02 July, 2012

A Space To Do What You Want

by Lisa Peck, ASID
As we approach a holiday, we are all happily anticipating the opportunity to play. To spend time with family and friends. I particularly cherish time spent in the park lying on my back staring up at clouds or with a sketch book, drawing doodles and impressions that float into my idle mind. This weekend there was an opinion piece in the New York Times entitled "The Busy Trap". I whole-heartedly agree with the idea that we should have down time that allows our sense of creativity, community and self-expression to bloom.
Just yesterday my family spent the morning hiking in the woods and the afternoon with nothing to do resulted in several creations. One forest made from paper towel tubes, construction paper and card board boxes which my six-year-old spent hours designing and building without any prompting from anyone. A drawing on tracing paper complete with cynical cartoon bubbles over each characters head by an 11 year-old and upon completion of dinner a science experiment regarding rickets derived from a book I had no idea my children owned.
The question I wonder about as an interior designer is if people have made room in their homes to house idleness...not media rooms, yoga space etc. but rooms where you can just do what occurs. The book "The Blue Zones" refers to these spaces as flow spaces.  In the Times piece Tim Kreider reminds us "Idleness is not just a vacation, an indulgence or a vice; it is as indispensable to the brain as vitamin D is to the body, and deprived of it we suffer a mental affliction as disfiguring as rickets."
Having a spot in your home where it is easy to pick up an instrument and play, easy to create art, an experiment or just stare at the fire and let your thoughts swirl should be a priority. A comfortable place to read and think for without it you may not make the time to be idle.
The Busy Trap suggests that our modern environment, and our addiction to busyness has created a warped reality.
It says of one woman "What she had mistakenly assumed was her personality — driven, cranky, anxious and sad — turned out to be a deformative effect of her environment" and I do believe that environment can deform you or support your best efforts to live a thoughtful life not driven by societal norms but your best, most intentional life.

By LiLu Interiors (view entire home)

By LiLu Interiors (view entire room)