I’ve told you before that I’m not a super emotional person, haven’t I? It’s really true. Usually. Just not after reading Regina Sirois‘ interview answers. They are so genuine, written straight from her sweet heart, and her last three answers left me sitting sentimentally for some very long minutes. This is certainly a lovely home, friends, but this tour left me admiring so much more than the Sirois family furnishings. Please enjoy it.
[ 6/19/12 Update: This just in! Regina won the Young Adult Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award for 2012. That's a big deal! Go Regina!! ]
Q: Tell us about the family who makes this house a home!
A: We have an unconventional home because we have an unconventional life. (Don’t we all?!) My husband is an artist who does visual special effects and computer animation, and I am novelist. We both work from home with our two daughters who are four and nine. With all this togetherness (day after day after day) we need a home that we like to be in because we are always there! Together. Always.
Q: How did this house become your home?
A: After an exhaustive search for a house that would allow my husband a separate entrance and suitable place for a studio, we found our home driving past a For Sale By Owner sign. I went to look at it and immediately thought, “By Jove, I think we’ve got it.” I knew it was special when it met all of our business needs and had that amazing sun room that we call the art room. My children can work their creative hearts out and I never lose my kitchen table to sudden bouts of inspiration. My husband says to mention that there is a three-car garage and a built-in shed for the mower. That’s what did it for him!
Q: How would you describe your style? Has it changed since you’ve added kids to the mix? And who in the family is the most vocal about the home’s decor?
A: I don’t know if our style has a name. Definitely mid-century modern, but with an artistic and natural twist.
We are a rare case of husband and wife caring equally about home design. My husband hates anything fluffy, anything country. He is modern all the way. I add a touch of whimsy. I love natural, unexpected elements that have a hint of humor and happiness.
We never changed our style with children. My friends ask me how I can do glass tables with children. I just smile and say, “I tell them not to break the glass tables.” It’s never been a huge issue. The only way children affected my style was to increase my creative outlets. There is nothing more fun than going to town on a kid’s room. There are no limits.
Q: What is your basic philosophy about living with kids?
A: I tell my children that the more things we have, the less we love our things. If they want a new toy I often make them pick a toy to give to a friend. I have issues with clutter. It makes it hard for me to work or be happy or even breathe when my environment is chaotic. When in doubt, I throw it away!
Also, don’t waste money! Those kids are going to college. Decide what you want and watch for it on Craigslist and clearances. That is how we got almost everything we own.
Q: I notice a lot of lovely textures in your home, from your kitchen back splash to your fireplace. Where do you find your design inspiration?
A: I say that I want my home to look like a New York loft married a beach cottage and had a baby. I want elements of excitement and elements of tranquility. I am inspired by nature and industrial design. I like to put the best of man with the best of God and watch what happens.
When we buy a home, we look at it and dream as big as we can and say in a perfect world with an unlimited budget this house would look like… Then we form a detailed plan of furniture, flooring, colors and accents, and then don’t do or buy anything outside of that plan. I’d rather wait ten years for what I really want than buy a filler that distracts me from my grand plan.
Q: You and your husband both work from home. How do you create separate work spaces and also balance your work and home lives? Are there challenges?
A: What challenges? I am typing this in complete peace and my children are not running in circles through my “office” and dropping their pet rats on my shoulders. Did I mention I use sarcasm sometimes?
I work at a desk off of the kitchen, penning my novels in the very heart of the house so I am accessible. Sometimes too accessible. I try to work while my children are at school or otherwise engaged. My husband uses our basement as his studio, and thanks to sound proofing he doesn’t even know what kind of trouble he’s missing. What works for us is to be respectful. I never bother him during the day unless it is necessary. He tries to give me space when my keyboard is a clicking. And we both drop everything when our children need us. We decided a long time ago that we are in this life together, so we put our family first and our jobs second.
Q: Describe your favorite time of day in your house. In what room are you and what is happening?
A: My favorite time of day is evening. I am either reading my girls a story in the “boat room” that belongs to my nine year old, or we are sitting in the sun room with the windows open to a breeze, waving to neighbors or painting pictures. My husband took the screen off our toy room window and we often sit on the roof of the sun room at night and watch the day go to sleep. That is my children’s favorite place to be, and I think they might be right.
Q: What is your favorite thing about living with your kids? What are their little quirks that make you smile and not look forward to the day they finally grow up?
A: Their heads! The smell of their clean hair when I press my face against the soft strands. I can’t stop kissing my children’s heads. They’re used to it by now. If I don’t grab their noggins and tell them they smell like sunshine, they feel confused. I love their voices and their hugs and the miracle of being loved so unconditionally and forgiven for my mistakes so completely. My daughters are my greatest treasure.
I also love that my four year old can’t say the “th” sound. I know she’ll figure it out eventually, but right now she has a “fedder cowection” instead of a feather collection and it makes me laugh out loud every time we talk about it. Now that I say that, it’s the laughter. I will miss their laughter the most when they are gone.
Q: What do you hope your kids learn from you with regard to your home life? What do you hope they’ll remember?
A: I hope they will remember our home as a refuge where they are completely loved. I hope they remember our home as a beautiful place to be and play and dream. I love a clean house, but it cannot always be. There is brownie batter on my floor. There is spilled paint on my patio. There are grass clippings on my welcome mat.
I hope someday I walk into my daughters’ homes and find just enough mess to prove they are enjoying life, and just enough organization to prove they’ve got their lives together.
Q: Please finish the sentence: I wish I had known…
A: …that my children would be my best friends and the women I most admire. I might have treated them with more tenderness and respect in those hideous moments of frustration that every mother faces. I wish I had known how much good I could do by resisting the need to punish and criticize and spending more time adoring them.
Thank you, Regina, for sharing so eloquently the pure joy of living with kids. I’ve read your answers more than a few times, and I still feel a pang in my heart!
Friends, what do you want your kids to remember about their childhood home? Is that something you consider during your day-to-day chores and tiny traditions? I’d love to hear your own hopes!