Creating CONTENTment

A small thought for today. I have been thinking about content I create and want to focus on how this can be used for creating contentMENT instead of just a constant appetite for more content. So how do I do that? How as a designer who is helping to create new space, do I span the extremes of maximalism and minimalism. Do I encourage materialistic thinking by posting interior photos, or am I just celebrating beauty? These are the questions I have been pondering and trying to make sure I refine with what I truly want for myself, my company, and my clients.

We hear the lots of advice all the time that speak of caring for ourselves wisely. Anthems of "love yourself", "self care", "treat yourself" - I think there is a time and place for many of these, but with my design practice, I have been contemplating the space I particularly want to occupy.

Design is often seen as a luxury service product. That is wonderful, but I want to help people - typically those in the luxury market are looking for fullfillment from things and I don't want to feed insatiable appetites. I want to work with the projects that are trying hard to have a space that supports meaningful lives. Not create spaces full of more things to impress people and attempt to purchase self-worth.

I want to help you create a space that supports you in who you are meant to be, who you need to be for others, and doesn't burden you with keeping up with the Joneses! Let's create spaces that represent heirloom living - purchasing thinking its for life - not for a season. Sounds pretty wild right? It's what most generations before us did and I want to get back to that slow, earned, and meaningful living. 

So what does that look like? I think it means buying well once. Buy things with good bones. Sure - in a decade or less perhaps we reupholster it, but think about how much less wasteful that is than the Costco couch on the curb? Something beautiful that your children would want is more meaningful, stylish, and simple to restyle as time goes by. If you really have a change of heart, then its also will fare much better in re-sale (you avoid the curb completely!).

What if this was our approach to everything? You see how it would put us in a place of buying better instead of whats available with free shipping and super cheap? Take the time to invest and slowly build your home. It will feel much more your own that way and support who you are, remind you of where you have been, and show others the authentic journey you have been on.

This is a concept I will be making more present in my own life and practice. I am sure there will be more to write about as I dig in and see how this applies on every level and gives more meaning to how I live and encourage my clients to as well!

Credits //
Photo from thumbnail from @carleinkieboom / @homestocknl

Millennial Pink / Cool Down Pink

Image and Caption by thecut.com 2007 : Acne Studios debuts its  pink shopping bag.  Jonny Johansson says he was inspired by “a pink sandwich-wrapper paper lying on my desk.”

Image and Caption by thecut.com 2007: Acne Studios debuts its pink shopping bag. Jonny Johansson says he was inspired by “a pink sandwich-wrapper paper lying on my desk.”

Hip Pink

Dusty Pink, Dusty Rose, Light Pink, Glossier Pink, Pepto Bismol Pink - whatever you call it - you know the pink I am talking about.

Apparently, I am not the only one who has been bitten by the pink bug - this article seems to indicate that this "pink plague" is attacking millenials everywhere. ALSO, The timeline of pink is AMAZING and worth a gander. The funny thing about this pink trend is that this color surfaces in the strangest places - like the cells where violent inmates are trying to be subdued.

Pink is such an interesting color - depending on time period, it was seen as androgynous. In recent decades in the US it has taken a more gender divisive role. How and why does our perception of color change like this over generations? Many times, what we associate with colors is not at all respective to what physiological effects the color may have on us. Who is deciding what the "meanings" are here and why do they end up meaning so much to how we identify or feel represented by colors? Perhaps we can blame marketing and the use of gender specific targeting to divide and conquer demographics.

Within this article there is a quote I love regarding this lovely light pink and its use in Wes Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel:

"It’s cheeky, sincere, and nostalgic all at once — which is perhaps why the earnest ironist Wes Anderson bathed the entirety of The Grand Budapest Hotel in the color — filling us with a bright, wide-eyed wonder and even, for at least a moment, keeping us calm."

I love the multifaceted reach that this color has - in the hippest places, the kid's aisle, and prisons. The way the color is being used is so varying that is really challenges us to think about the meaning of this color - or if that is truly a thing. We have to consider that the marketing and meanings are totally made up and we just have played along as a society for so long we assume these to be truths. See below for more about the use of pinks in medical and prison facilities. 


The Dark Side of Pink

Pink is indeed a calming color, I remember in design school learning about prison facilities painted this color as it calms people down physilogically. Articles as recent as last year have been showing the effects of this color theory being applied in Switzerland.  Germany has also started using this shade of pink to paint its cells, for example, in Dortmund, Hagen, Kleve and Attendorn.

