If you are a Kinfolk fan, you’d love the book The Kinfolk Home | Interiors for Slow Living. If you are new to Kinfolk, be sure to check this out. Whether Kinfolk’s ethos is your cup of artisanal tea or not, the book has gems for everyone interested in living a more intentional life.
Author and Editor-in-Chief of Kinfolk Nathan Williams and the Kinfolk team take the reader on a tour of 35 homes in five continents. They look at the values of slow living and how different people approach creating their home for what matters the most to them.
This hardcover book curates the stories into three broad categories – Homes for Community, Homes for Simplicity, and Homes for Slow Living. The homes showcased exemplify these principles, even though each home “encapsulates the spirit of all three”.
We are also invited to dive in with essays such as Building a Balance for those who work and live in the “same” space on how to create a sanctuary within the sanctuary of a home to escape from the “daily grind”. In Forest for the Trees, fashion designer Jesse Kamm speaks about how living in Panama brings her and her family closer to nature and what sustainable living is.
Jesse Kamm writes that many of us may forget that having water and power directly connected to our home or having access to food just by buying it at the store can be considered lavish. We often do not think about the resources we are consuming and are wasteful without realizing it. When we are more mindful, such as taking shorter showers, washing only full loads of laundry, and planting deciduous trees to regulate the home’s temperature throughout the year, we can be more sustainable. Even if we may not have any solar panels installed.
To her, “sustainability means choosing quality items, caring of them well and keeping them for as long as possible. It means consuming less – fewer clothes, gadgets, new cars, and processed foods. Most of the time, living more sustainable only enhances our lifestyle and rarely inhibits it.”1
Slow living means something personal to each of us…It’s not about luxury or laziness, nor is it about forgoing our most beloved belongings: Slow living isn’t about determining how little we can live with – it’s about working out what we simply can’t live without.
Nathan Williams, The Kinfolk Home
Tips for Slow Living
Start the Day Right
“We have a rule of no digital devices during the first hour of the morning and the last hour before bed.” – Dan Honey, Melbourne, Australia.2 Their daughter Eike is their wake up call, with her jumping in their bed requesting breakfast. Opening the blinds is their gesture of readiness to welcome the day and the city’s chaos. Start your day with intention. Choose a less hurried way so not to rush ungrounded into your meetings, work, and other parts of life.
Set Time for Yourself
Rieko Shashi who lives in a beachside town near Tokyo sets time for herself from work and sticks to it. She starts the day with a cup of coffee, seeing what flowers have bloomed overnight. To end the day, she relaxes in the evening with “a long bath, a home-cooked meal and a glass of sake.”3 Rieko cooks with ingredients from her own garden where she grows yuzu, plums, and kumquats.
Apply the ideas of wabi-sabi to life and enjoy the beauty in imperfection. Wabi-sabi is a Japanese aesthetics and philosophy of accepting transience as life. This can be seen in irregularly-shaped tea cups and that crack in the crystal.
Repair instead of replace something that is broken and see the cracks as personal history and cherish what you have. So by seeing the perfection in imperfection, we do not strive for it within ourselves. This way, we relieve ourselves of a lot of unnecessary pressure. Instead we can focus on what’s really important – the moments of each day.
Connect with Nature
No garden? Put your herbs on the window sill. Or bring in elements of nature by burning “sage and oils with woodsy tones of cedar wood, black pepper, eucalyptus, rosemary, and cinnamon” as London-based interior designer Janie Jackson does.4 Even though most of us now live in urban centres, we can certainly still connect with nature.
Treasure What’s Important
Find what has meaning for you, and not what’s on trend. Clothing label Black Crane’s co-founder and designer, Momo Suzuki and her husband Alexander Yamaguchi’s most treasured items? The front door steel handles, a gift from their friends. “We touch these handles every day – they remind us of the great friendship we have.”5
Enjoy a meal with family and friends, or by yourself. Choose conversation or a sunset walk over time in front of a TV.
1 Forest for the Trees by Jesse Kamm. The Kinfolk Home. p 187.
2 The Kinfolk Home., p206.
3 Ibid., p216.
4 Ibid., 360
5 Ibid., 312.