My name is Nerissa. I'm a graphic designer living in the Vancouver, Canada area with my husband Peter and our 21-month-old daughter, Luna. We have a blog called The New Domestic where we document our adventures in Domestic Living 2.0. Recently we opened an online shop aptly called, The New Domestic Shop. The New Domestic is a homeware line designed for Domestic Living 2.0. Our products beautify your space, add joy to your life and accompany you through your domestic living adventures. Our first line of products are heavy weight recycled cotton canvas tote bags with screen printed graphic patterns. All bags have a diagonal pattern on the back for a fun two-in-one look and are big enough to carry all your daily needs.
What kind of house do you live in - are you and the kids happy here or is there anything you find lacking or would like to change?
We live in a little blue rancher situated in a seaside village. Our rancher has a very beach cottage look and feel to it, which fits in with the neighbourhood. Our aesthetic is an eclectic mix of modern, folk, exotic and creative. We like to have fun in our space and fill it with all things we love and inspire us daily. Everything about our home speaks of who we are. When you enter the house, the formal living room is flanked by two informal spaces – a playroom/studio and a media/reading room. The large kitchen/dining area overlooks the garden with a long communal type table in the middle where we've been able to fit 14 people! It's a great home to gather friends and family and the door is always open for anyone to come.
What is it you like best about living here?
We love it here and had chosen to create a home away from the city where the air is fresh, birds surrounds us in the summer months and the beach is just a couple blocks away. Living here feels like living on an Island without having to board a ferry. It's quiet, slow paced, stars fill the sky on clear summer nights and the smell of seaweed from the ocean fills the air. The streets are also filled with chalk drawings from the kids playing until the sun goes down, families mingle over a glass of wine in the streets and kid-run lemonade stands pop up from time to time. It's a beautiful place to nurture and grow together as a family.
Do you keep your children’s play areas very separate or do you believe they should have a space in every part of the house?
We have a studio/playroom with a large floor play area where Luna spends most of her time playing. It's a fun and inspiring room for both the little people and big people. It's become our activity room where we have a sewing corner, multipurpose table, cutting area, a large bookcase against the wall with our collection of books & magazines and a large wall where we hang our collection of found artwork or our own work. It's the kind of room that being messy is allowed - it just adds to the creative spirit of the space. Luna also has freedom to roam with toys to other rooms as she pleases. We don't child proof the house, per se. Although, as she gets older and more nimble we've started to put safety locks on cabinets. Other than moving obviously dangerous objects out of the way, we haven't changed the house much. Luna's going to learn where the boundaries are, one way or another.
Where do you look for interior inspiration, favorite magazines, websites, blogs?
There are a lot of great blogs out there that are so inspiring. Some of my favourites are Scout Holiday, Oh Joy, Le Dans La, Sandra Juto, Bloesem Kids, Bloesem Living, Fine Little Day, Style Files, Remodelista, Aesthetic Outburst, The Marion House Book, Cinq Mai to just name a few. I also look forward to receiving my quarterly subscription of Anthology Magazine. Speaking of Anthology Magazine - our home is featured in this third issue!
Who do you consider is a good example for your children?
I think actions speak more then words. So as long as Peter and I live a life full of love, passion for what we do, respect each other, continue to grow together as a family and be grateful for all that we have – I think that energy will lend itself towards creating a healthy & happy little girl. When my maternity leave ended and I needed to choose to either to go back to my full time design job or stay home – I chose to stay home. At this stage of Luna's life, we find it important for her to be close to me, her mother as she explores her world. It's these first few years of her life that creates a solid foundation of what a family is. And a family to us means spending good quality time together & for our Luna to know that home is a place where love & joy comes from. We want her memories of growing up to come from home and, as it happens, her first words were "mama” and “home".
What is your idea of a perfect day with your children?
A perfect day is really the simplest days we spend together as a family. Morning breakfast together, hanging out in the garden, walking or simply just watching Luna enjoying ice cream cones which is a new discovery for her. It's these simple days that we find so special. No need to rush anywhere. Time doesn't matter. Just us being together and living right in the moment are the loveliest days. One thing that Luna taught us is: A simple life is a beautiful life.
Can you mention some of your ‘how-to-raise-your-kid’ values?
Everyday has been learning and improving as a parent. We don't really have a simple answer for the perfect way to raise a kid but we do believe that it is important for us to live our values – simple values like generosity, responsibility, respect for others, thoughtfulness, fun & creativity – will shape her way of living her life.
Any tips for keeping the house clean when crafting?
Since we have a separate studio/playroom, we can just shut the door after a day filled with all sorts of crafting. It's so great! Before we moved into this house, we were living in a 690 sq. ft. condo where the kitchen was my sewing/crafting place and when dinner time came around, it was impossible to find any space to prepare dinner with all my stuff scattered around. So it's definitely a treat to now have a specific activity room where we can all make as much mess as we want. Lately, our studio room has been used to organizing The New Domestic totes and experimenting with new products we are launching in the Fall.
Are you a crafter or DIY person?
I'm both a crafter and DIY person. I'm always finding myself making things whether it's sewing a new throw pillow, designing Luna's birthday card, packaging chillies from the garden to give to friends or designing Luna's books. I always find myself designing, creating or playing - it's so much part of my life. I wake up every morning with these words to live by: Inspire and be inspired.
How do you like to celebrate birthdays and other special days in your house?
For Luna's first birthday party, we hung balloons on the ceiling of each room in the house which created a sculptural ceiling scape. It's so fun and festive and we left them up for another month or so until they all started deflating on their own. Our house has also become a gathering space for friends and family. With our long dining table, it's really a great space for many, many festive nights of birthday celebrations or simply gathering with friends for a nice feast. It's all those memories that makes a home a home.
What are your all time favorite books for children?
Luna has a pile of favourite books and some of her favourites are: Curious George, a collection of Charley Harper books and Paola Opal's books. But any books read to her makes her happy.
Are you a ‘cook’ or ‘food lover’ or both?
My husband and I are both a cook and food lover. I also love to bake and find myself always trying different recipes which we end up giving away to friends and family as it's just too much sugar to devour. But I love the smell of fresh bread, cakes and cookies in the house. Recently, I discovered the joy of making homemade pasta. I usually make them in batches and freeze them so whenever we feel like having homemade pasta, all we need to do is take them out of the freezer and throw it in a pot of boiling water. Easy! Peter loves experimenting with ingredients and flavors as well and they all turn out so good. But unfortunately, he only makes things once because, without a recipe, he can never remember how to make the same thing again. So I've learned to enjoy every freestyle dish he makes as I know it'll be my last time eating it!
Looks delicious Nerissa, thank you for sharing your story with us!