At Home with Living Rosa
If you’ve ever moved into a new home with your family, you know how daunting it can be. The list of projects and to-dos seems to grow faster than you can cross things off. Trying to be a parent and caregiver at the same time is… a lot.
Tara and Mandi Rosa moved into a kind-of-new house last spring — Tara’s childhood home, which they purchased from her father. Since then, they’ve worked tirelessly to make it their own: tackling DIY projects, personalizing rooms for their four daughters, and creating content at every step of the way to keep their IG audience up to date on the latest.
In this edition of At Home, we talk to Tara about her “full circle” moment with her childhood home, her kids’ obsession with Nugget forts, and why you can’t finish styling a home in one day.
This interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.
Tell us about your family and where you live.
Our family lives in a suburb outside of NYC. I’ve lived here my entire life. It’s wild to think that our four kids are growing up living in the same atmosphere as I did as a child.
How would you describe your home and design aesthetic?
We want our home to feel warm, cozy, and welcoming. A safe place for our kids to bring their friends. If I had to label our design style, I would use Traditional Modern — I love mixing old pieces with new, or giving old pieces a new look.
What makes your house so special to your family?
Our house is special to us because it’s the same home I grew up in as a child. My parents bought this house together when I was seven years old, and I bought it from my dad when our oldest daughter was seven. It really felt like a full circle moment for me.
What are some of your family’s favorite spaces at home?
Aside from finally having a primary bathroom, my favorite room in our house is the living room. We intentionally chose not to put a TV in our living room. Without that distraction, it makes the living room a place to connect as a family. The room has a game cabinet, family photo albums (each of the girls love to look at the ones from their first year of life), house plants, and a big cozy couch. I often find us gathered together in this space for dance parties, game nights, or just a cozy hang out while reading books.
The kids collectively love spending time in the sunroom, so we’ve transformed it into their arts and craft room. It’s full of paper, crayons, pencils, markers, tape, glue, clay, and everything else you need for a good crafting session. The room provides lots of natural bright light. I sometimes catch them there with their breakfast, watching the birds on the bird-feeder. It’s super cute! The pool and the kids’ playhouse are their other favorite places.
Your house has SO many great spaces everywhere — and yet it still looks like real people live there! Where do you look for inspiration for your home decor and design?
Thanks! I definitely turn to Pinterest for decor and design inspiration. But I also love to use pieces of furniture that I currently have and make them work within the space.
For example, our game board cabinet is my parents' old dining hutch without the top piece on it. I stripped it down to its natural wood and added new hardware to make it fit our aesthetic, and now it lives in our living room! Our kids' art supplies are now stored in my mom’s old TV cabinet.
Adding new pieces like rugs and artwork is how I like to pull everything together to complete the look that I’m trying to achieve for the space. I also really LOVE baskets; they’re perfect for storing toys around the home. They reduce the amount of clutter I see — out of sight, out of mind!
What pieces in your home can you simply not live without?
I love our dining room table because it was our first big furniture investment in our new home. We hope to host many holidays and family birthdays, so we made sure to choose a table that could expand the full length of the dining room and seat 12 people. A good meal can really bring the family together, and I can’t wait for all the different conversations to be had at this table. For the kids, I think the Nugget is their favorite piece in our home. They do everything with it — building forts, watching tv, or dragging it upstairs to our room to be close to us.
What are your top lessons and tips you’ve learned for decorating and styling a new space?
When Mandi and I bought our first home together, I thought everything had to be done all at once. Let’s buy everything that we need to style and decorate this space in one trip! However, now that we’re living in this new home together, I’ve realized that decorating a space happens slowly, and it evolves over time. Our home is forever changing and growing with us. It’s also okay to enjoy spaces in their “unfinished” state. I now know that you simply can’t create your ideal space with one trip to the store. A true home has much more depth and character within it.
I’ve realized that decorating a space happens slowly, and it evolves over time. Our home is forever changing and growing with us.
Speaking of growth and change, you've been really open about your family's growth journey, including fertility treatments, IVF, and time in the NICU, to name a few. These topics can be really hard to talk about for many families. How do you find the courage to share, and why do you feel it's important to share?
It’s funny because we first started to document our journey to motherhood online as a way for our future kids to one day understand how we became a family. To share with them how much they were wanted and what each of us went through in order to create them. We thought it would also be cool to share it with other people who were faced with creating a family via fertility treatments. Since we did reciprocal IVF, most of our viewers were also part of the LGBTQ+ community. It was really empowering to both share and have a community of people rooting for us.
Relating to people and making them feel less alone in their own hardships has always been comforting to me.
It has been a wild ride, but I feel like it’s important to share not only the good times but also the struggles. Relating to people and making them feel less alone in their own hardships has always been comforting to me.
How do you encourage your kids to embrace their own creativity and imagination?
We encourage our kids to embrace their own creativity and imagination by spending lots of time outdoors! They come up with their own games — one of their favorites is called “human house,” which I think is their glorified way of playing house. They go on nature hunts and pick up leaves and sticks, then create secret potions. We also encourage them by displaying their artwork throughout our home. They love to create, and we love to honor the things that they make.
How do your kids like playing with the Nugget?
When it comes to the Nugget, our kids are all about fort building. Anything they can crawl around and hide in is golden! They love to build “tents” and pretend to camp out. They also love to build a slide and roll down the Nugget onto the floor. We sometimes get blankets involved in the mix and use the big Nugget cushions as walls with blankets draped across the top.
Both Willow and Bamboo are really simple to incorporate into our home because of the natural color. We have lots of houseplants and these green play couches can really fit nicely into any space in our home.
What tips do you have for styling the Nugget colors you have?
Both Willow and Bamboo are really simple to incorporate into our home because of the natural color. We have lots of houseplants and these green play couches can really fit nicely into any space in our home. We often place them on a blank wall as additional seating, in an empty corner to create a reading nook, or in the inside of the “L” of our sectional couch for cozy movie nights.
Thank you so much to the Rosas for opening their home to us for this At Home feature! The gorgeous photos in this post were provided by Kristen James. You can keep up with the Rosa family’s adventures on Instagram.