Welcome to The Pink House's new regular feature, Me & My Roomwreckers, which uncovers the impact inspirational parents' kids have had on their homes, and unearths any tips they may have on keeping kid-muck at bay.
First up is superwoman Jo Tutchener Sharp. Former PR guru Jo lives in a four-bedroom house in North London with her husband Rob and their two incredibly cute boys, Sonny (4) and Jude (2). She is also the founder of uber-cool kids clothing and interior brand Scamp & Dude, a collection she devised to provide kids with an extra sense of security when they need it most. Scamp & Dude launches on 19 November, when you can buy it exclusively in Liberty and on the Scamp & Dude website. If you fancy getting in before the rush you can currently preorder your favourite pieces (there are even gorgeous leopard-print jumpers for grown-ups) online here.
I caught up with Jo (not easy - this is one BUSY lady) over a dinner which involved a) stealing a taxi under Claudia Winkelman's nose (she wasn't chuffed), and b) a lechy old man boasting about shooting tigers. When he expressed surprise at my disapproval, due to the fact I was wearing a 'leopard skin' coat, I was obliged to inform him it was in fact 'fake ocelot'...
EM: Can you tell me a bit about Scamp & Dude?
JT-S: It's a new interiors and clothing unisex collection for kids aged 1-6. When I was in hospital for a while undergoing life-threatening brain surgery I came up with the idea for a brand involving a team of very special superheroes that helps children feel more secure when apart from their loved ones. And so Scamp & Dude was born! The slogan on the back of the sweatshirts and t-shirts - 'a superhero has my back' - reminds children that a superhero is watching over them at all times. Designs include leopard prints and lightening bolts, and cute dinosaur, bunny and balloon superhero characters. Then there are the Superhero Sleep Buddy comforters who watch over children when they sleep - a pocket on the back holds a photo of those they want to keep close.
EM: But it's about more than just looking out for your own kids, isn't it?
JT-S: Yes; you have a chance to be someone else’s superhero – for every Superhero Sleep Buddy sold, another is donated to a vulnerable child. This may be a child who’s lost a parent, one whose parent is seriously ill, or a child in hospital themselves.
EM: Scamp & Dude’s clothes are all unisex and there are some gorgeous pinky-coral pieces in there - what would you say to people who think pink is only for girls?
JT-S: I would say the same thing I say to people who say boys shouldn't have long hair: GET A GRIP FOR GOODNESS SAKE! Boys can wear pink and have long hair and girls can wear dinosaurs and have short hair if they want to. Who made these ridiculous rules in the first place? Kids should wear whatever colour they want and personally I think pink looks absolutely great on boys.
EM: I couldn't agree more. Now - can you give us a brief description of your home?
JT-S: I live in a four-bedroom Collins-built Arts & Craft house. I absolutely love interiors and before Jude was born was so proud of my home. I remember having friends over for my baby shower and being really happy with how it all looked after a mad few months of painting, shopping and neurotic nesting. Now Jude is two this is a different story. Having two small boys means my show home is no longer quite as showy. I already need to paint it again to remove grubby little handprints.
EM: Which is your favourite room? Least favourite?
JT-S: I absolutely love my bathroom; it's a tranquil space for me to hide in and have a bath and a glass of wine when the kids have gone to bed.
I also love the boys bedrooms, I've spent a lot of time creating their little spaces and love to see them enjoying them. My least favourite has to be the basement; that's where the washing machine and tumble drier live. There are some HUGE spiders down there.
EM: How has your home changed since having kids?
JT-S: It's now bursting with dinosaurs and pieces of Lego (which hurt like hell when you step on them btw) and I seem to have clutter everywhere. But it's a very happy place so I don't really mind that my show home status has crashed and burned.
EM: What are your feelings on where toys should live?
JT-S: I've made a special effort to buy stylish storage pieces for toys. I use vintage champagne trugs for the trains and train tracks and various ottomans and wicker baskets to store the boys' toys.
EM: What are your feelings on where your children should live?
JT-S: Everywhere! I'm always finding dinosaurs in my bed when I get in at night - they like to play dens in there. But most of the time they do play in the playroom and Sonny's bedroom where we keep most of their toys. I do try and keep the living room toy free so it is a nice space for my husband and I to relax in the evening. The only out-of-bounds room is my office; they could cause havoc in there!
EM: What would you change about your home décor if you didn’t have kids?
JT-S: I would love some velvet sofas - but that would be crazy with my two mucky pups.
EM: Do you and Rob agree when it comes to home décor decisions?
JT-S: Usually yes. Although I did suggest painting the chairs in the dining room neon pink recently and got a firm NO. So I will need to work on that one a little more...
EM: What’s your favourite home décor item/piece of furniture?
JT-S: I recently painted the chair in my office neon pink (hence the new obsession with bringing that idea down to the dining room!) and absolutely love it. I also have an obsession with rugs and cushions. The new runner in the bathroom by Edit 58 is just gorgeous.
EM: Who tidies up in your household, and how often?
JT-S: I am always tidying up after the kids. We have a cleaner once a week who is literally a godsend, but generally tidying clothes and toys is constant.
EM: What’s the worst thing your kids have done to your home?
JT-S: Pee and vomit on the rugs. Crayon on the sofa. Standard when you have kids.
EM: Can you give us a tip or two on how to stop kids destroying your home?
JT-S: You can't be too precious; you have to have furniture in their main play areas that you aren't too worried about because it will get trashed. Kids will be kids and I want them to be relaxed and happy and not worrying about what they touch. I put the nicer sofas in the living rooms where they don't spend so much time and got cheaper sofas for the playroom so I wasn't freaking out every time they went near it. Crayons/play doh and paint ONLY on the table, no shoes in the house are obvious rules, but however clean their hands are we always seem to end up with grubby paw prints all over the walls...