Natalie Morales Makes Her House a Family Home

10/27/2011 at 03:00 PM ET

Three years ago, Natalie Morales found herself in the midst of complete chaos.

Not only was the Today show anchor on the verge of welcoming her second child with husband Joe Rhodes, but the couple were also rushing to wrap up the complete remodeling of their Hoboken, N.J. home.

“We gutted everything … walls, bathroom, everything is different. It was beautiful before, but dark and heavy and traditional,” Morales, 39, tells PEOPLE of the family’s brownstone.

“This was my other baby. We were on a deadline. I was all hormonal and upset. [Everyone] had to get out of here before Sept. 5 — I would not have a newborn in an [unfinished] house.”

Fortunately, the deadline was met — Luke Hudson was born only four days later — and the family of four, including elder son Josh, 7, have been enjoying their renovated home ever since.

Brian Doben

“I had to buy all new furniture. My style before was antique, [but] since this house is old and historical, I wanted to mix modern and the old things,” Morales shares.

However, most important to the mother-of-two, was keeping everything child-friendly — and kid-proof!

“No white couches! No way. All my couches are specially treated so things bead off,” she reveals. “It was important to me that everything is really usable [and] nothing that I would care if it gets battered. When you have young boys, you can’t expect to have nice furniture.”

But while the house is catered to the kids, the family tends to find themselves spending their time together in one room: the kitchen. “The kitchen is the favorite room, by far. It’s the heart of the home,” says Morales.

And, for the news anchor, it was also a space she knew all too well, even long before it was built.

“I brought my architect to the Today show kitchen and said, ‘I want this in my house!'” she explains of the matching faucets, backsplash and hardware. “I love the kitchen there so much, I was like, ‘I want that.'”

Brian Doben

From the mounted television to the bright, open space, the boys love everything about the kitchen — that is, until it comes time to eat.

“It’s tough because my kids are so finicky and all they like are white foods,” Morales admits. “Vegetables they give me the hardest time with, [but] I got it down to carrots, cucumbers and crunchy lettuces.”

And when all else fails, Morales has no qualms about hiding the healthy ingredients!

“It’s what you attempt to feed them and how many times you give it to them. I give them peas, they pick them out,” she says. “But I do like whole wheat banana bread with protein powder in it. I believe in tricking them into eating things. It won’t hurt them as long as it’s healthy.”

The brotherly bond between Josh and Luke extends far beyond the dinner table, much to Morales’ delight.

“[Josh] is such a protective older brother. I thought with the five-year age difference, they wouldn’t be this close,” she shares. “It’s a good difference, there’s no competitiveness. When they get to high school, they’ll be far away. I didn’t plan that, but I got lucky.”

— Anya Leon and Charlotte Triggs

FILED UNDER: Exclusive , Kids , News , Parenting

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Showing 33 comments

cannat on

Oh my gosh, guys! I was wearing that same dress last week when I made pancakes!

Seriously though, I’d like to see more of the house.

Reese on

Beautiful mother and sons!

stacey mc on

LOL, Cannat, funny, I got dressed up too to make pancakes!

chef on

cannat — your comment made me laugh out loud!!! Thanks for brightening my morning!

Marissa on

Her boys are SO cute. And nice kitchen!

We spent the extra money on couch protection too, and although I cringed at the price at the time, let me tell you ladies it was SO WORTH IT. Definitely recommend.

Maggie on

Cannat! U seriously just made my day! lol I was thinking the same thing. And when I lounge around I tend to wear cocktail attire as well! lol. But in all seriousness, this is a beautiful family!

Emry on

They really need to come up with new ideas for family pictures in celebrity homes, they always do pictures of the woman cooking in the kitchen with their children, its getting old and boring.


Love Natalie on The Today Show and her boys are cute too.

We got Scotch Guard for our furniture and it wasn’t that expensive at all. It was so well worth it, as spills just wipe right off and there is no stain left at all.

marcie on

umm, girl when i made pancakes the other day- i looked like your old furniture…

Liz on

Must be nice to have the money to just gut your living quarters and just buy all new furniture and not care if it gets battered or not. She sounds very spoiled and materialistic to me whining about how she doesn’t have anything nice. She should see the furniture I have in my place. Not pretty at all but some of us live on a fixed income and cannot afford anything nice or new. I wish I had money to just throw away like she does. She’s a biotch!

Edie on

This is TRUELY amazing! I have that same dress and also cook in it all the time…however, I’m Italian so I tend to make my spaghetti sauce while wearing it! Funny, funny comment, Cannat!!!

Natalie and the kids are darling…all kidding aside! I’d bet she doesn’t wear anything close to that when she’s REALLY cooking in the kitchen.

