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The Wellness House by Ilse Crawford

Ilse Crawford

Or How can we make our interior a haven of peace and balance, and which helps us to recharge our batteries?

©Tobias Regell

Ilse Crawford, famous English designer,  talks about “House of well-being, listening to our  meaning”, of all these details likely to make the difference between a perfectly decorated but impersonal space, and a welcoming and warm home.

Today, we wanted to share with you the holistic vision of this incredible designer of whom we are absolute fans!

And while our home has today become our only living space, Isle Crawford invites us to rethink the notion of home and comfort by applying simple reasoning.

A method based on the essential, “on what we feel or perceive by letting our instinct speak”.

 Who is Isle Crawford? A historian by training, she launched the magazine ELLE Decoration UK and remained at its head for a long time. In  In 2001, she created her agency Studioilse in London, a veritable breeding ground for ideas where multidisciplinarity is advocated. She is the author of several books that have become cult, such as “Sensual Home” published in 1997.

In the latter, Ilse invites us to live with sensations rather than thoughts. She gives us advice to help us simply think, feel and decide for ourselves our interior in order to simply be at home.

Silent Living ©Celine Lescure Inquel

The basis of everything: listening to our 5 senses

For Ilse “...all human beings are born with five senses. - sight, hearing, taste, touch and smell, but our modern culture has accustomed us to using the last three as sparingly as possible... by refusing to hear what our senses tell us, we compromise our chances of living in harmony with our body and our emotions. »

Ilse Crawford explains that our technological age, flooded with images to the detriment of the other senses, is characterized by a rise in indifference and loneliness. “Our eyes isolate us from the world: we are observers before being actors. However, it is our other senses, closer to the body, which ground us in everyday life, which give us a more acute awareness of the present moment, which allow us to live it fully, to feel it and to participate in it.

It is therefore a question of inventing an interior that stimulates and satisfies all the senses, and helps them find the right balance between body and mind.


Silent Living

Here are the first basics of the Isle Crawford method for interior which is good

1- Restore balance

Start by determining a space just for us

A room, or a corner of a room of your own where you feel like yourself, a place where you can dream in peace, where you can enjoy solitude and cultivate your creativity. To do this, we just need to carefully choose what we leave behind, retaining only the things we really care about.  And then, give yourself time to spend time there.

“Time that is not scheduled is one of the most precious luxuries of our busy lives” and Ilse Crawford urges us to fiercely defend it and know how to appreciate it.

A space of peace

If a room all to yourself is not possible, it is important to determine at least one room in your home that becomes our decompression space . Place there once and for all, everything that could make it a refuge from the tensions of daily life.  Paint it in light tones, with neutral and peaceful shades (white which purifies, gray which soothes, etc.). Ban anything that could be offensive to the view and above all take care of the lighting. Place objects that are pleasant to the touch. Fill the air with soothing natural scents.

Ilse Crowford also recommends that we pay attention to the noise level of the objects and spaces around us, starting by taking inventory of electrical appliances and other gadgets, which are often very noisy. The ideal is to reduce their number.

If this proves impossible, move them or isolate them.

As some noise also enters through doors, floors and windows, it is important to treat them as a priority, and one solution is to place rugs on floors and tiles as they absorb sound perfectly. The thicker they are, the better.

Ilse Crawford advises not to completely isolate yourself from all noise because silence is not golden and noise connects us to the world.

When Ilse speaks of silence, it actually means tranquility and the absence of disturbing noises. We must therefore not isolate ourselves completely and choose the sounds we want to hear. The birds on our balcony, the wind blowing, the crackling of a fireplace, the rain against the windows. The house of well-being should be filled with sounds that we have chosen.

2 -A comforting house

For Ilse, our feeling of comfort results much more from our sensations than from our vision. And comfort is also the quality of the air, of fabrics that we enjoy touching.  The most comfortable furniture is large and capable of fulfilling several functions, such as large tables, large enough to work and eat on, sofas on which we can stretch out at full length, or beds wide enough to accommodate a whole family. family.

