Creative Family Home – Book Review

As creative people we love a creative home!  A house with an artistic nature, kooky personality and whimsical feel is easy to create – until you introduce toddlers into the mix.  Or so they say?


With her gorgeous book ‘Creative Family Home’ Ashlyn Gibson advises us on how we don’t need to give up on our dreams for a beautiful house just because children are in the picture.

Creative Family Home Front Cover

As a writer, stylist and the owner of Olive Loves Alfie (a gorgeous childrenswear and home boutique in Stoke Newington, and now in Stratford too) Ashlyn Gibson is a very talented, and very busy lady!  With her eclectic, Scandinavian style, Gibson is a dab hand at transforming a space into a family friendly, fashionable room.

In ‘Creative Family Home’, Ashlyn shows us how you can do this too! With beautiful interior photography, and specific chapters such as ‘Storage’, ‘Print and Pattern’ and ‘Using Space Imaginatively’, you are guided through by the hand.

Creative Family Home Chalkboard Page

Gibson emphasises that it was important to her that the book “not only featured stunning interiors, but also captured the innovative spirit and the nurturing soul of the modern family”.  In a world filled of gorgeous shots of minimalist, Scandinavian homes with stripped white walls and crisp bed linen, she states that it was incredibly important to select homes that were beautiful, but attainable –

“A creative family home isn’t one that lifts its style from the pages of the latest interiors magazines.  Rather, it is a work in progress, a place of originality and humour that is shaped by the children who live there as much as the adults.”

Creative Family Home hopscotch Page

From the very start of the book, you are introduced to simple and stunning ideas to encourage your children’s creativity and play.  We love the idea of painting hopscotch onto white wooden floors and hanging an old swing in your child’s bedroom.  Ashlyn reminds us that children love to make dens and secret hide outs, and that we can encourage this very cheaply by filling nooks with soft (and stylish!) pillows and furnishings.

One common problem in a busy family home is storage and organisation.  Ashlyn tackles this head on with fantastic ideas such as using vintage shop fittings, or displaying old wooden crates on walls as bookshelves.

Creative Family Home Cherry Blossom Page

There is even a chapter on how you can encourage your children to focus on their homework in a beautiful, creative space.  We love the cherry blossom mural adorning this minimalist desk.

There are simpler ideas too – such as giving your child a wall to call their own by using chalk board paint. Chalk paint comes in a fantastic array of colours now, we highly recommend this great range by Annie Sloan.

Creative Family Home Neon Pink Shot

Creative Family Home then goes on to explore a selection of stunning houses across Europe that perfectly demonstrate how you can live in a stylish environment than welcomes and celebrates children.

We love the quotes from each families’ kids on what they love about their homes, and feel it really emphathises the point that this book is about a house shaped by everyone inside of it.

Creative Family Home Pebble DPS

There is a fantastic mix of high end designer brands and vintage thrift finds in each house, you get a real feel that each home is very personal to it’s owners.  We adore these great pebble cushions and the simple, stacked display of black and white photo frames.

A fantastic range of wallpaper is also on display, our favourite being the forest print paper by stunning brand Cole & Son.

Creative Family Home Swing Page

The other fantastic thing about this great book, is at the end, Gibson has listed the sources of a selection of the funiture featured.  After thoroughly investigating this little black book of stunning interiors, our favourites are Retrouvius, a fab architectural salvage store in North London, Ferm Living – for their gorgeous cushions, and of course, Olive Loves Alfie – Ashlyn’s own kids and home furnishings boutique.


So, as you can clearly see, this gorgeous book is definitely worth picking up.  We are already saving for a trip to Retrouvius so we can deck our office out in vintage shop fittings.

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Author – Hannah Coates