Like any parent, Joseph Altuzarra’s lifestyle changed when he had a kid. Suddenly, sketches were for collections and coloring books, wardrobe staples included both trench coats and machine-washable onesies, and a good read could either be The New Yorker or Goodnight Moon. So, obviously, his home had to change, too.
But there was a problem: Kid-friendly furniture felt disposable and temporary, despite the fact that childhood is an ever-evolving, decades-long period. “When I was working on decorating my kid’s rooms, everything I was finding was either very, very kiddie, and not something that I felt they’d grow into, or things that were too grown up,” he says. “I felt like there was an interesting space in the middle, where a room could transition from being a true baby room to being one for an older child that still feels appropriate.” So Altuzarra did what he does best: he designed what he was imagining, then brought it to life.
Altuzarra approached his West Elm line the same way he does a collection: with a mood board. He found himself drawn to gilded Byzantine drawings of the zodiac, as well as 1920s chiffon textiles embroidered with the cheerful clouds of summer. Soon, he realized that the motifs matched the personalities of his two daughters, Emma and Charlotte.
“They mirror our girls—and how I think about them and what they gravitate toward,” he says. “The zodiac design is about wonder and storytelling, which is where my three-year-old daughter Emma is from an age perspective. Meanwhile, Charlotte, who is one, was born in the summer and has an incredibly sunny disposition. I wanted this world to have her sweetness as well as a sense of cocooning and comfort.” As a labor of love, he drew all the patterns in his West Elm collection by hand. (Emma, by the way, made sure to give her father some feedback: “Her favorite is definitely the Star Quilt,” he says, laughing.)
In a nod to their roles as miniature muses, both girls feature alongside their father in the collection’s campaign. It was an emotional moment for Altuzarra and his husband, Seth: “There is something really beautiful about being able to share what our family looks like and how much joy we have,” he says. “We are just one type of family among many.”
This article was originally published on Vogue.com.