Change Your Home, Change Your Life with Michelle Ogundehin

Uncategorized Jan 25, 2021


Michelle Ogundehin is a leader in the interior design world.  Most recently, her first book, called "Happy Inside: How to Harness the Power of Home for Health and Happiness" has just been published.  But before that, she spent 13 years as Editor in Chief of Elle Decoration UK, a post that she took on after working her way up in several other prestigious shelter magazines.  She's also been a judge on the hit show Interior Design Masters produced by the BBC and now available through Netflix.  She was no stranger to the camera either because before that, she was co-presenting and appearing on other series such as Grand Designs: House of the Year; The Great Interior Design Challenge; and the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.  And I haven't even gotten into other things such as her creation of a spin-off magazine, her own design consultancy firm, the articles she's had published in both America and Great Britain and the fact that she trained as an architect.  There's a helluva lot to this woman and the interview you're about to hear is one of the most substantial conversations I've ever had about design, on a personal scale.  How design affects real people, in real homes.  


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by Michelle Ogundehin




Episode Transcript:

Hello and welcome to the Style. Matters Podcast Brought to you by little yellow couch. I'm Zandra your host. And I am so glad you're here. You're listening to a show that is all about developing your signature style in your home and connecting it to the life you want to create. Now, you may be wondering how do you do that? Where do you start?

Well, I have come up with a new guide that you can get your hands on right now. That's kind of like a cross between Madlibs. And one of those, if you were an animal, what kind of animal would you be? Games it's called the Style mashup. And I put it together because one of the most common questions I get asked is how do I know what my style is?

There's a lot of confusion and even worry around this, especially because that question is usually followed up with, there are so many different styles. I like, how do I know which one to choose? How do I know if I'm just admiring something I'm seeing in a magazine or if I should actually claim that style that I'm seeing as the one, the one Style that's going to represent who I am and give my home a cohesive look,

I get it. I get why you want to know the answer to this question. But whenever I try to come at that question from a different angle, by suggesting that that's not even the question you need to be asking, I think I leave you feeling frustrated. So I've created this Style mashup game to both help you come up with a name for your style as a whole while pointing you in a direction outside of typical Style categories.

I think I'm actually going to do an episode all about the Style mashup, just to give you some more insight on how to use it and what next steps to take once you've filled it out. But for right now, just go to little yellow, click on the yellow button at the top that says your Style mashup to download the free guide. Okay.

I have blabbered on long enough. I am so excited to introduce my next guest to you. Michelle Ogun to hint is a leader in the interior design world, and she's been a very busy lady. Most recently. She has come out with her first book and it's called happy inside how to harness the power of home for health and happiness. It's just been published.

And we're going to talk all about that in this interview. But before that Michelle spent 13 years as editor in chief of Elle decoration, UK, a post that she took on after working her way up and several other prestigious shelter magazines. She has also been on television as a judge on the hit show masters, which was produced by the BBC, but it's now available through Netflix.

You must check it out. She was no stranger to the camera either though, because before that she was presenting and producing other things such as grand designs house of the year and the great interior design challenge and the RHS Chelsea flower show all over in Britain. And I haven't even gotten to the other things that she's done such as her creation of a spinoff magazine from Elle decoration,

her own design consultancy firm, and the articles that she's published in both America and great Britain. And the fact that she trained as an architect all before all of this other stuff. So there's a hell of a lot to this woman. And the interview you're about to hear is one of the most substantial conversations I have ever had about design, especially design on a personal scale.

Michelle talks about how design affects real people in real homes. Let's get started. Michelle Ogando hen. I am honored to have you on this show because you have written the book of my dreams, just to be just throw it over the top, right from the beginning. And I know that once we dig into this conversation, my audience will know why I am saying that because we are,

we are so compatible you. And I I'd like you to tell everyone about your background, which is very rich. So I'd like you to just choose which parts of it you want to talk to us about. As I said in the intro, you were editor in chief of Elle decoration, UK, you've hosted design masters on Netflix. You have been at the helm of many,

many things, and you've also really educated yourself in Buddhist philosophy, which came through quite strongly in your book. All of this I'm sure informs your book. So please give us a little bit of background, whatever you want to share. Well, firstly, I must just say Zandra. I am like grinning from ear to ear because when I discovered you and your Podcast,

