Welcome to our home

Since we’ve lived in our fixer-upper for a little over a year now, I’ll get occasional requests from some of you who want to see more of the house. I haven’t had any qualms about that request, save one thing—the house isn’t done.

But I recently decided that if I waited for that to happen, this post would never get published (amiright, those of you who’ve renovated houses?). And since last week my book’s publisher came to the house to film some video (which you’ll see soon!), I decided now was as good a time as any to give you a little tour.

Because well, we cleaned. And with a three-year-old in the house, that lasts 5.7 seconds.

So here you go, five-plus years into this blog with nary a house tour—welcome to our home!



When you walk in, you can go one of two ways—straight ahead is our office; left is the rest of the house. Let’s go straight for a second.


Here’s the office I share with Kyle. He added that awesome thrifted door and hung it with barn railings. It’s incredibly heavy and blocks out all sound, better than a “regular” door.


Also, we recently decided that this is too much desk for us—we honestly need a wall of storage and a simple flat surface for our laptops. So, we’ll probably get rid of these desks. We’d love the space to be more guest room than office.


Here’s where I do most of my writing. And podcasting.


I saw these blue bikes at World Market this summer, and got the two they had left. I can’t find anymore… Would love to give them as gifts to people who helped with my upcoming book, if I can find more. Because blue? Bikes? Awesome.

Heading back out, we pass the stairs.


Yeah… we still have to refinish the stairs, risers, and banister. They’re a mess. No idea what colors here, but I’d like something fun—any ideas?


Over there in the corner is Ivan the Tiny, the kids’ Russian dwarf hamster tucked away in his green and purple cage.


And through that door holding the red calendar is Narnia—our kids’ play storage area.


I recently put away half of their toys in the garage, and they haven’t said one word. I wouldn’t be surprised if in a few months, we have nothing but Lego, Hex Bugs, puzzles, and books. Not exaggerating.

And then moving forward, we pop in to the main living area, where we hang out most.


The dresser to the right of the couch houses kids’ craft supplies. We let the kids go to town whenever they want with paper, markers, scissors, and glue, so long as they clean up afterwards.


I get asked all the time, so I’ll add it here—the map is from Ikea (as is the couch and coffee table), and the art is a mix of Etsy finds and local artist Katie Daisy.

Here’s my favorite corner of the house. It’s where I journal, read, drink tea, and snuggle with the kiddos.


Thrifted chair, and Target clearance ottoman, curtains, and bat lights.

If you spin around from there, you’ll see where we do the bulk of our schoolwork.


Kyle built that skinny desk from thrifted closet doors. His mom made the “Happy Harvest” sign from a potato sack.


I love this space—so small but efficient. The chalkboard was a thrift find, the magnetic board is actually an auto drip pan, the stepstool (which I still need to paint a fun color) is Ikea, and our mission statement was created by the talented Dee of Red Letter Words. I’m so grateful for her talent!


We also keep all the kids’ books out in the main living space; a subtle but significant message that reading is part of our everyday life, not a special occasion activity.

And everything on top of the bookcase is thrifted (still thrilled over my school clock find from years ago!), save the globe, which is from Lakeshore Learning. I looked everywhere for a cheap-yet-accurate globe and couldn’t find one. So, I bit the bullet.


Thrifted yellow school chairs, thrifted black basket, thrifted lamp, and Kyle’s mom made the standing twig lamp. Because she’s amazing like that.


We formerly had a black and white rug here—and then three-year-old Finn smeared peppermint toothpaste all over the thing. So we relegated it to the garage until we could clean it and resurrected this find from Pottery Barn Outlet a million years ago. Now we’re starting to like this rug even better.


Spin around again (dizzy yet?), and you’ll see the dining area. It was getting late when I took this pic, and yeah, there’s the un-photogenic laundry basket and trash can—but who needs perfection here? I love seeing other people’s reality, so I figured you might like it here, too.


bacon art

The wire baskets were Target clearance, the canning jar art is wrapping paper from Paper Source, and the bacon art is by a local Austin artist.


And tucked away in the corner lies our kitchen. We gutted the entire original thing, and added Ikea cabinets and open shelving. I need to dig out the “before” pictures, but the work Kyle did here is pretty astounding.


