Beth's table. Photographed with Nikon D300, 35mm lens.
My friend Beth is currently in the process of re-writing her book, Healthy Mother, Healthy Child. Beth is both a registered nurse and a certified yoga instructor, and her book is basically about how to create a peaceful, healthy environment in your home, all with an eye to reducing the number of health-related problems or issues for you and/or your family. It includes tips on healthy eating, alternative, complementary therapies to Western medicine, and creating a peaceful home through ritual and a focus on family life. As part of the rewrite, she has invited me to contribute some images to her book, and this morning she invited me to her house to take a few shots.
When she opened the door to her home, I audibly gasped. Her home is amazing -- but not because of fabulous furnishings (although they are definitely lovely), but because of the sense of peace that you immediately feel as soon as you walk in. Beth made me a cup of tea, and we caught up on each other's lives; then she showed me around the house, telling me about the rituals that are important to her family: things like making sure that they all have dinner together every day, their practice of having Sunday lunch at the big table, and the rooms where they all tend to spend time together as a family, playing board games, or having movie nights.
See that huge canister of granola? Beth's husband made that. I had some. It was delicious.
Beth in her kitchen, where the family shares most of their meals.
The thing that intrigued me the most about Beth's home was how clearly the focus was on creating a peaceful environment for herself and her family, even more than creating a pretty home. Every room in her house was designed to be a refuge, from the paint choices on the walls, to the natural fabrics and materials of the furnishings and other accessories. There were candles everywhere, and fresh flowers and plants in most of the rooms -- not store-bought bouquets, but flowers she'd cut from her own garden, or leaves that she found that she thought were pretty. Each surface just begged you to grab a cup of tea, sit down and relax.
The corner of Beth's bedroom, where she practices yoga every day.
I've written before about creating soulful spaces, but I admit that most of the time when I focus on this in my own home, it's primarily about putting meaningful things around me that happen to be pretty. It's resulted in a home I love -- it's my favourite place I've ever lived, so far -- but Beth has inspired me to consider peacefulness as a priority in our home, as well.
Soulful and peaceful.
Accomplishing both would make home a pretty amazing place to be, don't you think?
Incidentally, and while we're on the subject: what's the most peaceful part of your home?