I have hoovered up every single episode because yes, we are kindred spirits. I was just so overwhelmed to see all of your previous guests and the way you talk. We were like the home team. I mean, there, you know, you can feel like you're the only person that kind of has a certain perspective and there's something it's like, Oh my goodness,

I am not alone. Where there are more people that think like this, there are more people that understand about just if you like elevating the idea of home. So I was, Well, I am so touched right now. Thank you that we're having a love Fest here. Same as everyone for Justin, But it is it's. I mean, I wrote,

I mean, you asked me to kind of give me the bits of my biography. And in fact, if I may go back one step, because my prompt to write it in the first instance was actually a, sort of less about me, more about kind of just observing if you like the state of the nation and looking at these rising levels of chronic disease,

depression, mental health is disorder, and this is around the world and just thinking, why is this happening? Why, why, why, how did we get to this place? And then in the same breath, thinking every time we talk about health and wellbeing, we do not talk about environment. And so this is the big kind of, you know,

it is. We know you and I understand it and you'll read your listeners and your guests understand that it is a holistic endeavor. The pursuit of health and happiness is not just about nutrition and exercise, as fundamental as those are, it is about your environment is about what surrounds you. And this is so important. And this idea that home used to be just somewhere you rushed out of in the morning and then slumped back into it in the evening.

And any idea about decor was, well, that was nice to do. If you had time, it was seen as maybe a bit fickle it's about color carte charts and cushions, but it wasn't understood as something powerful. If you like something with the most enormous potential to change your life and the way that you could be. So in order to be your best self,

you have to start with your environment. And so really the book came from like my goodness, I need to get this down pages because so many books, whereabouts Style, they were Style or the monochrome home, or kind of maximalism or minimalism. And people were really, I felt struggling with like, which style am I? What should I do? What sort of storage should I have?

What should, what carpet goes with this? What curtains goes with my sofa? And all of the time I was thinking, these are not the right questions. This is not what it's about. So that's Really, yes, it compelled you to write this book and I'm so glad you did, because look, I love a beautiful, a beautifully laid out spread in Elle decoration as much as the next person and the homes that you chose when you were,

when you were spearheading, everything were so richly layered, but I don't know that everyone knows how to do that when it's coming from a deeper place. But anyway, we're going to get into that. So please, please continue. Oh, well, no. I mean, you're right. I mean, one of the key things I think about my editor ship is the homes were all very different,

but the one thing that they had in common was that whatever the homeowner chose to do, they did it coherently and consistently from the front to the back of the home. And that isn't about a kind of a single blanket Style so it was all one color. They were, as you said, the rich and layered, but they were a reflection of that person.

They were that person's portrait, if you like in three dimensions. And that's what made them so glorious. And it was about understanding who the person was and then seeing the home as a reflection of that. So I used the magazine to tell stories, instead of just like, here's a nice living room and this person put this chair in that carpet and this chaise,

this is not interesting to me. It's the why, why have you chosen these things? What do they say to you? What are they about, Right. And you you've said this in, in part of your book, perhaps in the introduction about given all of the work that you've done in this industry, you have watched trends come and go. And then you've also seen the rise of sort of the trend monopoly,

the, the, the trend where the trend is the thing that is the only thing that's talked about. And, and I know you you've pushed back against that. Yes I have. In fact, I've, I've literally today, it's gone up on nine. I do an annual trend report for a, a website called Dezeen. It's a huge site and I do one report for them every year.

And this one is, it's almost like the anti trend one. It said, it's like, this is less about trends and all about truths because we are in a very different place right now. But Would we be able to link to that in your show notes? Absolutely. Absolutely. And it really is. It's quite again, I kind of, I mean,

I sort of sat down to sort of like, okay, my trend report and then just realized, Oh my goodness, we are in such a different place. I mean, as you said, I've always pushed back about what I call the sort of fashionable kind of trends of whimsy, what things that are in and out and kind of flow around. And instead,

