Interior stylist Natalie Walton asked people what makes them happiest at home for her new book, This Is Home: The Art of Simple Living. Here, she shares her surprising findings about what leads to feeling content, connected, and calm.
In your book, you focus on the touches and details that make people feel happiest in their homes was so interesting. Did you find any common threads?
“It’s noteworthy that what made people happy was as much about the things they had let go of as it was about what they had held on to. None of their homes was overloaded with stuff. The collections were edited, so what was left was a distilled essence of the important moments from their lives. The pieces had a history and meaning— artwork created by a family member or a friend, or an object purchased on holiday. Artwork can be especially evocative. There is often a story behind the purchase, or it can remind us of a particular time in our lives.”
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‘La casa mi da una grande libertà,’ says furniture designer Katrin Arens. ‘An imperfect house gives the gift of freedom. You are free to create and free to be.’ These words from my book ‘This is Home: The Art of Simple Living’ were recently shared by stockist @ateliersukha in Amsterdam. The co-founder Irene’s home also features in the book, which I have just learnt is currently at #2 on @amazon’s Bestseller List for Interior Decorating. Cannot tell you how exciting this is. The book was such a labour of love. I put everything I had into it, and to see its reach continue to grow 16 months since launch is so incredible, and satisfying because I really wanted help us shift the focus on how and why we create our homes. They play such an important role in our lives, more than they are often give credit. One little request for those of you who have read the book… If you enjoyed it, it would mean so much if you could leave a review on Amazon. It makes such a huge difference. And maybe just maybe we can get it to number 1, and show the world that we believe in creating homes that are meaningful and filled with what brings true joy. #thisishomebook
It seems as though everyone is on a Marie Kondo minimalism kick.
“There’s always a lot of talk of decluttering. But sometimes we benefit when we hold on to special objects. One woman I interviewed bought a hammock when she was 19 years old and working in Venezuela. At the time she had thought that one day she would have a nice, sunny place to hang this hammock. She didn’t have that until about 20 years later. Now she hangs it off the balcony in her bedroom. It makes the space extra special for her, and it’s not just a hammock—it’s a reminder of her life journey.”
Many of the people you interviewed talked about how important the light in their homes was, or they decorated their spaces with natural elements. Why do you think people are blurring the line between indoors and outdoors?
“Being in nature has never been so important. But we live in a highly connected world. Rarely do we have a moment of quiet or stillness. We can bring nature into our home, however, and embrace it as a way to feel some release. Nature is a cureall for many modern maladies, and it’s free. I do it myself. My home has many windows overlooking trees. When I moved in, I made all my interiors neutral. The trees are beautiful to gaze at but also busy visually. I didn’t want the inside to compete with the view.”
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Recently my friend @courtneyadamo asked me to help style some shelves in her new studio. Before I knew it, I was sourcing rugs and ‘shopping’ her home, making old pieces work in new ways. This is the type of styling I love – telling a new story with the pieces you love, and creating a new chapter in a space. And it was so much fun! Thank you, Courtney. 🙏🏼