HOME TOUR: A Preschool Teacher’s Haven

preschool teacher home tour

Today is my birthday and I wanted to share a very special home tour. Laura Medley is a close friend of mine— we became friends in 2008 when our sons were just blobs on blankets and continued our friendship over walks, coffee, cooking dates and lots of park dates. This past year, she went through a divorce and became a single mother, a title she never fathomed. Yet despite some very dark days, she has made the sun shine all around her. She is proof that you can make it through something so heart-wrenching and come out on the other side inspired and alive. Was it easy? No. But she is doing it— and she is doing it beautifully. Laura has transitioned from a stay-at-home mom into a working mom (she teaches preschool), all the while making a beautiful new home for herself and her four year-old son in South Pasadena, CA.

Laura has always been thrifty (see why we get along?), but is especially budget conscious now that she is supporting her little family on a preschool teachers’ salary. She and Anthony share a two-bedroom home in a quaint triplex where they are grateful to have a backyard and a little space for gardening! Nearly everything in her home is secondhand- from garage sales, thrift stores, eBay and Craigslist. She loves to incorporate pieces of her family’s past- like a rug and table cloth in her son’s play area were handmade by her great grandma. I hope you enjoy her home as much as I do!

laura medley

old school desk

HOME TOUR with Laura Medley

Living Room/Office:
Recently I decided we would become a TV free home. While I have always been conscious of what my son was watching and we haven’t had television stations for the last year (just DVD’s), I decided it would be best to go all the way, and I am so glad we did! Removing the TV from our living space felt so refreshing! The day I took it out to the garage, I stayed up half the night rearranging furniture- all of a sudden there were limitless and creative ways to set up our space!

Ever since I took a child development course focusing on art in early education, I have made special efforts to keep quality art supplies accessible and appealing for Anthony. I am so happy that he chooses to spend so much time creating art. He likes to sit at this vintage desk- something I found at a local Salvation Army for $10 (score!) The white ikea bookshelves I bought new- opting to haul the pieces upstairs and build it right where I wanted it. The shelving is easily adjustable, making it simple to change displays and rearrange materials. The blue box with all the drawers was something I salvaged from the trash- I spray painted it and will soon be adding labels to turn it into an ABC box- with each drawer designated for a letter of the alphabet.

preschool teacher home tour

nature basket

This side table was a $5 garage sale find that has served multiple uses in our house. Right now it holds our nature basket where we display treasures that we find on our nature walks. The green chair is a favorite craigslist find of mine- it’s the perfect small scale size and is so comfy! That ottoman you see is Pottery Barn, but it was a Craigslist steal!

wood doll house

One of the best Craigslist deals I found was the $10 cedar chest. I don’t mind the scratches and the leftover initials, the inside is in perfect condition and smells wonderful! Right now, I have Anthony’s dollhouse on top of it so it is at a more accessible height for him to play with. I found this dollhouse in a small children’s consignment shop with furniture included for $35! It was a well received Christmas present for my love!

children toy storage ideas

The white bookcase is once again a Craigslist find and was less than $10. As you can see I am a fan of using baskets for storage- I find the texture of baskets to be much more appealing than the look of plastic.

vintage table

My desk was something I bartered for on Craigslist- when I went to buy this little vintage table, the woman found out during our conversation that I sew. She asked me to sew her two small curtains out of vintage linens in exchange for the table— I was sold.

I enjoy sewing and I love vintage and antique quilts. The Grandmothers’ Flower Garden displayed on my couch is one I scored on Ebay on one of those rare occasions when all the other bidders must have been sleeping! Underneath that beige slipcover is a purple and gold monstrosity. Slipcovers are awesome.

preschool teacher home tour
vintage tea cart

Dining Room:
The dining set and vintage tea cart were found on Craigslist in Pasadena. As you can see I am a fan of white and light wood furniture! These are a couple of my favorite pieces and I love them even more knowing that I spent less than $150 on both of them together! Those unique tiered baskets I picked up at a local stationary store that was going out of business.


