Can Minimalism and 5 Kids Co-Exist? A Design Couple’s Child-Friendly, Clutter-Free Home

When most of us see a blank wall, our urge is to cover it—with photos, posters, art, or color. But in the inviting home of Maria and Paul Le Mesurier, the founders of UK furniture company WoodEdit (see our story about it here), there is not a hint of wall art to be found, nor is there much color. “I can never see the point of using lots of different shades of paint,” Maria, who acts as the brand’s creative director, tells us. “Every hour of every day of every season, the light changes all the time, so the white walls do, too—which, for me, gives so much variation in itself.”

In spite of the couple’s minimalist tendencies, there’s plenty of arresting visual interest inside their 17th-century abode. Instead of color, Maria and Paul (an osteopath-turned-furniture-maker) rely on found foliage to breathe life into rooms. And in lieu of patterns, they emphasize textures, prioritizing natural materials like linen, terra-cotta, sisal, and wood in their home. They may be living in a brick-clad former stable in a West Sussex estate with five kids, ranging in age from 4 to 18, but their home exudes a quiet, sunny serenity that feels more Mediterranean than English Channel. (Maria’s father’s family hails from Madeira, Portugal.)

“We live quite minimally, I don’t like having lots of things— just what is needed. I find it calming,” says Maria. The key to maintaining a tidy minimalist home with children who may not share the same goals? Layering. Lots of layering. “There are spills and stains everywhere. I throw lots of jute rugs everywhere to cover the worst bits. As for the sofas, I layer them with linen throws and blankets.”

Read on for more great tips on how to make minimalism work in a household with kids.

Photography by Maria Le Mesurier.

maria styled the front door of the le mesurier family home with some of her fav 9
Above: Maria styled the front door of the Le Mesurier family home with some of her favorite baskets. The baskets—many of which were bought on trips to Portugal, Italy, and Spain—are her go-to storage tool for keeping clutter at bay.

tellingly, among the 30 or so products on woodedit’s web store are  10
Above: Tellingly, among the 30 or so products on WoodEdit’s web store are five types of boot racks and peg rails for corralling outerwear and galoshes. “I’m not sure who makes more mess, the teenagers or the little ones,” says Maria. “I think all of them! I hang endless baskets from the peg rails and lots get chucked in them—Lego pieces, cars, hats and gloves, loo rolls.” Just beyond the entry is an old French armoire; the space behind the linen curtains on the right are “a useful place to chuck things.”