Friday, February 19, 2010

Why Comfort & Luxury?

I have always been interested in how businesses got their names. Now, there's this whole world of blog names to wonder about too. I'm going to tell you about mine. I think it also says something about me and my approach to interior design, decorating and life.
For close to twenty years, this quote has inspired me :

"We act as though
comfort and luxury were the
chief requirements of life
when all that we need
to make us really happy is
something to be
enthusiastic about."

Charles Kingsley - English clergyman, university professor, historian and novelist

At first, it became a favorite because it represents to me the conscious effort one must make to appreciate and find enjoyment in the everyday undertakings of life. Rather than lament what we feel is missing, we should focus on what we already have, or should seek to find something, to be enthusiastic about. For some it might be caring for their home and family; for others, their job or an all-consuming hobby or cause. Material things that add to our enthusiasm for life can be anything that pleases us—simply because we possess them, regardless of price or pedigree—like a sentimental object kept on view, a collection acquired after years on the hunt, or a perfectly positioned reading chair. And, of course, we all want to be enthusiastic about the people in our lives—our loved ones and friends—without whom all the riches and possessions in the world would be meaningless.

But then, one day, while preparing myself to pursue a career in interior design, it occurred to me that, while Reverend Kingsley warns against the pursuit of “comfort" and "luxury”, they are, in fact, two things for which I happen to have great enthusiasm. This realization brought about a new interpretation of the Kingsley quote; turning it on its head while continuing to embrace its basic message. I believe that we should choose to seek comfort and luxury in our lives, most especially in our homes. I believe home should be the primary place that comforts and sustains us; that an organized, well-designed space is a desirable and attainable luxury that will enhance and energize our daily lives. Before any of us walk out the door in the morning, our homes should prepare us to face the world. At the end of the day, home should call to us, comfort us, and warmly welcome our guests. Of course, we must also appreciate what a luxury it is to have a place of our own in which to find such comfort.

In the homes of clients, just as in my own, I believe that my brand of comfort and luxury can be achieved on a real-world budget. Knowing what good design looks like, where to splurge and where to save, and how to source smartly and creatively can produce great spaces without great expense. The execution of an idea and enthusiasm for the results matter just as much, if not more, than the dollars spent. In fact, some of my best decorating and organizing ideas have been born of restricted cash flow and serendipitous discoveries. Knowing what pleases you most—whether it is bold colors and loads of accessories or a stripped-down, simplified space—is key to finding a look that feels comfortable and luxurious to you. Whatever your goals, whatever your budget, if you are my client, it is my desire to enthusiastically endeavor to bring comfort and luxury to your life.

That then is the "why" behind the name of both my business and my blog. Here on Comfort&Luxury the blog, I'll continue to show the work I do and the work of others I admire. I'll present ideas and inspiration you can apply to your spaces with or without my assistance. If you see anything you have questions about, on a new post or old, feel free to leave a comment or send an email. If you have a project you'd like my help with, read about my services on my sidebar and contact me. At the very least, I hope you'll keep reading. Because I've become pretty enthusiastic about blogging too.

Pictured above are the Reverend Charles Kingsley and American artist Jessie Willcox Smith. As a writer and illustrator, respectively, each successfully pursued their chosen career paths near the turn of the twentieth century. Those paths crossed when their considerable talents came together in a classic of children's literature : "The Water-Babies, A Fairy Tale for a Land Baby". Written by Kingsley and first published in 1863, the 1916 edition illustrated by Smith became wildly popular and a staple of children's nurseries in the decades following. The images I show here are from that book. You can see why Smith's work continues to influence modern-day illustration artists. At the end of her life, she bequeathed twelve of her original Water Babies paintings, generally acknowledged to be the best work of her prolific career, to the Library of Congress' "Cabinet of American Illustration" collection where they remain today.


Struggler said...

How interesting! Both what he said, and how it's made you think about things.
I'm inclined to agree, our homes should be our havens, and that doesn't have to mean everything is cashmere and silk and mega-bucks.

AB HOME Interiors said...

Entusiasm. We all need more of it. Great post!

TheCluelessCrafter said...

My husband and I have been engaged in much discussion about building a home for both comfort and luxury. We've been "house" hunting in Manhattan, a true challenge to finding balance between these two categories. Comfort here comes at the same price as luxury elsewhere.

It's nice to know where your business, your drive, originates.

Maria Killam said...

Great story, and I loved your quote of inspiration!!

Anonymous said...

Great post Tracy! It's nice to hear the thought process and inspiration behind the name. I agree that our homes should be a comforting haven, and I think each person may have a little different view on what luxury really is.

soodie :: said...

nice nice nice post tracy! really interesting.

La Dolfina said...

I like the way you think!
That was so well thought out and written. It's great how you name has so much meaning to you. I think that is very important and I completely agree with your thoughts on interiors and enthusiasm in life for what inspires you!!
Great post!

Love Where You Live said...

Passion for life and pursuits are, indeed, somehow comforting. I never thought about it that way. I guess without passion or enthusiasm we would be left wanting. Love the view, btw!

Lee said...

I like your thoughts in this post... I feel better somehow about my odd choices and over done spaces... if you could see me you would know I am smiling...