I have a woman crush on Claire, of Centerd by Design! A woman who marries the principles of yoga with her love of interior design...AND a passion for travel?! Seriously, where did you come from? The interior design junkie and yoga instructor in me was immediately hooked. So how exactly does she apply yogic teachings with the aethestics of creating a modern home? Well, she starts a design company about finding personal sanctuary. We're excited to have Claire today to share how her travels shaped her path and continues to inspire her along the way.
• • •
Claire: I’ve always yearned to travel. I think it might have started with my dad’s stories of climbing Mt. Everest to base camp, but a bit of wanderlust has always filled my soul. In college, I spent a summer in Cameroon, Africa. When I graduated college I enrolled in AmeriCorps and lived in San Francisco. Several years later I lived abroad in New Zealand for a year with my fiancé. These major life milestones shaped the way I view the world.
We are all the same. We all have different struggles.
Be kind. Be as giving as your situation allows.
Everyone wants to create a home, a safe haven,
a place to feel at peace...a sanctuary.
During these years, I became a yoga teacher and kept various creative day jobs in marketing. I had an “aha moment” during a long and labor-intensive renovation project at work. It was then that I realized, interior design is my calling! Fast-forward to present day, and I am happily completing my degree in interior design and I have opened a design and decorating business, Centered By Design. It took me a little awhile to assess my values and blend my love of design (often material) with my passion for yoga (often spiritual). I came to the following conclusion, which I guess you could call my design mantra!
Taking the time to re-center ourselves and find a personal sanctuary is more important than ever in today’s fragmented and fast-paced world.
I believe that sanctuary is much closer to home than you think. My approach to working with clients blends my intuitive nature as a yoga instructor with my passion for interior design. Daily, I see how the connection between the body, mind, and our physical environment can have powerful influences on our personal well-being.
• • •
So how does one create a personal sanctuary?
The best part is that no one’s ideal space looks the same! Just like no one’s favorite yoga pose is the same. We all feel and experience life differently. I find that incorporating my travel memories, family heirlooms, nature and color creates what feels like sanctuary to me. I’d love to share some of my tips for bringing your travels, your personality and your special mementos into your home! It’s all about creating what feels good to you! What do you want to look at and be reminded of on a daily basis?
1 - Decorate with Textiles
• Textiles are light and easy to pack. Every country or culture has designs, colors and patterns unique to their heritage.
• Textiles go just about anywhere! Pick-up a unique tablecloth that reminds you of your favorite restaurant in (for example) Paris. Create an eating nook in your space that feels like that memorable al fresco spot where you drank wine for hours and smiled the night way!
• Textiles are the perfect art piece, whether draped over the bed, hung on wall, framed behind glass, or even placed on the floor – don’t under estimate the power of a beautiful textile as art. You can even frame a coffee bag and make it look amazing!
• • •
2 - Use your own Travel Photography
• Affordable and personal!
• Frame various photos (landscapes work well for color – think ocean, sky, farm land, flowers) in different size frames and combine them with other mementos for the ultimate shelf styling.
• For visual impact, use a consistent color palette. In this example, I used my client’s photography and chose to print the images in black and white. Placed in matching style frames the look is professional and clean.
• • •
3 - Thrift your Heart Out
I’m a sucker for a good DIY project. Traveling out of Chicago is always awesome because I’m on the look out for vintage finds. Not only will these items tell a story (since you’re on an adventure when you find them!) but with a little TLC they can become a true mark of pride and creative prowess.
• Re-purpose an old window frame as an art piece; this one is backed with colorful paper and some decoupage.
• Look for classic designs, like this George Nelson inspired clock. I took they dingy old brass thing, and spray painted it black for a modern look.
• Even a cool looking shirt or hat can become décor when styled in an interesting way. I keep my favorite printed shirt and lucky hat hanging in my room. If you get bored of the same look, it’s easy to change!
I hope next time you travel, whether near or far; you will keep your eyes peeled for souvenirs that are personal, inspiring and functional. You may just find the perfect item to decorate your home!
~ Your design happy neighbor, Claire of Centered By Design
PHOTOS PROVIDED BY CLAIRE HURWITZ STASZAK