Today I meet with interior architect Robert-Jan Admiraal of ElementR to exchange ideas on how our surroundings affect our well-being. In addition, he will help me to transform my bedroom into an oases of rest. He begins by explaining that he considers the house and the interior as a “second skin”. It is literally an extension of who you are. The painter and poet Bo Yin Ra says about this:
“The dwelling of man is, as it were, his outer garment in this outer world, and just as the clothes of his body can make him know, so also the house he built.”
Robert-Jan is constantly trying to get into to the “skins” of his clients. Who are they? What do they want? How do they live? This is different for everyone. Often these essential questions are not the main idea of an architect. The created design is usually a product of what the architect likes and not so much an attempt to create a second skin for the people who live there. Fair enough, that is not always possible. Take a new construction project of fifty houses or a block of appartments for example, as an architect, very difficult to capture the inner needs of all the individual people who will be living there. But still, if your house has to be a second skin or cloth for you, then somehow you will have to finish it and organize it so that it really radiates who you are and what you want to experience in this life.
Copying your interior from the magazines or from the neighbors is like putting on a mask. To really dare to be who you are requires courage. The same goes for creating your home so that it reflects who you really are.
But what awareness is needed for this? Color, smell, acoustics, light, everything affects your well-being, according to Robert-Jan Admiraal. In your bedroom you generally want to relax and let go. Do not use wool, for example, but cotton and linen. Wool holds air and is not nice when you want to discharge. Furthermore, avoid as many synthetic materials as possible. Natural elements bring you back to your own nature, the core of who you are more easily. A synthetic rug is often very tempting in terms of price and maintenance but in this case not recommended. Moreover, also harmful to the environment :-). Lighting and natural light in your home are essential for your well-beingas well. Provide as much natural light as possible in the rooms where you are the most.
Nothing beats the healing effects of sunlight.
Think carefully about where artificial lighting is needed beforehand. This light must add and not cause stress because it constantly shines in your eye or has a color that makes you dizzy.
Another element that’s important are the colors that you choose around you.
Red is warm and stands for passion and fire but also encourages action and an excess of red can even provoke aggression. A red bedroom is therefore generally not recommended. Think pastel colors, warm earthly tones or rather icy blue and green (provided there is sufficient light from outside). What matters is that you start to feel what colors do to you and which color is most suitable for you to relax. Perhaps you want to take action in a certain space, for example your office, then choose a color that makes you alert and awake.
Meanwhile, Robert-Jan and I are upstairs in my bedroom. Behind my bed is a wall of cotton that serves as a headboard. There are linen curtains and the walls are covered with a natural type of clay. The bed is made of steel and cotton. Despite the natural materials that give a warm feeling, it doesn’t feel cozy yet says Robert-Jan. There is an unfinished, and there for restless energy in the atmosphere. Well, I do not have much stuff in my bedroom. So it can not be the mess. I think you should not collect any clutter in the bedroom. The goal is to find as little distraction as possible. Your bedroom is the place where you can let go of everything and completely return to yourself. We also literally take off our clothes. In your sleep you do not need anything, no TV, no iphone, no friends, no designer shoes, you do not even need food.
Maybe your overworked, active brain at the end of the day thinks that you really can not do without all that distraction, but to relax your nervous system it is important not to look for stimuli.
We can release everything during our night’s rest. And your bedroom must be a place that embodies this and slowly brings you to that state of being. This also improves the quality of your sleep. So think of the minimum you need to sleep; a bed, bedside tables, lamps, if space permits a chair to relax. If you have a wardrobe in the room, try to make it stand out as little as possible. Pillows also bring warmth and tranquility. Your bedroom must radiate safety, warmth and tranquility. Robert-Jan thinks that there is still some art to put on the wall. “That’s going change the experience”.
The art that we choose, is not only beautiful but it also does something with us emotionally.
Good art puts you in touch with a certain feeling. This can be cheerful, happy, or maybe sad, for example. Be aware of what your chosen art does to you and whether that is also what you want to experience in that place. So something like art can already transform an entire room. My assignment for my bedroom is clear. Looking for suitable art. I will share the effect as soon as its ready. My assignment to you is to look at the rooms in your house separately and write down what you are feeling. Everything is good. Then try to see which elements in that room cause that feeling, is it the furniture, is it the color on the wall, the materials, the art etc.? The next step is to ask yourself whether that feeling also fits with what you want to experience in that space. If so, beautiful, nothing more to do. If not, see if you can feel what is needed. In the end, we all know what’s best for us. And do not forget that your house is a second skin / garment, only you can feel if you are comfortable with it. Challenge yourself to see if you ar really being yourself.
Who are you, how do you live and what do you need around you to support that.
I like to hear your stories and am here to answer questions. If you are interested in a personal coaching interview with me, please contact me via firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about interior architects studio ElementR you can send an email to Robert-Jan at email@example.com or check out his website at www.elementr.studio.