DO YOU PAY THE TOLL?

On December 29, 2011, Seattleites found themselves with a new Toll Bridge.

While the bridge itself wasn’t new, the toll was.

For those not familiar with the Seattle area, we have two bridges that span Lake Washington – connecting the city, itself, with the suburbs and outlying areas.

I think it’s safe to say that hundreds of thousands of commuters rely on these bridges every single day.

So, enacting a toll was a really big deal.

Here’s what has happened since. Many commuters have simply refused to pay the toll. Instead, they are driving well out of their way and finding alternate routes.

They either travel across the second bridge – whether or not it is convenient to where they live or work – or they circumnavigate the lake completely.

What surprises me most about this, is that the folks who have chosen to drive around the lake or find alternate routes, don’t seem to be concerned about the extra distances they’re driving, or the additional expense for gas.

Meanwhile, for those who opt to pay the toll, the route into the City is straight sailing all the way – a huge improvement over snarled traffic jams that used to be the norm.

Of course, whether to pay the toll or not, that’s up to the individual and their unique circumstances.

In the end it’s all about choices.

The analogy here, is that we often make similar decisions when it comes to buying new furniture – whether to go all out and invest in superior quality and a better experience – the equivalent of paying the toll – or settling on something more affordable that fits our budget here and now.

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BEAUTY IS SUSTAINABLE

“Do not keep anything in your home that you do not know to be useful or beautiful” William Morris

Any object that is beautifully made – be it furniture or something more utilitarian – is a joy to behold and a pleasure to use.  

Furthermore, anything that is a pleasure to own will likely remain in your possession indefinitely.  Which, according to author Sarah Susanka, is another way of saying that an object of beauty is ultimately sustainable!

Case in point:

A few weeks ago I decided I needed an apple corer – one of those kitchen gadgets that slices and cores an apple in one fell swoop.

I spotted a sturdy little number in passing, at the grocery store, and bought it on the spot.

The first time I used it, it got stuck in the apple. I mean really stuck!

When I tried to remove it, the darn thing fell apart completely.  My husband spent the next half hour trying to put it back together. Needless to say, that one was taken back to the store where I bought it.

A few days later, I stopped in a gourmet kitchen shop and purchased another apple corer.

This time around, it sliced the apple quickly and perfectly, and I was absolutely delighted.

In fact, it was so much fun I could hardly wait to use it again!

Do you see the difference?

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HOW TO HAVE A 'SLOW HOME'

For several years now, I’ve been observing the similarities between food and design.                               

If that seems like too much of a stretch, I invite you to think again.

This past summer, I wrote a post called “Do You Follow the Recipe?”, where I attempted to draw a parallel between doing things by the book, or taking a more spontaneous approach whether preparing a meal or designing a home.

It turns out there’s more than one way to look at this. (Isn’t there always?)

I’ve since come across a website called Slow Home.

You’ve heard of the Slow Food movement? Well, this is essentially the same thing, except that it applies to home design instead.

I love their philosophy.

I love how they’ve made that connection between food and design, between our fast-paced, fast food lifestyle and the need to just slow down and enjoy the comfort of our well-designed homes.

This seems especially poignant at this time of year, with the holidays upon us, along with our lengthy to-do lists. We feel so pressured to shop for gifts, to cook and bake, to decorate and entertain, that on a certain level we lose a good deal of the joy that the holiday is meant to inspire.

But that’s just part of it.

If your home isn’t inviting – even to you – then you might be feeling a bit short-changed on the inspiration front.

John Brown, co-owner of the Slow Home site, likens this to all the separate ingredients that make up a pot of chicken soup – the vegetables, the broth, and of course, the chicken.

Simmered together on the stove, these separate ingredients suddenly become much more than the sum of their parts.

Our homes work the same way.

Yes, you can toss your furnishings into a room with little thought, and call it done. But where is the comfort, the inspiration, the part that speaks to your soul?

Where is the love?

A TEMPLE FOR YOUR BODY

“They are architects of furniture who designed comfortable, livable pieces that define space in a dynamic way….They built temples for your body.”

David Jameson, Architect                    

The above quote was in reference to Hans Wegner and Poul Kjaerholm, two (among many) remarkable furniture designers of the early twentieth century.

Think about it.

Imagine having a “temple for your body”.

I don’t know about you, but I think that sounds heavenly.

As I write this, I’m on a quest. I’m looking for comfortable furniture, specifically a sofa that will envelope my body and fit me like a glove.

I dream of a sofa, or chair, that will allow me to sit comfortably for hours on end, without having to constantly re-position my posterior for greater comfort.

Or squirm in my seat to keep from sliding off, because my feet don’t quite touch the floor.

I happen to fit that segment of the population that is ‘height challenged’ – meaning I’m five feet, two inches in my stocking feet.

In a standard home such as my own, seating of any kind is usually too deep. (Plus most countertops and upper cabinets are too high, but I digress).

In a typical day, we put our bodies through a lot of stress, from physical exercise, hours sitting at a computer, poor posture in general, and – oh,yes – carrying around excess weight.

Any one of these places extra stress on our muscles and joints.

It’s no wonder, then, that at the end of the day our tired, sore bodies are craving a comfortable place to rest.

A temple, so to speak.

Our homes are meant to be a sanctuary. A place to escape the daily grind, to unwind and be with family, and to be our truest selves.

To truly be a sanctuary, your home must also meet your every need, including your personal comfort!

This means that the idea of ‘sanctuary’ must extend to the furnishings in your home!

Are you ready to create a temple for your body?