There used to be a hallway here that led to the den (now our office)—which meant teeny-tiny kitchen. As in, you couldn’t open the fridge, oven, or dishwasher because they’d bonk in to each other. So Kyle knocked down a wall, rewired a bunch of stuff, and rebuilt our pantry here.


Head over and walk through the door near our dining table, and you’ll be in our mudroom. Aka, the Mothership.


Kyle’s mom built those bottom drawers—they were originally meant to go under a twin bed, but now they house our shoes. We’ll get around to painting them… one day.


Birds in the corner are courtesy of Mercy House. (They go on top of our Christmas tree in December.) And the “Give Thanks” print is Dayspring.

front porch

Phew. Okay, so maybe this is my favorite spot in the house. When the weather’s nice, the front porch is my second office.

…Our home is continually a work in progress—perfectly imperfect, frugal, random, simple, us. We don’t know how long we’ll be here, but for now, it’s feeling more and more like home. And since home is wherever we are together, there’s nowhere else I love on earth more.

I hope to show you the upstairs eventually—one step at a time, right? I’ll get the boys to pick up all their littered socks first.

Thanks for stopping by!

Tsh Oxenreider

Tsh is the founder of this blog and just finished traveling around the world with her husband and 3 kids. Her latest book is Notes From a Blue Bike, and believes a passport is one of the world's greatest textbooks.

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  1. I love love love all the natural light. It puts the dream in all the food photos I would love to take. Thanks for sharing. Oh and the country kitchen sink–swoon. I’ll be done there:)

  2. I loved this tour! And it makes me feel like I should stop putting off sharing our new home and just get to it. I keep waiting for more furniture or things for our walls, but will it ever be finished? Thanks for the push!


  3. You have a lovely home…bright, warm and inviting. Thanks for sharing it with us! And yes to that sink! Love it.

  4. I love to get a peek at other people’s offices! I just redid mine to function as a guest room also, a sofa bed works great for that.

    And did you say Pottery Barn Outlet? I’ve gotta find one!

    • Yeah, they’re kinda hard to find—this particular store is just outside Austin, in San Marcos.

      One day I’ll give a more thorough tour of the office. Maybe when it’s more the way I want it to function? We’ll see.

  5. It’s so purdy! I love love love it. Especially the area for the kids school work – all clever with the closet doors. So grateful that you decided to share your home. Thank you!

  6. I love it! Your home is beautiful, and I love the floor especially 🙂

    I also love that you did away with the need for perfection before doing the tour. Works in progress are far more interesting (it’s the same with people!)

    • YES! Agree completely. Perfection isn’t real, and it’s not comforting, is it? I’ve always said that I enjoy seeing a bit of imperfections in friends’ homes. Reminds me that we’re all human.

  7. Thank you for sharing your home! I love how uncluttered your home is , the one thing I kept asking as I looked at the pictures were – where’s the papers? I have a definite paper stacking clutter problem. I haven’t checked your website to see if you addressed this previously. For me, out of sight is out of mind. I’m afraid I’ll forget something if I don’t have access to it in our central area, which is the kitchen. So, that is my challenge…

    • Ha! I address the paper issue quite a bit in this blog—use the search feature and type “paper clutter.” It’s my arch nemesis. 🙂

  8. Thanks for the tour. Love the maps and art and light. It looks like a home…not just a house.

  9. I love it! You had me at the “hey y’all” on the front door. 🙂

    And yeah, publishing this now was a good idea–we’ve had a renovation in progress for ten years … and counting!

  10. Fun! I love seeing your home. 🙂 We have a wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling bookcase in our living room built by previous owners. They had it literally STUFFED with books… books on top of books. We’re about 1/10th of the way there. 😉

  11. Love this, Tsh. Thanks for letting us (even more!) into your lives.


  12. Hi, Tsh –

    Thanks for showing us your digs – what a great place!

  13. I love every single thing about this! Your mission statement is just gorgeous. What a great idea.

  14. Thanks so much for taking the plunge and sharing your “unfinished” home. As a family who has survived 2 big and 1 smaller home renovations, I’ve come to realize that it’s just part of living! Loved your home tour…love the floors, the books, the kitchen, the white.

