As an interior designer and sanctuary seeker, I’m always game for a good tip. Maybe it’s a product to impart serenity to a client’s home. Or a lesson to enrich my inner life. Here are a few of my personal inspirations, which I’ll be sharing with you from time to time.
Otherland Candles.This is my go-to for the earthy fragrances I love. (I can appreciate florals and sweeter scents in other people’s homes, but find them distracting in my own. Everybody’s different!) My current earthy fave, Rattan, is a blend of sandalwood, amber and moss. It’s just enough scent to leave me wanting more. Test yourself: Does a candle, oil or spray fragrance inspire you to take that second, extra-deep inhalation—and then another? If yes, you’ve probably found a favorite.
Cadbury mini eggs. So many things make my “happy” list in spring, I’m almost embarrassed to admit this one’s so high on the list. But every chocolate lover knows Easter is an invitation to indulge. For me, Cadbury mini eggs are the ticket (not to be confused with the larger ones with the icky fake yoke). These mini morsels are perfectly proportioned to pop in your mouth. Then wait for it…that delicious dissolve into creamy chocolate richness. I love these sweet treats as both a rite—and a right— of spring.
Andy Warhol.He’s more to me now than those iconic Campbell’s soup cans and Marilyn Monroe collages. A tour of the late great Pop artist’s exhibition at Manhattan’s Whitney Museum opened my eyes to the breadth of his work and the depth of his character. One work, Camouflage Last Supper, still resonates with me. Teamed with a camouflage pattern from a fabric swatch, the photographic enlargement of DaVinci’s Last Supper is a fascinating comment on what Warhol saw as the converging influences of faith, global politics, and commercialism. Produced in 1986 at the height of the Cold War and only months before his death, it’s a huge work — almost seven feet tall by over twenty-five feet wide. I was utterly transfixed when I walked into the gallery where it hung, and I am transfixed still.
Juhani Pallasmaa. Here’s a man who really gets how people interact with their built environments. His deep awareness of environment is conveyed in his work, which also opens up others to a similar awareness. Juhani’s book The Eyes of the Skin, Architecture in the Sensesis an amazing little volume. I could quote passage upon passage that relate the poetry of his soul, but I’ll restrain myself to only two short quotes.
“The door handle is the handshake of the building.”
“Gravity is measured by the bottom of the foot; we trace the density and texture of the ground through our soles. Standing barefoot on a smooth glacial rock by the sea at sunset, and sensing the warmth of the sun-heated stone through one’s soles, is an extraordinarily healing experience, making one part of the eternal cycle of nature. One senses the slow breathing of the earth.”
Can you see how, as a designer and as a consultant and proponent of sanctuary, that this resonates with the truth within me?
Michter’s Bourbon. This is my new discovery for making the best Old Fashion cocktail. I discovered it on a trip to New York in the Elephant Bar(dark, moody with a huge elephant depicted on the wall) of the Nomad Hotel. The bartender told me it’s all she drinks in her Old Fashions—and now it’s the bourbon I ask for, too. Cheers to spring!
What ideas, events and items make up your list of special loves? If you don’t know immediately, do yourself the favor of a personal inventory. And please take a minute to share here. I’d love to know what inspires you.