June 18, 2013

Luxury at Home

 

lux·u·ry

/ˈləkSH(ə)rē
n. pl. lux·u·ries
1. Something inessential but conducive to pleasure and comfort.
2. Something expensive or hard to obtain.
3. Sumptuous living or surroundings: lives in luxury.
Synonyms: luxury, extravagance, frill
[Middle English luxurielust, from Old French, from Latin luxuriaexcess, luxury, from luxus.]
 
{Simple Luxury: House Beautiful}


Luxury is a word that seems to get thrown around a lot. It seems someone’s always asking, “What is luxury?” or telling us what’s luxurious.  I think luxury has become something other than what it was once thought of…  It used to be more associated with money and expense rather than simplicity and comfort.  In the above definition, you can see its different meanings.  The first definition is the closest meaning to how I view it now, but reading further down the list, the definition goes back to money and “extravagance” and excess, all of which are typically viewed fairly negatively in our culture, even if it’s what people really want.  (Meaning, if you’re a billionaire and you don’t spend a lot of money and live modestly, people commend you….   if you “waste” it and are a drunken sailor about it, or surround yourself with extravagance and “excess,” it’s not very respected.) 
 

 


These days, luxury seems to be more about small details and comfort and quality and time.  The phrase “the luxury of time” has been around a while so we have always put value on that but I think the idea that “luxury” can be simple and meaningful has really taken a hold of our society.  Also, I’ve noticed that when people are asked what “luxury” is to them, “luxury” seems to become more about what it is they want most…  the best part of their lives: the unexpected details and wonderful things that pop up & happen.  In an Australian Vogue article I was reading recently, one person interviewed said the best luxury was when a friend picked her up from the airport with a bouquet of fresh picked flowers.  It was an unexpected surprise, but really just one of life’s simple pleasures that made her feel pampered and special.  
 

 

 


When asked what my “greatest luxury” is, my first answer is automatically “time with my family.”  To me, it’s something that I don’t get enough of and it makes me happier than anything else.  
 


{Me with Justin, photo by Vy Koenig}
 

 


Along with having the time, part of what helps me enjoy being with my family is simple, good living.  An ease to daily life.  Not being surrounded by “stuff” and things that take my attention away from life and enjoy being with my family at home. A comfortable house.  Good simple food.  (Does Whole Foods count as a luxury??)   Just simply enjoying life with the people I love…  
 

 

 


See how “luxury” seems to become what it is a person wants most?  I’m not sure the definition of luxury includes “little things that make life feel special” but it really does seem like that’s what it’s becoming, or at least how I’ve started to view it: Clean Sheets on a newly made bed, open windows, fresh flowers on the nightstand, time with the people you love, an unexpected note on nice paper, space, al fresco dining, a place for everything, reading leisurely, an exceptionally comfortable sofa, a mudroom, a fire in the fireplace, a simple yet beautiful meal, candlelight, an organized closet, time, time & more time.
 


{Linens drying on a clothesline…  image via pinterest}
 

 


To me, a life with “luxury” would be a life where things are uncomplicated and simple yet exciting.  Special little somethings come into it and there’s really just a general ease of life.  Waking up and feeling free and ready to go.  Rested.  Having the time to hang with the ones you love before the craziness of the day begins. Going into your closet and seeing everything at a glance and easily pulling together something that’s already pressed and ready to go and looks perfect.  (Doesn’t happen for me!! 😉  Leaving a clean house and getting into a clean car.  (My ride of choice these days is either a milk-encrusted minivan or a pick-up truck with over 300,000 miles on it and no AC!! That’s luxury baby!!  😉 😉  It really is the little things though.  Things that make you feel more comfortable, both physically & emotionally.  
 

 


Since my work is about home, I find myself thinking about how “home” can be luxurious, in the simple, comfortable context.  Redoing my home from the ground up has been eye opening.  I wouldn’t have done what I did without having lived in my previous homes & having observed so much while we were there about how we lived.  A lot of what I do is “decorating” but in the past year or so, we’ve started taking on more & more projects that involve new homes, renovations and space planning.  When you get to really think through what’s going to be where, you can plan a home so that it is exactly the way the people who live there need it to be for the easiest living, the most simple (or most “luxurious”) living.  Things can be where they need to be and special little details can be incorporated that don’t cost much but that make the home feel luxurious to the people who live there.  
 

 


In our home, we enclosed a small, unloved rocky area just outside of our master bedroom and created a private special little garden patio with an outdoor shower.  We shower outside every day and to me, it’s one of those “luxuries” that isn’t about money or frills, but just about enjoying something small but incredibly good.  I get to look up at the sky and just think while I’m showering in the morning.  In the evenings, I can rinse off before bed and really appreciate being outside in the night when it’s quiet.  Outdoor towel hooks are just where we need them to be.  There’s a pair of chairs out there where Dave & I can sit and talk.  The boys love showering out there too- even the baby.  It wasn’t hard to do, but creating this little secret garden in our bedroom has made such a difference in our life.   
 


{Not our outdoor shower.. image via pinterest}
 

 


As I plan our home (and the homes of clients) I try to think about how to design & decorate a home so that it works for us…  So that things are where they need to be and there’s just enough space to do what needs to be done… and I try to think about where unexpected little things or luxuries that can be added to make the house special: shelves for books, a window seat, a place to display collected treasures, a massive sofa outside…  For some people, it’s an extra sink in the kitchen for washing garden vegetables, french doors that open to the outside in every room, curtains blowing in the breeze, a bathroom where everyone has enough room, a meaningful photograph displayed prominently, a large nightstand in the bedroom for storage, a porch swing, a place to hide the mess, a sentimental painting, a perfectly worn farmhouse table in the kitchen that doesn’t need to be worried about, a soaking tub in their bathroom, a fabric that brings on the memories, an herb garden in the kitchen, the perfect reading chair, or a guest room large enough to fit a slew of grand kids.  It’s different for everyone.  
 

{Bunk room via pinterest}

 


There are so many simple opportunities for us to inject a little luxury into our homes, even after they’ve already been built.  I’m finding that it’s becoming one of my favorite aspects of my job: Figuring out what that little something in a home or room that makes the people who live there and visit there feel special & comfortable…   
 

 


A little bit of luxury. 
 

 


The simple kind.
 

 


How can you add a little in your home?
 

 


If you’d like help creating a home you absolutely love, contact me about our design services.


*Definition of luxury from dictionary.com

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