Monthly Archives: June 2012

Colour and Comfort!

Colour and Comfort

A “warm”, inviting door

The third and fourth tenets of Holistic Interior Design are: Colour and Comfort.Colour has such an immediate, visceral impact on our mood, and thus on our well-being, that it is intimately connected with how comfortable we feel in our space.Every living and non-living thing emanates energy at different wave lengths, and we see this as colour or we feel it as heat, which is just energy of a shorter wavelength. We can also feel colour, to some extent. For instance, a room painted red will always “feel” warmer than the same room painted blue, regardless of the actual air temperature, and we use these attributes of colour a lot in Holistic Interior Design to help us feel more comfortable.

Repetition of a favourite colour promotes harmony

Most of the time, we choose colours in our homes which bring about feelings of harmony and peace. Since everyone is so different, the colours that one person finds relaxing and harmonizing are quite different from person to person, so it gets tricky choosing colours for an entire houseful of people. Basically, you just need to figure out your “favourite” colour, use that as the main focus, and bring in other colours that work with the main colour. One of the easiest ways of doing this is to find a rug, piece of artwork or furniture or cushion that has a bunch of colours, one of which is your favourite, and repeat the colours you see around the room in draperies, cushions, area rug, paint colours and accessories.

Comfort refers to how a space makes you feel, which encompasses both how comfortable your furniture and flooring is as well as the colours, textures and visual stimulants around you.For instance: It’s very important to choose furniture which fits your body. Inheriting a Victorian settee and spending a lot of money on re-finishing and re-upholstering it only to have no one sit on it because the seat depth (the measurement from the back of the seat to just behind your knees) was originally made for people who lived in the reign of Queen Victoria, when the average height was 5 feet.

Maria & Julian Balicki

(as an aside: records from Ellis Island show that my husband’s Great-Grandfather was 4’11” when he was processed in NY in 1921. My sons’ heights average from 6’4” to 6’8” in 3 generations!!)

Textures in a space are also very important, with comfort underfoot being primary. Although it is far more popular now to have hardwood or hardwood-look flooring, due to its practicality, softening it by adding a wool area rug just makes so much difference to the comfort level in a room.

Comfort underfoot

Similarly, adding window treatments, even non-operable side panels next to a window both improve the acoustics in a room and visually soften it and make it feel more comfortable.Visual stimulants: This refers to anything in the room – from Artwork to plants to (a few!) well chosen decorative accessories as well as cushions and lighting which excite you and make your eye float across the room. Ideally these items would have special meaning to you – perhaps picked from your travels or found on the beach. Your artwork should really speak to you. You should really enjoy looking at it. If you don’t particularly like a piece of artwork – donate it! Yes, even if it was painted by your Great-Aunt Mildred! Don’t keep ANYTHING around you which does not make you feel good as, before you know it, you really won’t feel good, physically.Surround yourself with beautiful artwork, colours, textures and comfortable furnishings and actually enjoy coming home!!

Warm colours, textures make a great kitchen!
Surround yourself with things you love

De-Clutter!

De-Clutter

My Clients and Potential Clients Often ask me what Holistic Interior Design actually is?

The simple answer that I give them is that I make their place look fabulous in a manner that is healthier for them and for the environment. How do I accomplish this, with the aid of my Clients:

The 7 basic tents of Holistic Interior Design are:

De-Clutter, Cleanliness, Colour, Comfort, Connectedness, Illumination and Living Matter.

De-Clutter means that you have to take a long hard look at all your “stuff”, decide what you can and can’t live without and systematically clear out everything which may be weighing you down.

Are you feeling trapped by clutter?

For instance: Are you hanging on to old furniture just because you inherited it from a Parent or Aunt or Uncle. Ask yourself if you really, truly love it, can’t live without it.

Too often, the answer is “no” yet we have a sentimental possessiveness for something we do not truly love. Free yourself and your space by donating these items that others may have a good use for. The alternative, hanging on to too much – whether it’s furniture, books, dishes, bric-a-brac, etc. – ends up cluttering up your space and your mind as well.

Mismatched furniture styles are cluttering too!

Clear out your space and be rewarded by a feeling of freedom and refreshment, as well as clearer thinking. If your bedroom is above the (formerly) cluttered space, then also be rewarded by better sleep!

The second tenet, Cleanliness, springs right out of the first. While you are de-cluttering, take the time to really clean your space. Although this seems obvious, many of us are not “clearing out the cobwebs” on a regular basis. Living with too much dust on surfaces, cobwebs, dust bunnies all act to fog our minds on a very subconscious level.

Clean the windows, vacuum every surface, especially soft, upholstered surfaces and draperies, wash hard surfaces with environmentally friendly cleaning products: Check out Elemi, for some nice ones.

