HOME TOUR: Small Spaces with Trina Cress

It takes some skill for a family of four to live in a 995-square-foot apartment in Lincoln, Nebraska. Trina Cress from Beginner Beans makes it look so easy and beautiful— I had to share what she did. Take a look around her home and get some inspiration from this green-friendly, big-heart mama.

small house living

Small house living with kids

Tell us a little about you and your family.
I have two adorable kids–Brylee (4) and Ian (1)—and one ruggedly handsome husband, Daniel, who jokes that all he does is make cute babies. Daniel supports me staying home with our kids and encourages me in my writing. He’s sending me on a long weekend with my girl friends while he takes time off work to take care of the kids—seriously, he’s incredible! Brylee is very girly (which she doesn’t get from me) and her gorgeous curls will make you jealous. Ian is more observant and has to warm up to people before being himself around them (which he does get from me) and his big eyes will melt your heart.

They are all so fun, and are always teaching me so much about life and faith and what really matters.

What brought you to Lincoln, Nebraska?
My husband and I attended college in Nebraska and got married and had our daughter here. When Daniel got his first teaching job in Florida, we were excited about that adventure. We made great friends, had play dates at the beach, and welcomed our baby boy there. We enjoyed our two years, but were equally excited to return “home” to Nebraska. Now that we’re back we both agree this really is home.

small house living

What do you love about your 995 square foot apartment?
Our small 2-bedroom apartment is easier to clean and decorate and keep an eye on the kids. It’s simple and makes me feel content and safe. It reminds me that I don’t have to keep up with the Joneses to be happy. I also love the large closets in both bedrooms, space for a dining table, and large windows that flood in natural light. We chose it especially for it’s location–Daniel walks to work, Brylee’s preschool is across the road, and the view out our front windows is a park with a sprawling grassy area.

Where do you get your inspiration from when decorating a room?
I love neutrals and green, and the simple beauty of the outdoors–especially a midwest field and the beach. I know, those are an unlikely combo, but I’ve found lots of inspiration that make me think of both. I enjoy browsing Apartment Therapy, Design*Sponge and DecorPad for ideas.

small house living

small house living

Have any tips for keeping the kids entertained in a small space?
Entertaining kids in a small space is a little easier than I thought it would be. They are always entertaining themselves with non-toy items–turning a large blanket and chairs into a fort, playing drums with spoons and items from the pantry, pretending with things from recycling. We also created spaces for them throughout the house, like the table and displayed art in the dining area, bins of their books on the shelf in the living room, and they each have their own ottoman full of toys under the TV shelf. This encourages them to move throughout the apartment and change scenery throughout the day. Living in a small space also encourages us to get outside and explore other places–whether we’re running errands, going to the park, checking out the library, or visiting the local children’s museum, we try to get out everyday.

small house living

Your daughter and son share a room– how has that been as far as sleeping at night and also decorating.
I love that they are getting to share a room! I know this won’t last forever, but it has been great seeing how sharing a room has encouraged their bonding and relating with others. They have been great when it’s time to sleep. Ian goes to bed before Brylee, so he is often asleep when we quietly go in to put Brylee to bed. Even if they go to bed at the same time, they usually don’t keep each other awake. Even so, giggling with your sibling as you fall asleep is just one of many special childhood memories. Thankfully we seem to have two heavy sleepers–they have taken turns in the past waking up at night, but rarely wake the other one.

small house living

Decorating their individual spaces was fun. I collected inspiration for boy/girl shared rooms and many have one theme or color scheme throughout the room–I knew I wanted to do something a little different. Brylee is very much a girly girl so I wanted her side of the room to stay girly, and alternately wanted a boy-inspired theme on Ian’s side. I’m no decorator, so I can’t say whether this really works for the flow or cohesiveness of the room as a whole, but I love how the details are specific to each child.

small house living

I love the framed nature art in the kids room! Can you tell me about it?
I am in no way girly, so the details and colors for Ian were much more natural for me to create. The framed tree cutouts were inspired by the book “We Planted a Tree” using scrapbook paper in the colors of his room to make circle trees. The larger square frame holds green and white fabric I got from IKEA, with a leaf pattern I cut out of black paper.

small house living

Is that a chore chart in your master bedroom? 
Actually, no. That’s a corkboard calendar where I track blogging ideas–for my own blog (Beginner Beans) and for another blog I contribute to (Veggie Meal-Maker). The chore chart hangs on our fridge where Brylee uses flower magnets I made to check off the things as she does them.

chore chart idea

Your home feels very balanced between being for grown up and also kid-friendly. Do you have any tips to help others achieve this same balance?
It helps that I feel like I’m personally in between being grown up and kid-friendly.

Adding kid-specific zones outside of their bedroom makes them feel like this is their apartment too. Kids’ finger paintings, when framed can look like a quality piece of abstract artwork. Also, giving the kids hidden storage for books and toys in the living room makes clean-up easy and keeps the whole house from looking like a playroom when toys are not in use. Storage ottomans, a drawer or bins are great solutions.

small house living

You are also a green lovin’ momma, like myself… Have any tips that you use around the home that could inspire other parents?
I use vinegar and baking soda for whatever possible—cleaning the bathrooms and kitchen, boosting detergent for washing diapers, and even to replace shampoo and conditioner. But, I’ve learned the greenest thing we do around the house is learning to be content and living simple lives. This means we use up products before we buy new, we repurpose when we can, and we’re happy with what we have rather than always searching for new, bigger or better. We sometimes struggle with comparisons, but we’re always happier when we simply enjoy our side of the fence.

