This summer I’ve spent a good deal of time upstate in the Catskills where my boyfriend manages a 2,000-acre estate. (Two and a half times the size of Central Park!) This Gilded Age estate includes a once grand 20,000-sq-ft mansion and riding stables. Needless to say, it’s paradise for me, Nature Gal. The abundant wildlife (including bobcat and bear), fresh air, pure spring water and total lack of light pollution has me ‘blissed out in the boonies.’ I believe nature is our ultimate healer, which is the reason I incorporate all things natural into my design work. And I have never felt healthier or happier in my whole life than I have this summer, enveloped in this magical kingdom.
I’m a bit of a fanatic regarding pure air. I once (single-handedly) moved a dresser into the hallway of a charming B&B because of the mothball smell (my boyfriend at the time was not impressed). Admittedly, it has never been easy being me/green — I smell everything! Synthetic perfumes, soaps, laundry detergents, “air fresheners” and other conventional “fresh smells” gag me. (I must have been a bloodhound in a previous life.)
The “official” first day of spring may have been March 20, but with the cold weather, it certainly didn’t feel like it then. Now it seems like spring has finally sprung!
I may have “reached that age” when I appreciate each spring just a little more (or maybe it’s just my recent memory of the brutally cold winter), but the colorful spring buds are making me extremely happy this year. Another thing that makes me happy is the feel of a de-cluttered, freshly cleaned home, so spring cleaning is on my mind. Some of you may not have gotten around to this annual rite of passage yet, while others may feel ready for a second pass at it after all the recent rain (and the inevitable mud it invites in). Either way, before you start cleaning your home, consider doing a clean sweep of your chemical cleaning products first.
You’ve had “spring cleaning” on your to-do list for weeks now, but it hasn’t happened yet. Don’t despair; as with meditation and yoga, now is the perfect time to begin again (and again … ).
It is also a perfect time to detox your home environment. We spend much of our time indoors with our windows closed, so it is even more important to be mindful of healthy air quality. Consider this: The average home contains 500-1,000 chemicals resulting in indoor air quality that is two to five times more polluted than outdoor air. Yikes!
Here are nine easy ways that you can detox your home, so you and your family and enjoy a healthier spring:
Our bodies are made of it (up to 70 percent) and we can’t survive without it for more than a few days. However, water, one of our most precious resources, is something most of us take for granted.
I count myself lucky on the “water front.” As a New Yorker, I was thrilled to learn that my city’s water supply is considered one of the best and that NYC is one of the five large cities not required to filter its drinking water. That’s pretty radical considering most of the world’s pure water supply is scarce.
Happy Chinese New Year, new moon in Aquarius, Candlemas (which is the midway point between winter solstice and spring equinox), Imbolic (which honors Brigid, the goddess of creative inspiration and fertility) … and all New Beginnings!
I love mythology and ritual, especially when they honor and align us with the natural world. With spring approaching, it makes sense that many traditions consider this time the true beginning of the year, a time of rebirth and renewal.
It’s that romantic time of year again. As a holistic interior designer, I think this is perfect time to ask, “What kind of relationship are you having with your home?” As with true love, we know that home is much more than just a physical connection. I believe that if you treat your home as you treat your sweetest lover, you experience a deeper connection to your surroundings and — ultimately — to yourself.
The most logical place to start this process is in the bedroom. Is your bedroom conducive to romance? In the homes I visit, this room, sadly, is often the least sexy of spaces.
Autumn is my favorite season. I love the crisp clean air, cool nights, and beautiful soft quality of the changing light. We are particularly lucky living in a region unique for its extreme foliage show of vibrant reds, intense oranges, yummy browns and bright yellows. Few other places in the world match the brilliance of the Great Northeast.
the garden has cooled,
and with it my possessiveness
— Robert Finch
My mom’s house burned down a few weeks ago. She lost everything. Ironically, my siblings and I had been trying to get her to consider moving since my dad died, three years ago to the month. She was living in a too-isolated area (in northern Louisiana) and could no longer keep up the two-acre property. Florence was reluctant to let go of all her ‘memories.’ She is a ‘collector,’ as are so many of us.
One of the things I miss most living in NYC is seeing the nighttime stars. I grew up camping and have many wonderful nocturnal memories counting shooting stars and guessing at constellations. City life detaches us from that primordial nighttime sky connection. As a designer of healthy home environments, light pollution is a growing concern for myself and for anyone who understands that our quality of life is directly connected to our natural environment.