her two dogs and her three kids. She loves photography and taking photos, loves to travel, to write, to garden, to decorate, to cook and spend time with her family and friends.

If you love style and want to keep up with Alisa, check her out on Instagram @styleproductions. For more info on her personal styling and home styling business, check out her website, www.alisakapinos.com

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