And good for her success! She deserves it and all that goes with it. (Jealousy is an ugly trait)…

Blessings and have a good day, everyone!

cristinamaria on

Aww, yo amo Natalie Morales! I’m half puerto rican, half brasilian just like her 🙂

danrik on

Liz, you sound like a very unhappy and bitter person. Natalie comes across to me as a very down to earth and likeable person on the Today show. Jealously and envy are ugly traits. She works for her money – why can’t she spend it as she wishes?

VP on

Seriously, what’s with the “must be nice” comments already? My husband and I make nowhere near as much as this woman does, but making our house a home is important to us so we’ve set aside what we can each month and eventually we will make that dream a reality. Stop whining and work hard to reach your goals.

Gigi on

Beautiful family, but really…how many moms dress like that at home??

Inga on

I always wear a cocktail dress to make pancakes – spicing up the kitchen.

Marissa on

Well obviously she’s not going to wear typical mom yoga pants or jeans for a nice photoshoot for a magazine, come on ladies.

Beth on

The entire thing was for a magazine shoot. They do it all the time. I don’t think she would like to be in her PJ’s making breakfast and have that in the magazine…it’s only for looks folks, geez! Her kids look adorable and I love the kitchen! She seems like one of the few celebs ( I guess you’d call her a celeb?) that is down to earth.

DeDe on

Where’s the pearls, the apron personally I wear cheery colours for my morning attire…other than the beautiful happy family, love the kitchen

Aida on

June Cleaver used to dress that way all the time!

Kerry on

Beautiful family and hard-working, successful woman. Jealous people need to get over their rotten comments. The reason Natalie can afford to renovate her home to her wants is because she WORKED for it. She didn’t get in People Magazine by sitting on her butt.

Liz-get over yourself and your “fixed” income-“fix” it to a higher income if you have the gumption and the work ethic…Gigi-if you want to see real women cooking in normal attire read Better Homes and’re reading People..what do you expect to see?

sandy on

I think it is great that Natalie has a nice family and a beautiful home. She has worked hard to get to the position she is in on the Today Show. She started at the bottom. Now look where she is! She has hosted Miss America and done a great job. She seems to be very down to earth.

Just because someone else doesn’t have what she has is not any reason to put her and her family down for having nice things. If I had it my way… Everyone in the WORLD would be healthy, own a home, have plenty to eat, a great job and be happy. I say… you go girl… congrats on all your accomplishments and your sweet disposition!!!

LLB on

Cannat – great comment! I can only imagine what she wears to clean her toilets. . and with two boys, I’m sure it’s not pretty!

BL on


Lia on

Liz, as long as she’s paying for it herself, it doesn’t matter. You should curb your green-eyed monster.

sheila on

Hey Liz If you were to wear a dress while making pancakes I would have to assume it would be green as in envy.Just because you might not have all the things in life you may want, you shouldn’t wish everyone else to be in the same boat. Natalie is well educated and has worked hard for what she has. I can only imagine what time she has to get up for work everyday and still take care of her family. Suck it up and just be happy for her.

sheila on

Liz, you should be ashamed of yourself. Just because you don’t have all the worldly goods that she does you shouldn’t wish her ill will. She has worked hard all her life for what she has. She gets up at 4:00 in the morning to go for a run, then she goes to work for the day. What time do you get up Liz. You truly sound like a bitter jealous and shallow person. on

Cannat said: “Oh my gosh, guys! I was wearing that same dress last week when I made pancakes!

Seriously though, I’d like to see more of the house.”

I say: “EXACTLY!!!” I seriously did not even get dressed until lunch, and that was to go to a kid’s soccer game!

stacey on

cute boys. Though her older son looks much older than 7.

RealityCheck on

WOW, all of you who are jumping all over Liz for her comments, should really take a reality check- you are all over her for making what you perceive to be negative comments (still a free country and ppl. can still express whatever opinion(s) they have- pos./neg.)but yet find nothing wrong with slating and making mean and unkind comments to her? You are all hypocrites. Liz was stating her opinion on this story and has every much a right to her opinion as all of you do who are ooing and ahhing over this woman and her renovated home. You don’t know Liz’s circumstances, how dare you all make such mean-spirited comments towards her.

Anonymous on

Egg Whites in the carton still make great omletes

Danny on

I think people spend waaaaaay to much time caring about other people’s lives who they don’t even know. I really don’t understand people’s need to give their two-cents on things that have zero impact on their own life. It doesn’t matter what the article is about, there will be a gajillion comments. Why don’t people spend more time bettering their own lives rather than leaving some stupid comment about someone or something they know nothing about. Are people really that bored??? And you really can’t resist commenting on this crap at least keep it positive. The anonymity of the Internet tends to bring out the worst in people.

Isabella on

“When you have young boys, you can’t expect to have nice furniture” – what a load of crap! Maybe she should teach her kids to respect property.