Crazy. Wonderful. Crowded.  

That’s how Jim Lin describes the experience of blending families with his partner, Shannon, and their five kids. The Concord, California, family came together five years ago and had to get creative about how they share the limited space in their home. 

So when they were asked what their ultimate home experience would look like, they dreamed up an idea to extend the family fun — outside. After all, the kids already share bedrooms, eat dinner in shifts because they can’t all fit at the table, and share their home with three dogs, two guinea pigs, a lizard and a dozen fish. 

“By default, our yard is where we can create a space where we can ‘Maximum Fam' our life,” Jim says. 

What did the family’s maximum experience look like? An Art Barn to concoct slime and nail polish, where messy creativity isn’t just welcomed — it’s encouraged. A Bark Park for their furry family members to play, run and burn off energy in a safe space. The Pit, an outdoor grilling and dining area with seating for 10 that spills into a S’Mores Corner, complete with a fire pit and all the fixings. 

And with that, LinWorld was born. 

LinWorld sign in backyard
“This space is all about ‘anything goes.’” Brian MacStay Photography

Obviously, we at Northwestern Mutual couldn’t pass up helping this family make their ultimate home experience a reality. We called in crews to help extend the Lin family's living space into the backyard — a space where anything goes and everyone is welcome. 

“I think people, because they’re so busy these days, they think about life as, “What am I checking off my list?” Jim says. “They forget about the fact that you do all of this so you can have quality time with the people you love.” 

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