A cottage like this wasn't created overnight and it is still in the process of becoming although it feels like it is close to emerging into what it is going to be. The cottage officially has a House Whiskey. Once we finished up the Hibiki Harmony, I am reusing that beautiful bottle to store the house whiskey. The House Whiskey is 18 year old Glenmoragie which is pretty good stuff. There is nothing like ending the day with a large cup of Camomile tea and a shot of really good whiskey while listening to some Jazz and reading a good book.
As you can see I am adding house plants to the cottage and since they are ferns and tropical plants, I am working hard to keep the cottage with high humidity. This means being more thoughtful when I turn on the heat which brings down the humidity. It means not having it toasty in the morning, but waiting for the passive solar heat to come from the windows later in the day and making sure I keep the humidifier going earlier in the morning to later in the evening. The goal is to bring it up has high as I can and so when it goes down in the middle of the night it doesn't go down as far. Yesterday the cottage got up to 84 degrees with all the passive heat from the windows. If I lay off the heat in the morning, I can get the humidity up and only 74 degrees with passive heat.
Three more plants arrived today which and so I planted them in pots and hung them up with the macrame plant hangers. This will give a bit more of that Bohemian feel, but without going overboard about it. Plants are great to not only add a splash of green to a space but help with the air quality. If I can keep these 9 plants alive we may be able to find room for more over the years. There is plenty of room for hanging plants, so this could get interesting.
The next element will include hanging crystals and indoor chimes.
As I have mentioned before, I am into spaces that have layers of elements that have accumulated over the years and everything has a place to be and where it belongs. After years of dreaming and planning, it is finally coming together.
Last night I found myself in my reading nook, staring at my latest artwork.
One of the main things I had day dreamed about for years is a day bed where I can read, nap, listen to music, talk to people on the phone, and just...day dream. I took on of the outdoor chaises to create a couch that is big enough to sleep in. I can actually stretch my legs on it and sink into all those pillows.
That easy chair is also enormously comfortable and easy to fall asleep in. I look forward to having people over after this pandemic is over. I can pull out the chair and have seating for 2-3 people. For now, I just have my husband and teen son to visit me.
Another layer I am adding is ferns and house plants to add more splashes of green, which is one of the accent colors I have along with orange. The decor is grey, cream, reddish brown, black, and white with accents of green and orange. That is why the artwork is green and orange. So with the ferns, I have to raise the humidity of the cottage. That is why I have the humidifier going. Having the heat on in the morning means that I have to have it going all day and in the evenings while i am awake. The range so far has been 40-66% humidity. I am hoping to get that up in the 70s for the ferns. I am getting some more ferns and house plants to hang from the ceiling this next week. Ferns and houseplants clean the air and adds a great atmosphere. The humidifier also adds a water feature to the cottage which was missing. I got a digital thermometer and humidity gauge so I can work on getting the cottage right for the plants. I also revived an orchid. If you notice, there is a cream colored bowl where I put rocks in a bowl of water to add more humidity as the water evaporates. This also gives me another water feature.
I love the BOHO aesthetic but do not believe in going FULL BOHO. I like being bohemian without hitting people over the head with it. That is my philosophy with design don't go too literal or be too much into any one look. I love French country house, but carrying that too far would be too much. I like the shabby chic, but too much of it would be too much. My style is more in line with a sophisticated, layered New York studio apartment and office/studio with elements of bohemian chic. I love playing Jazz, classical, and shamanic music in the background so I need a space that would feel natural listening to Jazz with a glass a good whiskey as the sun sets over the foothills.
I mix woods, metals, and textures in this space. Nickle, copper, and gold play well in this space with copper fairy lights, gold accents in book spines and vases, and nickle curtain rods. Greyish woods of the flooring and bookshelves, play well with reddish woods of my desk and hutch (matching easy chair), natural wood of my art storage, and black woods of my worktables. I have a black metal accents of the bookcases that go with the black metal storage rack. My rug runner is dark grey, beige, and cream. I have gauzy grey linen curtains. I also have minerals of crystals and rocks. I have metal statues of Green Tara, White Tara, and Buddha, because this is a sacred space as well.
