A home isn’t a just place, a building with walls and a roof…..it’s a feeling that envelopes you as you walk in the door. It’s a feeling of togetherness, love, serenity, rest time, playfulness and rejuvenation. It’s the space where you come together with family, friends, and of course pets, and are truly authentic about who you are and what you want for you, your family and the world. It’s the space where you reflect on the historical experiences and connections you have made along your life journey.
Creating that space so that the flow and the feel is where you want to come back to at the end of the day is not so easy. It’s an explorative journey of you as a human being; what you love, what you hate, what inspires happy memories, what you’ve collected through your journey of life, where you want to go and the things that you and your family love to immerse yourselves in. It just takes making time to consider what is important to you, collecting images that inspire and mirror what you’re looking for, rearranging some furniture and spending some money (unfortunately, this point can’t be left out!).
The allowance for creativity, flow and playing in a home is vital for me and the way I decorate. I love people’s homes where you can see that the family really LIVE in their space. They mess there. They lie on the floor there. They rumble and tumble there. It’s not precious, but rather has to be cleaned regularly for the serious LIVING that goes on daily.
On top of the real daily living story is a consciousness that goes with how everything is placed together. It’s not just a cold, unfeeling placement of items together like something out of a high-end decorator’s magazine. Rather it’s a placement of beautiful, loved pieces that have their own story and gives you an idea of the essence of the people who live and breath in that space.
It all sounds so romantic doesn’t it, but this was not my reality to start with. When I was in my late 20’s I lived in a gorgeous old house in Vredehoek (Cape Town) with three fabulous, quirky housemates where we had no furniture. I totally loved it for the year that I lived with them. And I mean TOTALLY loved it! All I owned was my bed, my clothes and some crockery and cutlery, and there were no chairs, no bedside tables, no couches, no side tables, no coffee tables and no TV. I had no light in my bedroom (the ceiling was too high to change the light bulb) and I couldn’t afford a bedside light. It just was not a priority. So I bought candles to allow me to read at night, found an old pallet from a Pick ‘n Pay tip, painted it white and happily immersed myself in the simplicity of daily life. I focused on my new job, connections with my eccentric housemates (which proved to be life changing) and Saturday mornings at the local Spur drinking bottomless cups of coffee.
But over 2 decades later (and a serious two year abstentian from my caffeine addiction), the thought of sitting on the floor just doesn’t really appeal. And my current housemate is my fabulous child who needs to be clothed and fed, and he definitely wouldn’t want to sit on the floor while we ate our supper (although I’ve never actually asked him what his thoughts are on this matter). I suspect he’d be horrified, but in his own creativity would probably make a plan to overcome this uncomfortable situation.
Another reality is that I have only ever bought things for my home that I absolutely love. Big problem for me. It means I only bought my first couch at the age of 44 years old. For decades I have gone without side tables, coffee tables, lamps, TV units….all those things that you are supposed to have when you’re a grown-up. Instead, I have used wine crates, old doors, pallets and scaffolding planks for furniture much to my family’s amusement and horror. But why buy something just for the sake of having it? I need to really want it. Hence my part-time course in interior decorating came to nought, but that of me playing the world’s best decorator in my own home.
So anyway, here’s a couple of tips that have guided me on my happy journey to creating my sanctuary space:
- The principles of Feng Shui. I received assistance from a Feng Shui consultant many years ago and the advice she gave me has been invaluable. Choosing colours and deciding where to put my goodies didn’t seem as daunting as before, so I highly recommend this process if you have no idea where to start.
- Plants are a hugely important part of my home. I usually choose indoor plants that
filter the air so they don’t only provide beauty but also have a purpose. One or two orchids in the bathroom is never a waste. There’s something so exquisite about these intricate floral creations with their waxy leaves. Take a breath, pay up, look after them and you’ll get years of joy when you see a bud appearing.
- My wonderful aunt Lesley explained this part perfectly……”it’s all in the layering.” This means you don’t just have a chair standing alone. You add a scatter cushion, a cosy throw and a small side table with a plant or photo frame on it. Then, you don’t just have a coffee table. You have a tray with plant and a couple of beauty pieces, some coasters, maybe a beautiful book that you love to page through and wa-la…your table is gorgeous.
- And then, of course, the most important part! Art. This doesn’t mean you have to spend your annual salary on a collector’s art piece. Art is all around us. It’s your child’s first painting, a sepia photographic print of your childhood home, one of your grandmother’s breakfast plates, an antique looking print of the map of Africa that cost you R50 at a local market…..and the list goes on. Here it’s all about the framing. You can either spend a fortune at a master framer in your area, or go and buy yourself a selection of cheap and cheerful frames that in some kind of way have a connection. It can either be the colour or the style of frame that is similar and then, with the help of some fabulous DIY fanatic, plan your layout, drill some holes, and the results will be incredible. There are various ways of hanging your collection, but that’s another story for another time.
Luckily for me, I have my own personal art collection available to me of my parent’s paintings (both seriously talented artists), as well as my own works of art and my son’s beautiful creations. These pieces of art personalize the space to be my own. Each person has unique tastes, and the art you choose to adorn your precious walls with will speak like a historical novel, telling the story of your life and the magnificence of who you are.
Fly like a bird on the wind with your home. It’s your sanctuary. Love it and own it. Good Luck!
Categories: Interior Decor