Danielle Moss, blogger and co-founder of home company, Anecdote, has long been sharing her spaces on the internet, chronicling her adventures living solo, moving in with her now-husband, and designing a home as a mother.
"When I look back on my first Chicago apartment, my style doesn’t seem that different than it is now," Moss says, reflecting on the space in which she lived over a decade ago. "It’s definitely a bit more grown-up and refined, but that makes sense."
As the busy mom of two young daughters, Moss has designed a home that looks chic as ever. Her living room in particular is proof that yes, one can combine function and style, even with little ones running around.
We spoke with Moss about just how exactly she managed to design a living room she loves while honoring her family's current lifestyle.
MD: What were some of your goals when designing this space? How did you compromise when designing in order to achieve the best of both worlds: a space that is welcoming for a young family but also reflects your style?
DM: When we first did the space, I was still pregnant—which means I didn't yet consider a crawling or walking toddler or where our baby would play as she grew. We originally had a huge coffee table and big, bulky chairs that didn’t leave much space for our daughter.
When we opened Anecdote, it was the perfect excuse to redo the room. At the time, we had a walking toddler, and I was pregnant with our second, so our needs were quite different. We opted for two smaller-scale chairs and a soft ottoman that can be moved out of the way for more play space (and lacks sharp edges). The console has two lidded baskets that are full of toys, and I created a little play space behind the chairs.
MD: You must have some great tips on incorporating white furniture and keeping it clean in a space that is frequented by kids and guests—can you share some insight with us?
DM: White furniture is a bold move, but I lovee it. No one ever seems to understand why I have a white sofa and black dog, but it is always fine. We have white slipcovered dining chairs, too.
We chose Crypton (stain-resistant) fabric, and our girls have their snacks in the kitchen. No shoes in the house, either. I have our furniture professionally cleaned every three months. It’s not perfect, but the furniture was meant to be sat on—and if you ask my almost-two-year-old, it was meant to be climbed on. Milk spills. Life happens. When you have kids, you just have to go with it.
The chairs are actually going in the living room in our new house, and we’re ordering flax sofas for the family room because that seems a bit more practical.
Milk spills. Life happens. When you have kids, you just have to go with it.
MD: What are some of your go-to home retailers and where did you purchase some of your favorite pieces for this space?
DM: All our furniture is from Anecdote, but the chairs were unfortunately discontinued. Our jute is from Ben Soleimani. I love it and could talk about jute rugs all day. I even have a blog post on my search for the softest jute and did a ton of “research” in the form of buying and returning rugs.
One Kings Lane has great furniture and decor. I love Williams-Sonoma Home, Dash and Albert for sisal rugs, and Linda’s Barn for vintage rugs.
MD: You do an excellent job of incorporating texture into this space. Can you provide some tips on how others can do so and why you chose your woven rugs, accents, and the like?
DM: Thank you! That is something that’s so important to me and is one of the reasons I love jute and woven accents as much as I do. The tray, baskets, and rug add so much warmth to the space.
Our living room is relatively monochromatic with touches of blue, and adding jute, woven accents, and slightly different textured pillows, furniture, and wood tones adds interest when there’s a general lack of color.
This room is missing a great antique chest, but we didn’t have the space for it. I bring in velvet for fall and winter, and blues for spring and summer. When decorating a space, consider your windows and rug. Adding woven shades can completely transform a room.
MD: Tell us about the play area you have set up for your girls in the living room and how you managed to integrate that into the space without sacrificing style.
DM: I love the simplicity of this play area. Our girls have a playroom, but we wanted space for them to play in this room since it’s where we hang out most of the time. Pretty baskets will go far, and lidded baskets will hide brightly colored toys.
I actually designed the playmat in collaboration with Toki Mats, so it’s the mat I wished I had that didn’t exist—blue floral on one side and blue stripes on the other. It’s beautiful, has been one of our favorite items for years, and a percentage of each sale goes to pediatric cancer research.
MD: Do you have any pieces in this space that have been part of your home for many years, or does it mostly feature newer finds?
DM: I still have two pieces: my old bedroom dresser (an antique) and my old media console, which is currently in the playroom and basement family room. We have since invested in a few antiques and some art that I know we’ll likely keep forever.