Ana & Her Home
When decorating a home, it’s fairly simple to use things like magazine inspiration images, online shop guides and Pinterest to get the look. But one thing that’s nearly impossible to replicate is old-world character. Soaring ceilings, chunky window and door moulding and even distressed wood floors are elements of interior design that only some are lucky enough to have from the get-go. And blogger, Ana Fritsch, is one lucky gal!
We had the pleasure of catching up with the founder of Lucky Penny earlier this month, and fell hard for her charming Brooklyn abode. Between the exposed brick walls, quaint painted radiators and built-ins, the Fritsch’s family home is filled top to bottom with the type of swoon-worthy style that trendy home purchases just can’t replicate.
Scroll on for the full tour of Ana’s laid-back metropolitan apartment, and to learn how this mom of two manages her time as a parent, homemaker and business owner.
What’s your decorating philosophy? How has it evolved over the years?
I don’t have one philosophy per se, I just buy things that I like. I’d love to buy less and more “forever” pieces, but when we are constantly moving in the city, it’s hard to do that. I do believe that if you buy what you love, whether it’s cheap or expensive, you’re going to love it forever and find a way to make it work in your home. I want my home to feel like a family lives here. If it’s messy and buttons are missing from the sofa, it’s just the sign of a happy memory where we were all playing and using our space. There will be a time in my life when I’ll have white linen everything, it’s just not now.
How do you keep “kid stuff” separated from your adult pieces? Or is there, in fact, no separation?
This is a tricky one, especially because we have such a small space. Our house is just under 800 square feet and the girls’ room is only 80 square feet, so they don’t have a lot of options for storage in their bedroom. We use the built-in cabinets in the living room to store a lot of their toys. One holds books, one holds puzzles and board games and the other holds their blocks and small toys like Calico Critters, Shopkins, etc. The trick for me has been to limit their toys. I find they don’t need that many to be happy. So if they want a new toy, they have to pick a toy to put out on the stoop. The stoop may be the best part of city life. We find a lot of toys walking home from school that are left out on stoops and we leave toys out that find new homes quickly. I love that it’s recycling and better for the environment rather than throwing old ones away, and we get the benefit of new toys without spending the money!
The gallery wall in your living room is amazing! Can you tell us about the art you chose to display in the space?
I have the absolute hardest time choosing art! I know I like something when I see it all put together but just couldn’t find 10 pieces that I love in a cohesive theme, so when I discovered Minted’s Art Styling Services, I was so relieved. I filled out a short questionnaire and my stylist, Claire, really pulled it all together just how I envisioned in my head. I love that there was a mix of styles that made it appear as though it was pieces I acquired after some time.
Whether we are just having a picnic in Prospect Park, staying out past bedtime to chase fireflies at the playground or sharing cheese fries from Shake Shack, being out in the city and experiencing the energy and diversity of New York City is incredible.
Most effective small-space decorating solution: go!
I think mixing patterns can really make your space feel bigger than it is. I tend to go crazy with color and pattern—especially with rugs, pillows and other pieces low to the ground—and then keep my walls white and neutral to make the ceiling appear higher.
What are your favorite children’s books of all time?
This is a tough one! We have more books than anything else and love reading to the girls. Especially now that they are a little older, bedtime stories have become so much more fun! Edith has been reading all of the Roald Dahl books. James and the Giant Peach was her favorite so far and we are finishing up Matilda pretty soon. I want to take her to the Broadway show when we finish! Lilah still is too young for chapter books, but her favorites that I really enjoy too are Poppy Pickle, We’re All Wonders, They All Saw A Cat and Explorers of the Wild.
Tell us about your parenting style.
Parenting for me is all about supporting and teaching them to be kind and compassionate individuals. When they have a hard time sharing or fight with each other, I always ask them, “What is the kind thing to do in this situation?” I want to teach them to be responsible, make their own choices and live with the consequences. They have chores. They each have to get themselves dressed, make their beds, put away their toys before bedtime and pick up their laundry and put it away. But they also get to just be kids. We go to the playground every day—rain, snow or sunshine. We have dance parties after dinner and try to be as silly as possible. I’m also very “go with the flow.” We have a routine, but if it’s an especially nice night out, we don’t rush home for bedtime. We also travel a lot, so having that flexibility in their schedule is important to us.
