If we ever needed confirmation that motherhood is universally challenging despite the most beautiful of facades, Chiara deRege is living proof.
As the brains behind some of the most stunning homes, offices and stores across the US (The Wing offices and Carolina Herrera’s Madison Avenue store, to name but a few), one may assume that Chiara’s life is as picture perfect as the spaces she designs. But speaking to Chiara is like speaking to an old friend, with conversation full of honesty, real life struggles and the questions that plague us all.
“I find the balance between work, life, and love very very hard. I want to be present for my daughter, I want to be present for my clients, I want to be present for my team and I want to be present for my friends and open for relationships,” she said. Proving that no matter how divine your external world presents itself to be, the internal world remains the same.
With honest and heartfelt insights into co-parenting, thoughts on how important work is to set an example for our children (no matter how challenging it seems at the time) and of course, tips on creating beautiful homes with our children in tow (refresingly, she says there’s no need to change our aesthetic), Chiara is our new mother hero.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family.
I am a born and raised New Yorker with strong ties to Europe as I have a family home in Italy that I grew up going to throughout the years and now get to share with my 5-year-old daughter, Phoenix.
Phoenix’s father, Jehad Nga, is a photojournalist and he grew up between Libya, London and Kansas. When Phoenix was 2 1/2 years old, her father and I separated. It was really challenging but I felt brave taking this step into single womandom as a working mMother of a 2 1 /2 year old. And Jehad and I had to put a lot of our own issues and drama aside to do what was right for Phoenix.
I know doing what is right for your child should come easily, but it was really hard diving into a co-parenting role with this man I had at one point thought would be my partner forever. In that moment in the first days of separation, I quite simply loathed it. It has gotten a lot easier to co-parent with time and patience, and of course, Phoenix is the guiding light that makes it possible for me to put her first and do the right thing. We are making it work with as much love and light as possible.
And I am proud of myself that I choose not to sit in something toxic for the sake of having a family I had always longed for … A family in the more traditional sense where Phoenix gets both Mum and Dad in one place most of the time. Instead, I embrace our modern family but I am constantly spread thin and in the thick of always “figuring things out”… I do not know if I will ever figure it all out though!
It is so hard being the businesswoman I strive to be with my design studio and the wallpaper line I co-founded with my dear friend, Costanza Theodoli Braschi. For my design studio, I have to be on it, 100% all of the time. Details are absolutely everything in interior design and so I can’t quite ever just be chill and let things go. For Maison C, it is a collaboration and beautiful process and not nearly as stressful as my design studio.
I find the balance between work, life, and love very very hard. I want to be present for my daughter, I want to be present for my clients, I want to be present for my team and I want to be present for my friends and open for relationships. I have such an extraordinary group of friends, thank goodness for their love and support.