PHOTO BY LISA ROMEREIN
Now more than ever, we’re contemplating what comforts bring joy to a home. To that end, designers are all about elements that create tranquility and contentment in private spaces, and found that it’s the simple things—cozy outdoor areas, the feel of soft linens and the play of light on a wall—that truly create happiness.
For Brooke and Steve Giannetti, a designer and architect, pleasure can be found in the fresh air. “Connections to the garden are at the heart and soul of what we do,” says Steve. The husband-and- wife team lives on a farm in Southern California where they’ve perfected the art of indoor-outdoor living. Their secret lies in making the great outdoors more intimate. “The feeling of being in an open meadow is sometimes not the most relaxing,” explains Steve. “We found that if you can break an alfresco space into loosely defined rooms—using features like a wall, a garden border or a tree—it makes a space feel more inviting and protected.” Their farm is full of examples, such as a seating arrangement placed under the canopy of a heritage oak, a fire pit ringed by a sectional or a table located by a vegetable garden. “Being outside is something we crave all year round,” Brooke says. “Living in nature calms us and brings us into the moment. It is perhaps the best luxury.”
In Atlanta, designer Erika Hollinshead Ward finds luxury where the day begins and ends. “Having a bed that’s made with good linens is a treat,” she says. “You may not be able to control what happens in the world, but sleeping with beautiful linens is a joy.” Ward favors bamboo sheets for their sustainability and hand, noting the fabric becomes even softer with washing, and for curtains, she turns to cotton linen. “The weave of a crisp linen makes a great canvas for color and pattern,” she says. “To me, drapery is like art on the wall—and it can elevate and finish a space the same way a good blazer makes an outfit.”
Brad Ford, a New York City designer, calls natural light “very healing” and seeks to add as much of it as possible to any dwelling, be it a city apartment or a house in the country. “In a dense metropolis, privacy can be an issue, so we like to add solar shades or sheers on windows,” he says. “These allow you privacy but also an amount of light.” Ford is also known for strategically placing mirrors and furniture with reflective surfaces in a room to amplify the light. When designing a new home, he always advocates for as many windows as possible. “I would live in a glass house if I could,” he says. “I believe there is no better mood enhancer than natural light.”
For these design professionals, providing easy indulgences is rewarding. “Many of my clients come home exhausted after a long day,” Ward says. “If I can give them a space that’s tailored to them, and that provides comfort, I am also fulfilled.”