Well, hello friends.
It is another day. How are you doing today? I know I am doing some laundry today. So, I am beyond excited to get away for and be with you. I don't know who else has this. So, in our house, we have a lot of laundry piles of like reds and pinks. They are just so huge. When we had four girls, we kind of just leaned into the pink thing even though that's not my favorite color. The moment I get laundry done, with a load of pinks, right? Ultimately, one of the kids will spill something or get in the mud outside or something get it stained. Anyway, doing laundry, but excited to I get away for a little bit with you.
But how are you doing? I am Becky Bonnell, owner of Lykke Haven Design which purpose driven interior design company in Grand Rapids. And I have been coming on here live for about 2 weeks now. Just to help you understand who Lykke Haven is, who's behind it, and just giving even some tips and tricks that we use and what we're all about. And I just hope that you guys have found it inspiring, that it is driving action through those action steps, and that you're able to share it with those that you think would also benefit from this. We're always trying to grow our community and would love to have everyone build their own Lykke Haven at home, their own place of joyful refuge.
At Lykke Haven, we have three words that we focus on. We focus on intention, mission, and connection. And so far, we have gone through why intention is important, and how to create that, why mission is important, and how to bring that into your home, and now we're getting to that third word. Why is connection important and that is what we're covering today.
So, today, as I said, we are covering why connection is important and how we bring that into our process at Lykke Haven in order to create places for connection in your home.
There's no better place to start for me, than the Bible, right? We were always created to have connection and I just have a couple of verses here. I'm going to start off with to give background to that. The first one comes from Genesis, the first book of the Bible. “God created mankind in his own image. In the image of God, he created them both male and female. He created them.” So, right away, God saw that Adam was alone and Eve was created for that connection, for that relationship. And you keep going on, in Matthew, “you shall love your Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. The second is like it. You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” From Matthew twenty-two and this one shows not only are we supposed to love ourselves and have relationship with ourselves but with our neighbors also. Again, further proving the point that we were created for connection, for relationship. And then the final one out of first Thessalonians, “therefore, encourage one another and build one another up just as you are doing.” So, to love on them but also encourage and build this relationship. This is the foundation of why connection is so important in our lives and then why it is it is important for Lykke Haven in our processes and to be able to create these spaces in your home so that connection can be developed.
I love Brene Brown even puts it even further, “connection is the energy that is created between people. When they feel seen, heard, and valued. When they can give and receive without judgement.” I just, I really just love this. When people can come into our homes, come into the process we have at Lykke Haven and just feel like they are accepted and loved for who they are. There is no judgement. I know a lot of the times we'll go into houses and when we do a house assessment, we say do not clean. I know the first thing people want to do when they bring a designer in is “I gotta clean the house. I gotta make it look like I know what I'm doing at least a little bit; that I have it together” and that is the furthest thing from what we want. I want it to be messy. I want to see how you live. There is no judgement here. I will tell you if you come into my home on any random afternoon. It is usually kind of messy. We homeschool. So, there are messes and we are living life and you may come into that if you visit. I have certain friends that I have that I don't clean before they come and they know who they are and we just have this connection. There's no judgement. To create those spaces in your home and to make you feel that way in working with us is so important because when you can do that, deeper relationships happen, richer relationships happen with people and we're fulfilling what we are created to do, to connect with one another, to encourage, to love one another and that is why connection is so important.
I know a lot of the times as busy moms, we tend to get so busy connecting with our family, making sure our kids are okay, and our husband, and all of that is good. But I don't know if you found this. I found when I focus so much on that and even forget about myself sometimes, right? I start to get in this funk and it's a funk because God's telling me, you were made for connecting with others as well, not just your kids, not just your husband, or even yourself but to go out and to connect with others in our community. I know when I feel this way, I'm on the phone, calling up friends. I have one friend. We love to yoga at home and have tea together at night after the kids are down or another friend I will call up and we have breakfast once a month where we can just sit and talk. Those relationships are so much stronger when we connect together and so if you're feeling kind of in this funk, maybe it's time for you to call a friend. Connect over breakfast. Connect over tea. Any way that you can connect. I urge you to do that. If you're feeling like you're in this little funk or do it before you actually feel the funk.
So, we've gone over why it is important, right? It's important because we want these deep and rich connections and relationships in order to feel fulfilled. Now, how do we then bring that into our process at Lykke Haven? How do we actually create that within a process and in order to create these places of connection in the home. It’s a process I learned through the product development world. This is why we have a process of connection because I can't, if I don't connect with you, I don't know how you connect with others. So how can I create those spaces in your home if I don't know?
We do this through using a process that is an industry standard for product development. Companies before the early nineties were creating products without really understanding users. “We're going to just push it to people and they're going to buy it” and what do you think happened? Not a lot people bought these products. Then in the early nineties they started to think, “what if we created these products because we actually figure out what people are having problems with? and involve them in the design process to really figure out the solutions that they want and that they will buy.” This was the birth of human-centered design. A process to create products centered around the user and meeting them where they are and really taking their feedback and needs into account. Melinda Gates said, “Human-centered design. When you let people participate in the design process, you find that they often have ingenious will and ideas we about forget who what we're would really help actually designing them.” So many times in our processes we get on our own agendas and forget the user, but this centers around the user. I love that I get to take something I learned in the product development world as an engineer, and I've brought it into interior design to look at things maybe a little differently than people have before.