all wood play kitchen

I like having Anthony’s play kitchen in the dining room where he plays with it while I cook in the kitchen. (He often helps me cook real food as well!)

fresh herbs

We try to live simply and make everyday moments special in our home. For us this means that we pick herbs and wildflowers for our vases, we light candles at meal times and we use placemats and cloth napkins at the table.

diy doorway curtain ikea easel

Anthony’s Bedroom:
The doorway to Anthony’s room is covered by a curtain of colorful ribbons (from that stationary store I mentioned earlier!) We love this simple decoration- especially when the late afternoon sun streams through and adds an extra dose of magic to his space. Anthony has loved this easel from Ikea- he primarily uses it to paint. (by the way if you have baby food jars- keep them! There are endless possibilities including using them as small paint cups)

all wood shelving unit game storage

We like to play games at our house and this shelving unit from the stationary store is a perfect storage solution.

A few months ago, I noticed Anthony wasn’t spending a lot of time in his room— opting to bring things from his room out to the living room to play. I realized even if we weren’t playing together he wanted to play near me so I brought in a little chair where I could read or knit comfortably in his room while he played. The mother and child print was a gift from parents and is one of my favorite pieces of art in our home.

My Bedroom/Sewing Room:
This little white table I found on Craigslist and it is the perfect size for a sewing table. When I am working on a project I usually set up a sturdy folding table too- where I can iron and cut fabric. I like to frame art that Anthony makes around the house— this is a picture he drew of the two of us.

sewing table

Call for submissions! Family Sponge is looking for families to share their home on our site. Please email us at hello (at) if you are interested.

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12 Responses to HOME TOUR: A Preschool Teacher’s Haven

  1. Rachelley March 2, 2012 at 7:30 am #

    You have made a beautiful home, Laura! I am inspired by your well organized art supplies for Anthony! Thank you for sharing.

  2. melissa March 2, 2012 at 7:31 am #

    I love these home tours. Laura, you are so inspiring.

  3. Jadah Sellner March 2, 2012 at 8:48 am #

    Me three! I am so inspired by you Laura. That vintage school desk rocks! And my heart just melted seeing Anthony’s framed art of the both of you. Absolutely precious. I love our son’s kitchen. I love the nature basket. We have one for Zoe’s nature treasures as well as a vase that she can put flowers in that sits on her bathroom counter. I want your fruit stand shelf! That is just pure genius. Thanks for sharing the tip about bringing a chair into Anthony’s room. I think I am going to experiment with that. So many great ideas Laura! Thank you for sharing.

    • gillian payne March 2, 2012 at 9:59 am #

      you have a very beautiful home. some lovely ideas . thank you for shareing.

  4. Popo Joy March 2, 2012 at 9:25 am #

    Thanks for opening Laura’s creative home. What a great, charming place for a little one to grow and learn. I love the produce basket in the kitchen too!

  5. PB Rippey March 2, 2012 at 11:45 am #

    Nature basket, yes! Creating one today. Laura’s home is so wonderful! Looking at the pictures is fun, a bit relaxing (so pretty!!!), and inspiring.

  6. Sara K. March 2, 2012 at 11:29 pm #

    Happy Birthday!!! Hope it has been a great one 🙂
    Loved the tour!! I fancy myself as pretty thrifty, too; I LOVE that cedar chest – great find!!!!

  7. E. March 19, 2012 at 1:14 am #

    Even though Craigslist took down there Adults section in 2010. Women and children are still being sold and bought for sex on the website. If you would not physically shop or sell your products in a store that allows this to go on in the back of their store please dont do it online. Thank you.

  8. Trina {Beginner Beans} May 9, 2012 at 8:01 am #

    I love the dining room — that fruit basket stand is great! I’d have to wait for my sign to grow up a little before trying something like that 🙂

  9. Trina {Beginner Beans} May 9, 2012 at 8:02 am #

    oops… *son

  10. Donna November 30, 2012 at 8:56 pm #

    where on earth did you get that adorable child’s play kitchen? i want to recycle my plastic one. you are an inspiration. thank you!

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