Boston,  Joe & Rachael Projects,  Kid's Boston,  Life Story,  Life with Two

apartment tour

Emily just did the loveliest post about our apartment on Apartment Therapy. There’s nothing quite like seeing your space through someone else’s eyes—I just love it! Lux joyfully followed Emily and her husband Max around when they were here, and managed to get into about half the photos. : )

1_bedroom 5_kitchen

It’s a pertinent post for these days because it feels like everyone has been asking since I got pregnant: are you moving? We are not, or at least not for a year or two. The baby will be in our room for six months or so, and then might move into the closet like Joan did, and then into the girls’ room. Joan can move under the new bunk bed and baby can take over Joan’s crib. It feels so distant to remember our old place, when Lux was in our room for her first year and a half.

With even just a little bit of nesting that I’ve done, I’m already finding corners we can rework and make more livable and comfortable, and storage that can be done better.

The girls’ clothing storage, as seen below, is probably not going anywhere though and is in fact, accumulating with time!

3_bunk 2_underbunk

I’ve been wanting to post a photo of Lux’s bunk bed that she conveniently asked for for her 4th birthday. Joe found it on craigslist. It’s vintage IKEA and took him about four uninterrupted hours to put together…it’s so vintage that none of the screws were streamlined or matched at all.

Our main goal was to find a bunkbed design that let in as much light as possible–which was surprisingly hard to find. We’re so happy with this one. Joe made the romantic roof from the old detachable side of Lux’s crib! (Her IKEA sniglar crib bed, same model as Joan’s, had really taken a beating and had to be retired completely.)


Minor, but I’m very into the results that come from the magna-tiles and duplos being the only accessible toys outside of their room. They are constantly playing with them and building-chaos is one of the few types of chaos that makes my heart happy. If you decide to order magna-tiles, I recommend splurging for a lot, like the 100 piece set. We’re planning on ordering more soon, just to keep up with the range of structures they both like to build.


The pinboard wall has solved all our art storage needs. I love it so much. You can find some of the construction details on the apartment therapy post. At the time, it seemed crazy to me to splurge for custom-milled wood, but it was totally worth it because it’s so pretty and it’s the biggest thing in the room! (I was initially pinboard-inspired by this home tour on Cup of Jo.)

I find that as long as I clean off their art table every evening (and yes, ruthlessly throw away the ten sheets of paper they filled that day), it’s one of the first places they head to every morning.


I tried not to fuss and perfect too much before Emily came over to photograph–I hope this comes across as a realistic tour, with our “lived-in minimalism” as Joe sagely put it.

Anyway, head over to the post to see the whole thing! Thank you Emily!

all photos by Emily Billings for apartment therapy. 


  • Helen

    “Building-chaos is one of the few types of chaos that makes my heart happy,” is my favorite line. I love your home & your spirit (which is evident in how you make your home). xx

  • Kerrie Taylor

    Apartment Therapy so wonderfully embraces the reality of putting down roots in a rental space. I am always inspired by the lived-in-ness and good use of space! Yours is no exception – multipurpose and decluttering are a love language, for sure. I found myself thinking, how did you create that overhead lamp in the hallway? And is the plant on your kitchen ceiling English Ivy? Good stuff!

    • Rachael Ringenberg

      There’s a pendant light, further up in the hallway, that Joe made (that is not really in the photo). The light that is labeled as he made, he didn’t. It’s an oldie that came with the apartment. So there’s that! And the plant is a pothos, you can buy them anywhere. They purify your air and are extremely easy to care for, especially if you get good sunlight. We have ours in a large container so it is HUGE.

  • Susie

    I loved this tour! The kitchen is inviting – I think that’s my favorite part. I liked seeing all of your resources – helpful! Will you write about how you adjust with a third child in your space? I’d be interested to hear what adjustments you make. Thanks for sharing.

  • Liz

    I just finished looking at the tour and your style makes my minimalist heart flutter. It has a bit of coziness, structure, and a lived in feel. A family of four has “stuff” and it seems you have tucked it all away impeccably without comprising functionality as well as being realistic. Did any of that make sense? Ha! 🙂
    I’m also happy to see someone else with bare walls in their bedroom. lol.

    I may have to come to you for advice this time next year because it looks like my husbands job may take him to the Boston area in December 2016. We’re not 100% sure yet, but it’s looking that way.
    Apparently it is the worse time to try and move there, too, as rentals will be sparse.

    If we move there, we hope to buy a home one day but the home prices are steep! Anyway, I’ve been trying to get my (non minimalist) husband and three kids used to the idea that we may end up in a 2 bedroom 1 bath apartment for a couple of years…I think showing my husband your home tour might give him confidence that we can manage living in a smaller space too.

  • Caitlin Burch

    Your home is beautiful. We live in a 1250 square foot three-bed rental house in Seattle. Thankfully, it’s extremely well designed to maximize space. Our landlords almost didn’t rent it to us though because they thought it would be too small for a family of four! The funny thing is, we definitely see ourselves living here with four kids no problem. (And that is most likely the case, because it will take us another two kids or so to afford to buy a house here!)

  • Aubry Rose

    Loooove that pegboard! That Cup of Jo home tour has always been one of my favorites. I loved their pegboard also. And the way they smush so many little ones into one bedroom! Too cute.

  • Ashley Kramka

    I am so impressed for so many reasons. Your family has truly learned how to maximize the space, and your kids are trained and know nothing different! For both the limited square footage, old building charm, and it being a rental you did not compromise your style one bit. The things I noticed are you have no television and no shower; a shower is something I’m not sure I could live without. I love apartment therapy and your home tour did not disappoint!

  • April Kalix-Cattell

    Just lovely! We are in a similarly small space in Somerville so this post is very inspiring. I wanted to ask about the bed… Do you know the name? I found a FJELLDAL one on CL but it’s a full and we really only have room for a twin. I also like that the bed platform on Lux’s is lower. I’m wondering if it’s worth waiting to find the right thing or try to hack the FJELLDAL.

  • Crystal Rowe

    We are moving to Boston in just under a month from Atlanta and are trying to decide the best place to live, whether to rent/buy, house vs. apartment, square footage, and all that jazz. I LOVE this post (and the tour) for oh so many reasons. We really do love city living and I love to see someone doing so many of the things I love with my girls in a small space … in the city. Let’s please be friends IRL, mkay?

  • thefolia

    How lovingly your nest looks with the heavenly light! Sounds like party-all-night in the room with the IKEA bunk soon. Do read Back Labor No More by Janie McCoy King. “Her lift theory really does work,” says the mama of three, I just wished I believed in it with my first born. Happy Nesting!

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