It’s Monday! Or, it’s Mun-dayyyyyy….Hopefully I can soften the blow?
Today I am proudly offering up The Symmetric’s second feature in the ‘Natural Habitat’ series (you can see the very first one here). Leticia Luna is this brilliantly laid-back cool girl with out-there yet impeccable taste. Brutally honest, generous, secretly sentimental, hilarious, independent. Leticia has been kind of a lifeline to me over the last couple of years and for that I count myself extremely lucky (even if it sometimes takes her two weeks to return a phone-call, xx).
She was born into a big family in Brasilia, Brazil, had a wild raver adolescence, then went to art school and became a graphic designer. She and her husband moved to Toronto in 2005; for the past six years Leticia has worked at Concrete Design Communications where she focuses on fashion and cosmetics branding for the likes of Holt Renfrew, Perricone, and Bite Beauty. Leticia gave birth to her son, Nico, in April of 2011. Earlier this year, she separated from her husband and they currently share custody of Nico.
Leticia is the real deal and here she opens up a little about homesickness, being a working mother, and keeping things spontaneous.
“Nico and I share a three-storey/three-tiny-bedroom townhouse with a rooftop terrace that is perfect for the two of us; so actually not all that much has changed from before the separation.”
“This hanging lamp is from my grandmother’s house. I remember admiring it as a child. When she passed, I specifically asked to keep it. The poster is my favourite design by Nico’s dad. The picture is of an iconic staircase in the University of Brasilia where we both studied.
I tend to be spontaneous and slightly out of control, so I pretty much follow no routine.
The days I have Nico, I pick him up from daycare and if we feel like, we go to the playground before heading home to have dinner. Sometimes I cook, sometimes I order pizza, sometimes we eat out. We play, watch cartoons and movies, draw, read and chill together. We end up going to bed somewhere between 9-10pm. Sometimes I fall asleep with him, sometimes I take a few hours of downtime to myself.
The days I don’t have Nico are completely random. I will either work late, go for a drink or dinner, watch tv, do my nails, have a friend over or spend countless hours on my iPhone.”
“We moved into this townhouse when Nico was 2 months, so the space was pretty much tailored to the new life with a baby. However, I think I’ve managed to maintain a very adult environment – if it wasn’t for the toy basket in one corner, I don’t think people immediately identify my place as the home of a toddler. The only major change is the work-in-progress couch makeover. My gray IKEA pullout has been inked! One day, I looked over and Nico had drawn all over it with a blue marker. At first I tried to remove it, but of course that didn’t happen, so I embraced the idea and turned it into a free-for-all drawing board. It was very liberating!”
“After separating from my husband of 10 years, I now find myself living two lives: 50% as a real working mom with my son and 50% as a lost single lady with a busy mind.”
“Raising Nico without my family SUCKS. Brazilian families are very involved, so not having the support I know I could have back home is a source of real frustration. I am the youngest of four and I am the only child living away. I am very close to my family but in reality, the more time I spend away the harder it gets to keep in touch. I am known for being REALLY BAD at keeping in touch – I don’t email, don’t call and don’t Skype nearly as much as I should. Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the reasons to stay away from home… I dread facing the Canadian winter forever.”
“I bought this storage loveseat for our second apartment in Toronto. Despite being completely over the pattern, it is absolutely the most practical piece of storage for small spaces.”
“I hate my stove. The floral napkin is a very very very cheap cotton fabric called “Chita” that is popular in Brazil; it’s used for clothing and upholstery. My mom used it to make these napkins for me.
Three things I always have in my pantry: chickpeas, ginger beer and dark chocolate.”
“Nico’s play area: this is as messy as it gets. You can see some of the work-in-progress couch art . The roll of paper is also an evolving piece that is just coloured over and over and over again. It’s actually looking pretty awesome with all the layers of scribbles.”
“Oh the green carpet… when we bought the townhouse, I didn’t want to paint the walls any bright colours because the spaces are so tiny and I wanted it too feel as ample as possible. But I dreaded the lack of colour so I decided to put it on the floor instead! This pistachio green was exactly what I had in mind.”
“This quilt is probably my favourite thing in the house. It was made by my grandmother on my father’s side – it’s her signature design. She has made one for each of her 13 grandchildren as a wedding gift.”
“The people around me are what most influence my style, in terms of wardrobe and interiors.”
“This is Nico, 2.5 yrs old, playing with Pandinha, 28 yrs old. Nico knows Pandinha is mine, but he can borrow him for now.
My favourite time of day is the 15 minutes we spend together “talking” in bed before we go to sleep or after we wake up in the morning. When I say “night night,” he responds, “no mommy, we talking” – so we chat about what happened that day, I tell him about our upcoming trip to Brazil, we shit-talk about Lighting McQueen, etc.”
“Being a working mom was always a default in my mind. Back home, pretty much 100% of the mothers I know work, so it was never really something I considered as a “choice.” I experienced one year of maternity leave and it was enough confirmation that I was not cut out to be a stay-at-home mom, especially with a workaholic husband and without the support of my family. My son had acid reflux and did not sleep for more than 2 hours at a time. I got caught up in the obsession that sleep deprivation brings and ended up with post-partum depression. When Nico was 6 months old, I returned to Brazil for a few months and the crisis was averted (thanks to the help of my family, the warm weather, and a little thing called medication). After our return, I couldn’t wait to go back to work. I looked forward to NOT spending 24 hours with a baby. I know it sounds awful, but the truth is I did not enjoy dedicating myself solely to my son, even though I loved him more than anything. I was bored, tired and needed to feel like NOT a mom. Going back to work made me a happier person, and I was then able to thoroughly enjoy every second I did spend with Nico.”
“If I could change one thing about my living space, I would transfer my rooftop terrace to a walk-out on the main floor. I can’t live without a hammock. I grew up with hammocks on every bedroom and balcony of the house. We were rocked to sleep on them as babies, turned them into amusement park rides as kids, and now we chill the f*ck out on them as adults.”
Amen to that. Thank you, Leticia – for your always generous hospitality and candour.
All photos by Shanan Kurtz/The Symmetric.