Some people make their way to their careers in a straight, preordained line. My path to interior design came later in life but there were telltale signs in my past that looking back, alluded to my late found passion for decorating and design.
At some point during my early childhood, I acquired a tiny engraved wooden box no more than a three-inch cube. I’m not clear as to its origins or the way that it came into my ownership. The small scale and seemingly unfathomable detail made it my prized possession. Looking back, the quality and age were nominal, but in the eyes of a small child it was a treasure chest of the finest craftsmanship.
As time went on it became home to a small but cherished collection of trinkets. The “chest” contained a small pewter figurine, a crystal, pottery shard, and a couple stones (basically my greatest treasures).
When my parents divorced, I took it all in stride, almost internalizing it as a new chapter of adventure. My mother had done a good job of insulating me from the conflict between her and my father so it was easier for me to accept it matter-of- fact that they would be separating. My father’s job kept him in other cities for long periods of time so I was already accustomed to being on my own with my mother and seeing my dad periodically. I enjoyed this new phase in a new city with new friends. I think there was something exciting about having two homes and transitioning between the two. However, some of these transitions as my parent’s navigated joint custody and their own complicated lives were abrupt and traumatic for me. Had it not been for my grandmother, my childhood would have been much more chaotic. Her home remained a constant throughout my life and when things got difficult for my mom and dad as new single parents, I always had a sanctuary at my grandmother’s.
Unknowingly, I developed a coping mechanism for these frequent changes by taking my small box with me and creating a space to display its contents. Creating this small space had a soothing and grounding effect on me. My little box became a traveling ark with my magical totems. When displayed together with the wooden box they became a little traveling shrine that infused me with a sense of power and security that I needed during those times.
I’ve come to see how this traveling shrine played such a huge role in my desire to create comforting and grounding spaces in my rooms and homes as an adult. Being moved around so much as a child gave me a stronger desire to create my own space and better sensitivity to the effect that a space has on us. I was learning how to resourcefully make my space as comforting and restorative as possible. And that’s what our homes should be: a comforting and inspiring reflection of us as individuals. I’m fortunate to now have the opportunity to help others in creating their homes.
I no longer have the box or even know what happened to it but I still have my collection of artifacts that give me a sense of ownership and connection to my space. My desire to decorate only grew stronger. Today I still have a special collection of cherished objects much like a matured version of my box (this one is mounted to my wall though). While I still strive to remain unattached to “things”, the objects in our home that give it identity are important for us to feel balanced and at peace in our space. Some of our possessions will always hold their importance through our lives but it is important to let things go as we change to make space in our lives for new growth.