St. Louis fans of John and Sherry Petersik, the husband and wife team behind the Young House Love blog and book, were thrilled to see that the tour for their second book, “Lovable, Livable Home” includes a stop in St. Louis, their first signing here.
We chatted with the parents of two before they hit the road about hiding kid clutter in your home, finding the balance between function and beauty in your home and their decision to step back from full-time blogging that left their cult-like following clamoring for more.
Describe the idea behind your new book, and how you decided to focus on the idea of a lovable, livable home?
Sherry: We really were thinking about how we wanted to be different than the first book. Let’s really sort of celebrate that every family is different and has different challenges and not run in there with pillows and flowers and style it, but capture the way they actually live and share that.
How has your design perspective evolved since having Teddy, your second child?
John: When you have a kid sometimes you have this instinct to panic. Oh my gosh, I have to, like, cover everything in plastic and move all my pretty, breakable things away and just kind of live in this sterile environment.
S: Or you’ve seen those rooms on Pinterest, where you say, like “Beautiful! But give my kids five minutes in there and they will trash it.”
J: There is some truth to having to adjust your home when you add new family members, especially little family members. But it doesn’t mean, like, everything has to go away. You can still have a beautiful space that everyone enjoys.
Do you have a favorite or best example of a great solution/project in the book to combat toy and kid clutter?
S: One of our favorites is a kitchen nook that had banquette seating, but the seat lifted up and the mom was like, oh my gosh, you can’t believe how much stuff I can shove in there. You look at this beautiful high-end kitchen and you’d never assume it’s full of toys and clutter because they’re literally sitting on it.
J: There was one room ... where someone had re-covered just little ottomans with this high-end fabric so they looked really classic and luxurious and you popped it open and there was a slinky inside, this giant colorful slinky.
The nurseries you created for kids are beautiful and inspiring and colorful, but also very functional. What can others take away from your experiences, now that you’ve created rooms for two children, one girl and one boy?
J: It’s a spot in your home where you really can go outside of your normal design because you can give it that youthful design. It’s easy to get so focused on this baby that’s coming that’s you forget that in a matter of months, is not going to be a baby anymore, going to be a toddler and then a preschooler. We have a whole new frame of reference for when Teddy came because we had seen how quickly Clara’s needs and the things she liked having around changed. Look just a year down the road as best you can.
S: Buying furniture that has multi-functions — I think we really got lucky with Clara using a dresser with just a changing pad on top. She still uses that dresser now and she’s in kindergarten now.
For those who feel they don’t have enough time, money or energy to change their house in to the home they dream of, what are some simple ways to get started?
S: Paint is amazing, $20 to $50 you can give room a fresh look. If you hang long, floor-length curtains and then you hang them high and wide is our favorite way to do it.
You built a successful brand and business that started with a personal home improvement blog and turned it into an impressive community of followers, product lines and partnerships. Then, one year ago, you decided to leave full-time blogging and take a break to create more work-life balance.
S: It really was kind of like the ultimate plate cleaning. And when you clear so much off your plate, you start to worry about what’s going to be on it and what should be on it. But I think we were very confident in that (full-time blogging) wasn’t working for us anymore and we needed to make a sort of dramatic change to move the needle.
J: When we were blogging, more regularly, sharing a lot on social media I think our sort of default was, if it happens, it was sharable and we sometimes would ask ourselves, well what’s a reason not to share this? And now we’ve kind of flipped that on its head. And instead of everything already being assumed it would be shared, now we assume everything is not sharable.
S: I think that just taking a break for even for like a week on social media, and then coming back to it sort of more clear-headed.
J: I think it helped us realize when I’m not so busy trying to document, explain and photograph everything, I’m actually in the moment at lot more, and it’s refreshing and lovely.
IF YOU GO
What • Young House Love creators John and Sherry Petersik, presented by the St. Louis County Library Foundation.
When • 7 p.m. Oct. 2. Doors open at 6 p.m. No RSVP required, but organizers recommend early arrival.
Where • 1640 South Lindbergh Boulevard
Cost • Free. Books for signing will be available for purchase.
About the book: Known for their popular DIY blog, Young House Love, Sherry and John Petersik share how to make your home fun and functional in their new book, “Lovable, Livable Home.”