A well-ordered space is very calming to the mind

Be rewarded not only by a sense of accomplishment, but by clearer, more organized thinking and better sleep, as our bodies do not sleep very well if we have to inhale dust all night.
The rewards of a clean, well-ordered space more than make up for all the work it is to accomplish it.

Stay tuned – next week’s post: Colour and Comfort – the 3rd and 4th tenets of Holistic Interior Design.

Re-charge!

Salt Spring Island, BC

View from the ferry

Last week I had the pleasure of visiting Salt Spring Island, which is just off the coast of Vancouver Island. We flew into Victoria, rented a car and then took a very short ferry ride (35 minutes) to Salt Spring Island on BC Ferries.

View from Living Room

We had rented a house which was on top of one of the hills of Salt Spring, so we had a marvelous view towards many of the other Gulf Islands and we could even see Mt. Baker, US, in the distance.

Salad – yumm!

Salt Spring Island is a magical, mystical place with very friendly residents and a truly laid-back atmosphere. It is also an island where many of the residents, as well as visitors are more enlightened about food and lifestyle so you can find a vast variety of organically grown foods in the grocery stores and especially at their famous Saturday Market held in Ganges, which is one of the towns there. We ate extremely well there, and the prices were average to Ontario prices, which I found surprising, considering it is an island.

There is a yoga centre there, called the Salt Spring Centre, which offers classes, retreats and runs a school for local children.
View of my toes whilst sitting in forest hot tub

Spas and day retreats abound, and I was lucky enough to enjoy an aromatherapy massage, sauna and forest hot-tub at Solace Organic Spa Retreat as part of my major detoxification program mentioned last week.

We hiked the paths at Bryant Hill Park and Andreas Vogt Nature reserve, which were so incredibly beautiful, they were breath-taking. ;
;
We also hiked at the top of Mount Maxwell (OK, I have to admit we drove up to the Provincial Park at the top!), and the views from there were incredible!
view from Mount Maxwell
The only negative thing I have to say about the Island is the lack of municipal blue-bin recycling and composting. I guess we have been spoiled in Ontario with our extensive waste diversion programs, and I was dismayed and disgusted by the 3 BIG bags of garbage that the 6 of us produced in a week.Ironic that Elizabeth May (Green Party Head) is the MP for Salt Spring Island, but I guess that it just doesn’t make financial sense for such a small population. You have to wonder, though, about where all that glass, aluminum and plastic is going?
All in all, it was a very calm and relaxing week – perfect to re-charge the body, mind and spirit!

Detoxify!

There’s a long, wordy definition of Environmental Toxicity on Wikipedia, but in a nutshell it is anything that affects us in a negative fashion. It could be the polluted air we’re breathing, the toxins and plastics in our surroundings, pesticide and antibiotic residues in our food and water. You name it, it can probably poison us. Even too much water can harm us and is called Water Intoxication.
The thing is, you don’t have to throw up your hands in despair and say “there’s nothing I can do”, because you CAN take your health into your own hands and do something about it, namely, detoxification.
I’m not talking about a two or seven day cleanse, but more of an intensive month-long and life-long system of detoxifying multiple organs, and even right down to the cellular level.
In her book, The Detox Solution, Dr. Patricia Fitzgerald lays out a thorough and complete way that you can detoxify at many, many levels.
After following her suggestions for a month, I can attest to the fact that, for me, the protocol has proven really effective. I have suddenly found abundant energy, I feel fantastic, and believe it or not, I am even more vibrant than I usually am. Quite an achievement.
Dr. Fitzgerald is a Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner and a Homeopathic doctor practicing Functional Medicine, a growing specialization popularized by Andrew Weil. There are many Functional Medicine practitioners, including Dr. Amy Myers of Austin Ultra Health, whose blog I follow for all her tips regarding vibrant health.
My detox protocol has followed a similar path to other detox cleanses I have used in the past with a couple of exceptions. The biggest change I have made during the last month, and in my life, is to drink (sipping slowly) a whole lot more water. See my previous post “Rehydrate” for more on how to accomplish this easily.
The supplements and homeopathic clearing medicines from Physica Energetics have been really amazing. I have always had difficulties with my circulation, but a combination of homeopathic Lymph Acute, Spectralyte, Bacterio-tox and Metabolic tox has provided almost instant relief for me, leading to better circulation and more energy. Similarly, the nutraceuticals I take help to clear my liver, kidneys and digestive system of built up toxins. This one-month detox protocol is a far more comprehensive system than a one-week cleanse.
Bear in mind, however, that I have followed this detox protocol under supervision and you should always check with your Health Care Practitioner before undertaking any change in your health care, just to be on the safe side.
Nowadays when we are all subject to pollution in one form or another, it’s nice to be able to address the issue of built up toxins in the body, or toxic load which can adversely affect all the major organs of elimination – the liver, kidneys, digestive system and skin.