Let’s take a breath. With Fall almost fallen and the hustle and bustle of the holidays just around the corner, I can’t think of a better time to store up on some essentials. Like air. And space. And light…. And everything a luxuriously soothing room offers if we can just bring ourselves to put every buzzing, flashing device out of sight to fully take in its comforts. My dream is an unplugged room, but not completely so. The key is cutting the right cords while dangling a few new lines of sight to invite eyes, then minds, to wander.
Some make their “do not interrupt” zones clear—a dedicated yoga room, reading room, workout space or meditation retreat. Others impose rules, using a catchall drawer to collect and recharge devices in bedrooms or during family meals for example. The greater majority of my clients, however, don’t need the added pressure of being told when and where to power down. For them I like to play shaman, laying access to inviting realms of escape right smack in their path.
A neutral-hued family space off the kitchen (above), for instance, is ready for repose with deep, sprawling sofas, a cocktail table built with custom cubbies for pull-out floor cushions (right, bottom), and nubby blankets stored handily near in a vintage, handcarved wooden trough. Add some greenery, oversize Minimal art for focus, and the mood is set. But even zen candles need a match. The spark comes from contrasts: moments so subtly incongruous as to break through technology’s starts and stops and inspire extraordinary moments of stillness.
Inside lofty heights, for instance. lean, long, low-slung furnishings and smaller, darker niches are especially sublime. Likewise an ethereal palette of dreamy pale blues and silvers is set off by the strong dark of a black-marble top table propped with art books, a white driftwood branch and chunky Tibetan prayer beads (right, top). More objects of intrigue lay on this same room’s center ottoman, covered in a handwoven indigo textile to appear as an exotic guest beside a formal French limestone mantel, skirted sofas and dressy Venetian mirror.
Build the path, and minds will travel! My advice: lay your breadcrumbs in varying proportion, and never in a straight line. The goal is to land eyes, then guide them on your shaman’s journey meandering toward greater depths of not just rest, but renewal. Or as I like to say, the bigger the “oooh” the more recharging the “aaaahs!”
Meet…drumroll…House of Windsor’s dapper new mascot, SUR ! Sounds distinguished, which he is, but note the spelling. Sur is named for “Big Sur,” that rugged, majestic cliffside stretch of coast along the drive from his former home, a San Francisco area fraternity house, and his forever home keeping watch on the stone pavers of our foyer floor. Seeing him there, keeping his cool, or catching some wind in his ears riding in my husband’s ‘66 convertible Corvette, I’m struck by how the depths of his dark, lustrous coat cast blue in sunlight. That kind of mystery just suits Sur. Like any large, lumbering male puppy, he hit us like a crashing wave. But it’s the stillness and depths of his love, his wit, his trust that lured us to dive in so very, very deep.
It’s a Zen tradition to express natural beauty through asymmetry. Our new bench achieves that balance between simplicity and dynamism, weighing an off-center cushion and matching bolsters with an open platform handy for resting a book, a glass, or in true Zen fashion, nothing at all.
Do we spy a hint of Harry Bertoia in your new Chasca lamp for Arteriors Home?
I’m just wild about Harry! And Pablo (Picasso)…
And a range of Modern artists who broke the rules of sculpture with inventive, improvisational drawing in three-dimensional space. Bertoia said his works, “are mainly made of air,” and even experimented with how they resonate sound. I’m more interested in creating something graphic and playful that layers soft, ethereal color inside of space and light.
Why white gesso and stained glass?
The gesso is, in part, a throwback to another hero—Alberto Giacometti. But it’s pure white, artisanal texture is also the perfect canvas for a composition of sundrenched color.
“Chasca” is named for a Meso-American goddess of dawn and its color-stained glass echoes light’s effects on golden sands and ocean blues. I like to picture Harry and Pablo sipping mojitos beachside with their Latin contemporaries like Pedro Coronel and this prismatic sculpture as their cocktail napkin doodle!
Our latest nod to Midcentury style is as cute as its buttons! Petite yet full-bodied, our curved back chair offers a gentle body hug. Short, splayed legs add extra kick. Perfectly scaled for company, use these chairs wherever you want to feel nestled while also engaged with the person seated across. Try several circled around an ottoman and watch the conversation flow.
Our Room in a Box clients call this their yoga room. But one look at their list of wants suggested an alternate living space. A retreat snug for one, and playful to gather as a couple. Add some paperbacks and a record player (yes, vinyl!) and you have the opportunity for three R’s: rest, recreation and reconnection. Unplugged from what distracts, yet with sensory land lines to reconnect with each other and their shared homefront. !