Casa cure 2: Let there be light!

By on January 30, 2012
Welcome to the second edition of Bottega Tokyo’s Casa Cure!

When I do the complete Casa Cure workshop with my clients, I like to begin each session by checking in with them. It’s helpful for us to discuss how the experience has been so far, to acknowledge any feelings of tension or resistance, and to identify what elements have lifted weight from their shoulders.

Since I can’t be there next to you to discuss your experience over the last month, please take a few minutes before proceeding to check in with yourself about how things are going so far. Did you have fun? Have you managed to set goals and meet them? Did you learn something new about your home? If you feel it’s been challenging, make note of why and see if this month you can’t move through those issues. Don’t sweep it under the rug, so to speak. Keep the energy flowing!

This month we’re going to begin by identifying the problem areas in your home. We’ll address them one by one, starting with how to achieve  the best lighting for your space. I’m also excited to share with you one of my favourite activities when it comes to creating soulful spaces. Together, we’ll explore the power of a ‘dream map’ and I will teach  you how to make one of your own.

Generally there are six problem areas in a home:
Light quality
Sparse living

Some homes have one or two problem areas, while others suffer from all of these issues.   

Last month you came to know your home better by doing a walk through and noting your experience in each space. The next step is to identify the key problem areas that deserve attention in your home.  

Answer the following questions with a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’

1.Light quality
  Do you have a lot of natural light  in your home?
  Do you have large unobstructed windows in every room?
  Do you have floor lamps in all the living areas?
  Do you have bedside lamps in all the bedrooms?
  Do you burn candles at night?

  Do you have enough storage for your items?
  Do you need everything you own?
  Do you use everything you own?
  Do you get rid of items you no longer need, even if they are of sentimental value?
  Do you only buy something when you need it and love?
  Is your home relaxing?
  Is your home organized?

3. Flow
  Does your home have an ease about it?
  Do the pieces in each room compliment each other?
  Does the layout in your home feel effortless and calm?
  Does each furniture piece have space to breath? In other words, do all your items have space around it? Are they crammed in next to one another, or pushed against walls and / or into corners?
  Have you applied Feng Shui or Vastu to your home?
  Can you walk around all the rooms in your home with ease, without bumping into furniture, storage items or any other objects?
  Can you easily vacuum all areas of all rooms?

4.Sparse living
  Do you have treasured items in your home?
  Do you have items with sentimental value in your home?
  Is your home comfortable & cozy?
  Do you relax when guests visit?
  Is your home a combination of practicality and beauty?

  Do you have books in your home?
  Do you have art in your home?
  Do you have photos of loved ones in your home?
  Do you have old items with a story in your home?
  Does your home express your style?

  Is everything in your home in working order?
  Do you consider your home to be in good shape?
  Do you take care of repairs quickly?
  Do you clean your home at least once a week?  
  Do you acknowledge/recognize problem areas in your home?
  Do you face and take immediate action to remedy problem areas in your home?

The categories where you answered ‘yes’ less than three times are the areas where you need the most work. Seeing as this month we will focus on light quality, you should pay special attention if you scored less than three points in that section.

Natural light is the most important element in your home and it can be crucial to your wellbeing. It is very hard to obtain natural light without large structural changes, so if you are in the process of moving or house hunting be sure to check there’s plenty of lighting flooding in for as much of the day as possible.

You can always add more light to a home, but nothing beats natural light so getting it right from the start is by far the best approach. When looking for a new home, visit the space at different times of the day to get an idea of the amount of light it If, however, you are in a home that suffers from little light, fear not. You can begin to remedy this by adding extra natural light, installing skylights, removing heavy blinds and curtain drapery as well as pieces of furniture that are obstructing windows.

Adding floor lamps and table lamps to a dark space will always help. Remember to keep walls, furniture and flooring in a light color, as this will reflect the Iight and brighten the space. Dark colors absorb light and will darken the room.

At night, light could easily spoil the atmosphere in a room – too much light is unnecessary and harsh, while too little light is impractical. Like everything in life, it’s all about getting the balance right.

Bright and fluorescent lights give an awful glare (and are deeply unflattering!) and should be avoided at all costs. Instead, invest in floor/standing lamps for the living, dining and reception rooms and bedside lamps for all bedrooms. Avoid having ceiling lights as the primary light source in any room.

Candles are the maverick for creating atmosphere and soul to in a space. Always keep an abundance of candles in your kitchen & bathroom – light them when you eat, cook, bath or even when watching a film.

There is never an inappropriate time for candlelight.

Creating a Dream Map:
Think of this Dream Map as your roadmap for the next few months.

Start by cutting out an abundance of pictures from magazines and catalogues that inspire you.  

Buy an A1 poster board in white, black or brown. Whatever your prefer.  

Take all the photos you collected and start laying them out on the board – placing your favorite images right in the middle. Arrange all the images around this central picture and move them around until you are happy with the layout, now glue them to the board.

The last step is taking a photo of your dream map and making it your screensaver / background on your phone, computer, iPad and wherever it can remind you daily of your dream space. This will inspire change and motivate you to address the areas in your home that are keeping it from being a supportive and beautiful space that you need and love.

Liezel Strauss is the Art and Design Consultant at Bottega Tokyo. Bottega takes a caring and sensitive approach towards design to ensure its creative endeavors reflect its physical, emotional and spiritual connections with our environment. Bottega Tokyo’s passion and overall goal is to create soulful, functional spaces that speak to the aesthetic and needs of an individual, family, or business.  Made up of a  team of art and interior consultants, they provide innovative and sustainable design solutions for residential properties and small commercial spaces in Tokyo and the Yokohama area.

Recommended shopping list:

Poster board: Tokyu Hands or Loft
Candles: In Japan:  Ikea is our go to for candles, they have a large variety and is very affordable.  When we travel we stock up on Diptique scented candles which are worth every penny. (Diptique is also available at Cibone in Aoyama) and Joe Malone for their extra large scented candle.
Floor lamps:Conran, Balls & Cibone has a wonderful selection
Bedside lamps; Muji, Ikea & Balls

About Tokyo Families