August 26, 2011 at 2:46 pm
by Designer Dad: Stephen Saint-Onge
Hello, I’m Stephen Saint-Onge, the newest member of the Family Circle family. I am very excited about this new, creative partnership with a publication that I have long-admired for its family-focused vantage point. In the months ahead, I’ll be doing room makeovers for the magazine, featuring exclusive design projects, home tours and ideas on Familycircle.com, as well as blogging here several times a week and doing television appearances. All of this bringing together everything that I love: home and the family-focused lifestyle. Hence, the title “Designer Dad.”
I wanted to take a moment to introduce myself to you. The words that I use to describe what I do professionally are: designer, artist, photographer, author and producer. In my everyday life, I would use these words: husband, dad and homeowner. The line between the two main areas of my life are blurred. I have come to realize that my creative work influences my life as a father and my everyday life plays a major part in my work.
Almost two years ago, I had just completed my time writing and designing a monthly column called “House Calls” for Better Homes and Gardens Magazine; which was a wonderful opportunity. Then, I took a year away from my public work to focus on writing and photographing my first design book. During this period, as I traveled around shooting the book, it became clearer what the focus of my creative work overall should be: the family-focused home.
With the book completed, I’m very excited about teaming up with Family Circle. I think that all of us share a common goal to have our homes be inviting and comfortable – plus we want to take the time to enjoy the simple things in life in our environments – time with our families and our friends. To me, life is pretty simple when it boils down to those basic priorities. At the same time, I fully understand that everyday lives are hectic – running to swim meets, carpooling, cooking dinner, entertaining, mowing the lawn, house repairs, etc. Being a parent of two boys, I also see that life goes by quickly – kids grow up fast. I have learned that it is a balancing act of enjoying the day-to-day moments…while still taking the time to do what must be done with our homes. The TO DO LIST is something that I have too. It is ever-growing, but at the same time I realize, from personal experience, the value of setting goals of simple changes, making areas of our everyday environment more pleasing to the eye, more stylish, etc. Our homes are the foundation of our lives, so we deserve to be surrounded by spaces that are good to us.
I have been doing home makeovers and design projects in magazines and on television for many years – as well as working with private design clients. I love how changes in design or makeovers can really change up the feel of a home. The problem is that when you live in a house everyday – it is difficult to visualize the potential anymore because you see it everyday. So approaching things with new eyes is very important. In most cases, the basics of good design may be there, but I have found that it’s about empowering the homeowner and giving them simple, attainable creative direction to make change happen. That direction also does not have to break the bank, nor does it have to be a major renovation. Home design or figuring out your style does not have to be stressful, but I know that it can be very daunting for some people. That is why I have strived to keep design accessible to everyone. So no matter what I share with you in the projects and ideas moving forward here, I will always approach them from the mindset of a homeowner first and then a designer.
As I said, earlier this year, NO PLACE LIKE HOME: TIPS AND TECHNIQUES FOR REAL FAMILY-FRIENDLY HOME DESIGN (WILEY $19.99) was released. I was pleased to have created a book that conveyed my view of home and design – not with perfectly styled rooms that appeared lifeless or uptight, but with real people living in real homes. Part of what I’m bringing to this new, creative table with Family Circle will be about sharing ideas. I’m not saying that you have to live in perfection, my house is not perfect (I’ve got kids, a dog, a cat and a bunch of hens running around the yard) but it is about sharing with you how I approach things in my projects and designs (Plus, if something makes my life easier as a homeowner or a dad – I’ll share that too).
Here, I will be talking about makeovers, home projects, how-tos, going on house tours, focusing in on products, companies or solutions that are all meant to inspire you in your own home…You can also visit my personal lifestyle blog: NO PLACE LIKE HOME BLOG - focused on all the things from design and renovation to cooking and travel, books and film or interesting things I find along the way that catch my eye…
With a home and family there is always something to be done, but if we can open the front door at the end of the day to a welcoming home – that’s what makes life a little better. We may not be able to control the outside world – but the inside of our homes is something we can make happen now.
Check out the newest Family Circle “Designer Dad” Posts