Living With Kids: Regina Sirois

I’ve told you before that I’m not a super emotional person, haven’t I? It’s really true. Usually. Just not after reading Regina Sirois‘ interview answers. They are so genuine, written straight from her sweet heart, and her last three answers left me sitting sentimentally for some very long minutes. This is certainly a lovely home, friends, but this tour left me admiring so much more than the Sirois family furnishings. Please enjoy it.

[ 6/19/12 Update: This just in! Regina won the Young Adult Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award for 2012. That’s a big deal! Go Regina!! ]

Q: Tell us about the family who makes this house a home!

A: We have an unconventional home because we have an unconventional life. (Don’t we all?!) My husband is an artist who does visual special effects and computer animation, and I am novelist. We both work from home with our two daughters who are four and nine. With all this togetherness (day after day after day) we need a home that we like to be in because we are always there! Together. Always.

Q: How did this house become your home?

A: After an exhaustive search for a house that would allow my husband a separate entrance and suitable place for a studio, we found our home driving past a For Sale By Owner sign. I went to look at it and immediately thought, “By Jove, I think we’ve got it.” I knew it was special when it met all of our business needs and had that amazing sun room that we call the art room. My children can work their creative hearts out and I never lose my kitchen table to sudden bouts of inspiration. My husband says to mention that there is a three-car garage and a built-in shed for the mower. That’s what did it for him!

Q: How would you describe your style? Has it changed since you’ve added kids to the mix? And who in the family is the most vocal about the home’s decor?

A: I don’t know if our style has a name. Definitely mid-century modern, but with an artistic and natural twist.

We are a rare case of husband and wife caring equally about home design. My husband hates anything fluffy, anything country. He is modern all the way. I add a touch of whimsy. I love natural, unexpected elements that have a hint of humor and happiness.

We never changed our style with children. My friends ask me how I can do glass tables with children. I just smile and say, “I tell them not to break the glass tables.” It’s never been a huge issue. The only way children affected my style was to increase my creative outlets. There is nothing more fun than going to town on a kid’s room. There are no limits.

Q: What is your basic philosophy about living with kids?

A: I tell my children that the more things we have, the less we love our things. If they want a new toy I often make them pick a toy to give to a friend. I have issues with clutter. It makes it hard for me to work or be happy or even breathe when my environment is chaotic. When in doubt, I throw it away!

Also, don’t waste money! Those kids are going to college. Decide what you want and watch for it on Craigslist and clearances. That is how we got almost everything we own.

Q: I notice a lot of lovely textures in your home, from your kitchen back splash to your fireplace. Where do you find your design inspiration?

A: I say that I want my home to look like a New York loft married a beach cottage and had a baby. I want elements of excitement and elements of tranquility. I am inspired by nature and industrial design. I like to put the best of man with the best of God and watch what happens.

When we buy a home, we look at it and dream as big as we can and say in a perfect world with an unlimited budget this house would look like… Then we form a detailed plan of furniture, flooring, colors and accents, and then don’t do or buy anything outside of that plan. I’d rather wait ten years for what I really want than buy a filler that distracts me from my grand plan.

Q: You and your husband both work from home. How do you create separate work spaces and also balance your work and home lives? Are there challenges?

A: What challenges? I am typing this in complete peace and my children are not running in circles through my “office” and dropping their pet rats on my shoulders. Did I mention I use sarcasm sometimes?

I work at a desk off of the kitchen, penning my novels in the very heart of the house so I am accessible. Sometimes too accessible. I try to work while my children are at school or otherwise engaged. My husband uses our basement as his studio, and thanks to sound proofing he doesn’t even know what kind of trouble he’s missing. What works for us is to be respectful. I never bother him during the day unless it is necessary. He tries to give me space when my keyboard is a clicking. And we both drop everything when our children need us. We decided a long time ago that we are in this life together, so we put our family first and our jobs second.

Q: Describe your favorite time of day in your house. In what room are you and what is happening?

A: My favorite time of day is evening. I am either reading my girls a story in the “boat room” that belongs to my nine year old, or we are sitting in the sun room with the windows open to a breeze, waving to neighbors or painting pictures. My husband took the screen off our toy room window and we often sit on the roof of the sun room at night and watch the day go to sleep. That is my children’s favorite place to be, and I think they might be right.

Q: What is your favorite thing about living with your kids? What are their little quirks that make you smile and not look forward to the day they finally grow up?

A: Their heads! The smell of their clean hair when I press my face against the soft strands. I can’t stop kissing my children’s heads. They’re used to it by now. If I don’t grab their noggins and tell them they smell like sunshine, they feel confused. I love their voices and their hugs and the miracle of being loved so unconditionally and forgiven for my mistakes so completely. My daughters are my greatest treasure.

