Hello, hello. It is Saturday. For us, it is a busier Saturday. I will admit. We had a 6K this morning. Soccer game after that and then we are looking forward to a ballet recital for my five-year-old this afternoon. So, busy Saturday but I'm so excited to take a break from that for a little bit to be with you. This will be a quicker episode just because we do have a lot going on this Saturday. I am Becky Bonnell and I am owner of Lykke Haven Design a Purpose-Driven Interior Design Company in Grand Rapids and today, we are going to talk about how we personally cultivate and create those spaces to connect in our own home.
We've talked about why connection is important. We have talked about why mission is important and how that comes into our home. We have talked about why intention is important and how that comes into our home. So, today, we're going to continue on in this last little session here for this series and talk about how we actually cultivate connection and create spaces for that in our own home.
We started just like how I have gone over how I just urge you guys to start and that's with an empathy exercise. We went through our home. We talked about, our everyday, what our actions, what are our thoughts and feelings about that, how do we connect with our kids in our home? How do we build relationships? How does that look with guests and different ranges of guests too? Close versus more distant guests coming into our home. What does that look like? And we did that empathy exercise and we understood, where the gaps are in our home with how we can support those connections, those relationships that we want to build. Where are those gaps? Because that's where we want to start. We see those gaps; we start brainstorming different ideas. Maybe some are larger ideas, but maybe some can be solved with really quick things that you can do over a weekend and you assess where you want to start after you come up with some solutions.
Where do you want to start? Where's the biggest gap? Maybe it's what's the easiest thing to implement. It's going to be different for everybody but it all starts with that empathy exercise. So, how are you doing on that? Did you find time to do that together as a family or are you making time maybe this weekend to do that? Once you have that empathy exercise, you can start to understand those gaps and then you can start brainstorming.
I'm here today to give you ideas and maybe inspire you on some ways to solve those gaps with the way we did it in our home. I think the first one for us, after we did our empathy exercise, was our entry ways. This is the first place people come to and so, whether it's coming in from the garage, or coming in through our front door, both needed help.
So first, in the mudroom, which is coming in through the garage, we use that every day. That is our family entrance and the kids would constantly be leaving shoes out, throwing them here and there. We needed lockers and we needed lockers fast. You can build those in, or we honestly, purchased some and modified them slightly from Home Depot or Lowe's. I can't remember which. We did modify them to fit our needs. That was our baseline start. Now, the kids have their own drawer to put their shoes in and shoes are put away. They have places for their coats. Each locker has a name on it so they can feel like it's theirs, that they are very welcome here and they have a place to put their stuff. We added a bench and coat hooks and then a carpet on the floor because little kids, oh my goodness, they bring in so many leaves and mud and water. We needed carpet to just take care of everything, and that was easy to clean in there. That's how we implemented some changes in our mudroom.
Then our main entryway. Honestly, this was a little bit low-hanging fruit for us. We just simply added some coat hooks and an already fabricated bench right there in our entryway. We already had a console table there. So now people can come in, set their stuff down, take off their shoes, and hang their coats. They know where they can put things because we didn't honestly have a good spot for that before. Now, guests easily come into our space and know exactly where they can put their stuff.
Then as you travel in, we are in the middle of updating our living room. For the most part, we have it but there are still things we need to do. The first thing that we had, the gap that we noticed, is our two couch system just wasn't working. It did not feel like we were intimately connecting as a family during movie night. There wasn't enough room. The couches seemed far apart. So, we got a big sectional. We love to cuddle during movie nights and there's plenty of room to do that. You feel a little bit more intimate when you're on a sectional together because it's all one couch. Then we had to make it big enough because we also host life group here which is our church group and we're a family of six. One of the other families is a family of six and then another family of four. So, we needed to make sure that there was lots of space available for us to connect. But then we also have two chairs that are side by side pretty close together and those are for those times where you just have that one special friend over that it's just meant to have those deeper conversations with. You feel like you're not spread out on this big couch but that you can come together in these two chairs over a cup of tea and have those great conversations. Then we made sure that we had a play area for all the kids that run around our house separate from where the adults have conversation. That way we could have those conversations and not be interrupted or feel awkward and maybe having the deeper connection that we wanted. So, we do have a separate area away from the adult section that kids are freely able to play. The other thing that we are in process of adding to our living room is a big coffee table. And this is because we love to play games. Our niece used to live with us and we would play Pandemic like once a week at least, probably more than that, and we still love to play games together. With our oldest being nine, we're starting to play more games and so it was important for us to have that big coffee table that we can play games, that we can spread out food during movie night, have that popcorn right there as a family together but then, it still allows enough room for when I want to have friends over and do yoga.
Then, moving into the kitchen, another low-hanging fruit is our coffee corner. We wanted to easily offer and have coffee available. So, we picked up something from actually Home Depot I think, and it works for us right now. We already know and spinning our brains of how we want to make that even better and work for us even better, but for right now, it works. There's a place to have coffee. We can make it easily. There are mugs right there. Our guests can come up and get their coffee very easily whenever they want. Another connection point in our kitchen is the island. When we were building our house, we made sure our island was big enough to support our four kids. This one's obviously a bigger change if you already have an island. We did know we wanted a big family when we built our house and so we made sure that our island was big enough to support 4 kids because I knew we wanted to spread out and do cookies and have them there when we were cooking or baking. We made sure that our home supported us in that.
