It's been a few years now that I've appreciated this mama's accessible, honest approach to creating a gorgeous life. We've shared a wee bit over the last couple years, and I've had the chance to see the impact of her work in my own community - cleaner, more vibrant palates and a confident coziness coming from their hearts and hands, into their gifts for the Whole. It's no secret that this is the kinda thing I value most. Here she answers a few questions from The Living Home Planner...
What was your original dream and vision for this home? How did you hope to express love, made visible?
When we first drove up the long, winding drive to our apartment complex I was not amused. I had begrudgingly agreed to just go and "see" it with my boyfriend. It felt so vanilla, generic and a cheapened version of what my expectations for living were about. I remember walking through the model unit with my arms crossed, not really paying attention to the woman showing us around. There was no charm. Just white walls and wall to wall carpeting. I was picking everything apart while in the background a small voice was saying "big bedrooms - 2 baths - heat included - indoor heated pool next door with sauna and steam room - Umm hello?!"
We went home and discussed the reality of our current situation and while it definitely did not fulfill my fantasies of family living at the time, we took the plunge and signed the lease. We (mostly me), told ourselves that this was a temporary arrangement, only to be put up with for a year or two max. I was excited and nervous. I was setting up house for a family of 4. A new-to-me family of four to be exact. Almost a year to the day of our move in I had divorced my husband and left with my two boys to start life over.
To be honest, it felt odd and scary to be taking a step so big, so soon. I wavered between doubt and disbelief that I again would be inhabiting a place with 4 spirits inside. As I leaned into trust it became pleasurably surreal. My boys and my love fell into rhythm easily. Our home filled with laughter and joy and patience. Yet, it took me a year to settle in and realize that what began as a temporary home would be, in reality our home for at least a few more years.
What shocked me most, was that I felt more relived than depressed at this realization. I was determined to fill myself with gratitude for our shelter. I started to make it my mission to make if feel more "us". I hung more pictures. I made cushions and curtains. Paid attention to ritual. I fell back in love with Feng Shui. I moved a lot of furniture around. I attended to the needs of all of us, while letting go of so much and tried my best to squeeze it all into our 900 square foot abode. It all suddenly began to feel like home. One that didn't need to be rushed out of, but a place that was safe to sink roots in.
It was during this awakening that I came together with my dear friend Leah to co-create a gorgeous eCourse called Feathering the Nest. A course designed to show other women how to soften into their space so that they can coax the unique beauty in their homes out into the open, no matter its shape or size. Our desire is to teach women and their loved ones to feel at ease as they move through their space and have it be a reflection of their heart.
We have now lived here in this place for almost three years and it is my favorite place to be. It might still be missing a few key elements of my dreams (a yard, a studio/office space, a garden, a fireplace, chickens and a dog), but I know that while this space is nourishing my now, it's also helping to lay the foundation for our future in a new space that will be exactly what we need, at exactly the right time.
Who is missing from your home - or your life? How can you honor them, bringing their essence and gifts in?
One of my favorite parts about a made-from-scratch home are the objects with history we bring through our door. The dining set from Gram, the shelves Dad made Mom 30 years ago or the chairs from his parents house. I love how the energies from all the pieces mingle with the new, the old, the practical and the impractical. Something fresh and special is born when this happens. I feel like it's one of the most crucial elements for a well loved and lived-in home.
I'm also big on having the objects in my home not be "too precious". There will be stains and watermarks, drawings on the walls and hidden messages created by little hands on the mirror when the steam fills the bathroom. This is our daily history. This is the breathe of our existence as a family. It's all made possible by what came before. It's so necessary to honor that, be it with furniture, trinkets, ritual, talismans or photographs.
So many of my most cherished family members have passed on. I hear my grandfather every time a door is opened on the dresser that was gifted to me, my grandmother is with me when I wear her ring. I remember the parties from my childhood home when I look at the shelves that used to be in our living room.
It think it's also important to be protective of our space. Sometimes the things we are gifted from others just don't belong with us. It's ok to pass it on or say no thank you. Take and use only what you love. This is how we honor our past, present and future.
What would a visitor say your home feels like/is for?
It always feels so good when friends and family come to visit us and they immediately tell us how welcomed they feel. It happens a lot and it definitely isn't because I'm offering you something to drink because, well, I almost always forget because I'm so excited someone has walked through our door. Just a few weeks ago, a friend who had never been over before walked in and said "it's just like I imagined it would be and it even smells good"!
I'm kinda big on creating a mood for the ones that I love. I light candles, put a station on Pandora that enhances the intended vibe and make sure the pillows on the couch aren't scratchy or beaded, only comfy and cozy. Basket of blankets are at the ready. While striving to create something for someone specific is beautiful and necessary in my book so are the moments that go completely unplanned.
I loves those times in the winter when the living room is scattered with toys, the scent of soup on the stove permeates the air and I can hear the hum of the dishwasher going in the kitchen. In summer I love seeing the boys on the porch eating their picnic lunch in the sun, with the sound of chimes in the breeze.
Creating a living, breathing home is essential to survive and evolve in the world we live in. We all crave a place to rest our bodies and our hearts somewhere and I'm blessed and honored to rise to the task of steward in my own home.
Stephanie Perkinson is a certified holistic health & lifestyle coach and owner of Wellness by Design. An inspiring guide and eCourse architect, her passion is helping creative women connect back to themselves through the food they eat and the world they design. She believes that with loving support, every(body) can find it's way home and become deeply rooted wherever it may be. She is a contributing editor at The Bohemian Collective and is also the co-creator of the much loved eCourse Feathering the Nest beginning again March 17th.
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