the making of a happy house

Sara with her "Texas Birkin" by Cheryl Shulke

If you were starting new in a new home, in a new part of town with a new outlook (less baggage), new intention, what would you drag across town to join you in this new life in a “Happy House?”

My dear friend and fellow artist/designer, Sara, is in the middle of this process and when I visited her the other day, I was delighted to see that a sign clearly stated on the front door that I was entering a “Happy House” and that no fighting was aloud (allowed). I think this is a beautiful way to step into a new life, state your intention, make it colorful, post it on the front door for all who enter to know that they are now treading on sacred happy ground.

The next thing I noticed was that although Sara had very little in the new house, she did have her beloved collection of vintage Architectural Digests, which are not only individually interesting but when stacked like they are they bring texture and subtle color to the room. I love it!

I’ve been reading a little here and there about how after our basic needs are met we don’t really glean any happiness from acquiring things. In other words, more things don’t bring more happiness. The only problem I have with this idea is that the basic needs that they are referring to are food, shelter, clothing, etc. But as Sara and I sat in the happy house and admired the choices she had made thus far, we talked about how some people would not feel the essential need to have beautiful objects like stacks of old magazines or broken pieces of drift wood, or old bottles, but that to us it was essential to our souls to be surrounded by objects that feed us on that level.

It sort of reminds me of The Burning House website that chronicles what one would take if their house was burning. It was given to me as an assignment for a Madelyn Mulvaney’s e-course, Persisting Soul, which I totally recommend. It’s brilliant, inspiring, and a breath of fresh air. I actually didn’t do this assignment but still think about it often.

These are two very good questions for me to ponder; both similar but very different. I don’t think the things I would save in a fire would be the same I would bring to my new happy house. I like the idea of weeding out things that aren’t important and getting to the juiciness of life.

What are the essentials that truly feed my soul? I would love to get to a place where every plate and mug in my cupboard is a work of art that makes me smile from deep within. It would be magical to have every piece of furniture be not only useful but inspiring to look at. Lastly it would be wonderful to have  a closet with minimal clothing that was an expression of my inner life. Here is another site that is an interesting experiment to ponder (yet more to ponder), The Twenty Pieces Project. What twenty pieces of clothing would you keep to wear for a year?

I like how living outside of consumerism really is a breeding ground for creativity. I’m nowhere near here yet, but I love to ponder and flirt with the idea.