Happy Friday! We are spending the weekend at home and hoping to cross off a few more tasks on our third trimester to do list! I can’t believe my due date is in two weeks (!) and I’m eager to do some major organizing in the nursery as well as install our car seat and have it inspected to make sure it’s ready when we head to the hospital. I’ve honestly been feeling pretty wiped during the day (probably a factor of it being impossible to fall asleep and sleep through the night!) so I’m excited to have Will home so I can boss him around from the sofa… only kind of kidding. 😂 I hope you all have a great one!

design darling friday q&a

1. Will you have a baby nurse?

Oh man, I wish! We financially prioritized buying a house and tackling a bunch of house projects so there’s honestly not much left over in the budget for professional help right now. Hopefully we won’t regret that decision! Thankfully my husband will be taking some paternity leave and my parents live right down the street — I hope that will be enough to get us through those first few sleep-deprived months before we hammer out a longer term plan for childcare going forward.

2. What’s your go-to gift when someone gets married? And when they have a baby?

I always order wedding gifts off the couple’s registry. Unless you know the bride or groom extremely well and have an over-the-top thoughtful gift idea you’ve been dreaming up, I think it’s most considerate to give them something they’ve actually asked for! For baby gifts, I’ve always either picked something off the baby registry or sent one of these cashmere sweaters — they’re such a luxurious and impractical gift that you might not buy yourself, but who doesn’t love a baby in cashmere?

3. What are you planning to use as your diaper bag?

I ordered two of these LL Bean bags in the medium size with regular handles with the baby’s name and monogram. I’d originally ordered two of these mini diaper organizer inserts to place inside, but they were so ridiculously small that I decided to return them and just place diapers, wipes, etc. loosely inside. We’ll see how this system works for us and course-correct if need be — I can always find a use for another boat bag if they wind up making terrible diaper bags or if I decide I want the size large instead of the medium (which I debated for an excessively long time before Will graciously convinced me I was massively overthinking a $30 purchase…). If you’re looking for something more luxe, I love the idea of using a Goyard tote as a diaper bag — so chic but roomy and easy to keep clean!

4. What paint colors are you using in the new house?

Everything we’ve painted so far has been Ultra Pure White in satin on the walls and Ultra Pure White in high gloss on the trim, windows, and doors. We inherited many shades of off-white and yellow when we moved in and painting everything a bright white was the fastest and cheapest way to make everything feel fresh and clean! I imagine I’ll want to branch out from all white walls at some point in the future, but for now I love having a blank canvas throughout our largely undecorated house!

5. Can you share some pieces you are eyeing for the rooms you still need to decorate?

That would be all of them! 😂 Seriously nothing outside of the nursery is going to be properly decorated until well into 2020 at least. I’m currently browsing and bookmarking living room sofas (do we like this or this?), armchairs (love these), and low headboards (possibly something like this). I’ll be sharing many more options we’re considering in the months to come as I love getting your opinions and it will be fun for me to daydream about decorating while I’m caring for a newborn this fall!

6. What’s the first trip you’re going to take as a family of three?

I’m not sure as we don’t have anything planned! I know we will plan to spend most of next summer with my family on Nantucket but I really have no idea how we’ll feel about traveling with bébé before then so we’re just going to play it by ear! We are planning to celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas in Connecticut this year so I imagine most of our weekends will be spent at home until the new year and then we’ll go from there. If anyone has any baby-friendly travel recommendations (either in New England or a quick flight away), I’m all ears!

7. What books are you reading right now?

I listened to the audiobook version of Daisy Jones & The Six while I was painting our living room and OMG, it is fantastic! I had read one of the author’s other books last year and didn’t love it so I’m not sure what convinced me to give this a shot, but I was blown away by the clever narrative structure and inventiveness of the plot — I really haven’t read anything else like it. Will and I are also revisiting the Harry Potter series through Jim Dale’s audiobooks on Audible and I can’t recommend them more highly. We are currently a couple hours into the sixth book (we usually listen for 20-30 minutes as we get ready for bed!) and they just get better and better! P.S. You can always see what I’ve read recently in the first task on my 101 in 1001 list!