I'm always interested in what I call these reflective zeitgeists trends, you know, something like sustainability or biophilic design, these, these represent huge movements in mindset and change. And then you sort of look at the ripple effect of how we can then apply them in our home. And then I, and everyone has been writing about COVID obviously, but you know how the new home post COVID and it was all about we're going to go stare Island,

white kitchens and have, you know, these sort of hygiene, bunkers and off-grid. And I was just thinking, this is terrifying. No, no, this is, this is reactive nonsense, you know, opposite of what we need to feel right now. Absolutely. I mean, still is the fundamental word. I mean, in a socially distance world where we're not allowed to touch people,

things or anything, you need to come home and feel like you are allowed and want to touch everything. You need to be surrounded by the personal and the particular and to know who you are and to feel safe and secure. And you are not doing that in some kind of like alter to hygiene, heightened hygiene. I mean, that would be horrendous.

Michelle. I could listen to you all day. I mean the longest episode ever, but yeah. And another thing I have to say, Oh, all right. So I wanna, I, to kind of start with the very beginning, would you, you kind of already have, which is talking to us about the impetus that you felt to write the book.

When did you put together your understanding that our homes have such a palpable effect on us? They, they can either lift us up or as I always say, they can drag you down. When did you put together home and environment and, and mental health and happiness? That's a great question. And it, where to start, I think, I mean,

have you met anyone whose life has followed a straight line through everything they wanted when they wanted it, how they wanted it imperfect? I mean, no, of course not. No one has. And so like, like anyone, my life has not followed the sort of the perfect fairytale route. It's had its ups and downs. It's been filled with challenges,

parenting work, fertility, all of these things that we as women in the 21st century or profoundly and painfully sometimes aware of. And yet what I suddenly realized is that I have navigated through this via my spaces. So, and I didn't realize it straight away because for me it was very intuitive probably as it is for you. I just automatically found when I'm stressed,

I start to clean and I tied it. I sought things like clutter clear. I start organizing it's my default action. When I'm happier, then I sort of looked back at pictures of my homes, cause I've always taken photographs as well. And you look at the colors that I chose and how those have kind of, kind of morphed and grown and ebbs and flows through the years.

And there's always been one pallet that I've sort of default to, but the nuances that have really changed. And so combined, like, as you said, with all the houses that I would look at through my work, my role as editing Elle decoration, suddenly I was starting to just put all these sort of puzzle pieces together. And in a way,

recognizing that there is a way to, if you like reverse engineer yourself through your space. And so then I started putting it down and like, okay, I need to put this down. It's almost like a set of rules. It'd be like with a very, very loose sort of speech marks around that because I really believe in rules, but it was about taking something that was sort of intuitive and second sense to me and trying to put it down and going,

okay, how can I explain this to people? Because I think, as I mentioned before, I felt like I was always being asked the wrong questions. So thought, gosh, I'd be always coming across as deeply unhelpful because I would always bounce things back. If someone would say, well, what, what fabric should I put with this sofa? I'm like,

I don't know. You know, what, what do you use your sofa for? What room is it in? What, what aspect is that room? You know, how do you use it? You know, why do you want this? And it was, it was slightly kind of, Oh, Oh, can't you just tell me? And that's the answer.

Yes, exactly. And like the trends, that's why trends people hang on to those because like, well it's the quarter of the year. Therefore I must make it. And again, it was sort of saying, yeah, but why just, why, why, why must you like it? What is it, why do you want this? What,

what do you think this is going to do for you? Because that's where we need to start. And so in the same way, I recognize that I have continually been doing that for myself. Like I can't, when I'm planning a room for myself, there's always a place where I think the desk or the bed or the cupboard, it has to go here.

Because when I sit here, I feel calm and I'm able to do my work. And then through research is started to understand that. So the idea of no backs to doors, because it just, it goes against our primal instinct, being able to face windows facing green and so on because I'm very sensitive to my environment. So it was sort of adding all these pieces together and go,

Oh my goodness, okay. I'm not this like crazy lady that like has to straighten pictures in a restaurant because I'm looking at it and it's crooked. And it's like, sorry, I cannot concentrate a word you're saying, but I have to go straight in that picture. It was sort of understanding where that comes from and then just pulling it all together into something that I felt you could follow.

