When we moved back into our sweet old apartment after a year away, I had this idea that we really needed to focus on our wellness. I had a strong desire to create a space in the house that would be dedicated entirely to movement and yoga. I use the word ‘create’, because no such space existed heretofore. There was one room which had a lot of potential, but a lot of things needed to be done for it to feel calm and zen, and in retrospect those changes couldn’t have been made to manifest if we had never made the weird decision of moving away. But I shall leave that for another post.
Ultimately, we ended up with new flooring, a lovely medium brown tile that resembles wood, I recall it was called walnut. We removed an ugly dark brown aluminium window that overlooked a balcony, broke the wall till the floor and installed a white UPVC door that could be easily opened inwards. A white picket fence was crafted and installed along the balcony ledge to create a more sheltered haven for plants. This added a most pleasing element to the entire room, as the fence partially obscured an ugly PMT with all its accompanying jumble of wires extending every which way. It also provided the perfect trellis for a pretty yellow-flowering vine I’ve had for years, which miraculously survived the move. The balcony was painted a rather bold shade of dark grey, I just knew the green of the plants would contrast vividly against it and happily I was right. My vision was to create a little forest, with juxtaposed foliage of various shades of green, pink, yellow and maroon. Every time we draw the curtains or open the doors now, we are able to welcome in lots of nature and the outside can merge with the inside. Soundproof white windows were installed to drown out the weekend noises in our immediate neighbourhood, and the room feels a lot more peaceful for the first time in fifteen years.
We painted the room a soothing shade of white, with just one wall a light shade of lilac. It was a fraught decision because I wasn’t sure if it would look right, in fact I thought it was wrong for the longest time. But the addition of white wispy curtains on a bamboo rod, really brought it all together with the soft pastel blue of the L-shaped sofa, the vintage mint-green of the TV console, and a deep bookshelf I painted a light but bright blue. An architectural snake plant graces the corner, and a row of spotlights illumines a triptych of cloud paintings made by Amu on the wall above the sofa. A few simple hand-woven rugs in complimentary colors makes the room even cozier, and adds some padding on the floor for yoga. Our three rolled-up but ever-present yoga mats are always neatly lined up next to the TV in an old wicker basket that once housed Amu’s toys.
We removed half the four glass sliding door panels along one wall and bricked in the ensuing open space to create a greater sense of privacy. The two remaining panels were polished and re-installed, and that was it. Huz and Amu finally understood that the mind-boggling 180-degree change they were witnessing was actually the physical translation of something that was only in my head all along.
I love the fact that we get to enjoy this space so much more now, and use it with so much appreciation and gratitude. This room had always felt disordered and chaotic to me, full of furniture that didn’t belong there and added no value to a piece of prime real-estate, with its west-open breezy windows and bright afternoon sunlight giving way to golden hour before sunset.
Perhaps this is what stagnation does, when you feel so stuck with what you have but cannot change until something big happens to shake you out of your zone. We had intended to change the flooring of only one section of the house before moving back in, and it did not include this room. But then we thought, why not? We wouldn’t ever get the chance again. Of course, ultimately we ended up digging up the entire apartment , it was simply inevitable, and actually our entire home feels transformed just by changing the tiles. It was a huge, destructive, noisy, messy, labor-intensive process and it honestly felt quite scary while it was going on. And it took a lot of time, but it got there finally. It isn’t perfect, but it looks great to me.
I have often thought of our home as a spaceship, hurtling through time and space, the changing sky and seasons. That’s the feeling I get as I daydream through life, looking out the windows. God(dess) knows I have daydreamed a lot here, but the house now feels more like a ship, navigating the wild ride which is the planet in the grip of a sea change.
We refer to this newly incarnated room as our yoga room and we use it every day at different times for this very purpose. But we also end up inviting visitors here, it now being the prettiest room in the house. I think it indeed is the calm zen of the color palette and the healthy plants that made my niece recently exclaim ‘this room feels like jannat!‘
And so it happily is!