Moorea Seal has a lot going on. The 31-year-old author of the guided journals The 52 Lists Project and 52 Lists for Happiness runs a Seattle-based retail and online lifestyle store, curates a Pinterest account with nearly 1 million followers, and frequently entertains friends in the tidy, welcoming and Instagram-worthy home she shares with her husband and sister. In her new book, Make Yourself At Home: Design Your Space to Discover Your True Self, she teaches readers how to design spaces for comfort and creative expression through thoughtful personal essays, stunning photography, accessible DIYs and inspiring profiles of creatives and entrepreneurs like Erin Perez Hagstrom of calivintage, Laura Gummerman of A Beautiful Mess and Diana La Counte from Our City Lights. Going room by room, Moorea (pronounced MOO-RAY-UH) examines how each space serves us and how to feel more at home there. Included are practical lessons on colour theory and psychology, a brief guide to the defining traits of the styles featured in the book (folk, rustic, midcentury modern, etc.), and pages for your own notes. You’ll want this one, mes amies. Here’s a peek inside. (Thanks to Sasquatch Books for the copy.)
The multipurpose workspace of Seattle jewelry designer Kim Kogane serves as an office and a studio with a cozy sitting area for customers to relax and shop juxtaposed with a stark and functional work area.
“Being an entrepreneur, so much of your work is very unstable, you have to go with the flow and change on a whim. I cope with that by making my space feel very cozy and homey so I’m able to be comfortable in business.” — Kim Kogane, Fresh Tangerine
Moorea says the space illustrates the value of creating an office that allows for a change in pace or state of mind throughout the day.
“I like a lot of change throughout my day,” Kim says, “so I’ll be at my bare-bones desk on the computer if I’m really focusing, but if I’m writing a blog post, I’m on the couch surrounded by color and textures.”
But what if you have a tiny office? Moorea suggests tacking pictures of things that inspire you on a bulletin board hung by your work space where you can see it when you need inspiration, and incorporating a fashionable rug or collection of quirky objects that’s a change from your more orderly desk.
For Moorea (above), the bedroom is her personal sanctuary, a place where she can retreat after a long work day and its demands.
“I’m someone who needs a lot of alone time to recharge,” she says. “I’m super friendly and love meeting new people, but my energy is drained when I’m around others for too long, and the only way I regain it is through time spent in quiet … I crave visual reminders of what I need and want for my personal wellness, what motivates me and inspires me in investing not only in my health, but in my identity. So designing a bedroom that fully reflects the calm I want to feel on the inside and the creativity and quirk that are true to my personality — and my husband’s — is very important to me.”
Her favourite piece in her room is an antique dresser from her childhood bedroom, a treasure trove of beautiful clothing and accessories she discovers anew each day when she gets dressed. How you choose to present yourself to the world is an act of self-care, she says, and when she’s battling anxiety and depression, taking the time to dress herself in pieces she really loves helps start the day on a good foot.
“… when I focus less on what society says my body needs to look like and let my worries about what people will say about how I dress fade away, the celebration of playing with patterns that inspire me, colours that bring me happiness, and silhouettes that are interesting to experiment with fills my soul with confidence in me … Taking time to enjoy the space of my bedroom and relish the process of playing with clothes and accessories is the visual reminder that I have chosen to invest in myself!” — Moorea Seal
A Beautiful Mess blogger Laura Gummerman describes her style as rock n’ roll meets Palm Springs. Pastel and neon colours contrast with cool neutrals in her Nashville home, with a treasured collection of plants of all kinds bringing the outdoors into every room. The tropical vibe harkens back to her childhood, when summers home with her teacher dad meant happy days playing together and her mother forever tending to her garden.
“She is all about keeping the inside of her home fresh, vibrant, and buzzing with life to combat the ever-changing seasons, almost as if her home is an eternal summer,” Moorea says. “And when it comes to decorating, plants are the easiest way she has found to bring life and vibrancy indoors.”
“Because plants are actually alive, they give off a totally different vibe than a coffee-table book or decorative objects. It’s like we’re all sharing the space together. I worry about them if they aren’t doing well, and it makes me so happy to see new leaves and growth when they are happy.” — Laura Gummerman, A Beautiful Mess
The nature chapter also includes a guide to five easy-care indoor plants, a list of 10 natural elements to bring into home that aren’t plants, and a DIY for a gorgeous clay wall hanging depicting the phases of the moon.
Hands up if you can’t wait to read Make Yourself at Home! (I see a lot of hands out there!) Thanks to Sasquatch Books, I have a copy for one of you lucky ducks. (U.S. readers only this time, but more Canadian giveaways to come!)
To enter to win a copy of Make Yourself At Home: Design Your Space to Discover Your True Self, tell me something about your favourite room in your home. What makes special to you? This entry is mandatory.
For an additional entry, follow try small things on Facebook and share this post, then tell me you did so and your name on Facebook in the comments below.
For a third entry, follow try small things on Instagram and tell me your Instagram handle in the comments below.
And feel free to tweet the following once per day and leave the url for your tweet in the comments below (one entry per tweet). Make sure you’re following try small things on Twitter for your entry to count.
#Win “Make Yourself At Home: Design Your Space to Reflect Your True Self” from @trysmallthings https://wp.me/p4xBed-6ta • US 11/27
The giveaway is open to U.S. residents 18+ and ends at 11:59 p.m. EST on November 27, 2017. The potential winner (chosen at random) must respond to prize notification within 48 hours and provide the correct answer to a skill-testing question, otherwise another will be selected.
Update November 30, 2017: Congratulations Kimmy R!
Sasquatch Books sent me a copy of Make Yourself At Home in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. Images used with permission of the publisher. Images 2, 3, 4 and the cover by Marissa Maharaj.