I have been known to be in a, in a restaurant and remove things from the table that are displeasing to me and just sort of set them on the floor. Yeah. Just quietly putting them to say I bet hotels too. Absolutely. Yes, yes. Yes. Well, I have to say that this is the, the key reason why I encourage everyone to get their hands on this book because you articulate all of this so well,

and, and I'm sure it wasn't easy, especially at first, because like you said, it comes intuitively to you, but you are such a great writer and, and you really do explain the underpinnings of, of this sort of life philosophy that you've been developing. So that's fabulous. And, and I want to jump ahead to the, the through line that I took away,

that thought really was the, the heart and the foundation of what this whole book was. And you could, I'd love to know if you agree with me, design or decoration of our homes is most powerful when we start with knowing who we are and that it, you know, it sounds like something you might just kind of skip over because people assume they know who they are,

but when you dig into it, it really does flow through every aspect of every chapter. It's everything. I mean, I think there's a beautiful Aristotle quote. Isn't there that sort of knowing thyself is the beginning of all wisdom. And yet you nail it on the head. Zandra where you say, people assume they know who they are. And yet most people have no clue because we're living externally.

We're looking for all our kind of markers of who we are external to ourselves. And yet if I kind of draw maybe a fashion analogy, so we sort of bring it back to the home at the same time is the best homes are cut and color to fit us perfectly in all the right places like a great jacket. So they become nug and they support us,

but it has to be fitted to who we authentically are. So if we follow that clothing analogy, there's no point getting that great jacket and today's fashionable color of it. Doesn't suit you or in a size too small because you figure it'll make you look slimmer. So you'll lose weight to fit into it. It's like the jacket alone will not do that for you.

In fact, it will make you feel worse because you'll just be like, Oh my God, it was really as, too tight. And so again, it's about becoming self-aware and doing the work. And so like you say, it is, who am I? What do I like? What colors uplift me and aligned with who we want to be on a very core level.

So this isn't about, Oh, I want to win the lottery. Be more famous, have money or anything like that. But it's who do you want to be in the essence of your soul? So healthier, calmer, maybe more patient with your children and just all to be a better friend. Because when we become clear about these goals, which in first instance might seem to have nothing to do with home,

then we become clear about what it is we want to achieve. And so then we can build the right support around ourselves, literally physically in the form of our home space. And that is the connection that people need to start making that these two things are completely intertwined. You will not be calm if you can't find your stuff right from that thing of like,

kind of, you know, the number of people. I know that every morning is a stress because they can't find their keys. And they look at you like you've had this kind of like divine genius moment. When you just say, why don't you put a hook? Okay. And then every day when you come home, you hang your keys on it,

then you will never ever lose them again. And it's, it's from the simple like that to the fact that when you walk through your front door, one of the things I always say is what is the first thing that you see the absolute first thing, because that thing has the power to uplift you or make you think, Oh God, I must sort that stuff out.

Or the door hits on like a pile of post or some old shoes or a coat that's fallen off because you haven't cleared the hallway and so on. But imagine if you cross your threshold and you see, it could be a picture that your kid has done, but it just, you just love it. And so you get home and immediately subliminally, you're going to have that feeling of like,

Oh, I'm home, I'm safe. It just occurred to me that that would be, that would be the first place I would suggest anyone work on in their homes. It's that transition space from the outside world to your inner world, literally and figuratively. And it is for many people, I don't know if this is a uniquely American thing with people coming in through the garages now because the garages are,

are connected. And so they come in through, well, if they're lucky they have a mudroom, but, but they're basically, they're coming in an entranceway that is so devoid of beauty. And so devoid of that feeling that you just described. So I'm just making a mental note here. I think we could do an entire episode on entryways. Definitely.

I mean, your entryway is where the story of your home starts. And it's interesting. You've highlighted something for me. That's probably very different between the UK and America, this idea of coming into your garage. I mean, that doesn't really happen here so much, but I, I, from all the sitcoms or movies, I've seen it suddenly like the light bulb is going off and get,

Oh my goodness. Yes, you do. Don't you, you come through that sort of side road and it's so often overlooked. Isn't it? Those entrance ways, because people dive into decor and they're like the main public rooms, like the living room, because they think, well, this is, this is, this is about display. This is,

this is where I show off myself. And it's like, guests put your hallway or entryway. It's the heart of your home. It is the beating pulse. You cannot get to any space without passing through it. And yet they're overlooked, forgotten, left cold, messy dumped spaces. Right? And you, you give, you give a really nice amount of time in the book in several instances to talk about these,

these kinds of spaces. So I want to make sure we get back to that. The first chapter, which is intention, you talk to us about the fallacy of the substitute life. And I love this because it addresses one of the most common knee-jerk reactions I have experienced people have when they're unhappy in their homes, which is they say, I need more space.

