Hello all, I’ve invited a special guest here today! From time to time, I ask stylists and designers I admire to chat with me here, and today’s guest is Stephen Saint-Onge, also known as “Designer Dad”!
Stephen is the Contributing Home Editor for Family Circle Magazine and his expertise is in creating comfortable and livable spaces for families. His practical and budget conscious designs help us all bring beautiful, easy-to-attain style into our homes. Stephen is the husband, father, and homeowner that reminds everyone to appreciate the simple things in life: home, family and friends. Please welcome Stephen Saint-Onge and enjoy our Q & A.
Q: Hello and welcome Stephen! Share with us a little about your background and your work.
First off, hello to all the readers of your blog! I’m a big fan of yours so it’s a true pleasure to get to talk to you this way. I’ve done makeovers on television and in magazines for many years now. I love that design can change someone’s life. I have seen how simple changes can make an impact on a homeowner’s outlook and feel for their home.
In recent years, especially during the personal time of writing and photographing my first book, I realized that my focus is truly on the family focused home and lifestyle. That’s what I’m all about, so the focus became about all things ‘Designer Dad’. However, my blog is not solely about home design – it touches on my love of photography, food, culture, family, music, film. As a creative person, I wear many hats so that place is the home base of all that I am doing or connected to.
A great deal of the work that I do is in the media or seen in the public eye, for example, my work as contributing editor to Family Circle Magazine or other makeover projects that I do. At the same time, I’m also doing private client design work as well in the New York City Metro area. It’s a good balance between keeping what I do in touch with what real families want because that is who I am designing for. As a husband, dad of two boys, and a homeowner, I use those things as my touchstone towards reminding me of what I’m bringing to the creative table.
Recently, my love and interest in photography has come into focus. I now shoot all my own design projects and also launched a canvas collection of my photography and artwork targeted at the everyday home. Photography is also going to be a bigger part of my next book project which is currently in the early stages.
Q: From reading your recent book No Place Like Home, it’s clear your philosophy is focused on family friendly home design. Tell us where you begin when you work with a family to create a comfortable and stylish interior that reflects the needs and personalities in the home?
I start every design project with a private client the same way or even just someone coming up to me and asking me to help them figure out their home style – "What movie or TV show have you seen that has a great house featured in it that you just love?" It is amazing how it takes people a second but then their faces light up.
They start remembering great houses they loved or ones that caught their eye. For those that have no idea where to begin, that is great starting point. What is your favorite movie home? is a great question to ask. For me it would be: Something’s Gotta Give, Out of Africa, and It’s Complicated.
Though you may not do a whole house exactly as you see it in the film, you get the essence of what you are moving towards. I did a behind-the-scenes visit on my blog to the homes of the series on NBC’s Parenthood – there was a huge response from fans because they connected with those homes and loved them. Same with my visit to the set of The Good Wife on CBS. You are entertained but you can also be educated and empowered by design!