I mix textiles as well. I have faux fur, silk, knit, cotton, and velvet pillows and throws in green, cream, white, grey, and orange. I have a leather chair. I am not afraid to layer, people.
It was on my day bed that I joined into a virtual full moon women's shamanic journey ritual one night while holding my huge rose quartz specimen. It was a deeply satisfying experience where tears were shed and I had this deep meditative experience.
This cottage is this workspace where I can create art, write, take on projects, relax, read, meditate, and day dream. This wasn't created overnight. It took years for this to come together and lots of planning, dreaming, working, and collecting.
There is a design movement called maximalism which is a counter to minimalism. In interior design it is layers of materials and elements that fill the room without being cluttered or disorganized. When I look at interiors, while I appreciate the elegance of minimalism, I always lean in on a space that has layers of elements. Many of the elements of this cottage space has items that I have carried with me all my life, books, a chunky, amber candy dish my adopted mom gave me, shells, incense holders, vases, art, etc. When arranged thoughtfully, it becomes a place of wonder and comfort to day dream in.
It is hard to capture this space I created the way I see it and experience it. Here is my attempt.
After being in this space for some time, I have made adjustments to make it workable. I have moved my computer where I can avoid the glare of the afternoon sun only to be foiled by a different season's sun. So I broke down and got curtains. I had resisted, because the entire point is to see the world outside, since the main house doesn't have great windows or views. The curtains I found offer diffused light to come in and the ability to see trees, clouds, blossoms, birds, and the weather outside. Being able to have ample natural light has been important not only to do art, but also when we lose power.
When we lost power for three days in Fall of 2019, our house didn't (and still hasn't) much natural light. It was nice to go out to the cottage and be able to read or journal with natural light for most of the day. The light the cottage gets provides passive heat as well.
This video I filmed shows this space from morning to night time and how it feels. Even with curtains you can see the outdoors into the garden and still get rays of light. The rays of light have been muted and diffused.
I divided the room with a divider that adds another layer of diffused light. I can still see people coming to the space while having glare protection. While sitting in the reading nook I noticed that the divider gave the illusion of being a larger space. I can fool myself and pretend that there is not just an office studio on the other side of the divider, but more rooms down a long hallway.
Lighting is so key in any space. I have lights for Zoom calls and video recording. I have task lights doing art, taking notes, writing letters, or seeing the keyboard at night. Then I have hue lights for the ceiling and the reading nook. The nook lights are not only for journaling and reading, but to provide more ambient light. Hue lights give you the ability to control the color of the space, but allows you to have dimmed light that you find in high end hotels. There are apps that allow you to turn hue lights into party lights. Then I have another light on my desk that provides ambient colored light. Then to add the final touch of magic, I put up fairy lights. Some of the fairy lights blink and it can turn the space into a disco.
Fairy lights are magical.
As you can see, this space is a multi-functional space. It is an office, an art studio, and a place to chill, read, listen to music, journaling, exercise, dance, and meditation. The space is like a tile puzzle. I can shift things around to match the activity I want to do. I have a table easel I can pull out if I want to paint, or I can store it away and give myself some surface space. If life ever gets to be normal again, I can shift things around to have guests seated and have a small party.
It is a space that has made the past couple of years bearable. I have gone through at least 2 major wildfire smoke seasons, waking up to red skies, a three day power outage, a global pandemic and shelter-in-place, George Floyd protests, and being very sick at the very beginning of January 2020. There have been great memories in here as well.
I remember when the drywall wasn't even up, setting up a table, chair, and phone to make calls for work. I participated in a distanced shamanic journey on an evening of a full moon. I have had friends over, made art, finished a bulk mail project, danced to music, read great books and listened to beautiful music. In May 2020 military planes flew over the cottage to honor our nation's health care workers. In the Spring of 2020, the entire area would howl at 8pm every night during Shelter-in-Place. There were many Zoom calls with friends and colleagues for fun and productivity.
It went through several phases until it is finally how I like it. I am going to be adding some house plants. The only other purchase is a HEPA 13 air filtration system so the family can hang in here for most of the day when we have wildfire smoke season and make it safe for guests to come when we are all vaccinated.
This will not be the last post about this space for sure.