Let's move it. There's something wrong with the house I'm living in. I need bigger, better, more, which is what you call it. The substitute life could tell us what you mean about that. Yeah, no, I hear a lot too. And it ties into a bigger notion about striving, which is the word I lose and seeking happiness outside ourselves.

Again, it's the, when I dot mindset. So when I'm thinner, when I have more money, when I have that dress or that purse, then I'll be truly me. Then I'll be happy. Then I can fully live my life. But you know what happens with that? You achieve that thing and you simply move on to the next,

when I dot, and it's never ending because it's a mindset thing. This is where your Buddhist learnings I think really came through to me. Yes. I mean it is because I think there's a misunderstanding of the, the, the Buddhist idea of acceptance, which, you know, the alternative to the, when I have mindset idea is, is acceptance acceptance of where you are and what you have right now.

But that is not about not wanting to do better for yourself. It's not about resignation, just going, Oh, well, I live in a kind of horrible basement apartment with one window and nasty floors. I must just accept it and be Zen. It's not about that at all. It's about hanging your happiness on being fully engaged in the present. Oh,

that's such a different thing that you just said. Yes, that's true, Completely different. As opposed to hanging your happiness on some future outcome that you actually have no control over. That's completely external to you. So if we know ourselves and we understand what it is, we wish to be the best version of ourselves in terms of home. This ties into my belief that most people do not in fact,

need a larger home. They need less stuff and a rethink of the space that they do have based on an authentic understanding of how they live their life, like what they really do and what they really want to achieve, as opposed to some kind of notional idea of like, well, I saw this incredible kind of extension thing in a magazine, and I want my house to look like that.<inaudible> I wanna,

I wanna move on to your chapter on balance. Now, this one, I just want to say to everybody, this one is, makes the book worth its weight in gold. I don't, I there's so much in this. I don't even know where to start and I'm sure we don't even have time to get through it. So I want to just maybe pull out one thing that I'd like you to explain,

which is your idea of, of how to create a palette for your home. And what I particularly loved about this is that when most people talk about pallets, they're only talking about color and you were talking about a palette for your home in a much more expansive way. And can you just kind of describe that for us? Yes. And you're right.

It is, it's a kind of meaty chapter, but it's, it's absolutely the heart of my approach to decorating. And as briefly as possible after knowing thyself, you need to translate this into colors, finishes, and materials, and the best homes, I believe are always a mix of these things. And so I essentially break down a pallet into what I suggest is a very exact mix of,

for example, six core colors to accent colors, to metallics, to words and so on. And it adds up to 28 notes. And then I dive into detail about each category. So the word or the metallic and what might work with what, how to think about color by mood, how you might approach looking for the right samples for word and so on.

But I'm also very clear. I hope to say this is not a straight jacket because I draw a parallel with an orchestral symphony. So any composition of music derives from the same set of notes, but my goodness, what a different set of arrangements you can make with those notes. So you have your 28 notes of your pallet divided into these colors, the materials,

the words, the signature finishes and so on. And then we divide it into the four movements to tie it back to that musical analogy again of home. And then I talk you through how to apply which portions of that pallet, according to the function of the zone in question. And so I have these four zones, which are, you know, hallways and entrances where your story starts.

