Interior designer Tennille Burnup of Tennille Joy Interiors shares her thoughts on creating special spots in our homes where we can relax and enjoy, incorporating small joys into everyday living.
A sacred space is a subject that I’ve always been conscious of bringing to the table with my clients. We all naturally gravitate to a particular spot in our homes. And it’s different for everyone.
I ask people what would be their favourite spot in the house, where do they have their moments of joy, and then describe what it is about this spot that they love. Sometimes people will answer with what they think is the most obvious place, such as the kitchen since it’s where so much time is spent with the family and friends. But dig a bit deeper, and their answers may change to become more specific.
It’s important to understand which place in the home is the one that they would love to spend more time in if they could. For example, within the kitchen, their special space and time could revolve around their morning coffee or tea ritual – where do I make this and consume this drink daily? It could be a gorgeous, cosy nook or seat that they love to read in. Perhaps somewhere to lie with loved ones or to soak in a bath.
I have worked with clients who have a zen room or prayer room, depending on what they value as sacred space. The idea is that a particular space is restorative and meaningful to the occupier. Being able to incorporate the small joys into everyday living is what I value about interior design and how it can bring about a deeper appreciation for the space in which we live.
When getting to know a client, I ask an array of questions on how they live. What do they enjoy doing? Their hobbies, interests, favourite places and spaces. The purpose of these questionnaires is to get to the core of what enhances their life, what makes them happy and grounded.
In the face of adversity, everyday rituals and routines make us feel grounded and more appreciative of the little things. When one cannot function without a coffee first thing in the morning, the coffee machine becomes their shrine. It’s an intoxicating, living object that satisfies a range of senses and provides a get-up-and-go mentality for the coffee connoisseur.
I designed this appliance nook with retractive doors for a homeowner who is passionate about their morning coffee. It can be opened up, coffee can be tailored to the owner’s exact specifications and it’s housed with pride in its own sacred space, providing deep contentment to the homeowners.
A family who are book lovers adore this new benchseat area. The wall sconce is ample lighting to curl up and read, while overlooking the pool. Being east facing, plenty of sunlight floods into the space, regenerating the reader. Timber lining the walls and ceiling separate the space, making it cosy and warm.
Benchseats offer a place to recharge, get some sunlight and relax. These clients love cool mints, and we added deep navy with caramels to contrast with the cool tones. A happy balance!
For movie buff clients, we created a sacred space with all of the mod-cons for a home cinema experience. With electronic recliners and a phone charging station in the side table, there’s no need to leave the best seat in the house until the film is over. And for the water lovers, when it’s cold outside, a warm bath is the best routine to wash off the day.
Have a think about how YOU can create a sacred space for yourself in your home. Or do you already have one? If so, we’d love to hear about it in the comments!
—Tennille Burnup is a residential and commercial interior designer in Melbourne with a holistic approach, incorporating wellness, mindfulness and sustainability.