Our homes are our everything right now. Make the most of yours with these tips from home furnishings entrepreneur Annie Selke, who splits her time between living at Marrakesh in Palm Desert and the Berkshires in Massachusetts. Selke partnered with local interior designer, Michelle Boudreau to design a beautiful modern space in Palm Springs.
Many of the images are from Mesa Modern, a featured home of Modernism Week 2020 outfitted with Selke’s Pine Cone Hill fine linens and Dash & Albert rugs.
Don’t let work take over
If your dining table is your desk right now, create a dedicated “office box” (or a sturdy tote bag) to stash everything at the end of the day to preserve a clutter-free evening look. “You’ll be thankful to have your home feeling like its usual self to signal the end of the work day,” says Selke, who often works from her kitchen island.
Make your bathroom your sanctuary
If you’re fortunate enough to have a bathroom all to yourself (or even if you don’t), this space can be a refuge in a time when everyone feels piled on top of each other at home. Declutter the surfaces, bring in a bit of greenery or a flower clipped from your yard, and light a candle while you go through whatever ritual feels right for you. “Try to think of your daily grooming routine as self care: Instead of just going through the motions, meditate on taking care of yourself,” says Selke.
Find moments for fun
Yes, the news is awful, and it can feel wrong to enjoy the everyday, but pockets of joy are what will get us through this difficult time. “Blow up your silliest pool float, take your Zoom calls from a swing, or have a picnic in your own backyard,” says Selke. If you’re even more ambitious, paint the inside of a closet with the brightest color of paint you have lying around. Consciously try to use your home as a tool to make you and your family happy.
“We are all spending more time at our work-from-home desks,” says Selke, “and anyone can get sick of the same 15 square feet.” Try working from other spots in your home to break up the day: A comfy lounge chair, a seat at your dining table, or even a window seat can be enough to refresh your mood and productivity.
This can also highlight areas that you may have been ignoring that could benefit from a little love.
Put your produce
If your fridge is full-to-overbrimming from biweekly shopping trips, put your produce right on the counter. Whether it’s a bowl full of cheery lemons or your hardworking onions and garlic, there are lots of types of produce that are perfectly happy outside of the fridge. “Our company’s senior stylist recently created a 2-minute centerpieces using fresh fruit and herbs,” says Selke.
Reorganize like crazy
Nothing is as it usually is, so why should your house stay the same? “Move things as much as you need to,” advises Selke. “You can switch it all back later—or you may find that your new set up suits you better.” If you’re crafting more, maybe the art supplies need a more prominent storage spot. If your Instant Pot is in constant use, perhaps another appliance rotates to the cabinet so it can live on the counter 24-7. Some families are moving two kids into one bedroom, so the second room could become a playroom/classroom. “I found it very satisfying to organize all my kitchen drawers as it was something I could wholly control during this chaotic time,” she notes.
Use your outdoor space
In California, indoor-outdoor living is the norm, but this is an opportunity to really use those spaces to the max. “Make your outdoor living area more functional in little ways, like adding side tables near chairs, so your family can relax and feel truly comfortable,” says Selke. Or finally clear that area by the side of the house so it feels like a destination, not a storage space.
Garden if you can
What is always a zen-like activity is even more so now when we’re all staying home. Some garden centers have worked out systems for contactless pick-ups for plants or you can order by mail. “Even just getting outside to rake up stray leaves, clean up the edging of a bed, or deadhead your flowers can be a major mental unwind,” suggests Selke.
“If you’ve got one, you’re probably already utilizing that space as a quiet retreat (as well you should!), but maybe you could go further,” says Selke. Would it make more sense to move the bed out completely so you can do your workouts at home? Or could you jerryrig a desk so you’re not working in the dining room?
Save a spot just for nights and weekends
If you’re blessed with a lot of space, consider reserving a place for the weekend to give some contrast to your days. For example, Selke suggests maybe you eat outside on weekend nights or take your breakfast in a different spot on Sunday mornings. Even in a small space, you might save a special chair for curling up with a book on your days off.
PHOTOGRAPH BY ALIVIA BARLET
Dress your bed in its best
You know those special sheets you never use? Now’s a perfect time to break them out and make your bedroom feel like a lovely, spa- like retreat. “Nothing feels more like an escape to a luxe hotel than a set of crisp, white percale sheets,” says Selke, who likes to add color and pattern with shams and throws.
Give your bedroom some love
“These rooms are often neglected design-wise because they are not public facing rooms,” notes Selke but it’s the room you wake up in every day and go to sleep in every night, you deserve a space that is at once uplifting and comforting. Take some time to freshen yours up with flowers, artwork, a cozy throw, or your favorite accessories plucked from another room.