Sunday, September 18

Working From Home: Changing the World One Day at a Time

The Ford Family's Amagansett beach house: 
where Jennifer Ford worked all summer building on the foundation of her non-profit organization,
Bent On Learning

As you may know by now I am most likely on an airplane heading to London while you are reading this, and therefore I guess it does seem strange to be writing about working from home. Please read HERE about this incredible opportunity that has been afforded to me by  Along with 15 other design bloggers from around the globe, I will be sponsored on a week-long junket throughout the city of London during LONDON DESIGN WEEK, and all because I pen Nest by Tamara. It seems many design-related company's value my opinion.  It has taken me three years of tireless work (while simultaneously running my design business and a family) to build this blog, which has drawn hundreds of thousands of visitors.  Through the Internet, we are able to reach out beyond our communities and touch others from around the world in a way that was never possible before.  Because many people are reading my weekly stories about interior design, entertaining, cooking and living a creatively-inspired lifestyle I make a point to write about these topics with a bit of a philosophical bent, so along with the pretty pictures, design ideas and tips, you may note I inject inspiration to help us all live rich (in spirit) lives in our homes.

The Ford Family's stylish and comfortable beach house sitting area
  As a mother of two children I have had to learn to juggle much while staying current in my interior design practice and as a freelance writer and influential blogger. This concept has inspired this week's blog post about Working From Home. Somehow the mere mention of home and work together gives many of us anxiety.  We all have our own personal style of working out how to make it all come together. Now that my children are older, I have incorporated their responsible work ethics and creative spirits into my business a bit (as can be seen by the many prolific photographs my kids have taken and donated to my published stories in magazines and this blog), but when they were toddlers and running about with sippie cups and pacifiers it was nothing short of a catastrophe at times. I can vividly remember the days when I literally locked myself within my home office to try and squeeze in a few hours of work. There were times I even snuck back in the apartment after settling my little ones with the sitter after pretending to leave for the day because if the kids caught wind that "mommy" was in the house all went awry. And, there were certainly times it would have been easier to take a space outside the home, but I was damn determined to make this work. Now, with a sixteen year old and quite a mature 12 year old, although it is still a work in progress it mostly works quite well. It has given my children a glimpse of mom's creativity and yes folks it has rubbed off on them as well.

Flawless founder Janine Francolini arriving at the Ford's home 
for a working- retreat between two non-profit organizations,  
The Flawless Foundation and
Bent On Learning

So, this brings me to my very next story about a productive partnership between two non-profit organizations.  You may already know I am a board member of The Flawless Foundation.  Flawless has its hands in a myriad of programs to help children with brain differences. You may have read my stories about Flawless over the past year when I co-chaired their annual Fundraiser in Manhattan at the Otto Khan Burden Mansion. Flawless is changing the world one step at a time and with a determined focus to help children. Janine started this organization out of her home, and now as it flourishes she travels around the country spreading their message of hope.

Jennifer Ford is one of the creators of Bent on Learning, and she has worked her magic from home over this past summer to build an empire while juggling much in her life. Their Mission Statement is to improve the physical fitness and cognitive, social and emotional skills of New York City public school students by providing regular instruction in yoga and meditation.Bent on Learning and The Flawless Foundation are currently collaborating on a program to bring the practices of yoga and mindfulness to the students and teachers of District 88 in New York City. Flawless is providing special training to Bent On Learning-trained yoga teachers in working with "at-risk" teens, through Collaborative Problem Solving workshops. The workshops are based upon Dr. Stuart Ablon's principle: Kids do well if they can.

This August I paid a visit to the Ford family's beautiful beach house overlooking the ocean in Amagansett, Long Island for a working retreat and meeting of the minds between Jennifer and Janine as they mapped out a plan to bring their non-profits together for a worthwhile project. Come take a look at their beautiful home and some images of these moments. My hope is this will inspire and encourage you to find a quiet place in your home to bring the passion of what you love to do...I promise it will improve your feelings about your nest!

