Home for the Holidays

Bennett Leifer, ph Marco Ricca

I had the pleasure of touring Holiday House in NYC once again this year right before it closed.  The setting was a 1904 Neo-Federal style mansion.  Launched by Iris Danker in 2008, this fundraiser only grows more exciting each year with the money raised benefiting the Breast Cancer Research Fund.

Bennett Leifer's salon reminds us that everything new is old.  Our past informs our present, and when you bring the two together a powerful punch is packed in his deft designer hands.

With the holiday season upon us and given the fact that I am writing my book Om for the Home, how our home can heal us on a deeper level and lead us to our authentic self, it made me think about how the holidays and our feelings about holiday and family really begin from within.

To be home in our environment and to be home in ourselves is not that different.  We want safety, we want inner peace.  We want a place to feel good, to make others feel good, to be nourished and happy.  Bringing those we love into our sacred spaces is an intimate endeavor.  Feeding people is an act of love.

Taking a non traditional approach, Elsa Soyars created a Paris at Christmas dining room perfect for a fete, anywhere you call home.  The showstopping porcelain chandelier made by Andreea Braescu created so much rhythm.

Elsa Soyars, ph: Alan Barry 

I understand Elsa had the pleasure of entertaining a small group for lunch in her room.  I love that it actaully got used and enjoyed.  That's merry and bright!

Jasmine Lam's reception, sitting area is a beautiful, artful spot for gathering and celebrating, an essential element when bringing those together that we care about and helping create community. That is good for the holidays and all year long!

Jasmine Lam, ph: Marco Ricca

Aly Coulter embraced the gift giving season in the most luxurious way.  It felt like you were swept up in a dream from a bygone NYC era sponsored by Tiffany's.

Aly Coulter, ph: Alan Barry

Hilary Matt Interiors created an undefined space through the use of lines, shapes, dots, squiggles and a dark color scheme.  It is meant to be reflective and dare I say seductive.

Hilary Matt, ph:Seth Caplan

The Cafe Society of Manhattan in the 60's gives us so much richness to be inspired by.  Everything was a celebration, nothing that couldn't be made better with a good cocktail in hand, and humans aren't the only ones having fun.  These naughty primates with their partying ways are playful on so many levels.  I love this wallpaper by Astek in a fun bar lounge by Barbara Lewis for The Lewis Design Group.

Barbara Lewis, ph:Marco Ricca

Have you noticed that many a showhouse now includes a spa, meditation room or some other wellness destination?  It is a sign of the times that carving out a space for stillness is crucial to our overall well being.  This sacred space by Touijer Designs reminds us to be still, balanced and to breathe.

Touijer Designs, ph:Regan Wood

Whatever the holidays conjure up for you, home is the state of our soul.  It is a time to put away the politics and the divisiveness.  Be mindful, be present, be stressless!

I wish peace for you over the holiday season; to find the stillness at home.

Plant Purifiers

I am busy writing about all sorts of ways to improve your health and quality of life, in and outside of your home in my upcoming book Om for there Home.

Did you know one of the easiest ways to bring a little fresh air and JOY into your home is with the help of a plant?  It enhances your mind, body and spirit.  It's quite the little multi-tasker!

 Without a doubt your environment affects your health. The right houseplant can actually make a big difference in your mood, your stress level, your sleep quality and even your breathing. They pruify the air while providing immense pleasure to look at and has a calming effect too.
House plants improve indoor air quality by increasing oxygen levels .  These silent beauties are masters of air pollutant removal – magically working hard to absorb carbon dioxide, ammonia, benzene, xylene, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene and other "nasties" throughout your home. 

"A plant study as far back as 1772 showed the benefit of plants for restoring air that was stagnant and low in oxygen from burning candles and from keeping animals. Plants have also been studied for their ability to purify and revitalize air for use by astronauts in space stations and future moon bases.
In a six month study of a plant filled room compared with a room without plants, the levels of airborne microbes and bacteria were 50% higher in the room without plants. Plants in the home also increase humidity, which reduces irritation from dry sinuses, reduces the severity of asthma and also reduces congestion." Occupants in rooms with plants recovered faster from illness, and studies have shown a higher level of focus.
Some plants to consider are ~ 
Peace Lily
Aloe Vera 
Snake Plant 
English Ivy
Boston Fern
Spider plant
Golden Pothos
Bamboo plant

Make sure to take the plants' growing conditions into consideration. 

Plus, having something alive and green in your home is good Feng Shui, except in the bedroom where it is believed plants are too activating.

Do you need any more resons to run to the nursery?

Quote:positive psychology

Fall Trends

Thank you New Home Source for including me in your designer round up. Take as look at what my  colleagues and I have to say about what we see happening this season.

Trend Report

photo Lily Bunn for OKL