Let's hear it for the dads! The days of dear old dad staying out of the nursery are a thing of the past — today's pops are redesigning the baby's room, bottle, and more. With more fathers taking on child-rearing responsibilities, they're upgrading lil one's gear with some touches that both moms and dads can appreciate. Just in time for Father's Day, meet the men who are making baby-raising healthier, easier, and more stylish than ever.
David Netto Tells Us How Preppy Rebellion Inspired Him, How He Relates to Ralph Lauren, and Why He Hates Blogging!
LilSugar associate editor Rebecca Gruber recently had the chance to chat with interior and furniture designer David Netto about his new bedding and textile collection for children's lifestyle company Maclaren. Since I've long been a fan — I featured him as a Designer Spotlight back in '08 — I sent her some prying questions for Netto in advance. The first segment of Lil's interview is already up, so be sure to check that out. But first, read below to hear how preppy rebellion inspired David's design career, two reasons why he's like Ralph Lauren, and why he hates blogging.
CasaSugar: You're a terrific writer; in fact, you recently wrote an article for WSJ magazine. Do you have plans to write more, or have you thought about keeping a blog?
David Netto: I hate keeping a blog, and so far I have evaded keeping a blog. I like contributing to blogs, but it's so hard to keep it fresh and to commit to doing that every day. I don’t know how Gwyneth Paltrow finds the time. She really puts her back into that.
I contribute to Giggle.com’s blog. I mean they don’t chase after me that often, but the WSJ is a great job. I’ll do anything for anyone who’s nice to me. Deborah Needleman, the editor, was a great friend to me at Domino. I admired that magazine, so when she asked me to come on board that team this Summer, I was very excited. And that’s been great. I need jobs that I can do in my pajamas from California. I’m there with my kids now.
CS: What’s your favorite kind of client? Do you prefer a really hands-on client who has a lot of input, one who says just do whatever you want, or somewhere in between?
DN: There is no such thing as someone that says do whatever you want. That’s a myth. I don’t think that ever really happens, and if it does, it's even more scary, because then you’re completely on your own. Because what if they don’t like that? It’s risk-reducing to work with someone that has opinions and knows something about what they want. What I find very helpful when working on a project is if somebody has a collection. I love it when there’s a book collection, a photography collection, something that has to be accommodated so that there’s a jumping off point for ideas. It’s pretty lonely when there isn’t one.
Every nursery starts off as a blank canvas. It's up to the parents-to-be to transform it into the traditional pastel-painted nursery, or a contemporary retreat. Regardless of mom and dad's personal style, there is a central starting point when it comes to nursery design. When I sat down with David Netto to discuss his new linen collection for Maclaren he walked me through the nursery design process, providing great tips for anyone ready to decorate their tot's room.
LilSugar: What led you to do textiles at this point?
David Netto: I had always planned to. I had plans like that for a long time, but I really didn’t know how to enter that business intelligently. I had enough on my plate trying to make furniture work. To get committed to soft goods and table top . . . There’s a whole bunch of bags designed too that we just never figured out how to make with confidence.
LilSugar: What other influences came into play with the linen design?
David Netto: I wanted it to be the opposite of what the furniture was like. The white serenity and Scandinavian vibrations of all of our hardscapes have always been what we’ve set out to do, and they’re beautiful. But there’s a certain kind of friendliness that a nursery has to have, that comes from fuzzy stuff and things that aren’t sleek. So I wouldn’t have wanted to add to that since the whole premise of the furniture was if you do the architecture right, then you can have the big birds, and stuff, and it will never look that bad. Most people seem to really like bright colors. Nobody really seems to want to live in a disciplined, minimalist environment that’s top to bottom like that. I wanted them to be fun. I looked at all the things that Maclaren is already making and I thought what do I like about modern design when it’s handmade and eclectic and surprising.
I would be afraid to do something too plain. And also, that’s out there. There’s very beautiful Italian stuff, like linen with a scalloped pink edge, and stuff. I’m not going to teach anybody anything new with stuff like that.
There’s a decorating saying that I love that says, “Give them what they never knew they wanted.” Albert Hadley said that. So I’m always trying to get customers to like us who never thought they liked modernism. That’s what this is supposed to deliver as well.
After having a house guest visit for a week or so, I always feel I'm due for a vacation myself. It's exhausting to entertain day in and day out, and just the presence of a visitor in my home can make me feel slightly off-key. But a week isn't all that long. Imagine having 100,000 daily visitors in your home in one year.
That is a reality for a young family of six in the English countryside of Lincolnshire. In the March issue of WSJ. magazine, which hits newsstands tomorrow, interior and furniture designer David Netto introduces us to his friend and former co-worker Miranda Rock, who inherited a life at Burghley House, the largest and grandest house of the first Elizabethan age, which is open to the public all year long. When she was appointed by Burghley's preservation trust to assume her mother's role as custodian of the property, where she grew up, Miranda, her husband Orlando, and their four children packed up and left their life and friends in London for the 115-room estate on more than 12,500 acres.
Their new (old) home is filled with treasures that Europe's great museums would most certainly covet. Some of the items that came with the house are the biggest solid silver wine cistern in Europe, weighing 253 pounds; a smattering of jewel-like perfume bottles from India's Mughal Empire; more than 400 paintings; and even a fabulous marble mantel designed by 18th century Italian artist Piranesi. The trade-off for living with so much history in your midst is that you have to share it. Only a staircase divides Burghley House's private and public rooms, so the Rocks are bound to run into DSLR-straddling tourists on their way to breakfast in the family kitchen. What a way to polish up on your hosting skills.
Head over to WSJ to read the full story.
Photo courtesy of WSJ Magazine
Interior designer David Netto founded his small residential decoration and architectural design shop, David Netto Design, in 2000 and has since become a force to reckon with in the interior design world. Wanting to transition from the service industry to manufacturing around the time he was shopping for a crib for his daughter, Netto developed a line of stylish modern baby furniture, NettoCollection, which has been snatched up by high design boutiques all over the US and opened its own storefront in 2005.
To find out more, as well as to see some of David Netto's gorgeous designs, read more