Photography by Hali Mason

Published on November 18, 2020

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Seating: Woud.

Product stylist Hali Mason is a committed minimalist who feels most at peace amid order. “A pared-back home declutters the mind,” she says of her pattern-free and color-light approach to decorating. When she and her husband, Laurence, a sign language interpreter, welcomed their first child in August, though, Mason feared her days of living among curated, understated decor were over. “I imagined our house would have to be filled with mountains of bright, primary-colored plastic toys,” she recalls with a shudder.

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Lighting by Flos Lighting: Lightology.

Much to her own surprise, Mason has since found a work-around. The key? Compromise—with some hardworking storage mixed in. Below, we peek inside the couple’s home in the Manchester, U.K., suburb of Didsbury to see just how Mason made way for her son, Sufyan, without totally letting go of her signature streamlined style.

Seek Out Sustainable Options

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Crib: Snuz; Storage Boxes: Moebe.

Mason practices minimalism in part to decrease her carbon footprint. With that in mind, she nabbed a convertible crib from Snüz that will evolve along with Sufyan. His Moebe bins are also eco-friendly. Not only are they made from recyclable materials, but the brand offers replacement parts to extend each box’s life. Mason already has a plan on how to make the most of her less earth-friendly purchases, too (a play mat, bouncer, etc.): “I will be sending them to my family in East Africa. It will be delightful to see other people enjoying Sufyan’s things.”

Integrate Storage Into Unlikely Places

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Coffee Table by Woud: Finnish Design Shop.
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Circular Shelf: Aska Design Studio; Dresser: IKEA; Storage Basket: Maison Bengal.

Unassuming hideaways have been, she says, a “lifesaver” for the minimalist, who isn’t a fan of bulkier pieces. “I would reduce the amount of things I had rather than procure storage to fill,” she explains, “but nobody tells you how much gear a baby comes with!” Mason keeps Sufyan’s 70-square-foot nursery tidy by storing his things throughout the house—living room included. Her new coffee table by Woud, for example, features a dynamic hidden compartment. “People walk in and see a beautiful table. Little do they know, it’s full of baby stuff,” Mason notes with a wink. Nearby, shelving by Moebe hides a colorful play mat that doesn’t vibe with the room’s camel and tan scheme. And in a bid for more storage in her own bedroom, she used a vintage folding screen to turn an odd nook into a functional closet. 

Don’t Despair: Essentials Need Not Be Eyesores

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Wipe Cover: Liewood.
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Diaper Pail by Vital Baby: Amazon.

The nursery’s structurally modest yet hardworking IKEA Bestå sideboard—which was purchased secondhand—keeps so many of Sufyan’s toys and outfits out of sight that Mason has learned to live with an exposed diaper pail and wipe container. Surprising no one, the new mom still tracked down the most attractive alternatives out there, from brands like Liewood and Vital Baby. “The pail is inoffensive, but I would love it if someone could combine odor-trap technology with a stylish design,” Mason laments. To create a makeshift changing station, she added a basket by Olli Ella

Tiptoe Outside Your Comfort Zone

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Wall Decals by Eudajmonia: Etsy; Changing Basket: Olli Ella.
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Painting: Alison McBride

That Mason prefers baby toys and supplies in solids and neutrals is a given. To promote Sufyan’s cognitive development, however, Mom had to bend her rules a bit. In the nursery a painterly wall decal featuring three-dimensional clouds and a windswept tree echoes the room’s view of the back garden. In the living room, a vivid geometric painting by Sufyan’s grandmother Alison McBride also catches the kiddo’s eye. “He loves to inspect every shape and color,” Mason says, adding that she can tell Sufyan’s mind is stimulated when he gazes at it.

Stay One Step Ahead

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At 5 months old, Sufyan will be crawling (and walking) in no time, and ever-thoughtful Mason has already started preparing for the change. Her trick? Museum putty, which she’ll be sticking under all her more delicate pieces to keep them from being overturned as her son totters around.

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Seating and Coffee Table: Woud; Lighting and Side Table: Fredericia

Combined, these subtle enhancements have given the stylist’s sleek house a more carefree and colorful slant. Mason’s definition of home, on the other hand, remains quite intact: “Wherever my husband, Sufyan, and I are.” Spoken like a true mom.

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