    • Thanks, Sharon! Yeah, it’s pretty much part of our life, too, since we prefer to live in fixer-uppers (or one day, build from scratch).

  15. Your home looks so inviting. That’s something I’m working on with ours…giving it that warm, cozy feel. We’ve been in our house a little over a year as well, and my goal is to make it feel like “us”. Your photos have given me some great ideas. Thanks for sharing!

  16. I love, love, love your house! It’s so cute and practical while still being stylish and the world map is fantastic!

  17. Wow! What a beautiful, light-filled home! I love the style and it looks so welcoming. And I must say, I love the nod to your Texas roots with the “hey y’all” at the front door!

  18. I loved the tour and would love a closer shot of the twig standing lamp that your mom made. I think something like that would be so neat in my home, but wonder what all it involves? Your mother-in-law sounds very handy, very cool. Thanks for sharing!

  19. Random, simple, and us – I love that! Definitely reminds me of our house. I am jealous of your mud room…when we buy again (we rent now) I definitely want to find a house with a mud room. Thanks for the tour!

  20. Thanks for sharing. I love your home.

  21. You have such a beautiful home!

  22. Karin Minnaar says:

    Thank you for sharing your home and heart. I loved seeing where you live. Such beauty, simplicity but fullness of life.

  23. Gorgeous and so FUN, my friend! 🙂

    And, love that we both seem to decorate in early thrift store and Target clearance 😉

    I especially love how personal all of your artwork is – really gives such a great sense of “home” and I feel like your family’s personality is evident all over.

    And your kitchen? WOWZA! I totally remember the befores from when you shared them on FB ages ago and … what a difference! That Kyle is pretty awesome!

    Thanks for this tour, friend. <3

  24. Dear Tsh,
    Thank you for opening your home and sharing. It does really reflect you and what your “Simple Mom” values are. I am friends with Linda and it is neat to see some if here love in your home.

  25. I love home yours! Thank you for sharing yours. It’s fun to see the first floor after seeing bits and pieces on instagram. Also, Kyles mom sounds pretty awesome!

  26. I have the same drip pan but can’t get it to stay stuck to the wall (I use 3M command strips). How is yours stuck?

    Love this home…it screams happy!! 🙂

  27. Love your home! It is so welcoming, pleasant, simple, and creative!!!!

  28. I love those floors!!!

  29. Sarah Westphal says:

    Finally! So happy I stuck it out 3 years to get to see the Oxenreider house 🙂
    Absolutely. worth. the. wait.

    Your house is so light and airy and organized and homey. Fantastic job for being there only a year– while working full-time and homeschooling and looking after your wonderful kids–with thanks to your man of course! Give yourselves pats on your backs. Seriously.

    I would really be interested in how you update your office. We have an office/guestroom and I am trying to get in to look more bedroom than office as well (my in-laws stay there a couple months of the year, it has a bed) And the upstairs too whenever you are ready. I will be using your idea with baskets in low bookcases for my kids’ clothes as dressers have been a nightmare thus far.

    Awesome job! Thanks for sharing,

  30. LOVE! Thanks so much for sharing your house! Can I come over? Haha.

    Did I see Tate wearing a dress in the first photo or was it a skirt? I remember you saying a bit ago that she didn’t like wearing dresses.

    If you leave all the craft supplies for the kids to access anytime, what did you do with the scissors situation when Finn was younger?

    Do you have a solarium window behind your kitchen sink? I like how you styled it with your cookbooks. We have one and while the window is quite old, it’s been hard to make it look cute.

  31. I loved seeing your “lived in” house. I tend to be a “gatherer” (sounds nicer than “clutter-bug”), and I have this image that my spaces should be clean and clear. All that leads to is unintentional stuff everywhere and very little feeling of home. I love how you’ve embraced the things that have meaning for you – the books!!! – and use them intentionally to decorate. Your house screams “this is our home!” I love it. Inspired.

  32. Bobbie Czajka says:

    I love your home! I think I like your floor the best. Did you create it? Details please.

  33. Loved the tour and how you shared the sources of some of your finds…BUT I simply must know where the “hey y’all” sign is from and can I get my own?? LOVE IT!!

