Archive for Vacation

Temporary Quarters

Creating Home in Temporary Spaces

We live in a transient world.   Life pulls us here and there and yet still we long for a small space to call home.  I read a wonderful book recently by Xorin Balbes called Soul Space; Transform Your Home, Transform Your Life.  In it he writes about his partner’s uncanny ability to create home in the most inhospitable and temporary of spaces.  It made me think about my daughter’s upcoming move to New England.  She planned to rent a room in a house and we began talking about what to bring to make it feel like home.

The picture above represents the things she pulled out as her favorites;  Her colorful snuggly comforter, and throw pillows, a few favorite books and pieces of art, some carefully edited pictures of family and friends, a bamboo plant from her last place of work, a journal and some art supplies, a nifty jewelry or mail (or both) holder, her favorite cup and bowl, and a terrarium full of flowers holding meaning for this new path.



Here are her before and after pictures of her room.  She has taken a plain space and made it feel like her own cozy nest.   And while I imagine she is waking up knowing she is in a new place, with an unfamiliar bed and a completely different view out the window, she has the comfort of her own sheets and pillows and these bits and pieces of her former life to ground her as she floats into an unknown future.









You can make even the most temporary of spaces feel personal by placing your hat on the dresser, a bunch of posies in the bathroom glass and your books and magazines by the bed.  If at all possible, bring your own pillow in your favorite colored pillow case so as not to leave it behind.  Settle in and enjoy your new surroundings.


Design for Change: Vacation Memories

It is so hard to say good-bye to vacation and leave behind sensations in which you reveled.  Why not bring some pieces home with you to invoke the memories and call up feelings that you experienced?  My dear friend Pam has several ways in which she does this.   On her kitchen counter stands a tall vase of stones collected on a recent trip to the Greek Islands.  This stylish accent conjures up the feeling of warm sand sifting through her fingers.

Design For Change: Vacation Memories at HomeShe also collects small water colors (sometime inexpensive cards) from places she has traveled.  Framed at home in her powder room they create a charming wall of stories fondly remembered.

I am particularly jealous of her printers box filled with small trinkets from all over the world. Design for Change: Vacation Treasures on Display (Perhaps because she and our friend Linda have such a good time picking these things out.)  I keep thinking I am too late to get in on this but of course it is never too late to shore up memories.

I often think of memory as existing in layers;  usually the important and current stuff stays on the top, easily accessible.  As their urgency lessens they drift down to be replaced by other more important events.  It becomes easy for the amazingly evocative Tango performance in Buenos Aires that truly thrilled you to slide further and further out of mind.  Tangible reminders such as tiny tango shoes can pull these special memories back to the surface and allow us to delight in them once more.


My suggestion; bring back something real, an actual souvenir ( French for “a remembrance”)  a rock, a shell, a picture, and put it someplace where you will see it often.  When passing by give yourself a few seconds to remember, and re-experience the vacation sensation.