My Design Philosophy - from the HEART

CHI: Universal life energy flowing freely in nature... thought to be inherent in all things living & inanimate.

" My philosophy for Cottage Haven Interiors (CHI) embraces the meaning or essence of "CHI". Positive CHI is vital in the creation of peaceful, balanced, healthy and truly beautiful environments. Where positive energy flows, love is able to expand inwardly and outwardly. And where love expands, beauty will follow in a cycle of cause and effect. Ultimately we have the ability to create our destiny through the choices we make, the vision we hold, and the loving energy we put forth.

An initial peripheral interest in the concept or philosophy of Feng Shui or CHI (energy) reaffirmed for me what I had always "known" to be true, and this discovery brought to light many striking parallels between these formal teachings and my innate inner sense, something I feel is inborn in us all. Never having studied Feng Shui formally, I had come to rely on these intuitive or instinctive abilities to guide me surrounding the beliefs that typify these Eastern philosophies. Because this inherent awareness began early in life, it always felt as natural to me as breathing... and became an extension of my creative yearnings, seeking a variety of diverse paths for self-expression. And so began my interest and fascination with environments, interior & exterior and the direct correlation or impact they have on our thoughts, feelings and senses.

Our environments directly effect our lives through a variety of factors, the most important being the energy or "CHI" that is present. Positive energy equates or results in a positive living space and vice versa. Spontaneity stemming out of positive intent can and does play a significant or vital role, as does the energy that is introduced, but so often good energy must be cultivated and nurtured, not merely relying on mere happenstance, but rather by the conscious choices we make, the positive feelings and thoughts we project, and the practical steps we take to achieve a positive flow of energy. As in life, therein lies my passionate mission with Cottage Haven Interiors, to promote, support and create beautiful and harmonious living spaces that inspire, set the right tone and provide fertile ground for positivity to thrive. In so doing, my fervent hope is this will encourage and move forward a healing energy so that more peace and more love will take hold in our hearts and on our planet. Approaching this belief from a purely holistic perspective it is clear that other factors are relevant, but I strongly believe environments are an important and integral aspect to fostering or supporting a peaceful existence... for everyone.

I've had a lifelong passion for creativity, the arts, all things uniquely beautiful and I love connecting with those who share a similar passion. This occurs daily for me, whether in my personal life, in my store on Martha's Vineyard, working with clients one on one with their specific design objectives, assisting customers via my online store or traveling the world in search of the perfect treasures for your home. These opportunities are particularly gratifying for me since what I do, and what I believe comes from my heart, something I like to refer to as "HEART ART" and this is directly related to my love of people, their indomitable spirit along with the beautiful creativity that exists within each of us.

I believe that through creative expression exists the amazing ability to transcend ordinary communication, enhancing or sparking a deeper understanding among people and the world we live in. This added dimension can be wonderfully transformative if we choose to remain open and receptive to it. Having the opportunity to glimpse into the soul of the artist via their work, expands horizons of thought, feelings and perceptions through the "message" that is being conveyed, and what we learn, or the insights we gain not only into the artist but ultimately into ourselves, are the gifts that are given us through the simple (and sometimes not so simple) act of creativity.

So much of what I'm drawn to, or have an interest in, revolves around or has its origin in the creative process. I am most comfortable in this space, and I'm continually inspired by, and in many cases awestruck by the talent and creative genius of others, loving to surround myself with this dynamic form of energy. Fine art, architecture & design, music & song, writing & poetry, photography, theater, dance, classic and contemporary cinema, the list goes on with a multitude of incredible artistic expressions to explore... enlightening us, nourishing our spirit, broadening our awareness, but most importantly inspiring us, sometimes in ways we may not be readily aware of at first. All these things are my life's blood, exciting and propelling me forward through choices both personally & professionally, and this is what largely defines who I am and what I do. I suppose it could be said that I live and breathe creativity in the fullest sense, and it's this strong passion that fuels CHI. Although my business consumes a great deal of my time, I feel it is time well spent if it touches others (even if only one person) through the bringing of something beautiful into their lives whether that be in a tangible form, a thought, a feeling or inspirational concept.

Along with my passion for the creative, a love and appreciation of nature has been at my core since my earliest childhood memories. Of course this includes all animal life, both wild & domesticated, and this has been a truly major source of joy & inspiration for me throughout my life. I am continually moved by the loving qualities animals possess and demonstrate so freely, so selflessly, especially when treated with the kindness, love and respect they are so deserving of. Along with this, I have always marveled at the brilliant awe inspiring spectacles and fascinating natural "works of art" that can be found in nature's "displays"... inspiration at every turn! These things have each contributed towards instilling in me a deep and abiding love and appreciation for the infinite and sometimes fragile beauty that exists in the world. Because of this, I suppose I have always felt a need or sense of responsibility to protect & nurture that which is so prolific yet so vulnerable, never taking these things for granted, but rather honoring the healing power they hold.

Nature has served as a steady source of rejuvenation and respite for me in an all too often hurried and frenetic world, and so I make a point of communing with nature each day, taking the time, however brief, to experience a moment of reflection that allows me to feel a sense of oneness with the earth. This is essential for me and it brings balance, focus and purpose to my life.