  34. Ah, love this, Tsh. What a beautiful space. Now I want to declutter everything in sight and paint all my walls white. ; ) Are all of your walls white or off-white? What’s the paint brand/color? I really like the green that’s most of our rooms, and the pale yellow in the kids’ rooms, but I got a little too adventurous with a dark red in our bedroom because I was so excited that we weren’t renting anymore and could do whatever we wanted with paint choices. But it’s super dark and now I’m regretting it.

  35. You know I LOVE that you did this! I am of course swooning at all the thrifted items and I adore your reading/tea corner there. Such amazing light. The floors and the open concept kitchen make me just feel so cozy and happy.

  36. Wonderful! As a fellow Texan who has landed in the Pacific NW (Seattle) I love seeing a home that works for life here (we need the windows, as we don’t ever get enough sun!) while still feeling like it could be “back home.” I remember you talking about your kids’ book storage a while back, and when we bought our first house this summer and moved, I copied! Instead of each kids’ books in their own rooms, we have a kids’ bookshelf in the living room, with a large basket nearby for the baby’s board books. Though our bookshelf is overflowing. I need something like you have, bigger but not too tall for kids.

    And I am so envious of that mud room. We all enter the house through the front door, and I hate dumping the rain gear for all to see while it dries out. Our entry is very small, and very open to the living room and dining room, so I’m struggling to find a good-looking, minimal floor space way to deal with the rain gear for a family of five…

    Thanks for sharing your wonderful home!

  37. I so enjoyed your home tour with my afternoon tea! Thanks for inviting us over, Tsh. You have such a warm and ADORABLE home! So many creative touches that show how gifted you are in this area.

    Um, you’ll get the home tour when you come visit us. My decorating doesn’t expand outside the kitchen. 😉

  38. Your home is so simple, and it looks like a real family lives there! Nothing staged. I really enjoyed the tour. Can you tell me about the blue labels on your bookshelves? Is it a categorizing strategy?

  39. Thank you for posting this tour of your home. I love your place. It’s inviting and cozy. I just love seeing peoples’ homes. It’s like reading a good book.

  40. I loved the tour and would love to know what kind of flooring you have there. It is all so lovely – and real. 🙂 Thank you!

  41. I love that so much of your stuff is from Target and Ikea. Sometimes I feel bad that my house is like that – like I should have passed the point where I have to put all my furniture together myself…. but yours is such a beautiful, homey, lovely space! Thanks for sharing!

  42. Tsh, I love it! It’s so simple, warm, and inviting. I just adore your personal touches of thrifted and bargain finds along with all of that color. I try to do the same over here… and that barn door… ah, love it! Ok, you’ve given me ideas ;D Thanks for sharing your home with us.

  43. cute house! your banister and stool would look neat in orange! I don’t have any orange, but thought it would blend in your house great.

  44. Kirsten McCulloch says:

    Oops, I forget. Akismet seems to have decided that I am a spammer. Trying again without my website URL. Tsh, if you find my original comment in your spam folder, could you please tell Akismet it is not spam? Hopefully they will get the message eventually. And then delete this one, of course.

    I love seeing other people’s houses, and how they organise everything, thanks for sharing. Lots of ideas there 🙂

    I also love your mission statement and the photos on the walls going up the stairs. And just the fact that you have lots of things on your walls. And also the fact that you have plenty of furniture from target and ikea – not all thrifted and homemade – but plenty of that too. Keeping it real for us 🙂

  45. Amy in Fairfax says:

    Would LOVE to hear your thoughts on having an online library for the kids. For us, the tides are turning to where online books are our more frequent go-tos…but I’m sad about that, to be honest.

    I love the look of books on the shelves, frayed edges and all — but the kids are so used to instant gratification that buying a book online — whether it be the next in the series or a new title — is becoming the norm. Having four kids, it isn’t easy to make it to the library and this has rolled itself out as the new habit. Do you resist this at all like I am doing, with guilt every step of the way?

  46. Carol in NM says:

    Loved the tour! Thanks! Your wood flooring is beautiful, really adds to the warmth and charm of your home. I also love all the Ikea, so functional and good-looking. We also have an auto drip pan as a magnet board, perfect use for such a thing. We use All About Spelling, too!
    Thanks for the tour. Such a lovely and welcoming home.

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