I also love that my four year old can’t say the “th” sound. I know she’ll figure it out eventually, but right now she has a “fedder cowection” instead of a feather collection and it makes me laugh out loud every time we talk about it. Now that I say that, it’s the laughter. I will miss their laughter the most when they are gone.

Q: What do you hope your kids learn from you with regard to your home life? What do you hope they’ll remember?

A: I hope they will remember our home as a refuge where they are completely loved. I hope they remember our home as a beautiful place to be and play and dream. I love a clean house, but it cannot always be. There is brownie batter on my floor. There is spilled paint on my patio. There are grass clippings on my welcome mat.

I hope someday I walk into my daughters’ homes and find just enough mess to prove they are enjoying life, and just enough organization to prove they’ve got their lives together.

Q: Please finish the sentence: I wish I had known…

A: …that my children would be my best friends and the women I most admire. I might have treated them with more tenderness and respect in those hideous moments of frustration that every mother faces. I wish I had known how much good I could do by resisting the need to punish and criticize and spending more time adoring them.


Thank you, Regina, for sharing so eloquently the pure joy of living with kids. I’ve read your answers more than a few times, and I still feel a pang in my heart!

Friends, what do you want your kids to remember about their childhood home? Is that something you consider during your day-to-day chores and tiny traditions? I’d love to hear your own hopes!

P.S. — You can find all the homes in my Living With Kids series here. If you’d like to share your home with us, drop me a note! I’d love to hear from you!

44 thoughts on “Living With Kids: Regina Sirois”

  1. I like the idea of finding “just enough mess to prove they are enjoying life, and just enough organization to prove they’ve got their lives together.”

      1. that spoke to me as well. when i go to people’s house, i’m as spooked by the hy[er-fanatical clean houses as i am by the insanely-dirty-hoarder houses. the balance of both says a lot.

        that and the kindness to our children. i always need to be reminded to be more patient and loving and adoring.

  2. “I hope they will remember our home as a refuge where they are completely loved.” That got me choked up! And then, “I hope they remember our home as a beautiful place to be and play and dream.”

    The combination of these two is THE best rebuttal to anyone who ever thinks that design-y/creative-y/lifestyle blogs are all about perfection. Nope – a place where you feel loved AND a lovely place to play and dream.

    That’s what I am striving for – what more can you dream of as a parent? And for yourself.

  3. Regina I love the line about “just enough mess to prove they are enjoying life, and just enough organization to prove they’ve got their lives together.” I think that’s exactly the right balance for me.

    I’m an aspiring novelist myself so it was fun for me to read about how you handle the balance between work life/home life. I’m very impressed. And I clicked over to your website – can’t wait to read your book!

    And your home is beautiful! I especially love the art room for the kids and the “to sleep perchance to dream” quote on the wall.

  4. I think this is my favorite! I love the style of their home and also their philosophy of life! I loved so many of Regina’s statements, but especially that the more things we have the less we love them. I’m going to start reminding myself of that as I clear things out of my home that really don’t belong here.

  5. This is such a lovely home, a very family orientated home. I LOVE the boat room, was the boat built by themselves or bought? Also, I really love the brick wall thats carried through out the living room to kitchen. Looks really, really nice. :) Wondering what is the blue color called? Benjamin Moore’s color? Great post!

    1. The boat bed is a pottery barn kids bed that I fell in love with ten years ago and scoured craigslist because I could not afford the original. When you wait long enough, good things show up! :) I will tell you the color, but let me make sure I know what room you are talking about. Do you mean the blue master bedroom, the blue boat room, or the blue tinted grey that is throughout the main floor. (I guess I’m a blue kind of gal!)

  6. What an inspiring, reflective and heart-tugging spotlight. I am meloncholy for the yesteryears of my children’s lives and hopeful to make their tomorrows more joyous. Thank you for this….it was truly wonderful.

  7. “I hope someday I walk into my daughters’ homes and find just enough mess to prove they are enjoying life, and just enough organization to prove they’ve got their lives together.”


    She has a way with words! You can see she is an author, for her to put into words something so many of us feel, but haven’t been able to convey. Well done!

  8. This was one of my favorite interviews. Regina’s answers were so thoughtful. My husband and I are also one of those rare couples that both care very much about home design, to the point where we often find ourselves at a “Design Standoff”, which leads to some very interesting compromises!
    Thanks Regina for sharing your home with us.

