Uber-talented interior designer. Co-founder of (to-die-for) Maison C wallpaper. Stellar single mom to adorable 5-year-old Phoenix. Chiara de Rege is a force. And she’s worked hard to be super-successful in both her professional and personal life. We can say that because she’s been a dear friend for almost twenty years, and we’ve watched it all happen.
A peek at Chiara’s recent projects – The Wing’s first six locations, Carolina Herrera’s flagship Madison Avenue boutique, and Jordana Brewster’s home – give a glimpse into her impressive range as a designer. Like most of us, she struggles with balance. You don’t get such coveted gigs without making sacrifices: “When Phoenix was three, I let my work schedule get pretty crazy and often didn’t make it home before bedtime. She shared with her teachers that I’d missed many nights of dinner, bath, and books. I was mortified and felt so guilty. I deeply regret that schedule.”
The mom-daughter duo live in midtown Manhattan and spend most weekends upstate with Phoenix’s father. (Yes, she’s also mastered the art of consciously uncoupling.)
Next up? Swoon-worthy Maison C fabrics (every design will be printed on linen) and furniture (a sofa and chair to start) in 2020. Read on for Chiara’s unique parenting style, the clothing lines she’s obsessed with, and her trick for getting a good night’s sleep.
Her “Signature” Style
I have a weird bias against designers having a very specific look/vibe. It becomes formulaic, and even if it’s thoughtful and beautiful, it feels dialed in and projects start to lack soul. Harsh of me I know! My goal is always to create the best extension of a clients' aesthetic – I want their space to reflect their actual sense of self and taste.
The Brilliance Behind The Wing
The Wing locations all have a warm modern transitional design, inspired by images provided by the co-founders. One leaned towards a more modern aesthetic with references like Ettore Sottasas, and the other skewed more traditional-meets-bohemian. The result has a nod to each, infused with furniture I felt suited the loft-like space of the Flatiron location. With the Dumbo outpost, I stayed true to what I did in Flatiron and Soho but had some fun with a sunken living room, something I had always wanted to design, inspired by the Earo Saarinen living room with red conversation pit.
Out Of Time
I have a very hard time balancing my design studio, Maison C, social activities, and everyday life as a single mother. Somehow I am also supposed to find time to date, exercise, and meditate… what?!
Vedic Meditation is my lifesaver. I know you’re supposed to use it to find transcendence, but at this point in my life, I use it to cheat sleep and it works.
Nature vs Nurture
Phoenix is totally independent. I did no screentime until Saturday mornings when she turned three. Maybe that’s why she can play by herself for hours on end in her own imaginative world. Or maybe she was born independent, and I have absolutely nothing to do with it!
Boredom For The Win
I bought her no toys when she was a baby, not even a mobile above her crib – just a wooden spoon to play with. She was so low maintenance and would chill out playing with that spoon on a quilt wherever we went. And even though she is crazy high energy and a little low on impulse control now, she’s still low maintenance. She brings a bag full of “critters” (Calico figures, Playmobil people, random sticks she collects) to play with wherever we go.
The Key To A Good Eater
I did baby led weaning with her, and my goodness was it messy but so fun! At 6 months, we put things like avocado, chicken livers, and salmon roe in front of her and let her go nuts! She was essentially a paleo baby for the first two years – bone broth, veggies, organic meats, and fresh fruit – all prepared in a way she could feed herself, so food was fun and engaging for her from the start. From age two on, she ate whatever I ate. We travelled to Europe often when she was a baby, and the kids just eat what the parents eat there – none of this cutting off crusts, only serving white foods nonsense!
Make time for yourself as an individual. Self-care and having your own hobbies is so important because it makes you a happier, more fulfilled person and, in turn, a better parent.
I hope Phoenix will remember me as empathetic, kind, imaginative, tasteful, knowledgeable, cultured, engaging, curious, funny, and safe.
Motherhood In 3 Words
Being a parent is equal parts beautiful, challenging, and empowering.
Relax & Unwind
I recently watched Euphoria, which was amazing and traumatic at the same time. I’m listening to The Sex Ed podcast by Liz Goldwyn… its soooo good! And I’m going back and forth between reading Educated and Consider The Lobster.
Can’t Get Enough
I’m obsessed with La Ligne’s chunky, cozy, cool sweaters and everything else they are designing. I love that it doesn’t break the bank either. And any Laura Garcia dress, as I can wear it from day into night – I love clothing that simplifies my life!
A little confession: For the past month, I’ve been trying to only go on Insta 2-3 times a week because it can be such a time suck. I check in on friends and their kids and then can’t help but see what T Mag has posted and anything World of Interiors posts or is tagged in. Also my friend will send me all these in-case-you-missed-it posts from BBC News, and they always make me feel better about our not-so-great world at the moment.
Photos courtesy of Yumi Matsuo for The Grace Tales.