Posts Tagged ‘happiness’

Monday, October 25, 2010

part 3: interior design is about…happiness

It was a plea­sure to meet and learn from renowned inte­rior designer and author Alexan­dra Stod­dard this past week­end. She began her design career in 1963 under the tute­lage of none other than Eleanor McMillen Brown — a pio­neer of 20th cen­tury inte­rior design. Alexan­dra came to adopt this maxim from Mrs. Brown: "if you love beauty and cre­ate it for your­self and oth­ers, you will live a long and happy life." Mrs. Brown lived to 100!

Still believ­ing beauty is "spir­i­tual and uplift­ing", Alexan­dra even­tu­ally moved away from prac­tic­ing inte­rior design to writ­ing about liv­ing a beau­ti­ful life. She believes hap­pi­ness is "self-diagnosed" and should be incor­po­rated by every­one into their daily lives. She advo­cates that an inte­rior designer's first goal should be to "step into their clients' per­sonal lives and try to make them hap­pier." I could not agree more!

Alexan­dra Stoddard

Alexan­dra believes that "so many peo­ple have trou­ble find­ing them­selves in their own homes" because they dec­o­rate for oth­ers. She men­tioned a client whose favorite color was red, a color she used to define her own personality, but red was com­pletely miss­ing from her home. When pressed, the client admit­ted her mother-in-law did not like red. For most peo­ple, only 5% of their homes' usage is ded­i­cated to enter­tain­ing. The Stod­dard credo embraces the idea of dec­o­rat­ing for fam­ily, not the 5%!

Another won­der­ful maxim: "your home should be an auto­bi­og­ra­phy". For many peo­ple, it's dif­fi­cult to keep that top of mind, or maybe it's sim­ply too reveal­ing? Mrs. Stod­dard rec­om­mends keep­ing per­sonal and pub­lic spaces strictly sep­a­rated. Pri­vate spaces are not for the con­sump­tion of visitors.

Above all, Alexan­dra advo­cates hap­pi­ness: "peo­ple will run bare­foot in a bliz­zard to be with you if you are happy at home". Inte­rior design should reflect your inner soul and every aspect should hold a deep per­sonal mean­ing for you. Keep your home cur­rent with the things you love today. It's okay for things to change — those that made you happy 20 years ago may not be the same today, or 20 years from now because you and your fam­ily grow and evolve.

From an author of 27 books on liv­ing a beau­ti­ful and happy life, one final bit of advice. "Make your life sub­lime". Words of wis­dom we can all try to emulate.

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