Perfection is over rated. The goal of being perfect, – having a perfect life, perfect relationship, perfect home, or perfect business – simply leads to burn out.  I know this because I have been there in my own life – twice!  So, I guess I could consider myself a bit of an expert at being imperfect. In reality, the world is a messy, complicated place as is everyone in it, every relationship, every good story. There is a nothing perfect in the real world, just glimpses of it. But the mistake we have made is getting caught in the idea of PERFECTION. This is a very Western way of thinking.
everything staged to look pretty for the photo

everything set up to look perfect !

Sometimes Re-learning the Messy Truth About Life Takes a Bump on the Head

Ten years ago while waiting for a friend, I was wandering in a local bookstore and a book fell off the shelf and hit me on the head! Believing this was a sign as I am prone to do, I immediately bought the book without looking at it. It was when I got home and looked at did I realised the power of that bump on my head. The Wabi-Sabi House: the Japanese art of Imperfect Beauty. (click to check it out)
Wow. This new concept was a reflection of my own inner journey of creating a holistic design firm a few years before. I was walking to the beat of my own drummer as an interior designer seeking to create authentic spaces versus just luxury glam homes. This book validated that this way of thinking exists  elsewhere and has for a long, long time. Just not typically in the world in which I was living.
Wabi-Sabi is an ancient practice from Japan which embraces the art of imperfection. It is not just about your home though, it is an entire lifestyle of simplicity and calm, clean, and sustainable practices that lead to a more authentically cherished life. This is a tough concept for us Westerners to get wrap our head around though as I mentioned above we have decided there is “perfect” just around the next corner.

My type of Interior Design is NOT Just About A Pretty Space

I have often read that Americans will never be able to fully understand the concept of Wabi Sabi as it is embracing the one thing we run away from – the natural decay of all living things. This encounter with the book bumping me on the head helped me to stick to my path even if it was not the most typical approach to Interior Design. I believe that we can change and wake up to the more peaceful and sustainable approach to changing our spaces and lives in a holistic way and wabi-wabi way.
In Holistic Interior Designs we help you set aside your judgements and longing for perfection and focus instead on the beauty of things as they are, in this moment. Slow down, take time to find beauty in the ordinary.  We cull what you have, find the best, reuse the rest; then we transform and then fill in the gaps. All along this design journey we discover many new interesting and even surprising things about what makes you happiest. Often there are many shocks, bumps and curves along this road of design discovery! It is never dull and often quite adventurous.


You don’t leave a beautiful place. You carry it wherever you go.

As mentioned above, I hold hope that we are indeed starting to re-embrace the natural cycle of life, reconnecting with the seasons, the need for community, the interdependence we have on each other, and all things on the planet.  This is my passion and what my focus is about – helping you to embrace a new way of connecting with your environment in an authentic and sustainable manner. If this connects with you, you can Book a call with me today

Wabi Sabi is More than a Decoration but you can start HERE

People tend to dumb Wabi-Sabi down to being a rustic aesthetic yet it is much more about an entire lifestyle. However, as a Feng Shui practioner I am of the belief that our environment has a power over us and if we set it up intentionally, it can change who we are inside.
If this approach appeals to you, even a little bit, then you are in the right place! Below are some tips and guidelines on how you can start to develop your own way of bringing some Wabi-Sabiness into your home.
Some basic CONCEPTS of Wabi-Sabi to Ponder:
  • There is grace in IMPERFECTION (break the habit of the thinking that perfect is natural)
  • Everything is temporary, so caring for it is a good idea (MAINTANENCE is necessary for all things)
  • REUSE the things we have, making them last honors them (saves the planet, saves you money too)
  • Keep your spaces clean and clear of clutter for a clean space equals a clean mind (less is more)
  • Looking outwards towards being IN SERVICE to others is the best path towards happiness (get out of your head and practice helping others and allows for us to stop being so judgemental)
  • We are all ageing, as is everything we own, so it is best to recognise this and accept it (let go of UNREALISTIC expectations)
  • WISDOM comes with experience and time so start to honour your experiences and those of others that have more than you do instead of idolising youth and inexperience. (this is an insane concept of the modern world I have never understood)
  • NATURE is the most beautiful designer, we should follow her lead (Use natural products, materials, solutions and start to simply look outside more and you will be constantly in awe)
  • Your home should be a place of COMFORT and joy, providing a SAFE haven for you to nest in (function is always more important than being pretty but pretty comes with FUNCTION)
  • BALANCE is key to a happy home and it is often asymmetrical. Focus on the need for balance instead of the falseness of a symmetrical design. Think of trees!
  • Create QUIET zones in your home as the world is a noisey place and we need to create a refuge for maintaining stillness within. (brain fog and burn out is often associated with too much noise)
  • Look within and TRUST yourself. Try to get away from the shiny penny syndrome and look for things that touch you deeply, and do not worry about what others think (beauty is only in the eye of the beholder)