Another easy thing to do is at your dining room table. If you love having guests over, you want to make it easy. Always have seats available and make it not feel like a big deal when they come over because people come over more often. We always have two seats, extra seats available or we did until my daughter broke one so we have to get another one, but we always have two seats available. And I always say there's extra food. I'm always welcome to have guests for dinner and just make it easy for them to come over. So, those are some of the things that we did downstairs.
Another thing we did is we assessed our family when we decided to homeschool. So 2020, the way our house was or the way we went through our house had to change. Our office became our homeschool space or at least kind of that homeschool hub where we can easily bring bins out into the living room which is actually where we do a lot of homeschooling, but we changed our office. We realized that's not the room we needed right now for our family to cultivate those connections together. We needed a homeschool space. So, we transformed that. That was a bigger project that we've done.
Then, as you head upstairs in designing our daughters’ new room, we are in the process of remodeling a bedroom and in that, we are very intentional to have richer relationships between our daughters and also between their friends. Our oldest girls are nine and seven and so those friendships are becoming more and more important especially since we homeschool. They want friends other than their sisters sometimes and we made sure that their room supported that. So, their beds are full-size beds instead of your typical twin bed above the loft. So, you can have two girls in each bed. Sister nights are big in our house and we need to make sure that all four kids could sleep in those beds. Then, there's also a sitting area for them to hang out with friends. There's going to be at least four seats there. Two of them being a couch actually that can pull out so that way when they have extra friends over and there's plenty of beds now for everyone to still be in the same room; to come together and have fun. That was important for us.
In our bedroom I love to do devotionals, but if you have ever had a baby and a squeaky door you know that they do not go hand in hand. I was having a hard time going downstairs or going outside to do my Bible study, and so we just added a chaise chair to our bedroom. I would have a place to sit and do my devotional time. Then we added a little end table with a Keurig, a simple Keurig and a basket to hold a gallon of water so I can easily be refilled. I can now make coffee in the morning without having to go downstairs and run the grinder quite yet, waking up the house. That has been a blessing for us.
Some of the things that we've done outside, we love to be outside, and this may be unconventional but it works for our family, and I want you to know that your solutions can be unconventional too and that's okay. We have two sets of rocking chairs on the front porch but then, I bring their little picnic table out into the front landscaping amid the flowers and give them paper and crayons. Last summer, we had so much fun acting like we were Monet making pictures in this area. Bringing their picnic table simply to the front landscaping where there were beautiful flowers, buzzing of bees, and just connection with them as we dove into nature and pretended like we were this famous and beautiful artist and it was a lot of fun. We had a lot of conversations in our rocking chairs. We love to have mommy-daughter tea time together where we grab some fancy tea and connect over a book or just talk, that has been a really nice thing to have in our home.
So, what does your home need to support you in cultivating these richer, deeper relationships? Take a look at your empathy exercise. Take a look at those gaps and your action step is to then start brainstorming. What are possible solutions? Some of your solutions may be big, some maybe small, some may be the same that we implemented in our home, but what are some solutions that you can start with? Then, take a look, do you want to implement something big to fill that gap? Maybe you start with something small that's easy to do over the weekend. I just urge you to take a look at that empathy exercise and make a gap smaller in your home because if you can cultivate deeper and richer relationships, and have your home support those, it will be a richer and deeper life for you and for your family and it will be so beautiful. You will be on your way to creating your own Lykke Haven which is exciting for me, I will admit.
So, this kind of mini-series here is wrapping up. We talked about the philosophies and values that we have at Lykke Haven and where we start. Now, next week, I hope you'll join me. We're going to dive into, we have all this information, now, how do I start this design process thing? How do I actually start implementing these? Where do I even start? That's what we're going to be diving into next week. On Monday, it will be a prerecorded video as I have something already on the books but I don't want to miss this time with you. So, I will prerecord that. Please catch it and also share these videos with anyone you think would find them interesting. We're always trying to grow our community so we can each have our own Lykke Havens.
As always, I would love to see what you're working on with your action steps, what questions do you have? What were some of your results? I would love to hear from you, and if there's anything that you need help with, please reach out. I'm always available to help.
I hope that you have an awesome Saturday and a very restful Sunday. I will see you on Monday at least in the prerecording and then I'll be back live on Tuesday.
I wish you all a very happy weekend!
Lykke Haven Design is a full service, purpose-driven interior design firm serving clients in West Michigan. We work with clients from Ada, to Grand Rapids, to Holland (and the occasional out of state). Our mission is to create Intentional Interiors curated with a Meaningful Mission that Cultivate Connection. We do this through a process driven by Human-Centered Design. We would love to discuss your next project and how we can help.
Please check out our services to learn more!