Monday, April 9, 2012

The Joy of Home

by Naomi Cleaver

Naomi Cleaver brilliantly frames her interior designs with an equal mastery of words and knowledge of materials, processes and project demands. She is all at once comfortable with the different media of creative expressions – through her designs, writing, and broadcast. She articulately describes designs in a way that frees you to appreciate them without the burden of interpretation, much like art that is made simple and enjoyable.

I love reading an ID book that harmonizes visual feasts and luxuriant narratives to provide an indulgent read that is visceral, sensorial and intellectual. Much like the Word of God which we hear, which we see with our eyes, which we look at and our hands touch [1 John 1:1].    

Here’s a sample of her plush lyrical narrations that bring home the message of what a home truly is.

Over recent years the bathroom has been contrived as a ‘home spa’, a place of refuge and relaxation, as well as somewhere to brush your teeth. Bathing has been liberated from the shackles of dreary utility to realize its potential for pleasure. This places even greater demands on the design process, because the places where we bathe – which are usually confined areas – are now expected to be dream spaces as well as highly practical and hardworking.

The comfortable home is the generous home, enfolding and forgiving. There is a tangible feeling of cosseting, invitation and accessibility.

An abiding clich̩ is that the kitchen is the heart of the home. And as households become more fragmented Рwith more people living alone, more single-parent families, fewer elders living with their adult children and declining birth rates Рit is notable just how much more tempting new kitchen designs have become.

Rest is not simply relaxation. Certain activities can be relaxing – hiking or computer gaming, for example – but thy are not necessarily restful. Nor does rest mean sleep, though the effects can be similar. Resting is when our minds and bodies are passive, though not inactive. Reading is one passive activity that can be restful, though perhaps the ultimate kind of rest is when we allow our minds to wander. We may have some of our best ideas when we least expect them – in the bath or sitting on a train, perhaps.

Naomi went on to quote an account when clients of the acclaimed painter Leonardo da Vinci complained that he was wasting time by resting on his bed, the artiest retorted, ‘If i don’t do this, you don’t get the work.’

I love that this book combines home design, writing, social awareness, philosophy, expert knowledge and a glossary of practical tips that makes for good reading and referencing.

Where you can get it: Kinokuniya Singapore, S$65.03