Family portrait: The Lehmanns
The founders of reCrib talk about family life in Tribeca.
Tue Aug 16 2011
Photograph: Ben Rosenzweig
When Michelle and Daniel Lehmann cleared out their basement storage unit earlier this year, they were overwhelmed by the amount of kids' stuff they had accumulated. And theirs wasn't just any kids' stuff. As self-confessed design junkies with two children, they had amassed piles of gorgeous gear they suspected other parents would want. That sparked the idea for reCrib (recrib.com), an online marketplace for buying and selling gently used, high-end children's equipment. The former owners of Clio, a design shop in Soho, the Lehmanns live in a three-bedroom loft in Tribeca with their son Jacob, 5, and their daughter Sophia, 3.
How would you describe your style?
ML We're definitely modernists. We like spaces that are white, open, clean and simple. Have you figured out how to live with kids in a way that feels clean and simple?
DL It's pretty amazing how quickly you acquire things and your space becomes cluttered and overrun with kids' stuff.
ML Our old apartment had baskets and buckets of toys all over the place. For our new place, we put a lot of thought into great storage solutions. We had white cabinets made that are almost hidden in the wall—the kids put all their toys in there.
DL After they go to bed, I go to work cleaning up the toys. If I notice that something hasn't been touched in a while, it goes on reCrib.
ML He loves to declutter.
Do you have a no-plastic rule in your home?
ML When we were registering for items before Jacob was born, I said I didn't want anything plastic, and my sister said, "You're going to say that now, but put an ExerSaucer on your list." She was right. That ExerSaucer gave us hours of peace and pleasure. So we're not rigid about everything.
What do your kids' rooms look like?
ML The walls are white, the floors are wood, and the furniture is wood and white lacquer. Both of the kids have art and pictures of their friends on the wall—it helps their personalities come through. When we moved into this apartment, we asked them what they wanted and my daughter said, "Pink pink pink!" When she was a baby, I was anti-pink, and now I kind of love it. And Jacob said he wanted Star Wars sheets, and I was like, Oh no! But I found Star Wars sheets at Pottery Barn Kids that are very cool.
DL You definitely know which is the boy's room and which is the girl's.
ML We did nothing to foster that, either! It just happened.
"The buyers at Lucky Wang (799 Broadway at 11th St; 212-353-2850, luckywang.com) have such great taste. They showcase lesser known designers and have clothes and accessories at all different price points. Sophia recently got a vintage-looking dress. Jacob likes the cool rock & roll T-shirts."
"Doodle Doos (11 Christopher St between Greenwich Ave and Waverly Pl; 212-627-3667, doodledoos.com) gives amazing haircuts. Kids choose the type of chair they want to sit in—car, boat, taxi. Our son cannot wait to go there. If he could skip lunch to get a haircut, he would do it every day."
"FreshDirect (866-511-1240, freshdirect.com) has a ton of variety and their new kids' meals are delicious. Our children get involved in picking out snacks for their lunches, and they like to be awake when FreshDirect comes so they can help put all the stuff away."
""Downtown Dance Factory" (291 Broadway between Duane and Reade Sts, fifth floor; 212-962-1800, downtowndancefactory.com) offers everything from ballet to hip-hop. They have an awesome recital at the end of the year where all the classes put on a performance."
"The new Pier 25 (Hudson River Park at North Moore St; hudsonriverpark.org) is right on the water. Plus, there's a great playground, mini golf course and skateboard park. We like watching the skateboarders do tricks."
LOCAL CITY THRILL
"The Shark speedboat (Pier 16, South Street Seaport; 212-809-0808, circlelinedowntown.com) is one of the most fun things to do with kids. It goes all around Lower Manhattan and you can get soaked with water depending on where you sit. Jacob and Sophia like that!"
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