A Basement Retreat: A Room Tour

My friend Sara is adventurous, athletic, well read, super smart, incredibly kind and generous, and just the right kind of goofy. She processes mortgage loans as a profession, but her life is far from defined by something as simple as a job. She is a momma. She’s done triathlons. She bikes and does yoga. She reads – a lot. She makes her own soap. She finds something that interests her, and pursues it. Incidentally, and not surprisingly, I find her fascinating to talk to. I always have. I have these incredibly vivid memories of the time I spent with Sara when we were younger. Thanks to Sara, the Mazda Miata was, and always will be, the epitome of cool in my mind ;-).

When she told me she asked her husband to build her a room in their basement where she could work (from home), read, and do yoga, I knew I wanted to feature it in my room tour series. Most people (me included) tend to be so pragmatic and unimaginative in how we use our space: this is a kitchen, it is where we make food; this is a bedroom, it is where we sleep, etc, etc. I was intrigued by Sara’s idea to create a space that would suit and support her. A space that – yes, had a pragmatic function – but also, that literally was just – space. Space to breath. Space to practice. Space to be.

Take a look at Sara’s office/yoga room/quiet space. I think you’ll enjoy both the design and the intention behind this special room.IMG_2249IMG_2250IMG_2258on the inspiration behind her room

I knew with my job I needed a home office. I thought about what that space would look like. I had to factor cost and practicality. I wanted it to be well insulated and make you feel like you weren’t in a basement — that you could be anywhere. I wanted it to be this cozy cocoon where I could meditate, practice, or string together all the curse words I know and let them rip. I wanted it to just be mine. Not a communal space that provided everyone their creature comforts. It’s funny, the only person that likes being in my office other than me is my son. He will come for the silence. He curls up in the chair and is so content down here.

I think everyone should have a space where they feel safe and loved and free. Whether that’s a man cave with a TV or just the space of a yoga mat rolled out anywhere or a cozy chair in a corner where you can read. Maybe it’s a blanket outside in the sun. Maybe it’s a bicycle. We all need to feed that precious time for ourselves. We are constantly meeting the needs of others.

on the importance of space

Invest in yourself. You are no good to anyone if you aren’t taking the time to do your own self care. Carve out that time. It will not be time wasted.

on what is in her spaceIMG_2251IMG_2248

Sara’s husband made the bookshelves, but she stained them herself. She tends to read and then give away her books, so most of the books on her shelves are waiting to be read. What shelves aren’t taken up with books, are occupied with special items and her yoga props.

Nothing is in here that isn’t necessary. No junk.

I put a number of items in this space that remind me of special people – my friend, a doodler, made the clock, a salt lamp candle that I always wanted that I never asked for that was gifted to me, books, heirlooms (a WWII artillery shell-turned ashtray from her paternal grandfather and glass shoes figurine from her grandmother), and pictures of family.

on the bookshelvesIMG_2259

why do you read?

So many reasons. So my brain doesn’t die? There is so much outside of us. I read to hear other people’s stories. Podcasts are great when you don’t have time to sit down and read. You can cook dinner and listen to someone’s story.

one book that made you laugh?

The book Carry On, Warrior made me laugh. The author, Glennon Melton, is animated and honest. She puts it all out there. you probably know her blog – Momastery.

one book that changed your outlook/mind?

I’m going to go with Meditations From The Mat by Rolf Gates and Journey To The Heart by Melody Beattie. They are both daily devotional type books. I feel like those snippets keep me focused daily. They are quick reminders about my path and how my path relates to others.

one  book that moved you?

The Glass Castle move me. It was so weird but honest. I felt like that set of parents were so true to themselves. They lived the life they wanted, uninhibited. They come off as horrible parents and lets face it, they were super neglectful with their children. But they owned who they were as people and nothing in society could shake it. They didn’t know shame. My heart ached for those kiddos though.

one book that has formed you into the person you are today?

Wowzers. Impossible question. I’m going to answer with a question. Would I be who I am today without every single one of the books I read? Probably not.

Early influence- Bible. Crucial part of my person. Still is.

On another note, when I was in elementary school I literally read every book in the children’s section. They told me they had nothing left for me, that I would have to go to the Adult Section. I still read like that – all different categories, all types of authors. I often ask a very divers group for recommendations. I refuse to limit my knowledge and experience to one super tiny category. I read almost anything.

on yoga

I’ve only had a regular yoga practice for a little over a year. I started doing yoga just for fitness, but now it’s the exact opposite.

My favorite thing about yoga is to just breathe and be present. I can do yoga on my bike. It transfers to anything. We are so busy being busy. Society pushes us to constantly move to the next thing. I’m choosing not to. I’m choosing something else.

on a pose that is speaking to her right nowIMG_2524

Malasana (yoga squat/garland pose)

[This pose] reminds me of birthing babies naturally, which I highly recommend. It reminds me to breath. It feels super cozy and restorative. Makes me feel like a woman.

One thing I love about Sara is how a simple conversation with her will stick with you. For days, weeks, heck, I’m still thinking about one conversation I had with her in that Miata yeeeeears ago. Sara, like her space, is full of good ideas, interesting things, and a natural, understated beauty. She lives a life inspired by many things, and to know her, is to be inspired.

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