HOUSE THERAPY: RELAXING
What else is your home really for? It isn’t meant to be stimulating in the adrenaline pumping way of an aerobic workout or climbing to the top of Machu Pichu. It isn’t meant to be stress-inducing, producing angst the way an argument with a co-worker or a political debate might. Nor is it meant to be a stage set where you perform for the world. Home does, however, have to work hard and function on many levels. Consider that your home’s most important job is being your haven, your place of respite, your shelter. Now, how do you know if your home is doing its job? Well, are you relaxed?
How do we create a home that is relaxing? Anyone you talk to about this, and I’d suggest you do, will give you a different idea. It can be very personal. For me, to have an overstuffed lounge chair and big screen TV does not produce much more than anxiety, though I do like comfort. Some would argue that the same lounge chair and TV is relaxing for them and falling asleep in same is proof (however, studies show watching/sleeping to TV is not actually relaxing or healthy).
Think about these things:
Tactile Energy – Think raw wood next to lacquer.
Restrained Quietude – Think limited palette, low contrast value (darkness to lightness ratio).
Complex Simplicity – Think monochromatic color scheme with intentional contrasting color.
Sense of Humor – Think humor, wit – being serious all the time is not relaxing.
Sensuality of Time – Think watching the passage of the sunlight through a room or garden.
Knowledge of Place – Think about how comforting it is to know where you are in the world.
Appropriate ‘Fit’ness – Think how your house fits in your neighborhood, town, state, continent and how the objects fit in each room and with you.
While you’re home, take your copy of FACE, a notepad and pen and go to two places in your house (Forget about your day and distractions, get grounded, then GO):
• First, sit in your favorite spot, wherever that is.
• Next, go to the most important place, the place you would go with guests, friends or family. These may be exactly the same; they may be different areas of one space; they may be on completely different floors.
• Are you there? Consider the “Think” list above while you’re in these places.
Do it for yourself, and if that doesn’t work for you — do it for me. As you ponder and look around with these concepts in mind, jot down whatever comes up…no filters. HINT: You really want to feel the same level of stress-free relaxation in both places!
Let me know how it goes…
About the author: Ren Campbell has practiced the discipline of architectural interior design for over 30 years. He’s been a University studio instructor and currently consults with individuals on their issues concerning their homes and how they live in them. For House Therapy questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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