Due to the divisive nature this color may have for those surrounded by it, there are debates regarding the physiological effects versus creating demeaning emasculating environments for male inmates.

This article from Design Curial/Blueprint pokes at the cross-cultural validation and repeated results that many of the studies to date have not truly replicated to create a solid consistent case for cause and effect. This is also the case presented by the Evidence based design journal noting;

"While the reviewed studies argue for the existence of colour-mood association, there is no reliable evidence to suggest a direct relationship between a given colour and a given emotion."

Additional resources are noted with in-depth explanations are here for a longform read that refers to several of the independent studies on color and behavior.

As a designer, I never get sick of color theory, the highly personal perception and reactions we each have to color, and the power of color in space. Design is powerful and the sweeping marketing of today's color will inevitably lead to repulsion in a short time (think about the avocado green appliances of the 60s - today I would argue most people would not welcome these into their homes).

Design Takeaway

Stick to the classics for items you anticipate owning for a long time. Put the trendy colors in your home into painted walls, artwork, rugs, and accent pieces. These can be changed out easily as your taste and trends change. 

Cracker Jack Prize

I can't help myself. Click here for my favorite pink musical moment .
The Onesie from pixels.com (photo from thumbnail) is is available here - just in case you want to engage with the freeing pink, expressive, world of Steven Tyler.

Design Delusions & Reality

I am not here to sell you an illusion.

Many times, I am asked to design homes and the reason I am coming in is a lot deeper than needing a new look. Sometimes, it's based on a dream for better family relationships, joyful picture perfect gatherings and a need to heal or grow into a new chapter of life.

Many times, there is a mentality of "build it and they will come" , or "build it and then I will be ready" - there is an expectation that with a renovated space bliss will ensue, everyone will behave, come at the right time, the food will look amazing, and the bathroom will stay clean and automatically refill the toilet paper. You get it - with this run on sentence we can begin to see the issue that many an instagram photo or  HGTV special tends to put into our minds. Perfection and reality are just at odds most of the time despite our greatest expectations. 

In the spirit of summer assignments (shoutout to my veteran teacher mom!) I have started about 4 books since May (sidenote: only finished one Anne Lamott's Travelling Mercies). One of the others currently being paged through is Lara Casey of Cultivate What Matters (and formerly Southern Weddings) Make it Happen. Ya'll this book is good for the soul.

On a personal level, it is challenging me to revalutate how I define purpose and success - and truly question where I am in accepting the path those definitions put me on. As a business owner - I feel challenged already to make things happen, but making sure I am intentional and NOT led by fear is critical! I love the counsel Lara gives about decision making and the fear based stories we can make a habit of telling ourselves.

Take a look at the excerpt below - its hits home for a lot of the spaces I walk into as there are issues bigger than any design solution that must start getting tackled to really make the entire vision come to reality. Heart work and Hard work are sometimes the same thing and are the unseen efforts that make a house home.

"You can clean your house from top to bottom, get new plants, buy new furniture, or cover your walls with a fresh coat of paint, but that won't transform the heart living inside those walls. Surface changes may make you feel new and refreshed but only for a short while."

- Lara Casey , Make it Happen


I am sure there will be more to share, but for this moment let that thought simmer and think about how the seen and unseen must both be worked on constantly and intentionally - and even then there are times we cannot anticipate or control the results. Life is suprising and thank goodness it doesn't end up the way I plan many times! I hate it at the moment as a planner/control freak, but years later, I see where my best intentions were hampered for the best of all involved - Thank God.

The Takeaway

My copy of this book is on my nightstand and I have been getting a chapter in either first thing in the morning or right before bed. I like the morning sessions as they really allow me to have a thought to chew on all day.

My copy of this book is on my nightstand and I have been getting a chapter in either first thing in the morning or right before bed. I like the morning sessions as they really allow me to have a thought to chew on all day.

 

Spaces are a reflection of us. How would your space look if you believe you are enough, you have enough, and you are willing to help others have enough? What does enough mean to you - is it relational, material or spiritual - or all of those things? Something to think about.

Also - this book - highly recommend. It's a workbook, personal testimony, and love letter all in one. Thank you Lara for sharing your heart and so much hard earned wisdom! 

Cracker Jack Prize

Click here for a moment I think perfectly portrays when purpose, passion,  pursuit, perfection and #allthefeels intersect.