Happy Home Happy Life

09 Apr 2017

Out of the blue, an unexpected few words can catch our full attention, and it stops us right in our tracks. It's the clue to the very thing we have been longing for all of our life - and its been right under our feet the whole time!

"Happy home, happy life."  On a normal day, these words might run right past us, have little meaning, or not be noticed at all. Pearls of wisdom may come through a spoken word by a stranger, lyrics from a song you've heard a million times on the radio, or maybe a title that pops off the cover of a magazine while passing through a book store. Sometimes the obviousness, or the coincidence, takes our breath away, and we wonder why have we never noticed them before. We even secretly wonder if there is a little magic at hand. 

It was over a decade ago when I heard something so simple that hit home, literally, and it started me on a year-long mission. I had been in turmoil over the prospect of becoming a newly divorced single mother, while also operating a business that ran 24/7 with thirty-plus staff, which any entreprenure will tell you, can be the most difficult challenge of all.  I hired a consultant to bring me much needed relief, and the expertise to restructure the company. One day he shared a simple statement that changed my life, and to this day, I’ve never let it get too far away from me. It went like this.. "A happy life is when you get up in the morning and you cannot wait to get to your work, and at the end of your day, you cannot wait to get home." 

The words pierced the core of my heart. I realized I felt neither. I was sad to go to work, and I was sad to go home.

I knew immediately, this was the moment to commit to change.

I was ready to hear these words. It was time to purge the past.  Home took priority above all else.  I had a young son who needed me. I needed me. My animals needed me. I approached this as a life project, and just like a body detox cleanse, I knew I needed to begin from the inside out. As a designer, I understood the basics of good design, colour, lighting, balance and proportion, and the effect it has on the human psyche and our spirit. I sat quietly in each room and made a list of what needed changing; styles that I had outgrown, and items that still made me sad. I began sorting, tossing, boxing, storing and donating. I employed the help of my son and together we had a fun reorganizing the kitchen pantry to all the books in the library.

Next, I did a deep clean; inside drawers, shelves, cupboards, closets, and windows. Fresh paint and wallpaper soon followed. I began to love my home again. I shifted furniture and paintings, dug out my old music, lit candles, brought in aromatherapy and fresh cut flowers, took down drapes and let the sunshine in. When spring arrived, I went through the same process with the deck, porch, lawn, garden, and I even beautified my dock with potted flowers. I could feel a renewed sense of joy and strength spilling in. It was therapeutic and transformative - both on the inside and the outside. I then realized the beauty of this entire process was now spilling into my work life, and the same began there. One day I woke up and found myself saying… "I cannot wait to get to Grail Springs!"

And to this day I find myself walking in the door and shouting out "I love you home!" and chuckle every time.
Happy Home Happy Life. Mission accomplished! xo MM

PS - Since January of 2017, after twenty years since I first designed our home, we are renovating and documenting the transformation.
I will soon be sharing the process so you can get lots of great ideas. So stay in touch for the big reveal!

Soulful Living Exercise - Simple steps to bring 'the happy' into your home
Soulful Living Exercise:  Simple steps to bring 'the happy' into your home

  • Create a checklist with the name of each room, with two columns underneath. Label one column ‘happy’ and the other ‘not so much’. Sit quietly in each room and jot down what makes you happy and all that does not. Think colour, lighting, texture, style, artwork, photos, inspiration, function, and flow. Flow often gets missed and can be a source of much frustration, so pay attention to this one!

  • Dedicate a few hours each weekend and purge one room at a time; sort, toss, box, label, store, donate.

  • Freshen up the room with a good deep clean.

  • Smudge the spaces with sage if you are so inclined. Aromatherapy can clear a room's energy as well and bring in new energy. Try Rosemary for cleansing and Lavender for calm for instance. Two of my most favourite essential oils.

  • Once you have completed the above steps, create a new checklist but with only one column entitled ‘happy’.  Sit quietly in each room that has been purged and cleansed, and feel what is needed in the room to make it happy. Again, think colour, lighting, texture, style, artwork, inspirations, function, and flow. Don't worry. You are not locking anything in. Things may change again. We're just getting started.

  • Take a weekend to start pulling pages from design magazines, or visit my favourite site for getting inspirations and organizing my ideas:  www.houzz.com. You’ll soon begin to see a pattern of common design elements that make you happy. Create a design palette with photos, colours, textures, artwork and lighting elements.

  • I recommend choosing a fairly neutral paint colour to start with that will compliment your design palette. Depending on how courageous you are, you may want to follow with a splash of wallpaper on one featured wall. Consider wallpaper art! I'm a big fan of wallpaper but you have to really know what you want to achieve.

  • Change the furniture around, mix up the artwork, light candles, play music and don’t forget there’s no need to wait for someone else to bring you flowers! 

Create your happy home that you envision. Afterall, it is the foundation for you and your family’s wellbeing in body, mind, and spirit. You will soon find your career, business, and even friends, will have to live up to the new ‘happy’ you’ve manifested; and these too will begin to shift to match your goals. Once your happiness standard has been set, you will always be able to intuit the timing, the steps, and the processes for recreating change in your life. And don’t forget; keep your eyes and ears open for clues - signs of confirmation and direction. A happy person always believes in a little magic!

Abracadabra! Whoosh!