Embracing the concept of a balanced natural lifestyle was important for the future homeowners as well as for J.P. Curran and Dana Lynch, the architect and designer of Rodale’s Organic Life House at Serenbe.
Creating the home in the Chattahoochee Hills community with close ties to nature allowed Curran and Lynch to explore new concepts, such as a yoga studio and outdoor labyrinth. Whether you’re building a new home, renovating or making simple updates, here are five ways to transform an ordinary room into one meant for unwinding.
1. Go natural
Incorporating natural elements can help mold a soothing environment. In the Serenbe home, which is open to the public through March 5, Curran and Lynch said they tried to tie in as many organic and natural elements as they could, such as repurposed timber beams and plants.
“A good tip would be to simplify, but to find moments to accent with organic materials,” said Curran, owner of Curran & Co. Architects.
2. Speak to the senses
Changing the wall color is an inexpensive way to visually transform a room into an area to collect your thoughts. The trick, however, is knowing which colors relax and which stimulate.
Red is a stimulant, said Kellie Bell, design studio manager for home builder Ashton Woods, whose communities include The Grove at Spring Valley in Forsyth County. She suggested using blues and greens for a calmer setting.
“Colors have different effects on people,” Bell said. “If you’re wanting to relax, you should use cool tones.”
Lynch used a custom white hue from Sherwin-Williams for the Organic Life House’s yoga studio walls.
“A good white is tough to find,” she said. “Many or most whites will change depending on the light. It’s very hard to find a white that doesn’t go yellow or pink or green or gray.” ”
3. Find your focus
Decluttering a room can result in a more relaxing atmosphere.
A way to combat restlessness is to use neutral tones and a strong central point of view, said Lynch, who owns Dana Lynch Design. Having fewer objects allows for both the eye and the mind to rest. For example, Ashton Woods used a backlit wall accent as a focal point in a yoga room.
“If you think about it, if you sit down in a room and you’re not trying to focus on 50 things, you’re automatically going to be more relaxed,” said Bell.
4. Pathway to peace
In the Serenbe home, bi-fold doors open to a labyrinth that leads to the pool, connecting the yoga room to the outdoor space.
Lynch experienced the meditative qualities of a larger labyrinth at Serenbe while mulling over how to design the smaller one requested by the homeowner.
“They’ll definitely use it as part of that meditation and mind relaxation and tie that in (to the Serenbe lifestyle),” she said.
5. Check out your ceilings
Ceiling height also can be an important factor for making a space comfortable.
“Things that make bedrooms relaxing are having a vaulted ceiling, where you don’t have finished space above you,” Curran said.
The Serenbe home has 10-foot ceilings on the main level and in the yoga studio, which is on the bottom level of the 6,000-square-foot home. Having higher ceilings keep it from feeling like “stress is coming down on you,” Curran said. While tall ceilings are desirable for bedrooms, Curran recommends a more intimate feel for “getaway” spaces, such as yoga and meditation areas.
“We get a lot of requests for tall ceilings these days, but sometimes more cozy spaces that are not overly done in terms of their height can be good for relaxation as well,” said Curran.