Living With Style: Comfort, Rituals At Home

By Sasha Witte
Gazette Columnist
Jan 27, 2018 

"A little thing comforts us because a little think afflicts us.” —Pascal

While I enjoy an adventure from the everyday as much as most people, I am more aware of certain comforts I find in routine.  I have noticed that small rituals each day bring me comfort and peace at home and at work.

The Day Begins

 
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Living With Style: Daily Rituals With Coffee

Consider creating spaces in your home for your important daily rituals, like this coffee and breakfast bar area that we created for clients.

—Gazette photo by Sasha Witte

I’m partway through a book by chef Robert Arbor called “Joie de Vivre”.  In it he talks about the simple pleasure he would enjoy every day of his childhood in France, of the family breakfast routine.  His attitude to this day is “a simple and pleasant breakfast lifts you right into the day’s activities with a gentle boost that’s like a pat on the back as you go out the door.” 

His favorite breakfast consists of a crunchy baguette with fresh butter and jam along with a well made cup of coffee.  He speaks heartily of his preference for local product that is fresh and without heavy processing.

Each of us will have our preference for what the meal consists of, but it has been a lovely reminder to me to pause at the start of each day for tea, something tasty, the paper and a view out to the birds playing in the yard.

If one is able to enjoy this in a space that also provides peace and comfort, so much the better.  Instead of starting the day in the dining room, I prefer to start it at my kitchen table which is cozier and more casual — and closer to the garden.

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Living with Style: Comfort & Ritual At Home, Breakfast Space

Create a space in your home where you can enjoy a healthy breakfast with a view of nature outside.

—Gazette photo by Sasha Witte

I am a big fan of NPR.  I love hearing all the stories about people and places and individual struggles and victories.  But this year with all the extra heaviness that’s been in the news, I’ve begun to turn it off for hours at a time and have been getting back in touch with music that I love. 

I have no idea how I got so far away from listening regularly to music that uplifts me and puts a smile on my face.

My new office routine includes starting the day with music as a backdrop to my private time working before I head out to the days appointments.

Years ago we wired our home for speakers so we could enjoy music in every room, but these days with wireless speakers it is so much easier to create a background of uplifting music.

Pausing to Refresh Mid-Day

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Living With Style: Comfort & Ritual At Home, Outdoor Space

Find or create spaces to pause mid day outdoors.

—Gazette photo by Sasha Witte

I find that I have to have some nature of a routine to cause me to pause and reflect mid-day. 

In my twenties, I used to envy those in the design studio I was working at who would go out mid-afternoon for their cigarette break in the sun!  Now I pause in the afternoon to make myself a fresh pot of tea or to walk down the block to buy an iced-coffee.  And I take Trixie — my dog who comes to the office with me — out to stretch her legs.

I try to remember to go outside to my patio with my tea or coffee and check in on the birds in the trees by my office patio. 

Consider creating a place to sit and reflect outside where you can be comfortable and inspired mid-day.

Whatever your excuse, make sure to find a reason to remove yourself from the work at hand if only for a few moments.  You’ll return refreshed and able to think more clearly.  No cigarettes necessary!

 

Evening Comes

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Living With Style: Comfort & Ritual At Home, Nighttime

Be sure to create spaces for the rituals that relax you in the evening - like a quiet place to read and reflect at the end of the day.

—Gazette photo by Sasha Witte

When we arrive back home at the end of the day, it's time to reconnect with those things that are personal to each of us. 

I enjoy pouring myself a glass of wine into one of my favorite amber wine glasses and taking it out with me to sip while I water my potted succulents and flowers that are growing on the patio.

When there’s enough daylight left, I’ve been bringing whatever book I’m deeply into at the moment out there to enjoy while the sun makes its way into its final descent of the day.  I believe taking time for books each day — or at least once or twice a week — gives my mind the opportunity to travel into other stories and places that give me perspective on my own place and story.  And it’s a great excuse to relax while I’m learning something.

When it’s too cold (or dark too early) to do this outside, I like to light a fire or a candle by a comfy chair and do this inside.  Be sure to create a comfy spot to lounge quietly in your home with a book, tablet or magazine.  Make sure your lighting is good — not too dim, but not too bright — and that you have a place to put your feet up!

As the first month of 2018 is ending, I hope you’ll have the opportunity to take some private moments to relax and enjoy the space you call home. And remember, as Sherlock Holmes observed, “It has long been an axiom of mine that the little things are infinitely the most important!” 

Our little everyday rituals can give us comfort and peace, and what good things to take with us when we head back into our full days with others.

Sasha Witte can be reached at  www.SashaWitteDesign.com or (562) 434-8824.

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