15 Feb The Wife Life Home Tour
Whitney Barber, mother and blogger at The Wife Life gives us a tour of her colourful Brisbane home as well as tips on creating colourful family-friendly spaces.
Tell us about your home, yourself and what you do.
It’s a little lovely weatherboard, post-war home with high ceilings and beautiful lighting, located just outside Brisbane city.
I am a stay-at-home, profoundly deaf mama. I spend most of the day baby wrangling, taking more pictures of my girls than I should, and trying to sneak in some writing when I’m not dreaming of travelling. My blog The Wife Life is a place I can escape to and use to inspire others with photography, fashion, interior, lifestyle and family-related things.
We take it for granted that we can just speak and listen to our children, so how do you foster communication in your household?
I’ve signed to my girls from the day they were born. I’m very fortunate I’m able to speak. I teach my girls basic sign language (because of their ages) like, sleep, eat, please, thank you etc.
I’ll always sign to them because one day it’s possible I may never hear their voices again. Sign language is such a beautiful language and I’m so thankful we have access to it.
What’s your favourite room in your home?
That would have to be the lounge room. It’s nice, bright and it’s where we can all make a beautiful mess. My favourite piece in the room is our family-friendly mint lounge from Ikea. I love how I don’t have to worry if the girls spill their drinks or snacks on it, as the cover can easily be zipped off and chucked in the wash. It’s great! I’m always changing the cushions on it too. Change is always good. We’re always playing shotgun when it comes to the big beetles beanbag from Kip & Co.
The girls absolutely love their wooden cooking toys from Dear Friend. They have some very beautiful toys too.
There’s a cubby house outside that was here when we first moved in. You can tell it’s been very loved and that so many memories were made in it. It has such character. Luella loves the little vintage kitchen, and is always ‘cooking’ dinners in the toy microwave.
As well as the cubby house, I wanted to create a place where it was easy for my girls to run wild with their imagination and a colourful environment to play with their toys, so I created a play pen area for them. I was very lucky to find this beautiful rainbow rug from Freedom (link removed). I love adding honeycomb balls to any room – it adds some colour and they’re very affordable too.
Luella has a very strong eye for sweets and ice-cream, so the theme for her bedroom wasn’t too hard to brainstorm for. We couldn’t pass up Sack Me!’s lovely donut linen (link removed). I also got some washi tape from Spotlight and created a little house and a chimney (and used some pompom balls for the smoke). Luella loves it and it was a really cheap and rental-friendly way to brighten up the walls.
For my bedroom, I wanted a fun summery look, so first stop was Kip & Co for my amazing quilt cover and pillows. I decorated the walls with a Jade Made Arts wall print. Lecky Studio for some funky photo frames and some lovely prints from Olive et Oriel.
The office space is where I sit in peace with a mocha frappe and type myself away into a world of my kind of fun. All I needed was a little desk that accommodates my Macbook and camera. I like to keep a throw near for when I get the chills after my mocha – it makes it much cosier.
What are your top 3 key (must-have, can’t-live-without) items?
As a mother of two little rugrats, I believe these would have to be my top 3:
1. A good practical rug (link removed). It protects those crawling knees, hands and your carpet/floor from damage.
2. A lounge suite that has washable covers. Trust me, you need them!
3. I love our bookshelf. We place boxes in each square and each box has certain toys inside such as farm animals, train toys and cooking toys. It beats having one big toy box and not being able to find anything.
People often say that parenthood changed them. Do you feel that’s true for you?
I feel that I’ve grown as person, yes. Parenthood can be hard. But it’s all the little things, like the way my girls greet each other in the morning, that takes you to the highest level of happiness. I wouldn’t change it one bit.
We’re all about celebrating Australian motherhood and creativity at CHILD Magazines. What does it mean to you to be an Australian creative who’s also a mother?
I’m really grateful I’ve finally found something I love doing besides being a mother. I love supporting small businesses and networking with my followers and fellow bloggers. To be able to integrate that as a full-time mama is a dream come true.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with other mums who may be trying to combine their lives as creatives and caretakers?
It’s really exciting when things kick off and you can’t help but say yes to every client that wants to work with you. It’s fun to have that many options you’re excited about. Try to be wise about saying yes, because burnouts will come and partly kill your creativity and desire for your blog.
Whitney Barber, 29, lives in Brisbane, Qld, with her two daughters Luella, 2, and Emily, 11 months. Her blog The Wife Life captures her daily colourful life as a full-time stay-at-home mum (it looks like so much fun we want to join the party!). You can also follow and find more of Whitney’s joyous adventures via her Facebook and Instagram.
Interview by Jenna Templeton / Images by Whitney Barber