In Thailand, Finding the Balance Between Kids & Clean Design

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In 2015, Tom’s company gave him and his wife Gumi the opportunity to pick up their lives in London and embrace the bustling, bright-colored streets of Bangkok, Thailand. Without hesitation, the duo was in. With a rich expat community and apartments that come fully or semi furnished, the spot they set out for and the transition there seemed made for ease. And thankfully both have been.

After a stint in another apartment, the couple ended up snagging this stellar pad in Sukhumvit, Bangkok. The building is lovely and modern, full of light and life as nearby restaurants and shops are go-go-going all the time. “It’s so exciting!” Gumi says of their new area. She’s found this exuberant Thai vibe so infectious it’s even had a major impact on her personal style. When it came to interior decor, Gumi used to favor kitsch and mid-century design enriched with a vintage touch. Nowadays, however, her home is more pared back with parts of it decorated in finds from the street vendors that sell right outside her front door. Plants, traditional Thai sarongs and patterned pillows are just a few of the local accoutrements she’s come to love.

But nothing has had more of an impact on the look of Gumi and Tom’s apartment than their little boys Keo and Sami. They’re both under the age of five, and their toys have managed to sneak into nearly all nooks of the home’s 1,000 square feet. At first, this nagged at Gumi. Her newfound aesthetic and contemporary taste weren’t made for messiness. In hopes of finding a compromise between form and function, she and Tom installed a big toy box in the living room with low shelves the boys could reach and boxes to keep all the toys visible and easy to access. That way there’s no unnecessary digging and cluttering. They also got their children’s artwork off of the table and onto the walls, making the boys proud and the apartment’s surfaces that much tidier.

While working to combat the clutter once and for all, Gumi and Tom had a realization. Yes they could work and work to make their home camera-ready all day every day, but in the end these strewn-about playthings give their home something they could never buy in a store. Each one is a tiny reminder that they have two little ones loving them daily. And that’s worth more than any spic-and-span home. Click through to check out how this family has embraced the compromise that is messy kiddos and crisp living. Enjoy! —Garrett

Photography by Gumi Matsumoto

  1. Jennifer says:

    Absolutely love to see homes of families where it actually looks like kids live there! They’ve done a great job of integrating real life – toys and all the other child paraphernalia – with their style.

  2. Jane says:

    What a beautiful home! Great job.

  3. Loving this tour. This is the lifelong question, how to keep adulting when kids tear it up every day (and night). Loved this article. Thanks for the wisdom.

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