On today’s special episode of Design Time, three of our Team Domino parents—editor-in-chief Jessica Romm Perez (mom to Emilia, 10, Nico, 7, and Theo, 2), executive creative director Kate Berry (Quinn, 7), and Kids editorial director Alex Redgrave (Misha, 2)—sit down to discuss the myriad ways 2020 has affected them, their families, and their spaces. The theme of our first-ever Kids issue (dreamed up pre-pandemic) couldn’t be more relevant: Kids rule the house. Take a sneak peek at some of their revelations, below, and listen to the full episode on Spotify and Apple Podcasts.
How did you adapt at home when you began quarantining?
Alex Redgrave: Our current home [with my parents in Canada] isn’t really fit for a toddler, but I realized I didn’t need to add things as much as just recognize how kids function in the space. We didn’t bring our crib, obviously, so Misha just transitioned out of that very quickly. Our bedroom has become the calm area. In the kitchen we’ve made more of a little play zone for him. It was definitely interesting, because we couldn’t make any big updates, but I think it’s good to see how much kids can adapt, you know?
Kate Berry: My apartment is tiny. Like, very, very tiny. Now more than ever, it’s about really making Quinn’s room a school and play zone. We organized specific school drawers so she knows where to access all of her writing and math folders. When it got warm out, we focused on transforming our outdoor space, too. Quinn would set up little forts outside by moving chairs and benches around the trees and putting sheets up, which was so magical and cool. I also got these really cute Muuto hooks and felt bins to serve as our COVID station, where we hang our masks and sanitizing supplies and leave our shoes.
Jessica Romm Perez: With all the moving I’ve done since quarantine began, my one saving grace is a go bag. There are certain staples I know we always need, like art supplies. Wherever we go, I make sure we have a good station of organized markers, paper, and canvases. The whole family enjoys it. [My husband] Tony having his guitar has also been a total lifesaver. We have this portable keyboard that we’ve brought around with us, too, because the kids are taking piano lessons. It’s about figuring out what their passion points are. We’ve also played a ton of cards. We’ve gotten so into this game called Dutch Blitz.
How have you carved out time for yourself since having the kids at home 24-7?
Kate: Waking up early and taking time to water my plants or have some quiet time in the garden. It’s important to carve out that time. It’s a self-preservation thing.
Jessica: My kids can sleep through anything, so we don’t worry about playing music too loud or keeping quiet. When the candles are going and the music is on, I can collect my thoughts. There’s a certain point in the night where I’m like, “I’m done servicing everyone. I’m off duty.” We all need to mentally unwind at the end of the day, or wake up early and get our fresh air, whatever works. But it needs to be time that’s just about you, not the needs of everyone else.
Alex: Finding time for myself has been tough, because my family is all living together. It’s me, my husband, my 2-year-old, my mom, my stepdad, and my brother. It’s a packed house. But in a funny way, I’ve actually learned to embrace the community side of things. Normally I need my alone time in New York. But adapting to the village mentality has actually been really special. I’ve grown to appreciate what community living is.
What do you hope to focus on in 2021?
Jessica: I’d like to continue to redefine adventure as something slightly simpler. I think that’s been a really great part of this year. I hope we don’t lose that. I don’t think we’ll totally go back to the same super-fast pace we used to have. I think this readjustment will be a longer-lasting recalibration.
Kate: At the beginning of the pandemic, Quinn said, “I really want a house where we can put a tree into the ground,” and I was like, is my 7-year-old asking me to put roots down somewhere?! She wants a house with a tree that she could plant into the ground; somewhere she can do cartwheels. So for the first time in my life, I’m thinking: Okay, I want to work toward that. I guess I’m a late bloomer, but I finally figured out that this is what I want. I don’t have any regrets on how I’ve lived my life, because I’ve really enjoyed it. But I have new goals now.
Jessica: I’m totally a late bloomer, too. Setting goals for yourself and always reinventing what those goals are is so important. I think this year has caused us all to reflect more. It’s not about what other people are doing, it’s what you want for yourself and your family.
Alex: For me, as a relatively new mom, I’ve realized that we form home with our families, which has been pretty amazing to see. We may move around, but it’s your little unit that creates what home is for you.
Our Winter Renovation issue is here! Subscribe now to step inside Leanne Ford’s latest project—her own historic Pennsylvania home. Plus discover our new rules of reno.