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Before we dive into the ingredients that come together to design varying experiences, we need to have an understanding of our personal preferences; what moments and activities bring us the most joy along with the objects that reflect who we are. As Sarah Ban Breathnach said in her renowned book, Simple Abundance, “The key to loving how you live life is knowing what you truly love.” Oftentimes, people don’t know why they like something or dislike something else. And when they do know what they like, they are unable to say what it is specifically about that thing or experience that brings joy and resonates with them. You may be thinking, why do I need to know WHY I like something, can’t I just like it? Sure, but knowing WHY brings deeper understanding of yourself, of which the feeling of connectedness arises. When you feel connected, you are tapping into your truest self. This is where a certainty, or inner knowingness, becomes the space from which you make design decisions. Oftentimes, people will find themselves buying an item they love one minute and after a short while they don’t like it anymore. When you buy items that truly reflect you on the deepest level, you find yourself loving them much longer, if not forever. You may also notice that you start using less objects. For example, when you buy a mug that you truly love, you often find yourself only ever wanting to use that mug. So why have 12? Ultimately, you will buy less, less often.

Now we ask ourselves, what is it that I truly love? A good medium for documenting this journey is pinterest. I encourage readers to sign up for a pinterest account if you don’t already have one. If you prefer to document with a physical journal, that works too! For this blog’s purposes I will give directions for pinterest. Begin creating public or private boards – whatever you feel most comfortable with for the following:

Via ArchDaily. House in Tel Aviv | Neuman Hayner Architects


Filter through images of style, clothing and accessories. To give yourself exposure to a wide variety of styles and check out Fashionspot’s top bloggers of 2016. Looking at a variety of fashion blogs is a great way to expose yourself to a wide range of styles, giving yourself the opportunity to zone in more precisely on the styles that resonate with you.


For residential moments I recommend creating two pinterest boards; one for Home Activities and one for Home Spaces. I encourage you to pin to the board home activities first. It is important to prioritize your home spaces based on both function (daily needs) as well as by the spaces that offer you a place to perform an activity that brings you fulfillment. This is information we use as a guide for the design of homes that reflect who we are.

Put on your explorer hat and ask yourself questions that target many angles, really dig in here. Listen and record. Start by asking yourself, what are my favorite things to do at home? Curl up and watch a movie? Cook? Really take the time to listen and record your answers. Ask yourself, in what rooms of my home do I spend most of my time? What am I doing in these rooms? This exercise requires some critical thinking. You may decide it is beneficial for you to do an occupancy study, to record all of the rooms that you occupy for a few days or week. This study will provide you with real-time data on how you spend your time and you will be able to calculate the ratio of time spent from one room to another. This can help you more accurately pinpoint what rooms you need from a functional perspective, along with giving yourself the opportunity to explore how these spaces may be improved to help you perform your tasks optimally (we will dive into this further in upcoming posts). You will be able to determine the rooms you use for pure pleasure, function or both. Next, we ask ourselves, what spaces would I really like to have in my home that I currently don’t have? What activities would I do in these rooms? Maybe the answer here is a bigger kitchen to cook. Or a dining room to entertain guests. Or a studio to paint. It is important to give yourself an open, judgment free space to explore these questions. Really dig in. We want to not only determine and analyze what you are currently doing but to also discover the things you long to do in your home that brings you joy. We are designing a life we love and this requires knowing what moments bring us the upmost joy. Like a silent wish, let’s bring awareness to our heart’s yearnings, and give them a voice through our journal. You may be thinking, I’d love to have a room to paint in but I will never be able to afford such a luxury of space in this city, or such an expensive hobby for that matter! We aren’t here to criticize our desires. We are here to listen and to honor that voice within, let it speak its truth. You may find at the end of this journey that you still don’t have a room to paint in. That is ok. We have prioritized happiness in our lives and once we know what brings us the most happiness we have the power to work with what we have and make decisions that ultimately create a life we love. If you love to paint and can’t afford to buy supplies and do it at home – maybe you research paint studios and find a community painting class that offers a paint night at a cost you can afford. Maybe you and your friends form a painting club, share supplies, and alternate hosting paint nights in your living rooms’ once a month.


Next I recommend creating a pinterest board for “inspirational moments.” Start asking yourself broader questions like, what moments bring me joy? Think on varying scales here. Document simple moments, that you perform everyday that you enjoy. Maybe you love your morning snuggle with a furry friend or sitting and having a coffee by the window. Next, think of social activities, like dining out or hosting dinner parties. Document any physical sports/exercise activities that bring you joy. Pin any image that captures a moment that resonates joy with you. Search a bunch of words using the pinterest search engine to get your brain thinking in as many directions as possible. Look to the past, ask yourself what you used to do for fun as a child? Do these things still bring you joy?


  • When searching the pinterest image database, pin to your boards with gut, not mind. As Jessamyn West said, “knowledge of what you love somehow comes to you; you don’t have to read nor analyze nor study. If you love a thing enough, knowledge of it seeps into you, with particulars more real than any chart can furnish.” If you find yourself asking, should I pin this one? DON’T. The objects, spaces and activities that you truly love will be pinned without question. This is the space where identity resides and your truest self emerges.








  1. Reply


    May 10, 2017

    Nice post – this is the other half of our constant need to declutter. As you and others have said, getting rid of things is a band-aid when we don’t carefully consider what we bring into our home. We often pick up things thoughtlessly, which adds little to our life and can distract us from the things we actually love (me using my books as resting places for impulse purchases comes to mind).