Nigel Barker is a family man. As dad to Jack, 13, and Jasmine, 10, and husband to Cristen, his house is a busy and bustling place full of activity and laughter. Nigel says becoming a parent changed his life in several ways—from commitments to values. It also changed how he approaches design. WGTL blog caught up with Nigel to ask him for his tips on how to design a room for a family.
How has being a dad impacted your home design?
Nigel Barker: All parents would agree that being a parent changes your life as well as your home. Where you might have had something for show, now it’s important to have something that’s more functional. And it’s not just for our children; we have a dog, cat, a three-foot iguana and fish. Our home has to fit the many things we do. I have heavy bags from my photography, so pieces need to hold up to some rough conditions. My wife is a Yogi, and she’s often barefoot. You have to consider how you live when you design where you live.
Do your children impact your color choices?
NB: We don’t shy away from light colors. We think about what we can do to protect our furniture. We have a lot of earth tones as well as cream and white; it feels comfortable and relaxing and I love that blank canvas look and feel. In the right places it also works to soothe the children. You immediately feel an oasis of calm. It’s funny; when you put a child in a calm room, you’ll often find them sitting on the sofa and reading book for an hour.
Is your whole home calming or do you mix things up?
NB: Some areas are calm, while others areas are meant to inspire play. When you walk into my upstate New York home, the first floor has a modern look and feel, with the majority of the pieces from my NB2 collection. It’s very classic, simple and chic with elegant lines and a modern feel, yet not so modern that it feels cold or minimalist. Upstairs, each room is special. And we’re currently renovating the basement. It’s a huge project and it’s going to be predominantly a massive playroom. I’m the biggest kid I know.
Do you have a favorite piece of furniture chosen for your family?
NB: I love when all four of us can curl up on the sofa with our animals and watch a movie after dinner. We also love the daybed—it’s everyone’s favorite. Even the dog likes it. Furniture has to be functional. It has to stand up to real life. We treat the fabric so it repels a spill because that’s what life is like. Furniture has to be able to handle whatever you throw at it.
Nigel certainly knows how to design a room for a family. We’d love to know what changes have you made to your décor since becoming a parent?