Armchairs and seats must be as mobile as possible, allowing them to be moved and grouped as desired.

Cushions, too often neglected or treated as minor decorative objects, actually play a very important role. They have always existed in our decorations (since the 12th century to be exact). Relaxed and comfortable, they conform to the shape of the body and make life much sweeter.

Choose sensual fabrics, delights for our skin, such as wool, cashmere, mohair, for our bed throws and cushions. Choose natural tones reminiscent of those of stone and earth, which give the greatest feeling of comfort: honey, slate, gray, sand, brown...  The choice is made in only one way: by closing your eyes.

Heat and freshness, our body listens.

For Ilse Crawford, a cozy, well-heated interior reconciles us with the world, but our homes are often too heated. The ideal ambient temperature is 18°C ​​to 19°C with good ventilation.

The fireplace is much more than a means of heating: our primitive instinct pushes us to gather around it. A fire puts us in a good mood and makes us more beautiful.

But warmth is also found elsewhere, such as certain materials with a comforting touch, such as faded wood, patinated leather, bare stone and woodwork. They make spaces more human, more intimate. However, it is better not to overdo it.

Heat is finally the warm smells of simmering dinner, the scent of musk, incense, amber.

In summer, the freshness of our house is found in the ventilation of the small air currents which let in the sounds of summer. Installing sunshades or blinds will then be the right way to protect yourself from the sun while allowing ventilation and excess light.

Water, trees, plants, cool surfaces like polished stone, marble or cement help fight the heat.

Think tactile

When we buy a fabric, a utensil, it is not to own it but to use it. It is therefore important for Ilse to update our quality criteria, because we may be able to force our minds to go towards something, but our senses never.

Ilse Crawford, therefore, advises making sure that what we touch every day really pleases us, whether it's the floors, the walls, the taps or our table settings.

Let's really touch our floors

Since our feet have thousands of nerve endings, what comes in contact with them has a very powerful impact on our perception of place. Tile or marble gives us a feeling of solidity, wood is warmer, sisal is friendlier and synthetic fabric carpets are unpleasant to the touch.

It is therefore very important to select the best quality as much as possible, by tapping, rubbing, caressing, because what displeases our fingers will also displease our feet.

Our senses delight in contrasts, so we must not hesitate to add variety to our interiors: leather, wood, cement, plaster, quality paints, sheepskin, seagrass, coconut...

3- Shadow and light, change universe thanks to light

Light is unfortunately the last thing that many people think about when designing their interior, but it is undoubtedly the first point to address when we undertake to create an interior in which we want to feel good.

Priority to daylight, because deprived of natural light, the body develops hydrocarbon deficiencies and therefore increases our tendency to become depressed.

It is therefore a question of leaving the windows bare and if we have to veil them, we might as well do it as lightly as possible.

Choose colors for walls, floors and ceilings that reflect light well.

Shadow is also particularly important, necessary for intimacy, for reflection, for feeling things. It is therefore important to have screened spaces.

Lighting :

It is important to avoid strong light falling from the ceiling, as it makes us feel vulnerable and is not really flattering. Good lighting is the one in which you feel at your best. The more individualized the lighting sources, the better the ambiance.

Vary the lighting according to the seasons, because what will warm you up in winter will not necessarily be suitable in summer.

Ambient lighting should always be low intensity, often too powerful in most interiors. It is generally better to illuminate a vertical surface than a horizontal surface. In some rooms you may even do without ambient lighting, such as bedrooms where spot lighting may be sufficient.

Spot lighting for reading or working is important. Small adjustable spotlights placed in the corners will be of great help.

Ambient lighting :  warm, low-intensity lights demarcate areas conducive to relaxation. For soft light, use paper lanterns, lampshades or even candles.

So for Ilse Crawford, here are the first foundations of a comforting and happy home.  To find out more, it is still sometimes possible to obtain a few copies of his book La Maison du bien-être, published by Armand Colin.


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