I strive to bring into interior environments the same sense of peaceful balance I am drawn to in natural outdoor settings. Nature supplies an endless stream of inspiration through the various hues, subtle tones & textures, amazing light sources, organic shapes & natural design elements that all combine to "produce" stunning natural "compositions". And this is the essence or feeling I like to bring into interior environments. I believe it is beneficial, if not essential for our inner peace to be reminded of our primal origins, and for me, experiencing and being reminded of the beauty of nature is one of the best ways of achieving this. When our interior environments are evocative us of this, the feeling we experience is more organic and natural to our senses, it feels real to us, and as a consequence we are more relaxed, comfortable and at peace. The beautiful simplicity found in nature can sustain and inspire us, lifting us up while encouraging us to slow down, and we can be inspired by this same simplicity with regard to the interior designs of our home. When we become more aware of and at peace with our immediate surroundings, we are then better able to experience and appreciate the beauty that surrounds us wherever we may be or wherever we may go.

Interesting culture is ever-present yet ever-evolving throughout our world, regardless of the tradition that is handed down through the generations. One objective for CHI is to offer options that reflect and encourage the positive aspects of life, culture, growth & change while embracing, respecting and remaining mindful of that which came before us. Both online and in our store we strive to offer a consistency in bringing items on board that are created or produced not only with the utmost attention to beautiful artistry and superb craftsmanship, but with a respect for the environment from which these things are essentially derived. In keeping with this we offer eco-friendly products that are produced using environmentally sustainable methods. And our recycled or repurposed items that come from a distant time gone by not only preserve a small piece of our history, but also make use of that which is still viable through a timeless beauty as well as the enduring functional qualities that still exist. These include, but are not limited to antique, vintage, refurbished or repurposed pieces that impart warmth and character to a space. Our classic reproductions not only pay homage to the past, but many are destined to become the antiques and heirlooms of tomorrow. Whether classic or contemporary, authentic or reproduction, new or repurposed, our commitment is to offer a level of quality and selection in furnishings, accessories and lifestyle essentials that will meet the highest expectation. We offer varied and ever-evolving collections that will encourage you to explore & express your unique individuality through your own style sense and design sensibilities.

I feel that the most essential aspect to any successful or desirable interior design is ultimately the feeling it evokes. In my view there must be an essence or "energy" that elicits a positive emotional response. Many things go into achieving this as I have previously touched on, but a very important thing to keep in mind is to try to always surround yourself with things that you love. Not doing this can result in a space feeling cold, impersonal and uninviting, causing it to have the uncomfortable sense that something is missing. Once your style essence and other preferences are established, and you have found the pieces you love, the process of creating a wonderful living space will begin to flow as it should. Of course there are certain design principles or guidelines that need to be taken into consideration, and a good interior designer or decorator that understands your vision and is sensitive to your needs can be of great assistance in this regard.

I love doing what I do, and not only do I derive a great deal of creative fulfillment and personal satisfaction from my work, I enjoy interacting with my customers, sharing with them in ways that will hopefully make a positive difference for them. It brings me tremendous joy when I am able to assist my clients in realizing their own personal dream or vision however large or small it may be. I have had the pleasure of meeting, working with and getting to know so many wonderful people through the years via creativity, many of whom have become dear and trusted friends, and I am filled with gratitude & grace for this each and every day.

Beautiful environments have a positive influence for each of us individually, but also for those around us, which, I believe, makes the world a better place in which to live, and this is one of my main objectives, to help create these kinds of environments via my design work and through the things I offer both online and in my store. But beyond that, I feel we each share a personal responsibility in giving back for all we receive, and this is also a major objective for Cottage Haven Interiors... giving back. Because of this and my personally held conviction and passionate commitment towards the environment, human & animal rights as well as the health and well being of all living things, Cottage Haven Interiors will continue our ongoing efforts to support and work towards the protection, preservation and betterment of the earth and all its many inhabitants. Maintaining a successful business is obviously a focus that is important, but helping to make positive changes which can be seen and felt is the ultimate objective for me, and one of the primary reasons I am in business to begin with. We each can have a profound impact through the intelligent and thoughtful choices that we make, and I am excited and personally motivated by the changes that are not only possible individually but also collectively through the collaborative and cooperative efforts of like-minded people who share a similar vision.

Having lived and traveled internationally since early childhood, I have come to appreciate that it is our similarities that unite and draw us together from all walks of life and all parts of the globe. We all share this planet, it is our home, and this one fact alone is something we all have in common, connecting and even bonding us in a very fundamental way. Though seemingly often divided by our differences, culturally and otherwise, it is so often those very differences that make this world more interesting, exciting and fascinating because we can all be inspired by and learn from one another's knowledge, experiences and personal perspectives. However, when it comes to the basic characteristics we all share as a human species, we are in fact often more alike than we may realize, and I believe we only stand to benefit if we can internalize and embrace our similarities and the oneness that unites us. After all, everything begins with the basic needs we all share, one being that place called home, as the expression "Home is where the Heart is" clearly suggests. We all share the need or the desire to have a comfortable & beautiful environment in which to live, where we are able to share our lives with those we love and care for, feeling at home, at ease and at peace. A place where we can be inspired, energized & stimulated but also have the opportunity to experience blissful repose and quiet inner reflection. We each need that special haven that beautifully reflects who we are and what we aspire to be, and a place that can give life to our dreams. And so, whether your home is a simple one room cottage, a grand palatial estate or anything in between, my heartfelt desire is that through CHI I will be able to bring more beauty and peace into your life! "

Roni Lawrence
Cottage Haven Interiors