Home Design for Family and Friends

Yesterday was a perfect example of community. Wait a minute – I thought we were talking about home design! We are…-“ish”.

Yesterday evening we hosted a guitar meetup at our house. A guitar meetup is a group of people getting together to play guitar. In this case there were nine of us. We lost a few of our farther flung friends due to gas shortage concerns.

Having friends over intensified my desire to eliminate the back stairs in my house. Why? Because I have a wonderful open kitchen/family space that is great for entertaining. However, the second set of stairs (which we don’t need) makes for too small of a family room. I want to be able to host a larger circle of guitar players. I would like to sit farther back from my TV. I’d like to increase the views to my backyard by eliminating a side wall. More light, more people, more socialization = more enjoyment.

Why did I recently remodel my powder room? It was perfectly functional. However, I did not like it. By changing materials, colors, shapes, and textures, I changed the mood of the room. The powder room serves the exact same purpose but now it makes me happy every time I walk in 🙂 See photo above!

Sometimes we remodel because items are worn out. Sometimes we want to change function or flow. Sometimes we just want our homes to represent who we are at this point in our lives. Most often, we change design because we want to make our homes more functional, comfortable, and inviting for ourselves, our families, and our friends.

Let’s jump back to community. While playing guitar, my next door neighbors needed some help. After sending their upcoming travel itinerary to several of us neighbors, they realized that they didn’t have enough gas to get to their destination. Since there is a gas shortage due to the Eastern pipeline closure, a few of us pitched in and gave them our lawnmower cans full of gas.

Friends, neighbors, community, home.

Call me if you’d like a designer to help you achieve your dreams. Leslie

Mindfulness as a Source of Inspiration

Mindfulness is the practice of “being” in the moment. Practicing mindfulness has reduced my stress, improved my relationships, increased my focus, and enhanced my creativity. Mindfulness goes hand in hand with my thoughts on wellness, biophilic design, and designing spaces to improve and enhance our lives.

When I am able to remain in the moment for periods at a time, I am able to savor and appreciate those moments. What’s also nice about keeping my mind in the present is that stressful events are experienced but they end because another moment comes along to replace the stressful one. Now I certainly won’t say that I am the perfect mindfulness practicioner or that I don’t hold on to stress, but mindfulness helps.

HOW is MINDFULNESS a SOURCE of INSPIRATION for me? When my mind stays in the present moment, I hear what you are saying and feel the emotions behind it. I see how you live. I smell and taste the aromas and odors in your home. All of this input is taken into consideration when creating your spaces. Understanding your spoken and unspoken needs and desires is what inspires me to create unique design solutions for every client.

When my mind is in the present, I find much inspiration in nature. The amazing way that a plant sheds water (shouldn’t your shower glass do the same thing?). The color of light streaming in through a window (the color of light affects your mood and your biorhythm so how do we incorporate that?). The beautiful blending of colors in a sunrise (wouldn’t that make a beautiful color palette?). The sounds of water trickling over pebbles in a stream or washing across rocks at the ocean (will soft close doors eliminate the jarring slams of cabinet doors echoing through the house?) . These observations inspire thoughts of sound control in the home, where and how to bring in natural light and views of nature, color palettes that may invigorate versus palettes that create restful spaces. Those are just a few examples.

Two sources of mindfulness training that I highly recommend are the Mindful Awareness Research Center at UCLA (MARC)and Bliss Body Yoga in Raleigh. No, this is not a paid ad – I am just sharing resources that have been a help to me.

My favorite “teacher” at MARC is Diana Winston, the director. I am able to connect with what she is saying and her voice is soothing and keeps me on track. Some of my favorite guided meditations are the ones when she brings in Michael Perricone who plays Tibetan singing bowls. Of course we each have to find what speaks to us. My cousin finds the Tibetan singing bowls to be a source of irritation.

I love Colby, the owner, at Bliss Body Yoga. Her Monday morning gentle yoga class is an exercise not only for the body, but for the mind. I really need to rework my schedule so I can start attending more often. She has, however, put her studio’s classes on Vimeo so if you can’t make it in person, hop on Vimeo.

If you are interested learning how I can incorporate mindfulness, biophilic concepts, and wellness into your designs, please contact me at Leslie@LeslieCohenDesign.com