Christy Baker



Photo: Marcy Drewes

The not-quite empty nest: Coping with being the last sibling at home

The Nissleys’ family room is brightly decorated with long strands of paper leaves and several cheerful, cut-out owls. Maria Nissley, 19, recently celebrated her high-school graduation and the décor is in her honor. Her youngest sibling, Anna, 16, helped make the whimsical garlands and critters and has decided, informally, to leave them up for awhile […]

Photo: Marcy Drewes

Off the shelf: Encouraging imagination in a preschooler’s home

Drawings of ponies and dragons frolic across the glass of the large picture window that faces the front of 4-year-old Makenzie Lee’s home. The word pony is written in red washable glass marker. The Fontaine-area duplex is tidy and decorated with brightly colored accents, Makenzie’s mom Chelsea’s sea-creature themed paintings and, now, Kenzie’s window drawings. […]

June ABODE: Your Kids

June ABODE: Your Kids

Tucker Comer, 2, is learning all about the wide world of nature in his parents’ Gordonsville backyard. (Photo by Marcy May Photography) Challenge: Integrating a toddler into the garden By Elexis Comer’s estimation, her family’s garden plot is over 3,000 square feet. She has pictures of her husband, Jamie, preparing the bed in early spring […]

May ABODE: Your Kids

May ABODE: Your Kids

Karina Hange’s bedroom functions as a sanctuary, a place where she can relax, get work done and ultimately, be herself by herself. “[My brothers] aren’t really allowed to come into my room. Ever.” (Photo by Cramer Photo) Karina Hange (15) just got her learner’s permit and her younger brothers (Kristopher, 12 and Lukas, 8) are […]

April ABODE: Growing room

April ABODE: Growing room

  (Photo by Cramer Photo) According to 10-year-old Jake Bowling, his dad, Jim, is pretty into the family’s backyard basketball court. “He loves it. He gets out there a lot and shoots hoops.” And dad isn’t the only one. “We do other stuff,” says Jake. “We do [play] basketball, but we just basically play around […]

March ABODE: Growing room

March ABODE: Growing room

 It’s been three snotty, sore-throated weeks in the Baker household. After a lovely snowed-in weekend with family up in Philadelphia, we brought home some belated Christmas gifts and what we have been referring to as the Demon Cold from Hell. The sickness first hit me on the return drive to Charlottesville. My two sons, Pierce […]

December ABODE: Your Kids

December ABODE: Your Kids

GROWING ROOM How to be the cool uncle Challenge: Prepping an adults-only space for young visitors Mark Farmwald’s loft apartment acts as his bachelor pad, commercial photography and film studio, gallery of sorts, and office. Lighting equipment, rolls of paper and glossy prints populate the vast 1,400-square-foot space. The décor incorporates quintessential modern design (marble-top […]

December ABODE: Real Estate

December ABODE: Real Estate

GET REAL Location, location, education Having kids changes everything—including what’s important when you’re buying a house. Suddenly, a walk-in closet matters less than which school the neighborhood kids attend. According to Charlottesville-based Realtor Erin Garcia, of Loring Woodriff Real Estate Associates, school district is in the top five determining factors for families purchasing homes. When […]

Abode: Upside of a downsize

Abode: Upside of a downsize

Stacey Smith with Maia, age 7 and Hall, age 4. Photo by John Robinson. Upside of a downsize Challenge: Moving to a smaller home and embracing the change The sad state of our economy has forced many to downsize, adjust and rethink how they live. Stacey Smith of Charlottesville recently made the tough decision to take […]

September 2011: Your Kids

September 2011: Your Kids

Despite the massive construction site not 50 yards from their Fry’s Spring front porch, Rob and Adrienne Dent maintain a joyfully serene home. Just inside the front door, the family’s shoes are neatly tucked into old wooden post office mailboxes. Their children, Laurel (7) and Alden (6), drag out a painted vintage suitcase and happily […]

August 2011: Your kids

 The Gallaghers’ in-ground backyard pool shimmers in the summer afternoon light, offering a welcome respite from Charlottesville’s August heat. A child-proof, gated safety fence keeps Caitlin and Sean’s two young children, Amelia (4) and Brendan (2) from venturing into the water alone. Managing a safe environment in and around the family pool has been an […]

May 2011: Your Kids

May 2011: Your Kids

Problem: Deciding what stays and what goes Erin and Mike Garcia have lived, with their two children—Elias (4) and Charis (2)—in their 1950s Fry’s Spring home for a little over a year. Their relocation from Crozet was prompted by the desire to be closer to town and their offices (Erin is a local Realtor and […]

April 2011: Your Kids

April 2011: Your Kids

Problem: Making room for play, no matter what the weather Becky Scott and Andy Orban’s backyard stretches past several stately oak trees and down to a creek nearly a hundred yards behind their North Downtown home. Their children, Nathaniel and Carrie (3-and-a-half years and 22 months, respectively), are outside nearly every day, now that spring […]

January 2011: Your Kids

January 2011: Your Kids

 “We’re in a tower right now,” explains Sam Gorman, 15. Sam and his brother Max, 13, are showing me around what their mom, Susan, refers to as their “man cave.” High up in their Nelson County home, the room consists of video game paraphernalia, TV, computer and a funky green velvet couch propped up on […]

December 2010: Your kids

December 2010: Your kids

 Problem: Welcoming a baby into a small apartment From the northeastern window of the Sparling family’s fifth-floor Charlottesville apartment in the 90-year-old Altamont Circle building, you can see rooftops, steeples and the gray-blue edge of the mountains. The approximately 750-square-foot space is home to 7-month-old Arlie Pearl, her parents and two medium-sized dogs. What this […]