  9. Oof, I knew with your own feelings about her last answers, that I should have waited. Been a sentimental tangle for days. You’ve brought the exquisite lump back, the one that honors that as parents for every joy, there is an ache that keeps it rooted in our soul.


  10. sounds like the kind of family i’d love to be friends with. beautiful home, but even more beautiful revelations into what makes a family so fulfilling.

  11. Wow. yes. great words of wisdom. our house is such chaos right now with the renovations going on that my 3 year old often destroys something because it’s what she sees daddy doing all the time! i hope this is all over soon so my kids can remember something else from their childhood home besides things being destroyed and rebuilt. and i hope to cherish them more even now in the midst of stress and utter chaos. i have to remember that this too shall pass and a kind word is so important. thanks for the post!

  12. such great answers! your home should be a safe environment for you & your children, a place where they feel loved unconditionally. this post makes me excited to have a daughter (coming in september) who will be my best friend!

  13. oh my goodness, what a beautiful home and heartfelt answers. I agree, those last few answers are so full of love and made me really sentimental. :)

  14. I love this series and each are very thoughtful, but so many wonderful pieces of wisdom right here…makes you stop and think. Home is so important…not just how it looks, but how it makes you feel.

  15. there is so much good here. “Finding the best of man and the best of God and see what happens.” Love that.

    I want my kids to always see home as a safe place where they a built up and encouraged ton follow their dreams and take over the world.

  16. Your answers are wonderful and your home is beautiful. I also hope I can create a place for my little boys to dream.

    I do have a resource question, who is the maker of your kitchen sink. I am going to do a kitchen remodel and would like to add a corner sink. I love yours…and your red chairs! Thanks.

    Ms Blair, I love this living with kids series and the diversity of families you have highlighted. Thank you.

    1. We decided we wanted stainless steel counter tops because that’s what restaurants use. If they can stand up to a professional kitchen, surely I can’t mess them up, right? We hired a steel fabricator to do our counters (price was identical to granite) and we drew designs of the sink we wanted they built it. The counter and sink is all one piece of steel. You can see pictures of the process here:

      1. Great idea! Love the stainless look. Thanks for the info and idea. I may just steal this from you all if that is ok?

    1. We went to a tile supply and bought exterior stacked stone (the kind people people on a home’s facade). It comes a few different colors, is widely available, and not very expensive.

  17. That last answer (the what I wish I had known…) is incredible! I just read it about 6 times, and then copied it into an email for myself. I was an impatient mom today, and that sure gave me a boost. What an incredible home Regina and her husband have created!

  18. I’m an older mom with two daughters (9 and 11) and I’m teary just reading this knowing one day that they will have their own wings. But yes, while they are with me, treating them with tenderness, and spending time adoring them is what I (try to) do. My heart did a little leap with that art room too. I just converted my spare room to a den with music and TV, when in my heart I really needed an art space! Ah, there is still the playroom. I loved this interview (and her kitchen, and her house, and YOUR questions). Thank you.

  19. As a mother of 2 daughters, ages 22 and 25, I can easily say that they are the 2 women I admire most. I want to be just like them when I grow up.

  20. “That my children would be my best friends and the women I most admire. I might have treated them with more tenderness and respect in those hideous moments of frustration that every mother faces.” Oh, my. I want to make a print of this one and put it in my wallet.

    XO, MJ

  21. Gabi, I don’t know if anyone has told you that sometimes when you pull up your site you don’t see anything unless you scroll down. I don’t know if others have this problem or just me. I just thought I would let you know.

    1. I hadn’t heard that before, Kelleyn. Thanks for telling me! If you don’t mind, would you tell me what browser you’re looking at my site in (Firefox, Explorer, Chrome, etc). And are you on a Mac or a PC? It will help me trouble shoot.

  22. “New York loft married a beach cottage and had a baby”—perfect and funny!

    More than just funny, some of these statements are so powerful and beautiful. The answers totally make this house tour. One of my favorites: “I hope someday I walk into my daughters’ homes and find just enough mess to prove they are enjoying life, and just enough organization to prove they’ve got their lives together.”

  23. Those last words are heart-aching! I have only one – a almost 5yo boy – who I adore more than anyone in the world. As he grows more and more into the person he is, I am amazed at his kind soul, his silly perspective, and his desire to do good in the world. Each day he amazes me.

    I also wish I could take back moments where I acted unkindly or out of frustration. Not on purpose, mind you, but because of a lack of good training and a shortness of patience inherent in my personality that I should have stamped out long ago. Lucky for me, he forgives my faults and still tells me everyday that I am his most favorite person in the world. Sigh.

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