What this looks like is at the beginning of my process, we go through an empathy exercise. A lot of clients find this a little odd and I will admit, even myself going through empathy exercises, you always feel a little odd. But there is so much insight that you can get from them. So what’s an empathy exercise? For the product development world, let's say we were developing a new faucet system for the bathroom, right? And so, you would have either prototypes or real product and people would go through the motions, the actual motions. And as that's happening, there are observers that take notes about what is going on, what are they doing, what are they having issues with, and then there's conversation afterwards. What were your thoughts and feelings as you were going through this? Was there anything missing? What could be improved? And the conversation gets started because there is action and empathy exercise to jog the memory of like, oh, this is the process I go through. These are some of the solutions that could help me. Because so many times, if you just sit down and you're like, okay, what do you need in your bathroom? You often forget what you do. You may not know you do something unless you're going through the actions. So, this is why we start a design process at Lykke Haven by having you go through an empathy exercise.
If you were to work on a kitchen for instance, this is the easiest example. We would have you record yourself making your favorite meal and we watch how you move about the kitchen and we see how many steps you take? How can we make that more efficient for you? And then we also have a worksheet that you fill out throughout the day. It says, what actions did you do in this space? What were your thoughts and feelings around this space and then any other additional comment? We go through this for a day to see how you're using a space for a whole day. What are your thoughts? What are your feelings? Positive, negative, or neutral. It doesn't matter. What are the thoughts and feelings that are coming about? What are the actions you're doing and then we start that discussion with how it went for you. So, you're really being very mindfully present for at least a day in your space and when you do that and you see what you wrote down and you highlight in green the good thoughts and you highlight in maybe red some of the negative thoughts that you're having and then yellow are the actions. You start to connect the dots. And you start to see solutions forming together as a group. Client and designer. We're starting to see things that could really help in the design of that space. This is why we start with the empathy exercise. This is why it's one of the first steps we do before deciding any kind of design or honestly, any kind of scope of work because it can change depending on how people use a space.
This like I said, always feels weird for clients but this is how we're able to create spaces for you to connect in your room. And this is how even we as a client designer relationship evolves and becomes richer throughout our process. I just love the fact that I can bring in things I have learned in product development as an engineer and I'm able to bring it into interior design and into my business and how I create process and how I create relationships with others.
I hope you have found this insightful too. When we're able to have those conversations we're able to create those places of connection to happen in your life with your friends, with your family. How much seating do you need? Where are you going to comfortably sit with a group of people? Maybe you have coffee with people and that's how you connect. So, making it an easier, more efficient process to make coffee instead of walking across the room to fill with water and then coming back, oh I have to empty the grounds. Oh, I have to get grounds and you're walking all over the place. If we can make that closer, you can make coffee quicker, more efficiently, which leaves you more time to talk, to develop your relationship with the person you're making the coffee for.
So, why is connection important? It really helps you have those richer, purposeful, more meaningful conversations, meaningful relationships, and gives you the relationship or the connection, you are always created to have. This is why connection is important.
For your action step today, go through an empathy exercise. Take a video of you doing something in a space that you want to improve in your home. If you want to improve, let's say your office get a GoPro and have it on you all day so you can watch it at higher speed and see what you're doing throughout the day because you may be doing little actions here and there, you didn’t know you were doing. Then have a little piece of paper or a worksheet. I'll try to get mine up on our website for you if you ever want to use it. The one I use for clients. And just have a mindfully present day in that space. Fill out the form throughout the day. Write the actions you have in the room that you're doing. Thoughts that you're having. Feelings that you're having. Moods maybe. Things you like to do in this space. Whether it's grabbing coffee or looking at the window. Or maybe you're getting distracted because there's a noise outside or inside the room. Complete this empathy exercise, even though it's going to feel weird. Because when you do this, you're going to start being able to connect those dots. How can I create connection and have it happen easier in this space? Tomorrow, what we're going to go through is how you actually bring that deeper connection with people into your home. How do you cultivate that in your spaces?
I'm so excited to see how you feel. Let me know the feelings that you're having doing this empathy exercise. I know it's a little odd but I would love to get insight into how you'll feel afterwards. Then tomorrow, we're going to go over how do you actually cultivate that connection in your space? I look forward to seeing you guys tomorrow.
As always, please share this video with anybody that you think would find it helpful or inspiring. I would love to grow our community. Then, if you could, message me any comments that you have as you're going through these action steps. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me. I would love to hear from you. Once again, this is Becky Bonnell with Lykke Haven and I look forward to chatting more tomorrow as we go into how to cultivate connection in our spaces.
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!