Our Home is Not a Pottery Barn Catalog


Long before our kids made their debut, George and I loved conquering DIY projects and decorating our home. We are quite thrifty and find joy in such projects. Every project begins with inspiration, and many times it’s from a design site, or my favorite, the Pottery Barn catalog. Oh how the Pottery Barn catalog speaks to my inner designer’s heart. Everything is always impeccably tidy and organized, yet inviting and warm. Whether there’s a dining room set to host a meal or a cozy sofa by the fireplace, I’d love to jump right in. While I come up with some fantastic Pottery Barn hacks, looking at these glossy pages sometimes skews my expectations for our home.

Is our home well-designed, cozy, and inviting? I believe so, and our friends and family seem to agree. Our home is filled with heart and it’s the very place where an abundance of family memories are made, but it’s no Pottery Barn catalog.  Every night after all of the children are snug in their beds, I scurry around the house working to fight clutter.  Though the kids tidied up themselves, there are always stray toys posing as tripping hazards, a sink of dirty dishes, dirty shoes and clothes littering the floor.  And that’s just the clutter.  Let’s not even entertain the dust bunnies, finger prints, and pet dander (I try to ignore those things when possible because there’s never enough hours in a day).


Once the kids were in toddler beds, unbelievable shenanigans ensued.  I’m talking, flipped beds, stripped boys, peeing contests, drawer emptying, clothes swapping.  We thought if we moved the boys into bigger, heavier beds some of this would stop.  Nope.  This pair is clever and has an uncanny way at finding solutions to any problem they encounter.  We pray they develop their curiosity and ingenuity to future careers…

Because of this, the boy’s room isn’t quite up to par with the girl’s grown up room, but it’s okay.  It’s real.  They have the same DIY Jenny Lind headboards attached to the wall.  They have some artwork, which is also secured to the wall and out of reach as they’ve been known to hang from paintings, snapping the picture wire.  Harper no longer has a foundation to his bed since he developed a routine of turning the mattress to create a teeter totter, which he told us was his car.  Their lamp is on the hutch, far out of reach since they dangled it by the cord and said it was their lantern.


Bedtime is full of epic stalling techniques.  Once these four created a bridge of kitchen stools and began chanting in delight.



My seagrass baskets meant to conceal toys in the den are often tipped over, allowing kids to crawl into the entertainment center.


This was one of the girls’ “masterpieces” created during nap time one afternoon.


A while back, I developed a habit of making our bed.  It takes about 90 seconds and makes me feel more accomplished as I begin the day.  However, little people are known to sabotage my efforts by hiding among the pillows.  Frustrating as it can be, they are simply adorable when they do this.


There are days when all of the clutter and grime in the house makes me feel anxious.  I wonder to myself why it isn’t like a Pottery Barn catalog.  Why can’t I keep things in a better state?  Well, duh!  OUR HOME IS NOT A POTTERY BARN CATALOG!   Families don’t live in catalogs, they are merely spaces created by designers to sell products.  They are void of all the love and joy of a home, and memories are not made there.  I’ll probably always continue my battle against clutter and work endlessly to keep things as tidy as possible, but it won’t be because I’m striving for a catalog photo shoot.  These things will continue because I’m the type of person who thrives in an orderly state and I simply cannot let it completely go.  I can change my state of mind, however.  Instead of feeling defeated, I can recall the events of the day.  When I trip over a Hot Wheel or Lego, I can remember the kids building a mighty tower and racing cars together and pick them up with a joyous heart.

Maybe it’s not a Pottery Barn catalog that makes you feel as though you don’t measure up.  Perhaps it’s your friend’s Facebook photos of glamorous vacations and hip parties.  Maybe it’s a coworker who easily meets goals, or the friend who eats a strictly organic diet and runs marathons.  Whatever the case, remember where your heart is, and stop making comparisons.



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17 thoughts on “Our Home is Not a Pottery Barn Catalog

  1. You continue to amaze me. I love ready your blog. I need to make a trip over one day soon to see you all. Keep the writing coming!! See you soon. Love, Marianne

    Have a great day, Marianne



  2. Amber, Who needs a Pottery Barn Home???  I can’t tell you the joy you and the children bring to my day when I open the computer and find  your blog.  They are all so adorable and you and  George are the best.  Especially  loved your Jenny Linn beds. My sister and I were 18 months apart and shared a room with our Jenny Linn beds.  Brought back many happy memories.  Your home is lovely and I am amazed that all you accomplish.  Please keep up the blog and hopefully one day I will get to see all of you.  With Hugs and Love, Joyce Cox   


    • Hi Joyce! Thank you for reading and for the many kinds words. I hope you can visit at Christmas again this year. I’d love you to see the kids! I hope my kids have fond memories of shared rooms like that. Xoxo Amber


  3. This is a wonderful post because it’s so authentic and real!! In a world where we can carefully construct the image we want to portray to the world, it’s a breath of fresh air to see transparency and honesty. My home is surely NOT by any means a catalog either, but I would never trade it for one! I love these adorable pictures!


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