So one, so two is your living dining reception rooms, which is your public interface. Then there's kitchen studies, home office zone three, which I think I refer to as your spaces of gratitude or your more creative spaces, gratitude. And then your final zone is bedrooms and bathrooms, which is your private zone. So no matter the size of the house,

I believe you can very roughly divided into these four zones. And then as I say, we talk in quite a lot of detail about how you then play, if you like that pallet of the 28 nodes across these four zones. So, so you give us this nice structure of these elements of this number of elements, but then you, I mean,

you just said the ways in which you can combine them is the way anyone makes one home unique and different from the other and the zones. You also talk about the flow of the zones, how they flow from one to another. And, and it seemed to me that you were talking about not just co how colors move you from one to another, but things like furniture,

arrangement and energy. In fact, you call them interconnected, energetic zones. So let, let's keep talking about this just a little bit. What do you mean by the flow and how we move through our homes? Yeah, I'm talking about flow in terms of the fact that our home is never experienced from one vantage point. We experience our homes in constant random motion and flow is the key to telling a coherent story or having that symphony work,

if you like. So that we're not kind of judging from movement to movement going, Whoa, okay. We're in a different mood over here. We're flowing. There is a common thread or a theme, but it's not to say that every room is a kind of cookie cutter version of the next, because there is, I think I'd mentioned great nuance that can be brought in.

So though I say you have six core colors, including white. If one of those colors is green, this can embody all tones of green. And so you can you dial up the tones, maybe a more active rooms. I mean, being very simplistic about it, or you could dial down and mute the tones in your kind of quieter more private zones,

and you can also vary all your textures and the finishes. So if you have your two metallics, I think I detailed which metallics go well together, but let's say you chose stainless steel on the one hand you might think, Oh, well, that's very hard, but well not if it's brushed, brushed versus punished, marry that with a beautiful, I can't think now kind of broadens or something with the warmth of that.

And all of a sudden you've got a lot of different sort of plays going on, and it's also, it allows you the flexibility to evolve and change your design. So this is not about saying right, I've got my pallet, I've got my 28 notes. I've got my six colors. I'm never changing it Ever because we Change. We evolve. I mean,

one example I can give from my own home is I was, I think one of the very earliest things I ever bought with as a beautiful antique mirror, it's like a French antique mirror. So it's got that wonderful. I think we call it foxed, finish on the glass and I love this. And I decided this was going to be one of my signature pieces.

It's, you know, there's this gorgeous age to kind of grow mirroring. Yeah. And so I thought, Oh, am I study? How amazing would it be to have like Fox mirror tiles across a whole wall, edit a little bit of research, found how much they cost. Okay. I don't think I will be doing that, but in doing the research,

I found this incredible wallpaper by colon sun. That absolutely replicates that effect. So by kind of determining something that was going to be my signature finish, I found a different way to apply it. And so that's allowed if you like within my palette, because it's the same language, but it just, it makes this kind of glorious jump from the real thing to the applied thing as it were.

And that's what I talk about with, about flow as well. And then the other thing I think has also in that idea of like the home is a sort of evolving thing around you that we must accept that it will probably never be finished and it will always change a little bit because we can only ever know if something is right when we feel it.

So it's about also, And I said, we'll never be finished as my response to that. Yes, absolutely. I mean, absolutely. And we must learn to trust our guts again and go with that feeling, go with our intuitive and not always follow the rule book because if it feels good to you go for it. And I don't care whether that's kind of like the zebra print and glitter stripes and chins,

if that is what you love it, that's what like lights your fire, then go for it because, you know, dammit, it's your home. Right? And, and there's so much in what you've just said. I mean, for one thing, thinking about different tones and hues of colors, then frees you up from this slavish attitude we have toward a matching that everything has to match and it has to be the same color everywhere,

you know? And, and the problem with that, not only is it does it then lead to some kind of boring rooms, but it also means that if you change a color, then all of a sudden you have to throw everything out because nothing quote unquote matches. So, so your, your approach that way, I think is, is a big takeaway.

And the second one would be what you were saying about applying the, the feeling that you wanted to get in a way that's accessible to you. So you're the flucht mirrors, for example. And I think that's how I've, I've always started things. I, it was, well, I know what I want to achieve. I can't afford it. So what can I do that will give me that similar effect or more importantly,

that similar feeling, and, and that's a way of not chucking out your dreams, chucking out your vision, but a way to find it work for you, you know, within your limitations. Absolutely. And sometimes as well, it's, you know, won't be done that work of understanding what colors and finishes and fittings. We love that, that work stays with us.