8. Can you show us how you decorate for autumn?

I will be doing very little decorating this year between all the projects at the new house and getting ready for baby boy to arrive in (hopefully) a couple weeks, but next year I’d love to recreate last year’s decor for our front porch! 

9. How to save and splurge on furniture while still in a rental and trying to save for a down payment?

This is a tricky one! Of course you want to put as much as possible into saving for a future home, but you still need a place to sit, eat, and sleep when you’re renting and it winds up being more expensive in the long term when you buy inexpensive, lower quality items you’ll need to replace in a few years (a mistake I’ve made more times than I care to admit!). Pieces like a well-made sofa or armchairs, dresser, bedside tables, and table lamps will work no matter where you move to next and should last you many years if you make quality a priority. Pieces where you might be more constrained by measurements (it’s hard to know how many you’ll be able to seat around a table without seeing your future dining room, for instance) are purchases I would move to the bottom of your priority list until you know where you’ll be living next. 

10. We are hoping to take a big African safari trip in the next 1-2 years. How did you plan yours?

I can’t recommend it more highly! We were heavily inspired by our friends Parker and Zach’s honeymoon and followed their recommendations on where to stay in South Africa, then penciled in the rest of our trip with a hotel that was on my bucket list and recommendations from our travel agent that took us from South Africa, through Tanzania, and finally to Kenya. I highly, highly recommend working with a travel agent if you’re planning a safari — it’s not the kind of trip that’s easy to book yourself on Kayak and it gave us great peace of mind to travel with a detailed itinerary and contact information should we have encountered any unexpected travel emergencies. You can see all the recaps of our African honeymoon here!


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  1. Hi McKenzie! I can vouch for the York slope arm sofa – my husband and I bought ours (the extra deep version) a year ago and LOVE it! It looks stylish, and is also such a comfy couch to curl up on (and nice and wide to nap on, especially if you move the lumbar pillows). Highly recommend!

  2. I listened to HP 1-5 in the car with my son all before his 18 month “birthday” (and then he got too many opinions about listening to Moana!). I am convinced it’s why he was is so verbal and an early talker, though of course, that can’t be true. Got the audio of 6 and 7 ready to go for baby 2, due just after yours (and I think that will probably take me as long to get through as 1-5 did!). Thinking of you and wishing you a smooth and easy newborn stage.

  3. Hi Mackenzie! I follow your blog each day and love your perspective and taste! Since you asked for suggestions of where to go in New England, I wanted to offer my family travel blog, I’m based in Fairfield County and have tons of suggestions for where to go and what to do with kids.. Hope you’ll check it out and find a place or two (or 20!) to take baby throughout the years!

    Sending healthy wishes for you and baby!

  4. Hi Mackenzie! Just wanted to chime in on the diaper bag. After 2 kiddos I quickly learned that a backpack is the best way to go so both of your hands are free. That said, I think the LL Bean tote will work for the early months. If you ever decide to try the backpack route, there’s so many options, high and low end. The bag I like best isn’t a dedicated diaper bag but instead a backpack I got at TJ Maxx. You’ll figure out what you need and then find something that works!

  5. My go-to baby gift is the Lands End canvas totes (medium, zip top–I like the LE due to the pockets on the inside)! A friend’s wife recently passed over the fancy diaper bag she’d bought in favor of the tote I sent for the baby, so I think you’re onto something 🙂

  6. I think the LL Bean bags will be fine! We have one with baby’s initials stocked with diapers, wipes, a portable changing pad, and hand sanitizer that we keep in our bedroom for middle of the night changes (highly recommend setting up a mini “changing station” in your bedroom if he will be sleeping in there with you at first!

    I was gifted a large pouch from Pottery Barn with my monogram that I keep in my diaper bag stocked with the necessities – that could be an option for keeping your bag more organized. Also, one of the best pieces of advice I got was to pack my diaper bag before baby comes! You will be bleary eyed when you get home and have to take him to the doctors 2 days in…you want to be able to just grab and go!

    Enjoy these sweet final few weeks!