here." Others joked that they wanted to hire me to decorate their homes. Although flattering words, I've always been a bit surprised or confused that others don't feel the same satisfaction and comfort from
their own personal spaces. It's always been clear to me that home is much more than a place to keep one's stuff and lay down one's head each night. (See the CHECKLIST for several positive benefits available to everyone.) In fact, in many ways the word "home" refers to a collection of wonderful feelings more than a set of walls and the contents within them.
was also when I leafed through lots of home decorating magazines to discover/create my own personal style (kind of like choosing from a buffet) and developed an affinity for home makeover shows on cable TV (especially when the designers actually listened to their clients and customized for them; several don't)... plus it was the start of my love of hardware stores, DIY projects, and browsing stores/departments selling home goods (like a kid in a candy store!). To have my own place in the world, completely within my control, was amazing.
I've progressed through four homes since that first small place—each with challenges and imperfections—and I made each one an uplifting, nurturing space with very deliberate choices regarding my personal surroundings. Over the past 20+ years, many visitors have commented about how relaxed and comfortable they are while in my home; they quickly feel relief upon entering and later feel refreshed upon leaving. One friend always said, "There's such a good, positive vibe
My personal environments have been very important to me throughout my life. Growing up, I had a tiny, awkward bedroom (about 10-foot square with notched corners), but as the only family member who didn't share a room, I made a point to set it up exactly to my liking and for my maximum pleasure. Also as a kid, I spent the majority of my playtime creating wonderfully furnished and decorated homes for some favorite dolls—Mattel's "Sunshine Family" and "Happy Family"—so that their lives also would be, well, sunny and happy.
As a teenager, I drafted a whole floor plan (drawn to scale) and presented sketches and colors to my parents for a bedroom makeover, to move on from the little-girl colors and patterns... then helped to make it happen. Also at a young age, I often helped my mother position furniture in various rooms, choose paint and rug colors, find just the right artwork for our spaces, and shop for accessories that gave our home warm touches.
A bit about me
Some days after school and on weekends, I spent time at my parents' large store that sold outdoor furniture and decorative/entertaining items, where I helped with visual merchandising to appeal to customers plus organized the small and medium products/boxes stacked and shelved in inventory areas. Then, in my late teens to early 20s, I added color and personality to my university dorm rooms so that they were not generic and cold... the spaces needed to be "home away from home" for me to study and function at my best. (My roommates seemed to appreciate the enhancements, too, although one gal would have loved if I also provided Maid Service to clean her ongoing messes!)
Shortly after college, the first home of my own was a studio apartment of just 400 square feet with only one window (looking onto a brick wall) and an encased Murphy bed that folded away each morning when I woke. I painted the walls cheerful colors, added bright lighting, surrounded myself with objects and memories I loved... and was very happy while living there—my beloved Home Base—for several years. I remember describing it as my "10-room studio" because of all the functional areas I set up there. And it was a real sanctuary that provided relief from the hustle and bustle of New York City, which sometimes chewed me up and spit me out. That period
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certified in Positive Psychology
Here's a small glimpse of my current happy home. It's not something you'd ever see in trendy design magazines; those images tend to be sparse, cold, and impersonal. Our homes should be comfy and warm, with personality... and show that someone lives there!
In my living room, the colors, textures, and whimsical patterns make me smile... plus being surrounded by objects, artwork, and memories I love.
"It's nice to return home each day to something intensely personal."
~ Stanley Barrows,
interior design educator
CLICK PHOTO TO ENLARGE
America's first interior decorator said:
my adaptation for Bliss This Home:
image used with permission, from www.etsy.com/shop/WhiteCellarDoor
"Surround yourself with what you love, whether it’s family, pets
keepsakes, music, plants, hobbies, whatever. Your home is your refuge."
~ source unknown
(often attributed to George Carlin)
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"I truly believe we all need a spiritual center, a place where... we can go to unwind and regroup and get in touch with who we truly are... And we have the privilege of making the place where we live into a welcoming refuge for ourselves and others... doesn't take a lot of money or even a lot of time.... What a welcoming home does require is... a determination to ... make room in our lives and schedules and budgets for what pleases the senses and enriches the soul."
~ Emilie Barnes,
After learning more about the psychology of environments and evidence-based strategies to enhance our well-being (ideas I was somehow attuned to, prior to my certification in Positive Psychology), I'm now putting out another welcome mat... this one for Bliss This Home. After a long career in the publishing industry, I am now combining some of my best skills—listening, understanding people's particular circumstances, collaborating, managing projects (tasks, budgets, schedules, quality), flexible and resourceful problem solving, excellent customer service, and keen attention to details—together with my environmental and emotional sensitivities. I want YOU to experience wonderful feelings in YOUR home and to carry the positive benefits wherever you go.