I’m Kate, my husband is Marcello (pronounced Marchello for we Americans), and we have three kids — Luca, Adriano, and Clara. I’m from the Midwest and Marcello is from Italy, but we call southwest Florida home. At our house there is lots of pasta, It-lish (speaking in half Italian and half English), dancing, yelling (usually the good kind), and general chaos.

Marcello and I met in Italy when I was “studying” art history for a semester. He was handsome, mysterious, well put together and I was — well, I was none of those things. I had no idea how to walk in stilettos on cobblestone, follow a train schedule, or speak even conversational Italian. I think I knew about five words and, as my mom not-so-gently pointed out, one of them was Spanish. Communication posed a slight challenge, as Marcello didn’t speak English either. (His best friend always said we got along so well because we didn’t understand each other. Maybe so, but we both kill it in charades!)

Against most odds, we stayed together when I returned to the States (dramatic goodbyes and lots of tissues) and took turns visiting each other every six months. We got married three years later on a pretty summer day in the church my great great grandfather built in Indiana. (And in case you’re wondering, he learned English fluently and I speak subpar Italian.)

Read 15 secrets that have rewritten the future and happiness of our marriage.

My life changed completely when our oldest son was born in 2011. I was a graphic designer for a little over a decade and decided to leave my job to be a stay-at-home mom. I truthfully didn’t know the first thing about babies! I could color with the best of ’em and put on a serious puppet show, but newborn baths and diapers and feedings and sleep training? Whaaaaaat? It was a rude awakening for this first-time mom. See all my baby how-to posts and checklists on this page.

We ended up having three babies in four years and had quite the learning curve, but I’ve grown a lot and am finding my stride as a mother. You can read my honest mom diary here.

Gray and white living room with gallery wall and oversized fiddle leaf fig tree

I’m particular about the aesthetics in our home. Sure, we have plastic super heroes lining the ledge by the front door and legos scattered across the dining room table, but the overall design and colors are important to me. That might seem superficial to some, but it’s meaningful to me. It changes my mood when I am surrounded by things that have a story or particular fondness. It doesn’t have to be expensive, just selected. I have mugs from the dollar store and a used dining table. Actually none of my things cost a lot of money because I’m a frugal shopper and my kids would ruin it anyway!

Take a full tour of my house here.

Play area and home office in one space - all from Ikea

The kids don’t have a whole lot of toys, and we try to focus on a fun, memorable experience instead of a lot of birthday presents. This could and probably will all go out the window as the they get older, but while they’re little and we spend so much time at home, this is the way we’ve decided to do things. I have noticed with less things the kids actually play more! When they’re older they probably won’t remember what they unwrapped on their fifth birthday, but they’ll remember the first time they pet a shark at an aquarium! See how I simplified and organized my house here.

Kitchen paint

I painted every wall in the house myself. Marcello is a terrible painter and I think it’s on purpose so I won’t make him help me — and it works. I painted our entire living space white except for one wall, which is a deep gray for contrast. See how I painted my entire kitchen (including backsplash and cabinets) without taking the doors off here.

My house is a mess with three kids

Part of living with young kids is that my design is limited and my house is messy. Gotta keep it real! I ended up taking my throw pillows off the couches for the time being because the boys were destroying them and I was tired of picking them up off the floor. I took the coffee table out because the baby was learning how to walk and I didn’t want her to hit her head on the sharp corners. They broke my lamp I had on the table behind the couch. The decorative restrictions continue, but I know it’s just a phase.

Well, that’s more about me than anyone wants to know! I hope you’ll subscribe by email, drop me a note and tell me about you, and if you have any tips of your own I’d love to hear them. You can get the inside scoop on upcoming projects and I share a lot of my life on Instagram.

Thank you so much for stopping by! I hope you’ll stick around for awhile.

Family portraits by David Albers Photography.

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