The year 2013 was charmed for television personality, designer, and North Shore resident Monica Pedersen. Her daughter Holly was born in July, and six weeks later, she was shooting a primetime network design show scheduled to premiere sometime this spring. As she gets ready to ring in 2014, Pedersen looks back.
On New Motherhood after Age 40
We had been trying for a while—it took a little longer than we thought. I pretty much put it in God’s hands, and when we found out we were pregnant, we were thrilled! The whole pregnancy journey was just amazing, one of the best times of my life. It was so exciting to finally start our family—if I could, I’d like to give a shout out to anyone over 40 having a baby. Another reason to get pregnant after 40 is to be taken care of by the amazing staff at Evanston Hospital Maternal Fetal Medicine. That whole experience was just incredible.
When I found out everything was going well and I was having a girl, it was Christmas, so there was this Christmas connection. I was looking at my Christmas china—literally at about 12 weeks—and remember thinking how wonderful it would be to pass this on to my daughter someday. We had tried a bunch of different names, and just kept coming back to “Holly,” which was inspired by a very special girl on the North Shore named Holly Meers. Holly was born in July. I said, “Yep, she’s Christmas in July!”
It’s been an amazing experience, everything I could imagine it to be, the amount of love you feel, and also the amount of work. I have so much respect for both working moms and stay-at-home moms.
Holly was a little colicky and fussy at first. Nights were long and sleepless, mostly spent pacing the floor, but she eventually outgrew it. It was a great test of patience and endurance. Now she’s 4 months—17 weeks. She’s sleeping five-hour stretches, so it’s much easier now. But put your seatbelt on.
On Becoming a Working Mom
When my baby was 6 weeks old, I got an email asking me to fly out to audition for a new primetime network design show. I thought it was crazy, but my husband and my mom said, “Of course you can!” So I flew out there, auditioned for an hour, and flew back home. Ten days later, I had a contract in my hand. That was my first big decision as a mom—how was my career going to affect motherhood? But the hours were perfect—just three days a week of filming, so it was really the perfect job for a new mom.
On top of that, to be sought out as a design expert on a design show for a major network in prime time, was really a great opportunity. With the support of my husband, we hopped on a plane and came out. If you were to tell me about this when I was pregnant, I would have said, “No way.” But it’s amazing what you can pull off. My daughter is growing and thriving, and I’m able to do a job I love a few days a week. If I were left to my own devices, I’d probably be home with Holly in my pink bathrobe all day, but a job forces you to have some balance.
On L.A. Style
We shoot all around Los Angeles, from the beach towns to Palm Springs, the Valley to the mountains; we are everywhere. The terrain is diverse, and I also have grown to really appreciate the diverse architecture in L.A. We all have this idea of everything looking like Beverly Hills (new construction mansions), but there’s so much more to it than that, from mid-century modern homes to California bungalows, Spanish style homes to L.A. lofts.
I’ve found some nice people here and the weather is amazing, but deep down, I’m very homesick. It is different here—it’s very trendy. When it comes to fashion, I think Chicago is more about great taste and sophistication, as opposed to the taste of the moment. People in L.A. are also very skinny. It’s not the easiest thing going on national television weeks after having a baby, but to be filming in L.A. on top of it is sometimes a test of character.
On Her Design Aesthetic
My style is updated traditional with traditional design elements—draperies, upholstery, carpet, layering, the whole thing. I don’t think there’s anything wrong doing what’s expected, but doing it beautifully. My aesthetic is very North Shore—I’m not going to apologize for it. I like design that’s beautiful, livable, and functional, too. If I have to spend two hours going through emails every night, can I at least be sitting in a comfortable chair?
On the North Shore
There are so many things I miss right now. Everything’s spread out here, so it’s not convenient like the North Shore, where each town literally has everything you need. I miss Anton’s Fruit Ranch in Highland Park, Neiman Marcus in Northbrook (my favorite store!), Elizabeth Arden in Deerfield, Piero’s Pizza, and all the great food in Highwood. You can’t find good Italian in L.A. I miss fall—I can’t figure out what month it is here, the weather is the same every day. I miss driving up Sheridan Road and seeing the leaves changing colors. I’m so excited to be going home for the holidays. I can’t wait to play mom in my own house!
Special thanks to:
Photographer: Michael Dar
Hair & makeup: Francis for Factor Artists
Set design and holiday decor: Craig Bergmann Landscape Design
Shot on location at the John Hughes estate in Lake Forest.
The John Hughes Estate in Lake Forest
Our location for this shoot, 855 East Westminster in Lake Forest is a truly spectacular property that once belonged to John Hughes, the beloved filmmaker behind films such as
The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Planes, Trains and Automobiles, and Home Alone. One block from Lake Michigan, this beautiful 2.1-acre estate has 21 rooms, six en-suite bedrooms, 6.4 bathrooms, 10-foot ceilings, exquisite millwork, six fireplaces, a swimming pool, the home office with the tell-tale “H” emblazoned on the mantel, and the stunning library, where the screenwriting visionary crafted so many stories that will never be forgotten. Now this exceptional property awaits its next visionary. For more information, visit 855westminster.com or contact Ann Lyon at Coldwell Banker at 847-828-9991. –Jake Jarvi