An old sofa and antique weavers board as a coffee table make for a very wabi-sabi feel

Learning to Live With What We Have

Most of my projects are renovations of existing apartments or homes. This is a very different type of project than a new-building would be. However, this delicate balance between expectations for perfections and the sheer fact of working with an imperfect existing condition is something I am facing on every job. I tend to think the majority of people are seeking to re-do, make-over, redecorate or renovate a portion of their existing home be it an apartment or a house. These are working with the existing conditions and wishing to make it work better as well as be more overall pleasing to live in.

Check out some Holistic Interior Design Project Photos Here

home decor personalised with things we already have

your home decor personalised with things you already have

The art of imperfect beauty take practice, like most good things in life

Practice being Imperfect is required. Lots of practice because everyday we are ‘sold’ the idea that our life, our marriages, our homes need to be “picture perfect”. But you know this is false, because you – just like me – live in the real world. The real world is full of sticky, messy, damaged, broken repaired and imperfect stuff as well as many beautiful, comfortable, fantastic things. It is just setting ourself up with unrealistic expectations is a sure fire way to create unhappiness and who wants that?
Wabi-Sabi is a being holistically realistic. It is a concept that is a complex way of living, of connecting with ourselves, our possessions and our interactions with everyone around us in a very authentic, real manner. Ever since the day a book fell on my head to introduce me to the concept of Wabi-Sabi, I have been striving to understand and embrace this concept, if only in an imperfect and partial way. Though it is a practice for me too, even after all these years. I am not immune to the media and things we are sold. I too have to remind myself that done is often better than perfect.

One small step in the right direction is still progress.

In my books, Feng Shui Tips: Home Renovations, I discuss the need to “refocus your lens” after a project is completed so you can start to enjoy the space again instead of seeking for every single imperfection in it. This recommendation is forcused on my Western clients, who see these imperfections as flaws and something bad. Whereas the life well lived leaves marks in its path and this could be embraced if one were to allow the concept of Wabi Sabi and the art of imperfection to take hold.

MORE than one way of Being

Of course we are living in a very connected world and the concept of a Scandinavian concept of Hygge is now very popular. Especially after living in our homes during the confinement period in 2020 from the global pandemic, we all started to realise the need for our homes to be a welcoming and supportive space to be in for all of us. The idea of comfort and coziness took on a more meaningful practice for most people during this time, though for me, this is part of what I encourage in my design journeys with my clients. Your home is a place that ought to encourage you to brave, nourish your dreams, give space for new ideas, allow for refuge from your troubles, and of course be a place where you can do your daily functions with ease and joy. Your home should not be a place of shame, frustration or discouragement, yet for many of us this is the feeling we get when we are in our homes.
My Holistic Design approach is a unique compobnination of learning to live an authentic life, looking inside to know what it is that is really important to you and then making the space for this in your life both literally as well as figuratively. It is NOT about making a pretty space. My personal view is that it takes practice to make your home perfect. It is always a work in progress so be gentle and patient with yourself.
I would LOVE to hear from you – please connect with me HERE
Insider Holistic Design Wabo-Sabi Tip:  It is NOT about getting more, or a larger home. It is NOT about spending money, or being in a magazine. It is NOT about doing something for other people. Beauty is a personal perception. It is not enough for someone else to feel the beauty of something – it is necessary for you to feel it. My opinion, my favourite color, my sense of joy are not the same as yours, nor should it be.

Do you even know what you LOVE to be surround with?

This is why you should NEVER let an Interior Designer tell you what to do. You need to discover what you need to do. Of course, my three decades allows me to know space design, proportions, and the way a space ought to flow. I know the codes, rules and regulations. I have experience with what works and what does not in many things. I have broken the standard rules for clients homes when I felt there was a good reason to do so. Though it is always your project, your home and therefore your opinion, style, vision that needs to take the lead in your design journey.

I want to Start My Design Journey Now!.

lee dreaming up designs!

Lee dreaming up designs!

Maybe you just need to ask a few questions about this concept of Wabi-wabi? Book your FREE 20-minute call here.