Many people will tell you that interior design is about the selective curation of furnishings and art—choosing the right colors or determining the best flow though rooms. While all of those are part of our work, which we love, we like to consider interior design in a broader perspective. We consider interior design as creating a sense of place. A good way to create a sense of place is by addressing the five senses: what we see, touch, smell, taste, and hear. In this series, we will be sharing some ways in which we address each of these senses, fold them into our designs, and make recommendations to clients and friends.
For this initial feature we wanted to start with the sense that is the biggest trigger for memory and emotion: smell.
Walking into a room is an experiential journey; it is about more than just visuals. In our homes and in other businesses we frequent, setting the tone of the space can be achieved through the subtle layering of a particular scent. Candles have always been a lovely item to have on hand, but the practicalities of not being able to leave them unattended, or needing to have several on hand in order to change scents, has been tiresome. Then, much to our delight, we discovered the oil diffuser—and WE ARE HOOKED. A few drops of a distilled oil into water is all it takes to invigorate, soften, or freshen a space.
In an alternate reality, Shannon could have been a perfumer, such is her skill at combining various oils and composing just the right aroma to set the mood: rose, sandalwood, and sage to create that Hygge feeling at home, or grapefruit and a touch of mint to energize our brains at the office. Anywhere she is, she designs a scent appropriate for the occasion. Her scents can be evocative of her moods as well—warm and nurturing, bright and fresh, intriguing.
Anna uses her diffuser to add emphasis to the existing, bringing the outdoors inside or highlighting a scent associated with the season. When the lavender around her home is in full bloom, her diffuser wafts pure lavender oil, easing the transition from outdoors to indoors while evoking memories of summers spent in the south of France. After cleaning, she adds lemongrass oil to highlight the lemony scent of the wood polish, and peppermint oil in the wintertime reminiscent of sweets and childhood celebrations.
Oil diffusers come in a variety of models, shapes, and sizes. From the deluxe to the dirt-cheap, it was difficult to know which one to choose. Luckily, a dear friend who excels at research did the legwork and gave Shannon her recommendation for a favorite model: The Anjou Aromatherapy Essential Diffuser.
It has four settings for time: 1-, 3-, and 6-hour increments, plus “ON,” which runs until all the liquid runs out and it automatically shuts off (approx 8 hours). The last feature is that it is equipped with an LED light that can shift colors or be set to one particular shade. This seemed silly at first, but we quickly realized that it was a great solution for an adult version of a nightlight and that it provided some interesting light therapy by also setting a mood (we will address the importance of color in lighting in a later post).
We have been asked about our use of the diffusers so frequently that we felt it a perfect opening post for the Sense of Place series. Do you have a diffuser, or are inspired to get one after reading this? Let us know your thoughts. We would love to hear from you.