As I have been refining my niche of creating a soul oasis, I discovered that a soul oasis really comes down to storytelling. The items we choose to display in our environments have stories to tell us. If we want to create a home that restores our soul, we need to be sure that it is telling us really good stories!
This is my dining room. From my perspective as an interior designer, I have a critical view because it is outdated and primarily unused during the spring and summer months. It is located in the center of our house which is not ideal and it has no windows. We are considering a renovation which could completely change the function of this room as it currently exists but that is still a year or two away. In the meantime and in the words of Byron Katie, I learned to “love what is.”
From my perspective of creating a soul oasis, this room has deeply meaningful stories to tell! For instance, the beautiful (cough, cough) brass chandelier has been used by my husband's kids for nearly their entire life. Adding simple shades to each bulb made it more appealing to me and I fell in love with the history. The two sailboat pictures were a Christmas gift from when we were newly dating. The third picture (on the top shelf) is one that my husband loves. I have never been fond of it but adding it to this collection of other gold-tone items is visually appealing to me so we’re both happy!
Many years ago, after my mom purchased new everyday dinnerware, she gave me her wedding china. I LOVE every piece in this collection because we used it for holidays and celebrations with our extended family. I loved when it was my turn to set the table with all the fancy things and I still use them today on occasion.
Every time I pause to really look at this room, I so clearly see my grandma sitting at the kitchen table in my childhood home, drinking coffee from these cups, and then I can almost smell beef roast in the oven or freshly baked cookies or apple pie that my mom made for the occasion...such happy memories. A picture of my grandparents is on the shelf and there is also a photo from my husband’s childhood where he stood with his siblings and grandma. These items together honor our grandparents and our childhood.
There is a crystal decanter set from my sister, a crystal bowl from a friend who traveled to Vienna, coffee mugs that my husband treasures (even the worn finish and cracks), and a tiny pitcher that my 92-year-old father-in-law used for maple syrup when he was a child.
The memories in this room tug at my heart and fill me with immense happiness.
This room not only honors our past, it points to our future. I will use the china and crystal at our family celebrations in hopes of creating new special memories and we want to plan an occasional long weekend in Baltimore and revisit the gallery where we found the sailboat pictures.
What stories does your dining room have to tell you? I can show you how to make it a great story!