A Little Space – Tehya, Edie & Makena’s rooms

MEET Teyha, Edie and Makena

Who lives here: Leonie, 31; Hugo, 34; Tehya, 6; Edie, 4 & Makena, 2     

Where: Mount Martha, Victoria      

Design Aesthetic: Bright & Calm      Photography: Leonie Jay

Photographer and mum of three, Leonie, has an eye for all things beautiful and it was a dream of hers to have a gorgeous home as her family grew.  “I think I always hoped that I could have a house that didn’t look like kids lived there,” she laughs.  “You know, the type you see in magazines and wonder how the hell they have three kids?  Now I realise how foolish that is!  And I don’t want that at all.  Our home is not precious; it’s a family home.  It has toys, it has stains, and drawings on the walls…but these things won’t last forever.  They are all memories of moments with my family.”

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With three gorgeous girls under six years of age, Leonie admits that she tries to be organised with everyone’s things.  “Our home isn’t large.  Each child has their own room but we only have one living space and very limited storage.  We try to have a place for everything.”

Although her little family fit perfectly inside their home, Leonie says that isn’t the only reason that her and Hugo have chosen to not have any more babies.  “I always thought I wanted four,” she says.  “I was hideously sick with hyperemesis with my pregnancies and I just don’t think that I could go through that one more time.  I just love the girls where they are now too, I don’t really have a favourite age…each comes with its own celebrations and challenges.”

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“Now Tehya is six, and in school, I love that we can sit and have amazing discussions that have meaning and depth.  She is very independent and intelligent, but at the same time she isn’t too old to still have a snuggle with mum.  Edie, at four, is such a character.  I am loving seeing her develop her own friends at kinder rather than being friends with my friend’s children.  I also love seeing her learn to read and write – every time I get a new drawing from her it is signed, ‘For Mum.  Love U.  Edie.’  I can’t bring myself to throw any of those gorgeous pictures out!  Makena (two) is such a sweetheart.  She has this amazing vocabulary and comes out with some crazy sentences.  I love watching her play on her own, the games and scenarios she creates are so complex and go into such details, she has me in stitches.”

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“I always told myself before I had children that I would teach them compassion and empathy and I try to instil those qualities in them daily.  We also drum ‘please, thank you’ and general manners into them.  It is repetitive and it can drive you crazy saying the same thing over and over to them, but seeing them grasp it makes it so worthwhile.  They all have such special traits that I hope they continue to have as they get older.  Tehya is so thoughtful and very considerate of others; Edie is eccentric and creative and she loves so easily and so fiercely and Makena has such a quirky sense of humour and a love of the outdoors.”

Leonie admits each of the girls are so different from one another that her and Hugo have found they employ a different strategy with each child when it comes to discipline.  “Reward charts are the most effective with Tehya, and Edie seems to respond the best when things of value are taken away.  Makena responds really well to time out, but with each of them I really try to explain how their actions can effect other people.”

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The three girls each have a beautiful space of their own to grow in and Leonie says that with each of them, the rooms have evolved over time.  “Tehya chose her room colour when she was four.  I am sure at some point she will ask for the pink to be replaced, but at the moment she loves it.  Edie’s room is still a work in progress – we initially chose her wall colour and she isn’t sure that she likes it now.  Makena’s room was set up as a nursery and evolved to a little girl’s space just recently.  We didn’t know when we set that space up if we were having a boy or a girl, so we used a gender neutral colour and added feminine accessories when she arrived.”

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“I like the idea that my girls can be proud of their own space, that they can feel inspired, relaxed, calm and creative in their own room.  I like to think that their rooms are a reflection of their personality and, as they grown, their rooms can grow with them.”

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“We have a great outdoor space for the kids as well.  The sandpit is an extension of our backyard deck so the girls can play while we BBQ or sit and have a coffee.  We have a swing set, a slide and trampoline and recently we built a ‘fairy café’ in a corner of the yard.  This has crystal, wind chimes, cash registers, a table and chairs and a hand painted Fairy Café sign.  It is so tacky and ugly but the girls LOVE it!”

“There is so much that I love about being a parent,” Leonie says.  “Just watching them grow up is wonderful.  Watching them learn simple skills, develop friendships, find interests, discover the world.  I also really love the smiles and the cuddles.”

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Leonie has recently added a product to her photography service called ‘My Room’ that is a lovely idea.  “So often, I see friend’s facebook posts of a gorgeous room that they have created for their new baby – most often it is a phone image!  So much time, effort, personality and creativity has gone into these rooms it would be such shame to not capture them.  I wanted to offer a chance to get your little one photographed as they play, read or relax in their room – a perfect way to make beautiful, lasting memories of their most important space…whether they are a new baby or a teenager!” 

Contact [email protected] for more.

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  1. Quilts.  They are easily my favourite thing in each room.  My mum made them for each of the girls and not only are they used daily, they will be treasured forever.
  2. Storage under the beds.  So organised and out of sight!
  3. Surf Boards.  My husband is a surfer and I cannot wait until they are old enough to go out with their dad for a surf.  I smile each time I look at the boards, just thinking about that.
  4. Ikea bookshelves.  They are fabulous for home like ours that have limited storage.  They are practical and fit almost any space.  I also love that you can totally change how they function by adding a basket, a drawer or a door.
  5. The Tiffany’s bunny money box in Tehya’s room.  This was given to her when she was born by a very dear friend of mine.  It is so beautiful and I can imagine it is something that will become somewhat of a precious family item in Tehya’s family as she gets older.

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  1. Pencils and paper.  My dad is an incredibly creative person, an illustrator and an artist and has taught us from a very young age that you will never be bored if you draw.  The girls spend hours at our table drawing, writing notes, cards, you name it.
  2. Apple cutter.  This nifty little gadget is not just for apples!  Place it over the fruit, push it down and out comes the core and the apple is segemented.
  3. Coffee machine.  Great for coffee for mum and dad and babychinos for the kids.
  4. Our vacuum!  It gets used multiple times a day.

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Try to be patient – with yourself, your partner, but mostly your children.  Don’t compare yourself with other parents.  They may seem like they have it all together, but trust me, EVERYONE has days where they feel like screaming.  Do what works for your family.  Listen to advice from people but just take the bits that apply to your family.

Remember to not be too hard on yourself, you are doing a great job.

Each child is different and one is unlikely to respond to the same form of discipline, learning and encouragement than another.

Take time to talk to your child, but remember to also take time out for you and your partner.

ENJOY the time you have with your kids.  Play with them.  Talk with them.  Cook with them.  Wrestle with them.  Because once they go to school, you will realise how fast is actually went and you can never get those preschool years back.

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Thanks for sharing your gorgeous girls and their equally gorgeous rooms, Leonie!