I deeply believe that a sense of aesthetics is something that you need to have in your genes. I'm lucky to have a father who’s an artist, and a very pragmatic mom. The rest came with Japan, travels...
I used to consider myself a bit of an interior design freak. Beause who chooses a high school by its looks (the ceilings had to be high and the floor old and creaky), is stressed on the first day at work because she might not feel chemistry with the office, deliberately chooses the north-eastern direction of the flat because the most popular ones – with the sun shining straight into the windows all day - are hard to bear, and a cloudy day is a boost of energy for her to work? And who wants a brand new solid oak floor in her flat to warp and age as quickly as possible, because she prefers patina to newness? In exactly the same way, the full summer doesn't impress me as much as the first half of September, when the change of a season can already be felt in the air and seen in the sunlight.
I started to look kindly at myself only when I realised that I adore the Japanese love for what is ephemeral, impermanent, irregular, seemingly not nice. Today I can’t imagine myself living a meaningful life without it. I consciously choose semi-darkness in my flat, I like to surround myself with objects with history and combine them with new ones, and on holidays I feel much better in a local agritourism in an old monastery than in a new five-star hotel. The passing of time does not worry me. It moves me. It masochistically hurts and pleases me at the same time. Maybe it's the fact that I'm approaching 40, maybe it's a bit of late and hard motherhood, maybe it's because of the global crises that keep on coming in waves, but I feel more and more grateful for the opportunity to take part in the miracle of life. I appreciate everything so much, including myself and poeple that surround me.
Interiors in which we spend our lives, whether we are talking about our home, workplace, a restaurant, a shop or a library, should help us feel this miracle. Give us the joy of being right here and now. Bring us joy of making informed decisions connected with building our spaces: choosing second-hand items, with history, including our own story, produced with traditional methods, respecting the natural environment and human rights. Let us enjoy the things we like, function in an interior which will hold us when we need it, let us rest when we need it, motivate us to act when we need it and generally have a positive influence on our psyche. We may not be aesthetes, we may not care about the colour of the sofa we sit on, but I know one thing: our surroundings impact our wellbeing. Architecture has a life changing super power.
I decided years ago that I’d rather go hungry than eat something I don’t like. And I've stuck to it ever since. It's the same with everyday objects. And with clothes too. I won't pretend that I've reached perfection in this area, but I can say with certainty that the number of objects in my house that are indifferent to my eye is very limited. I only surround myself with things that I like, that tell a certain story. I hate sets and repetition. Every day I meticulously choose a bowl for pistachio that suits my mood (one of them has 15 years of our common history and god only knows how old in fact it is), a handmade tea mug (I love the one the edge of which gently scratches my lips) or linen pyjamas that makes me feel like a million bucks. Although I've always been an elephant in a china shop, nothing breaks in my kitchen now. I wash my vintage dresses and second-hand olive corduroys by hand in a wool detergent and keep my old red suede trainers in a paper box. I love beautiful things. This being "here and now", when in the daily rush I involuntarily reach for them and they make me think "I remember where I bought this", "it was stressful but so worth it!", "wow, I’m holding 30 years of history in my hand", "it was so hot back then", "the best time of my life".