Home Design as a rē•flection of Self
Looking introspectively to create a space where we can ‘dwell well.’
Our home is a sacred space. It’s where we experience the motions of daily life, a place to rest and recharge. It’s where we feel safe and secure, and our relationships with loved ones are nurtured.
When designing our homes, we often miss one key factor at the root of our plans: ourselves. According to Oregon-based interior design firm Light and Dwell co-founders Aymee Kuhlman and Molly Kidd, that’s where every project should begin.
“Good design starts with the person and place where they reside. [It’s about] balancing aesthetics and function to create homes that stand the test of time,” Kuhlman, the firm’s CEO, tells rē•spin.
We know the ways that our homes can influence us and our wellness journeys. But how can we bring more of ourselves into our spaces? Kidd, who serves as Light and Dwell’s principal designer, and Kuhlman weigh in. They offer tips on making our homes havens of wellness so our minds, bodies, and souls feel at ease.
Using self-inspiration for our spaces
Rather than focusing strictly on a color palette, general theme, or statement piece, we can look introspectively to shape our approach. When we spend time at home, it’s essential for our space to feel like a reflection of ourselves rather than disconnected from our being. Kuhlman and Kidd abide by this philosophy. They look at each project from the perspective of how each client goes through their everyday lives.
Self-inspiration can be derived from a wide range of factors. Think of your favorite travel experience or let your surroundings influence the soul of your home. Delve deeper into the personalities that co-exist within your space, or look to your hobbies for inspiration. “What one is passionate about, hotels they love, experiences that have inspired them, and how they flow and live within spaces — our muses can come from anything and everything, sometimes without notice,” says Kidd.
Wellness at home
While making our personalities, needs, and routines the foundation of our interior design process is essential, we also need to find ways to bring in elements that promote a sense of well-being. It’s an ethos central to Kuhlman and Kidd’s design process, which aims to create spaces where we can “dwell well.”
“Dwelling well means mindful intentions and creating lived-in layers,” says Kuhlman. “For example, adding an antique stool or wooden chair, dining in dimmed ambiance, folding your towels uniquely, lighting a seasonal candle, baking with your grandmother’s dish, using only unlacquered brass for homey tones of patina finishes, etc. These things are just the right touch of artisanal character and luxury.”
For Kuhlman and Kidd, wellness transcends health and well-being — it’s a way of life. Creating a space that is so interconnected with who we are adds a layer of wellness to our homes. “Wellness in design creates an environment that can alter moods and embody feelings,” notes Kidd.
One way to prioritize wellness through design is to bring the outdoors in. Strengthening our connection with the natural world has been proven to promote mental health, imbue a sense of calm and increase productivity.“Nature is our driving force for colors, patterns, and what materials are used throughout the space,” says Kuhlman.
Sustainability also plays an essential role in a wellness-oriented home. “It’s at the forefront of every one of our projects with a 50/50 initiative to mix well-loved vintage pieces with custom-made products, increasing the life of already-made materials and supporting local makers,” says Kidd. Other eco-friendly design opportunities include using alternative energy sources such as solar, maximizing the flow of natural light (hello, vitamin D!) and air, and using sustainable materials like hemp or bamboo instead of wood.
But at the end of the day, it all comes down to personal preference. “The main focus of homes with wellness is creating spaces that stimulate the mind, body, and soul while also being aesthetically pleasing to your eye and other senses,” says Kuhlman.