I recently stayed at an AirBnB in Mexico that was perfection! The home, gorgeously layered with textiles, tiles, blankets, furnishings, and especially art that simply dropped me to my knees.

I think many people these days are becoming more attuned with the idea of having spaces around us that are nourishing and they are willing to put time, attention, and care into making that happen for themselves and their guests.

This Living Room truly inspired me and welcomed relaxation

This Living Room truly inspired me and welcomed relaxation

Just like with the slow food movement, there is a slow design movement. Slow is about being more in-tune with our natural, animal bodies; inhabiting a place internally and externally where there is less rushing and more ease, more presence. That is my aim, that places like hotels and AirBnBs let go of the sterile, antiseptic aesthetic that ruled for so long, in favor of a culture and aesthetic that is warm, welcoming, and appeals to our humanity.

This trip to Mexico was also about slowing down, being in the pause, between summer and the coming school year, between my kids as “kids” and as the adults they are becoming, expanding this moment so that we can really be with each other, reveling.

From the moment I contacted the owner of this particular AirBnB, I knew the experience was going to be special; because of her level of kindness, her generosity of spirit. I knew that her home would reflect that. And when I showed up there I found that this was absolutely true.

A gracious home with perfect indoor-outdoor flow includes an outdoor dining room

A gracious home with perfect indoor-outdoor flow includes an outdoor dining room

Every detail, from the gate, to the hummingbirds and butterflies in the garden, to the way the interiors of the home integrated with the outdoors, the landscaping, the thoughtfulness that went into selecting the materials, the art, the lighting, and the textiles, really made it special.

It didn’t match, but it all harmonized. This is key.

The interplay of patterns and textures is sublime

The interplay of patterns and textures is sublime

I recently went into a house where all the light fixtures were from the same designer and manufacturer, and immediately I felt my soul deflate. What a stark contrast to the warmth of this hacienda-style house in San Pancho, Mexico; as I wandered through taking in the stoneware scones glazed with perfect bone white, the primitive cut-out patterns, the antiques, the books thoughtfully chosen and placed throughout.

In our lives, we have to stop and savor. During this week in Mexico, and really all of the time in my life, I have made a conscientious effort to slow down and sit in these pauses for as long as I can. I believe a soulful life is made by savoring — a meal, a moment, a book…

I’ve been reading the most amazing book, loaned to me by a client: Fresh Water for Flowers. It’s all about the passing of time and lives. Having the time and space to savor that delicious book while savoring the closing of this chapter, enjoying the satisfaction of time with family, time in this beautiful home, the fruits of choosing and making a concerted effort to just be in the moment.

When we are moving too fast, we don’t see the miracles that are happening all around us. Choosing a place that is a sanctuary and a nourishing space to be in, and slowing down, is such a gift to give oneself. My invitation to everyone is to slow down and be intentional; to be a curator of your life, your friendships, your vacations…

And to be conscious of the value in creating a home that is soulful no matter who comes in, you, your family, guests. Everyone will feel it and feel better for it.

A trio of images from Laura's trip to San Pancho, Mexico.

Perfect touches everywhere 

Photo Credits: All photos by Laura Martin Bovard

A version of this article appeared in the Piedmont Post