, , , , , , ,

25 Responses to HOME TOUR: Small Spaces with Trina Cress

  1. Ryan July 16, 2012 at 6:23 am #

    I love using baking soda and vinegar, but I have never cleaned with it. I just make rockets from old bottles with my son. Yesterday one landed on our roof! Great tour love the emphasis on living simply.

    • Trina {Beginner Beans} July 17, 2012 at 6:40 am #

      I am probably the only person that hasn’t used baking soda and vinegar for science experiments 🙂 A definite must especially as my kids get older!

  2. Vickie July 17, 2012 at 12:36 pm #

    I’am impressed..must be the positive attitude that fuels the positive home environment-small spaces.

  3. Joy Beyond Fifty July 27, 2012 at 4:27 pm #

    What a great little house tour! Love the end comment, “we’re always happier when we simply enjoy our side of the fence”. One of the things I have found beyond 50 years old, is to be happy on your side of the fence, and to live a simple life with persons you love. Nice knowing that young families have found it too.

  4. Lois January 18, 2013 at 12:50 pm #


    I used the same cubes (micro fiber beige tones) and added wheels to each corner. Just used a drill and peg stemmed wheels. Hardware stores have a variety of styles and sizes. Made it so much easier to move.

    Also took a fabric pocket shoe storage unit and cut out four of them from the bottom of a 12 pocket wall hanger shoe storage system. Used 3M velcro tabs to hold them in place on the inside of one of the storage cubes. Use this cube by the door so shoes can be stored. On the bottom of the cube, I placed an inexpensive rubber mat with water absorption top to place boots. Works great!

    • Family Sponge January 19, 2013 at 5:53 am #

      That sounds like such a great solution! I am always looking for a good way to store our piles of shoes 🙂 —Jen

  5. pokemon war June 2, 2013 at 5:13 pm #

    Hi! This post could not be written any better!
    Reading through this post reminds me of my good old room mate!

    He always kept chatting about this. I will forward this page to him.
    Fairly certain he will have a good read. Thank you
    for sharing!

  6. I cherished up to you will receive performed proper here. The sketch is attractive, your authored material stylish. however, you command get got an impatience over that you want be turning in the following. ill surely come more until now again as exactly the same nearly very continuously within case you shield this increase.

  7. Http://Www.Tubexamateur.Com September 23, 2014 at 11:11 am #

    ʜummm êtes vous certain de ce que vouѕ nous affirmez ?

  8. alexis silver September 24, 2014 at 10:24 am #

    Encοrе un très bon ρоste : j’en parlerai dans la soirée
    ɑvec certains de mes potes

  9. porno censure October 9, 2014 at 5:58 pm #

    Αrticle très cultivant !!!

  10. suceuse black October 12, 2014 at 7:32 am #

    Jе suis tombé sur ton post par chance puiks je ne
    lle regrette nullement !

  11. October 13, 2014 at 1:52 am #

    Јe me permets de poster un petit commentaire uniquement pour remercier l’admin

  12. vidéos sexe October 13, 2014 at 6:54 pm #

    Bon, ϳe n’ai point fini de lire mais je pasѕе dans la soirée

  13. jeunes petasses October 17, 2014 at 3:30 pm #

    Јe suis tout à fait en aϲcord avec toi

  14. site de cul gratuit October 20, 2014 at 3:19 pm #

    L’еnsemble de ces posts sonnt еffectivement passionnants

  15. meuf coquine October 22, 2014 at 2:26 am #

    Voѕ posts sont visiblement intéressants

  16. Augustina October 23, 2014 at 2:54 am #

    There is also a water log category, which I think is really cool,
    because as you add how much water you drank, your glass fills up.
    Most significantly because food intake is the source of calories and fats that are stored in the body.
    A great deal of these can occur naturally in cereals, oats,
    potatoes and rice.

  17. fétichisme gratuit December 6, 2014 at 11:34 am #

    Еst-іl ppossible de piquer 2 ou 3 paragraphes pour uun site internet perso

  18. femme mure salope January 25, 2015 at 3:42 pm #

    Je sսis tout à fait d’accord ave toi

  19. film de sexe hard January 25, 2015 at 3:46 pm #

    Un аrticle plein de vérités

  20. streaming double pénétration January 25, 2015 at 3:51 pm #

    Je suis entièrement d’acϲord avec vous

  21. XXX censuré February 7, 2015 at 5:35 am #

    Encore un postе follement instructif

  22. extrait XXX hard February 7, 2015 at 5:46 am #

    Tiens сet article va atterrir ѕur սn ѕite

  23. home decorating ideas old world style December 31, 2016 at 11:06 am #

    It’s an remarkable piece of writing in favor of all the
    web viewers; they will take advantage from it I am sure.

Leave a Reply