Hong Kong-born designer Jo Berryman worked in fashion – with stints at Elle alongside a 10-year career at Agent Provocateur – before launching her own interiors consultancy firm,
joberryman.com. She lives in Hampstead, North London, with her husband Philip Bergkvist, and her children – 9-year-old Nico and Romy, nine months…

What are your tips for a stylish family-friendly home?
My home is dynamic and evolving, I love to rearrange books on shelves, art and furniture. For me, a static home is a dull one… My top tips are:

Accessorise boldly – cushions, throws and rugs are a cost-effective way to enliven a tired and dour scheme. Invest in a couple of show-stopping pieces like a sofa, rug or artwork, which become the foundation for an enduring overall look. Regular clear-outs keep your home seasonally on-point and can be a great way to support charities if you choose to donate. Also, designate a wall or corner to display reams of term-time accomplishments, write haiku on or do handstands against. A family home has no time nor space for perfectionism.

What does your average day look like?
My daughters and I are early birds, we’re up at 6:30am. Our drill centres around getting washed, dressed, fed and out the house by 8am for Nico’s school drop-off. Our nanny arrives at 9am, and she’ll take Romy, which gives me time to exercise, usually Barre, pilates, movement or a weight-session at the gym, before heading off to the studio for 11am.

I work with a core team of three people and an in-house architect based in Berlin. Google hangout has revolutionised the way we work as it allows for location flexibility. I check in with my senior designer, go over pressing to-do’sresearch new suppliers and meet with them. Site visits tend to take place at the beginning and end of the week. I’ll squeeze in as much time within a working week to visit an exhibition, check out new music, mooch in an out of antique shops along the New Kings Road or flick through previous editions of World of Interiors. What I do outside the studio inspires so much of what I do within it, plus I’m useless in a full-time sedentary position.

I don’t chastise myself for having no time to bake cookies or take Romy to Monkey Music. I’m a role model for my girls and proud of all my achievements

I’m home by 6:30pm to go over homework with Nico, feed both the kids and start the evening bath and bedtime routine. Once Romy’s in bed, Nico and I have a sacred few hours to discuss her day, read, or get lost in a movie – we’re having a Studio Ghibli moment right now. When both are sound asleep, this presents a golden opportunity to get lost in more research, emailing or catch up on social media. I’m usually in bed by 10:30pm.

You have two daughters, 9 years apart; how does having kids at different stages in your life compare? Are their advantages to doing it earlier or later?
Both children were profoundly longed for. Nico’s birth was very medical and consultant-lead, I ended up with an emergency C-section and Romy was born at home, which was a tribal and empowering experience. I’m still in awe of my body and its capabilities. I’m physically and mentally stronger now than I was in my twenties. The girls are gifts and I feel blessed to have replicated a similar dynamic I share with my sister, who is 11 years my junior.

Nico is a sensitive child so Romy’s arrival was a shock at first but now she can’t imagine life without her. It’s beautiful to witness Nico’s personal growth in this area and I am overwhelmed by her capacity for nurture at such a tender age. Romy brings so much joy to our lives, I truly believe that her gentle birthing experience has left a powerful imprint and she’s extraordinarily present and calm as a result.

What’s the most surprising thing you’ve learnt as a parent?
Babies are stronger than we think, I had Romy hanging off a pull-up bar at six months. She’s a little gladiator.

How do you manage motherhood and a career?
Often it feels like a carnivalesque, spinning-plates routine. I manage as best I can with the support I have and don’t chastise myself too heavily for having no time to bake cookies or take Romy to Monkey Music. I’m a role model for my girls and proud of all my achievements so momentary absence is a small price to pay.

What lessons do you want to impart to your children?
Fearlessness, compassion and patience are extraordinary virtues and yield many gifts.

What are you buying your kids for Xmas?
A piano for Nico and dinky new clobber from Greenberry Kids for Romy.

What will you be doing this time in 10 years?
I designed and am on the board of 42 Acres, a heavenly retreat centre in Somerset so I envision running empowering and creative retreats, and also to have designed and be involved in more boutique retreats globally.

More in Regulars

Writers Bloc #1 Val McDermid

By , 25th September 2018
Features, Regulars
From imposter syndrome to plotting, in a new series for Marie Claire authors give me chapter and verse on how the writing process works for them - starting with multi award-winning crime writer Val McDermid, who has written 32 books in as many years

The Lives of Others #6

By , 23rd July 2018
Education, Features, Regulars, Travel
Georgie Higginson moved from the UK to Uganda 14 years ago. After losing their daughter to stillbirth, she and her husband were inspired to build a lodge on the banks of the River Nile, overlooking Murchison Falls National Park - an area once occupied by LRA rebels

Global Village #6

By , 9th July 2018
Design, Features, Regulars, Travel
Designer Kate Pietrasik lived in London, Edinburgh, New York and Byron Bay before moving to a town near Biarritz when her daughter was four years old. She reflects on life as a 'blended family', running her own business, and the joy of being rootless

Global Village #5

By , 21st May 2018
Regulars, Travel
When Rosalind Miller's daughter was born, the medical student was determined having a child wouldn't stop her moving to India to carry out her PhD field work. She reflects on swapping London for a local community in Bangalore with a toddler in tow

Global Village #4

By , 14th May 2018
Education, Regulars, Travel
From Scotland to Costa Rica (via East London, New York and Mexico). Mother-of-four Abigail Pilcher talks multiple relocations, opening – and closing – a guesthouse, and how a holiday to Turkey inspired the move of a lifetime