Between the fresh air, the finger food and the company of family and friends, picnics in the park are amongst our favorite of life’s little pleasures. But let’s face it: sprawling out mismatched tupperware on an old bed sheet doesn’t exactly make for a special meal. Luckily, there are myriad ways to elevate your al fresco outing, many of which conveniently live in a lovely little online shop called The New Domestic—from a classic striped picnic blanket to hand-painted steel carriers to keep your dinner from getting cold.
“I’ve always thought that domestic life could be a beautiful thing,” says Nerissa Goco, the designer, blogger, and shopkeep behind the budding brand. If “domestic” conjures images of Betty Draper, it shouldn’t: a graphic designer by trade, Goco’s aesthetic is bright and modern, and her site offers a refreshing take on living well at home and abroad, the latter through lush photos of her family’s travels.
In 2009, she was on maternity leave and started the blog as a creative outlet to share DIY projects, recipes, and stories—and, naturally, adorable photos of her baby girl, Luna. As the months wore on, she began receiving emails from readers, thanking her for inspiring them to embrace domesticity in their own lives. When the time came to decide whether to go back to work at her graphic design studio, she faced a difficult choice. “I thought, well if I’m going to stay home I still have to create. I still have to design. I can’t just do nothing.” And thus, her shop was born.
From a single product—a cheerful, graphic printed tote—The New Domestic has gradually expanded to a diverse but tightly-curated assortment of home goods, either designed by Goco, like the sturdy weekenders she paints in her studio, or hand-picked, like the three-tier tiffin carriers she recently added. Inspired by the carriers commonly used to transport meals in her native Philippines, the whimsical tins are hand-painted in brightly-hued florals in a mountain town in India. “I always make sure that when I partner up with someone, it’s never a factory,” she says. “It’s always hardworking artisans that have a lot of passion and pride in what they do.”
Goco’s own passion comes through readily, both in conversation and on her blog, and it seems she’s already passing it along to her daughter. Recently, she recalls, she asked Luna, now four, what she wanted to be when she grows up. Her answer? Own a shop and paint bags, of course. What else would you expect growing up with the simple philosophy that, “It’s always been about surrounding yourself with beautiful things.” When you do, Goco says, “I think you’re just happier, because you’re inspired.”