A real person helping real people with real estate
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By: Amy Howell Hirt
Three young entrepreneurs give tips on staying organized and calm while living hectic lives.
Life is crazy. Cah-ray-zee. And while you wouldn’t have it any other way from 9 to 5 (OK, more like 8 to 7), the insanity should stop at your front door.
That’s why you bought your home, right? To have a place to rest, recharge, and come up with your next trailblazing idea. A few inspirational ideas for your home may be all you need to put it on the path to tranquility.
Three super-busy entrepreneurs — a brewery owner, website founder, and organic farmer — know exactly how important a tranquil home is to achieving personal success. Here, they share how they created Zen-like havens in their homes to foster stress-relieving routines.
A Nook to Bliss Out In:
When hanging out at the local brewpub loses its appeal because, well, brewing is your business, home becomes your place for a mini getaway.
Tim Bullock, who co-owns St. Elmo Brewing Company in Austin, Texas, and his wife, photographer Heather Gallagher, created a perfect spot to chill in their own home with a little wallpaper and a daybed.
In the morning before his young son wakes up, Bullock often lounges on the daybed, reading the news, sending a few emails, or just listening to piano music before the madness of the day ensues.
The brightly colored tropical wallpaper mural covers an entire wall next to the daybed. Compared to the crisp black-and-white color scheme in the rest of the house, the vibrant space “really feels like a vacation room,” Bullock says.
Your blissful nook doesn’t have to be indoors: HypeGirls.com founder Nichole Dawkins created a tropical escape on her balcony. More than 20 strategically placed potted plants — including aloe, vegetables, herbs, small palm trees, cacti, and orchids — block out the neighbors and frame a calming water view from her Miami home.
Given the space’s appeal, Dawkins doesn’t have to remind herself to take a break throughout the day. She meditates there every morning, soaks in the sun while enjoying an afternoon cup of tea, and often reads or colors while her son naps. Sign us up!
A No-Fail System for Organization:
With a young toddler running around, Dawkins is constantly battling toys that threaten to take over her living room. So the creative director and founder of the site for “millennial mamas,” invested in DIY shelving and deep decorative bins.
Because every bin houses one category of items — like puzzles, coloring books, games, and toys — she can easily clean up throughout the day, allowing her more time to enjoy that sense of adult orderliness every evening.
Instead of a mess facing her at the end of the work day, “I spend much more time relaxing in the space than I do cleaning it up,” she says.
A Drop Zone to Separate Work From Home:
Is it difficult to leave the literal “mess” of work at the front door? Andrea Davis-Cetina, an organic farmer and owner of Quarter Acre Farm in Sonoma, Calif., can relate.
A one-woman operation, she might spend the day planting and harvesting, and then return home after dark to post social media updates, order seeds, or book guests for her radio show. She needed a place to stow her dirty farm boots and jackets, but her home doesn’t have a foyer.
So she carved out a small foyer drop zone at the front door, with a wall-mounted coat rack above a simple, three-level shoe stand.
“It stops the mess at the door,” she says, and helps draw that elusive line between work and personal life — even if there’s more work to be done after a long shower and an episode of “Scandal.”
For homeowners with devices instead of dirty gear: A charging station is a must-have for a drop zone. Plug ‘em in, and leave ‘em there.
An Easy Way to Spend Time Outside:
Bullock says both his home’s location and his home’s yard help him de-stress simply by encouraging him to get outside.
Since his home is in a walkable neighborhood, Bullock says that encourages both him and his family to interact with nature, instead of watching it through car windows — either by walking to the local pizzeria or riding their bikes through the park. Their home’s locale makes it all possible.
But his favorite just might be the small herb garden in his front yard. He and his son routinely spend a few minutes most days watering or weeding it.
“That definitely is a big stress relief, and it’s right outside the front door,” he says.
Windows will get you a dose of nature, too: Dawkins says the abundance of windows in her home is a natural mood-booster — and a significant reason she chose her home. She leaves the windows uncovered during the day to get as much of the benefits of daylighting as she possibly can.
A Focal Point to Find Peace and Motivation:
“The power of visualization is very important when you’re trying to get focused, or relax,” Dawkins says, by way of explanation for the “inspiration board” in her home.
She gives her board a very personal touch. Every year, she takes a blank canvas and paints it with a new theme (this year, it’s reggae), then adds her visions and dreams to it.
It works as artwork in her home, but it also helps her to see her goals clearly — and let go of the day’s less consequential stressors.
You don’t have to be an artist to have an inspiration board: Davis-Cetina uses a simple bulletin board to hang her motivational messages and personal and professional mementos. In the evening, when she’s handling the office end of farm work from an extra bedroom, she likes to visit her board. “I like to hold onto things and look at them. It’s a reminder of why you’re doing what you’re doing,” she says.