upstairs, where the living is easy!

As we head inevitably towards colder weather, I’ve been setting my sights on hibernation! The upstairs of  a house provides the warmth I crave in the cold months.

Addressing your bedding is an obvious choice, but over the past few years I have seen a few homes featuring upstairs family rooms and this has become my gold standard. My dream house has one of these along with a great big upstairs office where I can work freely should I get creatively inspired in the middle of the night. Here are a few ideas I’ve been collecting.

I first read about an upstairs family room in Elle Decor 2 years ago. The obsession began.

Then I saw an upstairs sitting room by Marshall Watson in House Beautiful. Further intrigued.

Since many of us, even with large homes, may not have a spare room to use upstairs, the idea of really decking out extra space in an upstairs master would do the trick.  Here is a bold space featuring a sectional in the master (from Elle Decor by designer Waldo Fernandez):

I also really love this custom shelving and desk surface arrangement in this space by Laura Kirar:

The concept of appointing space upstairs with furnishings for waking life seems to make sense as so many people now blur the lines between home and work, and family life takes such center stage. The idea to me is so intimate and luxurious and really makes sense for how I actually do live. How about you? What indulgences would support the way you really live?

creative genius inspires me

A few weeks ago my little munchkin started pre-school and I took some time off so that I could get him acclimated (and myself) to the new routine. But once he was happily in school I was at home with a few hours of actual leisure time on hand!

I spent my spare time listening to music and as I listened to album after album of Regina Spektor I became enmeshed, once again, in feeling the genius in her music. I remembered an interview I had heard with her last year on NPR. She insisted there was no grand meaning behind her quirky lyrics. They were often just stories she made up. Her vocal stylings, she said were perhaps influenced by her feeling that language is a collection of arbitrary sounds. Her songs are the result of her playfulness: imagining people, making silly sounds, tinkering on the piano for which she is classically trained. And the outcome? Music that engulfs and transports you into all these very interesting worlds and emotional states.

Creativity, creative genius always seems to be the result of such playfulness. Tinkering with a very specific set of concepts until you understand them inside out and upside down, and can deploy them with relative ease. On the design side I think of Kelly Wearstler as a good example. If you see one of her free hand sketches you can feel that what motivates her creative mind is a playfulness. A playing with concepts, just because it is fun. She takes an idea and then plays it up into larger than life-sized proportions and devises a room out of it. There is this spark of genius to her designs because they reference history and contemporary design trends, but seem to be saying something so unique. The outcome: spaces that transform the atmosphere and transport you to all these very imaginative worlds.

In the realm of this kind of genius I also think of course, of Matisse. How he would play at length with a specific idea or technique. The cut-outs, the flattening of space, the painting of figures and textiles.

I also thought of Ralph Lauren, who took a few cinematic moments and continues to play with the ideas and the details of those moments over and over again, until they are wardrobes and rooms in a set of imagined lives.

As I step into fall I think I would like to play more! Play with all the colors and fabrics I love, with the design concepts and the idea of a lifestyle I love. Where can you play more in your life?