Atmosphere... How Do You Define It?

Julanna Vine

Where I live, how much light flows in, the beauty of what I look at every day - I've always been sensitive to my environment. It creates a certain energy that I either feel I can, or I can't, live within. This... is my atmosphere. I was reading an article from the Design Within Reach blog site, and they were profiling an amazing L.A. architect, Barbara Bestor, and author of bestselling book, Bohemian Modern: Living in Silver Lake. She defined her job as a designer of atmospheres. That resonated with me... because MY atmosphere is so important to me, I would think that others may find meaning in this too.
Like... who wouldn't want to live in this "atmosphere"?!?
This happens to be Ricky Martin's L.A. home, expertly designed by Nate Berkus and has generated over 22,000 likes on instagram when profiled by Architectural Digest... So gorgeous right?

So, I got thinking... architects and designers are building atmospheres! Wow, I love this word! When I think of the word 'atmosphere', I'm thinking of what we breathe in. I want to breathe in beauty, creativity, nature, and happiness. Someone else's list may be different, but in the end we all want our atmosphere to allow us to function positively. So we need to think about how we will create that for our space.

1. Hire a designer. This is generally, a sure fire way to get a space that works... they are really working hard to give you a beautiful, coherent, and functional space. An atmosphere that incorporates all the elements of design: intentional choices including lighting, colours, mood, function, style, scale, trends, and ensuring most importantly we don't have that awkward corner with that really expensive item that we can't return but it just doesn't work with the space. We've all been there! Waste less $ and less time, and hire a designer! I follow many designers on Instagram. Click to see who I follow...

2. Design yourself with confidence by using a mood board. This one pictured below was created by a designer, Michelle Berwick. Now, this one was professionally executed, and many designers like Michelle do e-designs for clients in this form.For us visual thinkers... and those who have trouble visualizing a space - These are amazing! If you're looking to add a few pieces to a room but are having trouble picking them out cause you're not sure how it will all work together - this sort of vision board is your answer. Using the Morpholio app, you can take a quick pic of the items you have for the space already, crop them and size them on the crisp white background, and then screen shot almost any item you are thinking of buying - put it all together on one board and see how it all coordinates. You can easily change out the item for 10 other ones without leaving your chair... it's makes it very clear if the colours and patterns you've chosen work together - and gives you more confidence with that purchase!

3. Centre your design around your beliefs and interests. When we look at that item we purchased because of our memorable trip to Thailand, we are developing an atmosphere that takes us back to those life experiences.  If you found yourself at a market of local makers, or in an artisan shop, you may value the idea that you're supporting the local arts and hard working artists. Maybe you want to shop sustainably sourced product, or perhaps the idea of over-consumerism is killing you slowly, and you choose to repurpose or give new life, to a previously owned and fine crafted piece or furniture. Fusion Mineral Paint is amazing for this!! Personally, I identify with this idea, and I truly feel connected to many of my furnishings because I worked on it and gave it a 2nd life in a contemporary space - and because I know I helped save an item from expiring landfill sites, but also prevented the purchase of another item that might end up there eventually... you get it...  Overall, by tuning into our core beliefs and lifestyle through design, we create an intentionally authentic atmosphere.  

Whatever your chosen method, I believe that with the increase in smaller spaces, and great emphasis on each object chosen to occupy that space, we have to be thoughtful on what we bring into our individual atmospheres. Designing with intention allows us to appreciate our space and each item thoughtfully placed in it. I like to think that my pillows are one of those special items that speaks to someone because it's a small-batch, high quality, artful piece - unique and full of life. Textiles, artifacts, lighting, and other furnishings may all have their own reason to resonate with its owner, and in turn collectively become the atmosphere that helps us thrive... just like Ricky Martin's awesome digs:)

Design Strong and Carry On - and have a very happy and thoughtful New Year!!


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