How This PR Powerhouse's Serene Beverly Hills Home Allows Her to Be '100% Present'
Welcome to Mama Cribs, a Fashion Mamas Journal series where we shine a light on the gorgeous homes inhabited by inspiring mothers.
Photos: Ryan Eng
Anyone who works in the fast-paced world of public relations knows that you've gotta be ahead of the game to survive. (Translation: In the wise words of Rihanna, you've gotta work, work, work, work, work.) For PR powerhouse and Fashion Mamas LA member Shannon De Laat, creating a serene space to come home to has been the key to striking that elusive balance between career and family.
"I'm working on getting there, but ideally it means being able to be 100% present with my family when we are together and not having to be thinking, Wait, did I email that presentation?," she says. "I also [want to] feel passionately consumed in my work, armed with the knowledge that I'm making a positive impact in the world. It is on my 2018 vision board to take on work more geared towards social impact and the non-profit space."
In addition to consulting PR for Neutrogena, the marketing maven is also helping public relations network The PR Net grow its LA presence. Needless to say, De Laat knows how to keep busy — which is why her light-filled Beverly Hills abode reflects her mission to create a zen-inducing getaway as soon as she steps into the door. She and her husband are both minimalists and she's a self-professed "clean freak," so they opted to design their interiors around the concept of peacefulness.
"After living in New York City for eight years, we actually had to adapt to the 'quiet' of living in the hills. It felt strange hearing birds chirp in the morning [instead of] sirens and cars honking," she explains. Infused with touches from her family's global travels — they recently visited relatives in Australia — the home's naturally bright white space is accentuated with light furniture "to further reflect and generate a sense of calm."
The Canadian-bred PR pro invited us to spend a relaxing morning with her family and get a sense of her relaxing abode (her adorable son, Hugo, has grown quite a bit since then). Read on below to find what she's currently working on (including her "side hustle"), what she loves about living in LA so far, where she shops for globally-inspired home decor items, and more, and scroll through the gallery below to see more glimpses of her sunny living room, outdoor terrace, and bedroom.
Interview by Nara Walker; intro written by Fashion Mamas Journal editor Danielle Directo-Meston.
What is your profession? Who do you live with?
I’ve been working in the marketing and communications industry for 15 years, I have a robust community of global brands and agencies that rely on my expertise and passion. Currently the majority of my time is spent supporting a New York based PR agency with the expansion and growth of their West Coast business.
I am is pleased to call Los Angeles my home and “happy place.” I live in Beverly Hills with my husband Michael and one-year old son, Hugo.
Can you please tell us more about the PR Net Friday morning events?
The PR Net is my "side hustle." I support founder and friend, Lisa Smith, in growing the network's LA presence. We host monthly networking events for members who include senior level PR and marketing executives, leading entrepreneurs and media in the lifestyle industries. For me, this is a platform for our community to come together and share ideas and opportunities and create collaborations. In this fast-paced industry, it no longer makes sense to operate in a silo — there is more power in unity than division.
What area of LA do you live and what initially attracted you to the area and your home?
We live on a private street off Benedict Canyon, near Mulholland Drive. The peacefulness, scenic views and warmth were the first thing that attracted us to our home. I’ve always maintained that “home” should be a place you feel serenity and at peace. Bright natural light, clean, uncluttered space along with cozy areas to unwind are the key to achieving this for our family.
Now, living almost two years in LA — how has the experience been for you?
I love it! My husband and I commented just this past weekend that moving here was one of the best decisions we've ever made. Our quality of life is so much better in California than it was in NYC. As a Canadian, the mere fact that I can go for hikes in a tank top in February is just mind boggling. Our community of power-mamas in this group has also helped to make our transition a lot more comfortable. I've tapped into [the Fashion Mamas members Facebook group] a few times now for advice and baby related recommendations.
What are some of your favorite places to explore in the city with Hugo?
We recently discovered how much Hugo loves the beach and water. Will be planning more trips out to Malibu this summer. On weekends we like to take Hugo down to the Beverly Hills farmers market. He really loves animals (there isn't a dog in the world that he doesn't want to hug!) so we enjoy taking him to the children's petting zoo at the market.
If you could use three words to describe your personality, what would they be?
I’ve been told I have a contagious energy, especially when I’m very passionate passionate about an idea or cause. This parlays both in my work, and family life. If I had only three words, I guess they would be: Determined, charismatic and generous (I’m a firm believer in karma).
Describe the vibe of your home.
Our home is a revolving door to visitors. We welcome family and friends to stay with us, as we enjoy the time that it permits for meaningful conversation and just having uninhibited F-U-N in the privacy of our outdoor living space. Our home is a reflection of who we are: Open, warm, and inviting. We’ve worked hard to make our home feel like a sanctuary to escape the stress of work — or even just LA traffic. We host many BBQs and pool parties, hence the revolving door!
What is your favorite place in your home?
My bedroom! It gets incredible light in the mornings and the glass doors open directly into our hot tub. I guess it would only be fair to also say my closet. After living in New York with very little storage space, having a closet you can walk in is a gift from the shoe gods.
Where do you and your family spend the most time in the home and why?
Outside. For all of the aforementioned reasons we were ready to leave New York, space and outdoor living was high on the list. We have almost every meal outside, including large family gatherings or holiday dinners with friends. It was the first area of the house that we furnished.
What is your favorite item in your home and why?
Our oversized outdoor lounge bed (for two!) from Restoration Hardware. It is perfect for weekend snuggles with my boys.
How have you translated your aesthetic into your child’s room or nursery?
Yes, little does he know, he is going to be the tidiest, most well-organized little kid on the block. He already has a vast collection of stylish storage containers.
What is your favorite aspect about your child’s room? Do you have a favorite item?
His beautiful baby scent when I walk in. We invested in a great crib that will carry him from infant to toddler and beyond. We like keeping things simple.
What are some of your favorite brands/toys/accessories for the nursery?
We have so many books. I love reading out loud (and singing, much to my husband’s chagrin) so that he is constantly learning new words. Oh yes, and of course: cute storage baskets from Pottery Barn. Remember, this is going to be the most well-organized child around!
Is there a ritual that you have that you share with your children?
Bath time. My absolute favorite. He loves splashing around and we both share a similar loud laugh, straight from the gut.
What is the personality of the playroom?
What playroom? All of Hugo’s toys are in storage bins. Ha. Just kidding. Maybe. He currently has an area of the living room that he has taken over as his own. But now, as he is learning to walk, his “playroom” is anywhere his chubby little legs can take him.
Where do you shop for home decor items?
Anywhere and everywhere we see something that inspires us. I pulled the car over at an outdoor market in Malibu recently and found the most incredible Moroccan frames. My husband is a big fan of Restoration Hardware.
What has been one of the biggest home/life adjustments you’ve had to make as your family has grown?
I have to say that it hasn’t felt like there had to be a lot of adjustments. My husband and I make it a priority that we maintain our own lifestyle and that Hugo becomes a part of that mentality and existence. We take pride in traveling with him: We brought him to Australia at five months, Canada and are going to Spain this summer. Being able to be flexible when we go out with friends or have guests over is also something we want to maintain.
Nara Walker is a Fashion Mamas LA member, producer and writer.