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..and Breathe…

“My Precious”….this was the headline to an article in the Sunday Times Style magazine last week. It was a lighthearted write up with anecdotal pieces from AA Gill, India Knight and other writers where they talk about the things they do regularly for themselves that make them feel special – their “everyday” luxuries.

AA Gill takes time over a foamy wet shave, Matt Rudd loves high end bath oils and India Knight bought herself a bed so luxurious and comfortable, she now cannot sleep properly in any other bed and has to take her own pillow with her when travelling. (Nice to see a little metrosexuality in the boys’ treats).

Reading between the lines though, the common theme is the sensory experience enjoyed with a bit of time to appreciate it. A conscious moment. An oxygen mask – it is just what our overloaded brains need for a break to help us take a breath and stop thinking. My 8 year old loves taking a bath because she says it lets her doodle with her brain…..couldn’t have put it better myself.

Rosie Kinchen says her parents used to sit together and slowly drink a bottle of champagne every Sunday night as an antidote to their Sunday night blues. What a marvellous idea.

Does mental overload lead to sensory deprivation?

“My precious” is a clean scent and blue skies. Rushing around in a crowded city can be exhausting and frenetic – and these things stop me in my tracks for a moment.

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And what has any of this got to do with interiors?

Well. A lot, actually. My question is – how do you live? What are your sensory luxuries? Your favourite spaces should enhance and amplify them – get it right, and you might find that your spending habits change and you actually stop throwing money on “stuff” that doesn’t satisfy.

In my spaces, clutter free hallways, plenty of doorways and hidden storage for “everyday boring but essential stuff” is key – I don’t want anything in my sightline that is a mess (to my eye). I certainly don’t want to be tripping over it when I walk around. Along with dedicated spaces for certain tasks, this is enough to stop me feeling claustrophobic. At home, I have put a utility room in the loft (near all the clothes and away from the kitchen) and my home studio is an area of organised chaos that I can close the door on and is just a space for me and my team.

Of course space is at a premium in London, and you may need to sacrifice something else to get your priorities in place.

Love entertaining? Love solitude? Perhaps you want both? How do you relax? How do you socialise?

It is important to think about what you love and how it makes you feel and then try to somehow shoehorn it into your daily life. I think we can have sensory deprivation in a space even if it is aesthetically beautiful. If your space is so technologically digitised or blindly follows a “trend” or is a copycat image of something you think you should have, but it does not excite you, (the user) – I don’t believe you will get the benefit of it.

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Perhaps music is your thing. Create a dedicated corner somewhere purely for enjoying it. Did you know turntables are having a renaissance? Modern, sexy units produce great sound — dust off your vinyl if you haven’t thrown it away and look at the sleeve/reminisce whilst playing your records individually.

A lesson to us all, don’t let technology tell you to throw away your “old” stuff – it may well boomerang back. I remember when the artwork on a record sleeve was a big deal and gave an artist their identity, now I can barely recognise a singer because everything is digitised/downloadable. Technology is amazing, but wouldn’t it be nice to slow things down every so often…

If it floats your boat, pile up your books, mismatch your lamps and paint your fireplaces pink – it is your space to breathe.

As Coco Chanel said “the best colour in the world is the one that looks good on you”…

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