A little warning to all those pregnant women out there who are going through the nesting stage: you might be left with a desire to purchase some new art after reading this tale. Or a new dining room table. Or an Oeuf NYC cot. Theres mountains of interior design inspiration, and also two very cute baby girls and an extremely stylish interior designer mother.
Ive wanted to profile the divine Juliette Arent Squadrito of Sydney based interior design practice Arent & Pyke since she was pregnant with her twin girls, but we held off because she was about to start renovating (as it turned out, she started renovating almost the day her girls were born). Im so glad we did hold off because I get to share this incredible profile with you. Her gorgeous girls Paloma and Valentina are now nine months old. Motherhood has shown me how wondrous life is and how wonderful and perfect nature is. Becoming a mum to Valentina and Paloma has also taught me that I could never have anticipated how good it was going to be, she says. And then the interior designer in her comes out: It has also taught me that all of the (potentially) infuriating qualities I posses around living in a tidy environment are never, ever going to change.
Indeed, until you get to the beautiful light filled nursery, her impeccably styled, sunny apartment in Bondi doesnt look like its home to two babies, which is exactly why shes so good at what she does (note: storage is key). We began renovating almost the day the girls arrived (not such a happy coincidence!) and I remember my husband Matthew coming back to where we were living he would be completely exhausted (I think every kilo I gained, he lost) and then we would be up all night with the girls I think it was usually 30-45 minutes of sleep that we would have had in between the feeds. It is a pretty gruelling time. Although I didnt hate it I think I was just fairly accepting of whatever came my way at that stage. I learned that you could not control much, that you just had to roll with it,” she says.
Arent Squadrito is a positive, uplifting and passionate person and her take on motherhood reflects this. I shared my sleep deprivation with my husband. Two babies = two adults awake pitching in to feed/burp/change/settle… I honestly think this was my saving grace. I never felt as if as I was on my own in the wee hours of the morning. There was plenty of laughter amidst the sleep deprivation and monotony of feeding time.
The talented Arent Squadrito started her business with partner Sarah-Jane Pyke back in 2007 and the dynamic pair have since become one of the most respected interior designer agencies in Australia. At the recent Australian Interior Design Awards, they were awarded the Best Residential Decoration for The Avenue and the Belle Coco Republic Interior Design Awards for Best Residential Interior. Almost two years ago, they also launched their own blog called In/Out. Our blog, In/Out started out as an opportunity to show case our projects, but as the business evolved, we realised that we were playing a bigger role than just that of an interior designer we were inspiring people to live beautiful lives. The rise of the fashion blog has since created a dialogue on fashion and style off the catwalk and out of editorial. In/Out is a way of doing a very similar thing with interior design. It dematerialises ‘high editorial’ interior design with a regular dialogue and curation of stories to empower our readers to live a beautiful life and create an informed and impassioned continuing conversation about design.
She returned to work when the girls were three and a half months old. I certainly dont have time for things like I did before the girls arrived, but I dont feel deprived in any way. I concentrate on work when I am there and then focus my attention on the girls when I am with them. It is in the car that I drink my morning coffee, sing to whatever is playing in the car, daydream and enjoy those moments of just being by myself. Apart from that I think the work/life/baby balance is best achieved when you are looking after yourself AND not being too hard on yourself. Women put such unrealistic expectations on themselves.
These days, its all about the simple pleasures: I love to lie on the picnic blanket in the backyard in the sun while the girls play. Matthew and I are so busy with our respective businesses that we typically dont venture too far from home on the weekends. On Saturday, we wander down to the Bondi Farmers market to stock up on fruit and vegies, meat, flowers and other goodies. We still dont have a car that fits a double pram, so we have plenty of family and friends pop in on the weekends also.