Please check back in a few days as I'll be posting from London about all the wonderfully beautiful and inspiring design products I'll come into contact with during the London Design Festival. 

Until then Happy Nesting.

Xo Tamara

stealing a few moments away in the Ford's guest bedroom, Janine works long hours building the Flawless Foundation.  The sea breeze blowing through the open window and the serene chocolate brown and cream striped walls soothe.  One of the many programs Janine has put into place is an upcoming workshop in NYC this November with Doctor Stuart Ablon to help parents understand their children.  Janine feels strongly that anyone with children could benefit from this workshop.

Jennifer's advice on working from home successfully:

At home in New York City, I built my home office literally out of a closet to keep in contained.  At my beach house I have a designated work area, but during the day when everyone is off with their activities, I spread out and enjoy working in the sun room, the kitchen, on a's a real treat! The key to successfully working at home is being able walk away from it, as you would do if you left your office. When I'm working, I am focused on my job, but when 4pm rolls around, I commit to being fully present in my other job: Mom!
Janine Francolini of The Flawless Foundation
"We are thrilled to be collaborating with Bent on Learning to bring the therapeutic effects of yoga to youth with behavioral challenges. Many of these childrens lives are in turmoil, often resulting in behavior that leads to school suspensions. It is our hope that through yoga we can offer tools for healing and peace to these children in the at risk populations of the New York City Public school system." 

Now, let's talk about the interesting & eclectic design
of the Ford's beach retreat
designed by
Jarlath Mellett. 

Professional photographs below courtesy of Jarlath Mellett

Thoughts from Jarlath Mellett  "Inspired by the Ford's collection of Icelandic art, we created a classic beach house with an emphasis on the ocean and nature. Starting with natural wood planked floors and white walls with glossy trim throughout, we added pops of color, mostly blues, greens and beige, a palette that recalls the subarctic landscape. Overall, our design here is clean and modern, however, we've included many classic elements such as nautical stripes, vintage maps and Venetian glass for a dab of Old World flavor in this contemporary home."

beautiful, ethereal fish light fixture

Stunning -- don't you agree?

Stop back later this week for London musings!


Marcy said...

That house (and location!) is beautiful. Have a lovely trip to London - I look forward to hearing about all that you see and do there.

Tamara Matthews-Stephenson said...

Thanks Marcy -- hope to see you soon. This was a particularly fun story to write since it was mixing design with good philanthropic spirit! I hope to be blogging/tweeting and all during London (finger's crossed all my electronics cooperate) xo tamara

Storibook Designs said...

Great host tomorrow the house and the foundations are amazing both of them. I did not know they're great work. my sister is a yoga instructor adjustment counselor in the school system anti just parenting classes so I will be sure to share this post with her. Have a fantastic time in london as if that needs to be said. :-) I well look forward to toast from all of you during your london blog tour.

Janine said...

Thanks so much Tamara for such a wonderful post. We are so honored and thrilled to have you as a board member for the Flawless Foundation. Bon Voyage!! xoxoxoJanine

Janine said...

Thank you so much Tamara for this beautiful blog. We are so honored and feel very lucky to have you as a board member for the Flawless Foundation. Have a great trip to London.
Bon Voyage

Anonymous said...

have a blast in London and you will love Tent London and Origins and the only problem is seeing all of it in such a short amount of time. I hope you'll figure out a way to blog "live". sincereley, Jessica Sands

Storibook Designs said...

Oh my God Tamara; I'm hysterical right now. I posted that previous comment from my phone and I had no idea it was auto adjusting words. So sorry, you must have been like, "what the heck?", trying to read it.

In short, loved the post, love the work of both foundations!! Have fun in London!

Anonymous said...

a little birdie just told me you're off to London soon Tam. Enjoy that trip and I know you'll sleuth out the best finds and all the while having a blast. I will come by Nest to see what you put up. Sharon

Anonymous said...

I SO want to hear about Annie Lennox's exhibit and hope you plan a post about it. I love seeing it all through your eyes T and thanks. Jennifer