Even if we can't achieve it all straight away. Then when you go out and you find yourself in the furniture store and the sale is on or something, and you're looking at something, you'll know if it ticks your boxes, It's it all comes back to who you are, that then you develop your palette and then you, then you can make the decision so much easier.

I want to move onto another chapter. It's an entire chapter that you devote to the part of each day, between when work ends and we go to bed. So this is often includes dinner. Maybe it's even the part after, from after dinner to bed. And I've been talking about this a lot, actually in my, in my, with my personal group of friends and how this is a challenging part of our day lately,

you know, unless I'm, I'm visiting a friend for cocktails or have plans, which of course is lovely. And none of it's happening right now because of COVID. So it's this chunk of time. Why is this such an important part of our day? And how can we set up our homes to help us with this? Because right now it's starting to feel very,

not in us. I love that you've picked up on this because that's something that so many people do not know how to do. And again, I think the risk of sounding a bit high-faluting Aristotle again, has a beautiful quote on this, which I think I've got a big type in the book, which is that nature requires us not only to be able to work well,

but also to idle well, Oh Yes. I loved that quote too. And in today's world, I mean, pre COVID, perhaps we need to be taught to rest, not to do, but to rest. I mean, it's also why I hate that word striving because it makes it, Oh, it sounds so hard. Work is wonderful. And hopefully we find work that is fulfilling sleep essential,

but we're talking about that, that bit in between, and this is not about being slumped in front of the sofa, Right? Then you make a, you make such a good point about that in the book. You, you really talk about idleness in almost an active way or engaged, I think is the word you used Exactly engaged or active. It's pursuing something other than your work.

So for some people, this might be a sort of sport or playing a musical instrument, but it could also be, it's just something that keeps you alert enough. So, which is why TV doesn't count because it's too passive, but it doesn't exhaust you mentally. So it's kind of it's play. And what I think is interesting is in lockdown, many of us have intuitively turned to these things.

So board games, painting, baking, reading, and, and I think we turn to them because they are intrinsically soothing and they allow us to have an opportunity to reboot not only our bodies, but also our brains and this relates to the home because many people do not do it because their home is not planned to accommodate it. So in your, your living areas,

most, most, that's back a step for me in most zones of the home, you have a purpose for going there. You know, we know why we go to the bathroom, you know, where we go to the bedroom, you know, why we go to a kitchen, but I living rooms for many people have become the place where the sofa and the TV is.

Right. So when we've raced through the door, we've finished doing or working, we slump on the sofa and we watched TV. And so in the book, I go into great detail about how to engage in what I've termed deep play. Mm. What do you hope both for people to get out of this and what do you think our next steps are?

Or what is your next step in life? Oh gosh. Wow. Beautiful question. Summarizing it. I think, I guess one of the concluding sentences in the book is this idea that we can only ever gain mastery over ourselves as individuals, but the impact of that can be far reaching. So putting a beautiful geranium plant on our front porch, this makes me happy.

It also makes my mailman happy. It makes everyone that comes to the door it's beyond just us, but we can only ever start with us. And I guess it's my sincere and passionate belief that taking charge of the space in which you live is an incredible place to start in the changes that we want to see in the sort of the bigger world, you know,

our homes ourselves, they are mirrors of each other. And just to reiterate your environment is as fundamental to your wellbeing as good nutrition and exercise Beautifully put. And I absolutely have taken this away from your book and, and tend to put it all into practice. One step at a time. And with, with you in the back of my head, as my guide,

thank you so much for writing this book. And thank you so much for your time today. It has truly been an honor. Oh, it was Zandra. No, the honor is all mine. As I said at the beginning, I'm so happy to have kind of connected with you and to have been introduced to the like-minded souls that you've already interviewed on your podcast.

And so the honor is mine to be included in that. And I'm so happy that together we can share more of this and hopefully get more people happy inside. Yes, yes, yes. And thank you for listening. I hope these episodes leave you feeling energized and inspired to create a home that gives something back to you because in this current world we live in.

It's good to remember that things like beauty and happiness are within reach. Don't forget to check out the new Style mash-up guide [email protected] Just click on the yellow button that says your Style mashup, and I will be back in your earbuds next week. Bye for now.




(All photos credited to Marianna Wahlsten)


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