blog

  • nesting season

    The autumnal equinox was almost two weeks ago but here in San Francisco we were just able to get a teaser of what true summer feels like in most other places around the hemisphere.  Needless to say that I had it mind to publish this a few weeks ago but with the beautiful weather, it made more sense to enjoy the outdoors while I could rather than sitting behind the screen.  So with the first cloudy, rainy day in some time, it couldn’t be a more fitting time for me to touch on this topic.

     

    Spring cleaning is part of most our vocabulary but how many of us have a ritual for this time of year?  As the days get colder and shorter, most of us tend to find ourselves spending more time in our homes.  What could be a better reason to make time to invest in our home with some deep cleaning and improvements?  Many of us spend summer weekends traveling and enjoying nature and for good reason, attention to our spaces takes a back seat when there’s hikes and beach days to be had.

     

    Fall is a great season to welcome in with a cleansing ritual in your space to make it a respite for rest, wellbeing, and creativity.  Maybe that just requires a deep cleaning?  Maybe it’s time for a purge of old clothes as we shift into warmer attire and take out our jackets and scarves?  Maybe it’s time to address projects that will make your home feel the way you want it too like painting, adjusting or purchasing new lighting, or a new acquisition like a rug.  Regardless, it’s a great time to invest in your space, whatever that requires.  Make your space a place that reflects and serves your highest self.  Welcome in the harvest and create a template for the new year that is right around the corner.

     

  • the shrine vs. the temple

    shrine  SHrīn/ noun

    1. a place regarded as holy because of its associations with a divinity or a sacred person or relic, typically marked by a building or other construction.

    temple  ˈtempəl/ noun

    1. a building devoted to the worship, or regarded as the dwelling place, of a god or gods or other objects of religious reverence.

     

    For the sake clarity of this small piece of writing of mine, please allow me to  temporarily suspend our common definition of the word Temple so that we may use it as a simplified juxtaposition of two congruent concepts.  I am intentionally using the two terms for their similarity in meaning and implied scale.  Yet for the time being, I would like us to think of  a temple as something more akin to a cathedral.  Both the shrine and temple being manifestations of the same initial reverence,  but the latter as an exaggerated expression.  Where the shrine is a humble place constructed out of personal devotion, the temple is constructed to impress upon others that same intent...

    When I set out to write this piece, I felt as if the words would effortlessly pour out onto the page but once I began to write I realized that the idea I am trying to convey, while internally straight-forward within my thoughts, was rather abstract and going to take some fineness in conveying.  As I have embarked upon this journey as a designer I have noticed two types of motivation behind the beautification of one’s space: that is the creation of a shrine and the creation of a temple.  It might be hard to separate the differences as we are all so influenced by one another and at some level our self expression seeks some form of recognition.  What I think separates the two is not just weather it is ego driven but where exactly the intended audience is seated.  Some people are comfortable shopping at a thrift store or flea market. You might be able to afford a four thousand dollar lounge chair.  You might be both.  Where this desire for adornment and beautification beyond functionality arise is the point of interest for me.  Are you doing it to impress others or inspire yourself?  It is a question worth asking.

    Through my experience, I have seen the effect of a changed space on the lives of people who claim to not “care” about interior design.  They may have set things in place to facilitate what they consider the most functional use of their home while unknowingly inhibiting the space’s potential or their own.  Only once things have been adjusted to accommodate things beyond their own interaction with the space do they begin to realize things like: the way the dining table was placed was not conducive to having guests over for dinner or the way the bed was positioned in the room made it unwelcoming to potential partners.  I have also seen the opposite: people that are so keenly aware of their surroundings that improvements and additions become a never-ending endeavour. While investing in and improving your space is an important and valuable pursuit it can easily become a never ending cycle of acquisition and dissatisfaction.  Creating a settled home can and should take some measure of time to be an authentic reflection of us and our uniqueness.  More often than not, we have most of the pieces of this puzzle in our possession, only needing some adjustments to create a clearer picture.

    At its core, the industry of design is similar to fashion, that it must relentlessly cycle through trends and innovations to provide consumers with seasonal changes that outgrow their previous counterparts.  While some designs strive for “timelessness” ultimately other creators seek new ideas and looks to upset the status quo.  Where do find ourselves on this spectrum of consumption to find personal identity and expression?  With an endless supply of options these days it’s no wonder that we might seek out the guidance of professionals to help us navigate all the choices.  It’s important where we set our intents and what we seek out to be authentic.  Give yourself freedom to grow and molt but seek to make lasting decisions. Whether you create your space yourself or with the help of a designer, consider the intention: are you building a shrine to honor your higher, creative self, or constructing a temple to impress others?

     

  • My Traveling Shrine

    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.

  • One Man Show

    This year I chose to commit to starting my own business.  It has been exhilarating and challenging, as every success and failure is now my own. I chose this path in firm belief in my abilities, but there is now so much to moving forward in this day in age that I find myself having days of doubt sprinkled in with the triumph. I came to realize that I had developed an oppositional attitude toward technology and social media; I wasn’t prepared to see myself as a brand. 

    It’s not an easy thing to do as I feel that I have always shied away from being labeled. But here we are at the epicenter of technology and I’m dragging my heels for some reason. I have time to post and have made it out to be a chore rather than a platform for growth and expression, like it used to be for me when I didn’t feel the pressure to align all my posts and pictures to a coherent focal point.  I think that it all snowballed and became more than I wanted to commit to: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Houzz, Pinterest…  Ironically, I love them all and have always enjoyed expressing myself.  So what was it that was holding things up?  Why not take advantage and make the most of these free channels to express and connect?   Maybe it was not having a blog, maybe just the word blog itself?  It has for some reason has always held this supernatural power of eliciting a gag reflex in my mind.

    Getting the website together was a challenge for me and looking back, once I got to a certain point with it, I felt like I had my share of clicking and typing and wanted to “get back to work”.   Slowly I have come to terms with this being a crucial part of “the Work” and a means to address a growing desire to express myself more in written form if nothing more than to be more honest with myself. Strangely enough, I found myself asking Facebook through a general post if it were possible to open up and share personal stories as form of therapy.  All along I’ve had the tools I was looking for, I just didn’t want to admit that I needed and wanted to blog.  It feels great and there’s something more substantial and healing about leaving your thoughts out for the world to see.  Seeing myself as another entity, Kloudwalker Design, is new territory for me so I grant myself the necessary forgiveness for the stumbles that I have made along the road to this bright future.