One of the most important considerations in designing a home is the comfort of those who live there. I believe that a home should be beautiful, as beauty lifts the spirits; it should be a sanctuary for health and well-being with clean air and non-toxic surroundings; and it should be be a place of comfort. A house is not a home without a space to curl up with a good book, put your feet up at the end of a long day, and enjoy a snuggle with pets or people you love.
When I designed my home in Madaket, one of my husband’s requests was that our living room be a place where he could truly relax. He wanted to be able to come in, put his feet on the cocktail table, and have a beer with friends. Nothing in this room is too precious. The sofas were slip covered in crisp navy and white so that they could be cleaned easily, and a comfortable wicker chair lets our guests know that this is a summer home, where relaxation is encouraged! (The white canvas is indoor/outdoor fabric, and completely washable!)
I love to read, and I find window seats to be irresistible for hiding away with a book. The light from the window, changing as the day goes by, the view into the garden, and the scent of a summer breeze takes reading in the middle of the day from a guilty pleasure to a perfect respite.
A window seat in a bedroom is always a delight! A space devoted to intimate comforts should have a place to take a little nap in the middle of the day when your schedule allows.
Creating a comfortable home requires planning; there should be welcoming chairs everywhere, with lots of daylight streaming through the windows, and a sense of order so you can really rest. Ottomans let you put your feet up, and a little chairside table will hold both your book and a cool drink.
If you are fortunate enough to have a beautiful view, then a comfortable place to relax and watch the sea and sky is always appreciated. It’s the perfect place to enjoy your morning cup of coffee as you slowly wake to the day.
When you sit down with a good book or to watch a movie with your family, you may not realize that your upholstered furniture too often brings chemicals such as formaldehyde, brominated flame retardants (PBDE’s) and dioxin into your home through off-gassing. Fortunately, today we have the option of choosing soy-based versus foam cushions, recycled filling for pillows, and organic upholstery fabrics. Some of the world’s healthiest fabrics are also the most luxurious, including organic cotton, hemp, linen and wool.
Firelight and the smell of burning wood brings its own kind of relaxation, especially when you’re enveloped in a cozy chair close to its warm glow.
A porch, veranda or deck can be another living area, serving as a quiet library during sunlit hours, and the perfect spot to watch evening fall with candlelight and a glass of wine to toast the end of day.
Most of us live busy lives, sometimes too busy, and it’s good to take a moment to sit down occasionally, and enjoy what we’ve accomplished. As A.A. Milne said (as Winnie the Pooh), “Don’t underestimate the value of Doing Nothing, of just going along, listening to all the things you can’t hear, and not bothering.”