Hilary has created a home that encourages creativity, so much so that the kids (here with Hilary, from left: Isabela, seven; Georges, nine; Finn, eight; and Helena, four) have started their own baking company.
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Use Books as Furniture
Hilary owns a sea of art and photography books, so she piles them (with the occasional board game) into side tables. One stack is topped with a metal tray that holds remotes.
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Improvise a Catchall
The kids used to sit in this hook-on high chair (Phil & Ted’s Me Too seat, $50, nurturecenter.com). Now that they’re older, it functions as a depot for homework and can be easily detached from the table and moved from room to room.
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Create Covert Storage
Helena perches on a white plastic barrel in the breakfast nook. Hilary stashes all materials to be recycled inside the barrel. She then twists off the top and empties it out once a week when it’s time for the recycling pickup.
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Set Up a “Job Jar”
Every week, the kids reach into a glass jar to pick a household chore. Each job yields a different amount of money, depending on the degree of difficulty. They keep their stashes in clear piggy banks.
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In the absence of closets, Hilary hangs her clothing on an antique coatrack, while off-season items are stored in steamer trunks. “I love clothes―don’t get me wrong,” she says. “But I keep only the pieces I’m really crazy about.”
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Use Souvenirs as Storage
Philip, who grew up in Ireland, brings cigars back from his occasional trips to Europe. “I love the pretty packaging,” says Hilary, who hides toiletries, such as cotton swabs, inside the boxes.
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Turn Trash into Treasures
Rather than letting an unused corner of the boys’ bedroom go to waste, Hilary added tall lockers for their clothes. She nabbed them from a friend who was throwing them out.
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Give Old Crates New Life
Hilary organizes toys by type (tin planes and cars in one, Legos in another) and stashes them in wooden crates that she finds at yard sales and vintage shops. They’re sturdy enough so that the kids can drag them outside. One crate also serves as a repository for books.
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Show Off That Cookware
“I’m obsessed with red – it’s passionate and fun,” Hilary says of her collection of Le Creuset cookware (prices vary, williams-sonoma.com). Made of heavy enameled cast iron, the pots are arranged on low, open shelves for easy access. Hilary will turn a lid upside down and nestle it in the pot so she can stack another pot on top.
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Ease Traffic Flow
Nimble plastic seating (Tam Tam stools by Henry Massonnet for Branex Design, $48 each, Ameico Inc., 888-350-8765) can be tucked underneath the kitchen island when not in use, clearing the area of congestion.
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Stash Toys Near the Tub
The girls like to play while waiting for their baths. Rather than carting in toys from the rest of the house, Hilary stows them on a bench and in colorful, waterproof bags.