Favorite motherhood moment?
There are so many, but most recently this past Mother’s Day was especially great. Edith is five now, so she understands the premise of Mother’s Day, and she spent the entire day trying to make me feel special and loved. She drew a card with hearts around me to show me that I was “surrounded by her love.” It was definitely one of those tears-in-my-eyes, proud mama moments.
What advice would you offer to expecting mothers?
There’s a lot of fear-based thinking that can really suck you in if you let it, but I’ve learned that I’m happiest just letting it be. I don’t worry if they aren’t eating enough vegetables today—we’ll try again tomorrow. I don’t worry if they aren’t sleeping tonight because I know they will eventually. Just be present in the moment and enjoy each stage, because it all is just a phase and soon you’ll be over this problem and on to the next.
I want my home to feel like a family lives here. If it’s messy and buttons are missing from the sofa, it’s just the sign of a happy memory where we were all playing and using our space. There will be a time in my life when I’ll have white linen everything, it’s just not now.
Is there any one interior design trend that you wish would just die already? On the opposite end of the spectrum, what’s your favorite design trend?
Maybe everyone is going to hate me for this, but I can’t stand the white Moroccan shag rugs. I know, they’re so soft and go with everything, but now everyone has one and I’ve just seen it in every room. On the other hand, I do love that style just in other colors. I have two vintage ones in my house and love that they have wear and tear and a story to them.
What do you love to do together as a family?
Any day spent exploring the city is a good day. Whether we are just having a picnic in Prospect Park, staying out past bedtime to chase fireflies at the playground or sharing cheese fries from Shake Shack, being out in the city and experiencing the energy and diversity of New York City is incredible.
Describe an outfit that you reach for over and over again.
I wear these jeans and some version of this top pretty much every day when the weather is nice. I can’t do low-rise jeans since having kids, so I’m totally comfortable in “mom jeans.” I’d also live in Ulla Johnson every day if I could. Her pieces are great for hanging with the kids or going to a fun event in the city. I wear a lot of sneakers because I walk so much, but Loeffler Randall is my go-to for pretty sandals and flats that are comfortable and beautiful. I get a ton of compliments anytime I wear these.
Tell us about your adult friendships. How have you managed to prioritize these relationships in adulthood?
Right now, I have such a great group of friends. There are so many amazing and creative women in my neighborhood that I’m constantly inspired by what they are doing, and we always find ways to help each other or collaborate and share information. I also think it helps that my kids are a little older now and I’m able to have more independence and freedom when it comes to my schedule. I do sushi dates with my girlfriends or meet up with with the kids at the playground and talk while the kids play or all go to the new exhibit at the Whitney Museum of American Art. I’ve learned the hard way that putting myself and my individual friendships last doesn’t help anyone.
What are your top three at-home organization tips?
- You can never have enough bins.
- Less is more.
- Get creative with your space. Every wall and surface is an opportunity to store something. Build into your closet and hallways. Create shelving or cabinets where there weren’t enough. My husband just bought these for our kitchen cabinets and it’s been a total life-changer.
There’s a lot of fear-based thinking that can really suck you in if you let it, but I’ve learned that I’m happiest just letting it be.
Which room in your home sees the most use, and why?
The kitchen! We really make an effort to eat healthy, so that means I have to cook at home. I prep a lot of snacks for the school week on Sunday and I send leftovers for the girls’ lunch every day. We have an open floor plan to the living room so while I cook, we play music and the girls run around and dance. It’s a teeny tiny kitchen, but we make it work.
What’s next for you?
Well, I just started a new job as content director for a friend’s project and I love it. It totally ignites my creativity to have another outlet outside of my blog and my home. I’m also working on a new YouTube channel. It’s going to be mostly our travel vlogs because I get a lot of questions about how I travel by myself with the girls and I love sharing our adventures with my readers.