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The Vershey residence is customized for raising children

This family space is easily shared by Nicole, Kade, Grant and Gabriel. Toy bins keep the toys contained, a baby crib with cupboard doors doubles as storage and by having the couch pulled away from the wall, toys can be kept out of sight. – Brandi Hagen/Albert Lea Tribune

This family space is easily shared by Nicole, Kade, Grant and Gabriel. Toy bins keep the toys contained, a baby crib with cupboard doors doubles as storage and by having the couch pulled away from the wall, toys can be kept out of sight. – Brandi Hagen/Albert Lea Tribune

Nicole Vershey sits on the couch watching her children, Grant, 5, and Gabrielle, 4, play with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. When the kids aren’t playing, the toys are stored in bins just out of sight.

Nicole and her husband, Kade, have been living in their rural home for four years.

The family fell in love with the open layout and the view. Situated on what once was a bison farm, the home overlooks Grass Butte Lake, two miles southeast of Twin Lakes. Kade is the general sales manager at Dave Syverson Auto Center in Albert Lea.

Stay-at-home mom Nicole has decorated the home to appeal to the eye, as well as to the interests of her children.

“It is about embracing the space you have and finding ways to get your children involved,” Nicole said. “Any way that they can help is great.”

They enjoy their family-friendly home. Nicole shared some of her decorating secrets and tricks to staying organized.

Entryway

The home has a bench for when the kids are putting on shoes and jackets. Extra space under the bench helps hide shoes or winter gear.

The closet is arranged with a rack within reach of her children. Nicole said this way her children can hang their own jackets. The closet is also equipped with baskets for mittens, hats and scarves.

Mud room

The mud room, off to the side of the entryway, has racks above the washer and dryer to hang snow jackets and snowpants. In the summer, the Vershey family uses the area to let life jackets dry after a day at the lake.

Living room

The living room is big and open, perfect for playing. Bins are hidden beside the fireplace so the toys are kept neat. All furniture is pushed to the walls to give the kids more space. Nicole said bins are her secret to staying organized.

A cabinet holds children’s board games on the bottom shelf, perfect for an after-school game of Candy Land. A big sectional sofa has plenty of room for the family to cuddle up and watch movies or cartoons.

Kitchen

The living room opens up to the large kitchen. The kitchen is Kade’s favorite place, said Nicole. He enjoys cooking and working with food.

The pantry has a child-level shelf so Grant and Gabrielle can pick out their own snacks. Nicole likes to keep them involved in day-to-day tasks.

Sun room

The sun room is Nicole’s favorite place in the home. The room sits just off the kitchen and has beautiful windows that let in natural light.

Each room of the house has a designated “kid zone,” said Nicole. The sun room has a corner with quiet toys, such as Legos and a drawing book, for Grant and Gabrielle to play while Nicole relaxes with a book.

Basement

The basement was unfinished when the family moved in. Nicole decided to skip the cost of finishing the basement and make it into the children’s play area. The basement and the children’s rooms were the first to get decorated when the family moved in.

“I wanted to make sure they felt at home and had their own space,” Nicole said.

The basement is paradise for the children and their friends. After school, Grant and Gabrielle dash downstairs with their friends. Large, colorful foam squares cover the floor. The children’s art is displayed prominently on a wall next to an art table. A mini-trampoline sits on the opposite side of the room. And toys are everywhere.

 

Children’s rooms

Grant and Gabrielle’s rooms are in  the basement.

Grant couldn’t decide whether he wanted a dinosaur or sports theme, so the family did both.

The deep blue walls are decorated with sports memorabilia, including a puck from a Minnesota Wild game.

Grant participates in basketball, hockey and football.

Gabrielle’s room is fit for a princess. She is girly, but keeps up with her brother and has similar toys. Gabrielle participates in dance and tumbling at school. Her purple walls are painted with a mural of butterflies, a project Nicole did herself.

“I just used chalk and drew freehand,” Nicole said. She got the idea from a friend who saw an artist do a mural. Leftover paint was used. “I said to myself, ‘Now why can’t I do it?’” she said.

Nicole also painted a mural in the downstairs bathroom. She affixed hooks to the tree branches to create a towel-tree.

Decoration inspirations

Nicole uses Pinterest to search for decorating ideas. She shops at HomeGoods for storage containers for cheap. She also prioritizes fun and comfort over stiff furniture and fancy breakables.

She describes her style as minimalistic and traditional. Still, she isn’t afraid to take a cue from their children.

“This is their home, and I want them to be comfortable,” Nicole said.

The Versheys hope to stay in their home for a while, with plans to update as Grant and Gabrielle grow up.