Why (& How) I’m Stretching the Holiday Season This Year

A Full Plate is a column about family life and the home by contributing writer Laura Fenton, who explores the intersection of sustainable living and home design through a mother’s eyes.

I have a confession: In years past, my family’s holiday celebra…

A Full Plate is a column about family life and the home by contributing writer Laura Fenton, who explores the intersection of sustainable living and home design through a mother’s eyes.


I have a confession: In years past, my family’s holiday celebrations often started with Christmas Eve and ended with Christmas Day. In the rush of juggling work, parenting, and housekeeping, I never had the time to make the holiday spirit last all week, leave alone all month (even present-wrapping was left for the eleventh hour, after everyone had gone to bed). There was a lot more room for joy on my holiday agenda.

Read More >>

11 Eco-Friendly Gifts You’ll Be Tempted to Keep

We’ve partnered with Lifestraw to share eco-friendly gift ideas—from the Lifestraw Home water filter pitcher to reusable food wrap, aka your leftovers’ new best friend—for everyone on your list this holiday season.

As a self-proclaimed tree hugger, …

We’ve partnered with Lifestraw to share eco-friendly gift ideas—from the Lifestraw Home water filter pitcher to reusable food wrap, aka your leftovers’ new best friend—for everyone on your list this holiday season.


As a self-proclaimed tree hugger, the holiday season has sometimes presented a challenge. It’s a time that can be heavy on consumption and waste (not to mention, the usual air travel to visit my far-flung relatives).

Read More >>

12 Cleaning Secrets From Busy Parents

A Full Plate is a column about family life and the home by contributing writer Laura Fenton, who explores the intersection of sustainable living and home design through a mother’s eyes.

I keep a tidy and organized home, but the actual cleaning has a…

A Full Plate is a column about family life and the home by contributing writer Laura Fenton, who explores the intersection of sustainable living and home design through a mother’s eyes.


I keep a tidy and organized home, but the actual cleaning has always been something that I’ve needed to summon the energy to tackle. So I really had to muster up my cleaning courage when my home started getting dirtier a whole lot faster this year, with us at home more and eating most of our meals in, instead of out.

Read More >>

How to Tame Toy Clutter Once & for All

A Full Plate is a column about family life and the home by contributing writer Laura Fenton, who explores the intersection of sustainable living and home design through a mother’s eyes.

“Mama, I don’t play with these, you can donate them,” my son an…

A Full Plate is a column about family life and the home by contributing writer Laura Fenton, who explores the intersection of sustainable living and home design through a mother’s eyes.


Mama, I don’t play with these, you can donate them,” my son announced as he carried a box of beautiful wooden blocks out of his room. His birthday is coming up, and clearly, my message about donating a few toys to make room for new ones had gotten through. Of course, I had in mind the flimsy plastic cars and rubber ducks that had crept home from parties and the dentist, but the truth is, I could count on my hands how many times the Montessori-approved blocks had been deeply played with. So, I put the blocks in our “to donate” bin and made a mental note to spirit away some of those cars later.

Read More >>

8 Ways I’m Teaching My 5-Year-Old to Reduce Waste

A Full Plate is a column about family life and the home by contributing writer Laura Fenton, who explores the intersection of sustainable living and home design through a mother’s eyes.

I’ve always considered myself a bit of a tree-hugger, but it wa…

A Full Plate is a column about family life and the home by contributing writer Laura Fenton, who explores the intersection of sustainable living and home design through a mother’s eyes.


I’ve always considered myself a bit of a tree-hugger, but it wasn’t until I was expecting my child that I got serious about my efforts to reduce waste and my carbon footprint. Talking to other parents, I have realized this is a common experience: As soon as you start thinking about your child’s lifetime, you understand how important it is to conserve and protect our planet’s resources. Ironically, having a child also immediately makes it harder to live a low-waste life (hello, disposable diapers and an endless stream of plastic!).

Read More >>

This Family’s Downsized Home Goes Big on Style

Influencer and designer Shavonda Gardner is a believer in slow, sustainable design. “Curating a home is a marathon, not a sprint,” is a mantra Shavonda repeats often to her followers and clients, but it’s also how she approaches her own home.

Shavonda…

Influencer and designer Shavonda Gardner is a believer in slow, sustainable design. “Curating a home is a marathon, not a sprint,” is a mantra Shavonda repeats often to her followers and clients, but it’s also how she approaches her own home.

Shavonda and her wife, Naomi, were living in a basic builder house in Sacramento, California when they decided to trade their cookie-cutter home for a smaller place with old-school charm across town. The couple and their two children, Michael and Bryanna, downsized from a 2,400-square-foot house to a 1,200-square-foot cottage.

Read More >>

A 355-Square-Foot Apartment That Makes the Most of Every Inch

When I set out to write The Little Book of Living Small, my book about small spaces, there were a few homes I knew I just had to photograph for the book. Among them, a studio apartment that I had seen in O at Home magazine (Oprah’s now-defunct decorati…

When I set out to write The Little Book of Living Small, my book about small spaces, there were a few homes I knew I just had to photograph for the book. Among them, a studio apartment that I had seen in O at Home magazine (Oprah’s now-defunct decorating magazine). I’d saved the photos of this perfectly-designed studio apartment for more than a decade because I found them so inspiring. So, I was delighted when I was able to track down the owner, Alisa Regas, and was especially thrilled when I found out she still lived in the same studio all these years later—and she had barely changed a thing (talk about classic design choices!).

When Regas bought her West Village apartment nearly twenty years ago, she wasn’t the least bit worried about its size. Before the advent of tell-all-renovation blogs, Regas, like me, had been the kind of person who clipped space-saving ideas from magazines and books for years, and had even tracked down architects to ask them for their sources.

Read More >>

9 Decluttering Secrets From Small-Space Homeowners

Now more than ever, home is where many of us are seeking refuge and solace in light of the novel coronavirus. This is a tough time, but we’re here for you—whether it’s a new pantry recipe or a useful tip for your kitchen, here are some ideas to make th…

Now more than ever, home is where many of us are seeking refuge and solace in light of the novel coronavirus. This is a tough time, but we’re here for you—whether it’s a new pantry recipe or a useful tip for your kitchen, here are some ideas to make things run a little more smoothly for you and your loved ones.


Last year, I got to see firsthand how about a dozen of the most creative homeowners were making their spaces work when I photographed their homes for my book The Little Book of Living Small. I’m thinking about all of those people now, as we all hunker down to keep our distance and hopefully prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. Living in small spaces calls for creative solutions every day, but especially so when you’re spending a lot of time at home—not to mention when kids are involved!

Read More >>