Anyone else feeling pulled in multiple directions right now? Feeling resolved and courageous in one moment and helpless, angry, and frustrated another? One client recently said to me, “I feel like I’m sitting shiva for my country.” I can relate.
It is challenging for a feeler like me to talk about interior design right now, when I feel so much pain for humanity and what we’re all going through. I am a Beauty Maker at heart and I can’t help but want to make things better, to transform fear into love, and messes into order. I want to help others feel better — and I do that by transforming environments into spaces that support us in our lives.
And all of it starts at home. Home is where we recover and feel supported by the comforts of safety and love. Where we heal from the difficulties of life, where we find our connection to ourselves and others and where we spend time in reflection with ourselves.
But when the luxury of a safe, comfortable, and warm place to be is not accessible to everyone, the humanitarian feels conflicted. How can I do what I do when so many are suffering? When there is so much inequity in the world?
Does my work scream white privilege? The short answer is yes. And there’s more to it than that.
I am passionate about my belief that when people feel filled up, safe and happy, we have much more energy to be the humanitarians we want to be; we are able to return to our true nature, sharing what we have and caring for others.
Because of my fluctuating mental and emotional states, feeling despair for our world, mixed with the will to soldier on and double-down on my efforts to beautify things, I have reconciled all of these reactions and drives together. My purpose is to improve our home environments so that we may be resourced in order to navigate through these uncertain times.
One way we resource ourselves is by tending to and beautifying our homes, including our backyards, decks, patios — in order to safely social distance together, because we human beings need to see and be with each other, in order to support ourselves and our communities.
Social distancing guidelines mean that people are not wanting to visit and be visited inside their homes. Current recommendations include family gatherings, or even a few friends, gathering together, outdoors, with 6-ft spacing.
It’s amazing how much we humans can adapt.
My family experienced a socially-distanced middle school graduation party for my daughter Jett. And unexpectedly, it was every bit as cozy as it would have been were we to be indoors. It was profoundly moving to see the girls spread out with space between, adapting to the rules, while maintaining their joy, their connection to each other.
The secret to the intimate feeling of the party was in the details. Our hostess, who is beyond humble about her decorating talents, had implemented a few key elements to create comfort. There were extra blankets laying about, pillows on benches, and an area rug laid out under the furniture. She had strung bistro lights over one area and added a small propane fire pit with Adirondack chairs spaced widely around it. There was music playing on the Sonos and a picnic table covered in a beautiful textile and decorative plates. A giant tub of ice filled with drinks. It was a memorable night.
If, like me, feeling resourced leads you to a desire to invest in your community and help others, you may already have an organization or many you are supporting — as most people I know in Piedmont are beyond generous with their fundraising efforts and donations. And, if you would like my recommendation at this time, here are two organizations that I personally support: The Color of Change (colorofchange.org) which is a political action organization dedicated to creating a more human and less hostile world for black people in America, and MISSSEY (misssey.org), an Oakland-based organization that combats sexual exploitation and human trafficking, particularly of young women — a practice that disproportionately affects women of color.
May we all stay connected and be nourished during this challenging time. As always, if there is a way my team and I can support you, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
A version of this article appeared in the Piedmont Post