I am very pleased to unveil a new series, Enchanted Spaces, which is all about perceiving space in a more magical way. I’m in the middle of tidying and revamping my house, and will focus on a concept from a different fantasy novel for each room. Bear with me here: I’m not a designer or a photographer, just a girl with a passion for re-imagining space. First up: the living room.

I have also been changing up the rooms of my home to reflect different climates. The feel for my living room is desert.  I had considered doing a before and after picture, but the problem with this was that I am a firm advocate in slow decorating and wabi sabi.

Slow Decorating is a concept I got from a lovely book called Simple Mattersalthough I am not sure that she uses the term by name. The idea is to buy simple, quality pieces that will stand the test of time and not to rush one’s decorating or to follow a trend. Think of a simple, quality, shaker-style wood dresser found at a thrift store that will never go out of style.

Wabi Sabi is a Japanese concept based on three principals:

  • Nothing lasts.
  • Nothing is finished.
  • Nothing is perfect.

Think of a beautifully simple old cracked pot that has many stories to tell. That’s Wabi Sabi. Pinterest is full of examples. 


So, needless to say, there was no “drastic makeover” to show. The room is tidier and cleaner, things are in slightly different places, and I swapped a few things from my bedroom and this room. Most of the belongings I have I accumulated slowly over a long period of time; some actually belonged to my mother and grandmother and even my great-grandmother (for more on my “stuff story” read this post). The only new items I acquired for this reveal were a tapestry of my mom’s that my sister gave me as it didn’t match her stuff and a beautiful tree branch that I found on a walk.

Family piano, mom’s tapestry from India, digital photo album
Pottery my mother-in-law gave me, found tree branch

The concepts of slow decorating and wabi sabi reminded me a of the book (and film) Tuck Everlasting, which is precious if you haven’t read/seen it. It is about a family that doesn’t age, and about the importance of growth, change, and the juxtaposition of life and death. In particular, I thought of this quote:

“Everything’s a wheel, turning and turning, never stopping. The frogs is part of it, and the bugs, and the fish, and the wood thrush, too. And people. But never the same ones. Always coming in new, always growing and changing, and always moving on. That’s the way it’s supposed to be. That’s the way it is.” ― Natalie Babbitt, Tuck Everlasting

Canvas top from a decorative box (hides thermostat); dream-catcher from Cherokee Festival

My husband recently asked me why I read the same books over and over again. I explained to him that it wasn’t the books that changed; it was me. Therefore, I perceived the books differently and picked up different things about them. Similarly, I don’t look for drastic changes in my spaces, but as I change, I pick up different nuances, swap a coat of paint, add a new pitcher from a trip, take out that shelf that no longer speaks to me.

Work in progress; childhood dresser re-vamp (Anthropologie knobs)

So you see, to me a space is something that is never remaining the same, but always evolving, moving, changing, and being re-imagined and perceived differently. It is a sense of growth that really makes a place interesting, but slow growth. I want my spaces to grow with me, neither faster nor slower than my own personal journey, because they are a part of me and a reflection of my own life story.

Antique family steamer trunk; new-ish jute rug (Marshalls)
Couch hand-me-down, pillow from my sister (Ten Thousand Villages), puppy (animal shelter; limited edition!)
Mirror from my wedding registry, elephant jar (inherited), souvenir pitcher from my sister from Hungary
Decorations from my wedding (Anthropologie), Simple Matters book


Any thoughts about your relationship to space? What does your space say about you, or what would you like it to say?