There is something in the air...
Genuinely I feel as is if we are on the cusp of something huge. Something powerful that is set to unite like minded people, in pursuit of a more conscious way of living. A group of independent individuals (who I like to refer to as a tribe) emerging from their personal corners of the world, recoiling from the chaos of the economic and political nonsense, that seems to fill our news each day; and instead slowly evolving their personal journey and readjusting how they choose to live; in search of the more meaningful, authentic and sustainable. I can see from social media that this change is gaining momentum, often sub consciously, but it is happening and there is an energy around it that I am finding infectious, empowering and vital. Often small tweaks to how we go about our lives, but increasingly aware that that something bigger is at play...
So how has this happened? Don't get me wrong this journal is not meant to be a righteous babble. I have not always been as aware of eco-issues, sustainability and the planet as I should - though not many of us actively admit to that. I drive a car, take planes, am horrified by the volume of rubbish we as one family can generate, but slowly slowly over the past few years I have become increasingly conscious that being alive, having a planet to live on and a home to feel safe in, isn't a given - it is a luxury that I increasingly want to cherish and protect. I no longer crave bigger or better - what we have is our little corner of the world, and for me it is perfect because it is where my family are and where our memories have been created.
I think my thoughts about the notion of The Authentic Home, started to percolate when we embarked on work in our own home, nearly two years ago. Not because we wanted to update it unnecessarily, but because we had experienced a water tank leak and it had to happen. The bones of our home were stripped back to the raw stone and brick walls, floors lifted, tanking replaced, the kitchen ripped out and bathrooms gutted. By stripping back and exposing the bare bones of the house, we realised that our pretty Georgian cottage had in places been held together by love. But it had also stood proud for nearly 270 years, with many different families living within these walls, and those perfectly imperfect quirks, that had served us well for the last 16 years, were the things we loved.
Doing the work also made me realise that what I was drawn to, was a need for materials that breathed, had a soul and a provenance all of their own, to complement the house and age with us - in fact probably better than us! It got me researching endless sites for ideas and I kept coming back time and time again to materials that were authentic - limestone, marble, concrete, aged wood. It also opened my eyes to a world of tradespeople that cared and whose passion shined through in their work (with the exception of our first plumber but that is another whole story)! In short it was a treat to learn from these experts and to feed off their energy for doing a job well and with pride.
The project also made me reflect on how I go about my work as a writer and stylist. The vast majority of the features that I am involved in, are ones personally sourced by me. Again there has always been a sub conscious decision to only approach people with whom I feel affinity with, but I had never really spent much time wondering why they appealed. Being immersed in the house I inevitably stumbled across a whole host of companies that made my pulse quicken with excitement, for what they were making and what they believed in. The project finished, but my black book of sources continued to grow and grow - I should say that the idea of a perfect black book is in fact 10 scattered notebooks and endless phone screenshots - but these lovely people, places and objects began to take up more space in my head. Don't get me wrong, you don't need to renovate your house to find these people, but it was my trigger and the start of wanting to buy once, buy well and seek out sources and places that care and have a shared love of real and genuine.
I had and am still wanting to take this idea to the max and create a book, but I had an increasing desire to start sharing ideas and thoughts on the notion of The Authentic Home - it feels real, in this moment, with the world in the state that it is now, not in a year or 18 months time. Too often words, concepts and thoughts get lost in translation, and before we blink what was a great idea has been homogenised into short term, high street trends, churned out with absolutely no authenticity, to the point that the concept is broken. Vintage, shabby chic, upcycling are all victims of this.
For me The Authentic Home is a quiet movement, embraced by those who value its sentiment as a part of their everyday life, not because it is dubbed as cool or current, to then be discarded for the next round of glitzy glue, to fill in the gaps and provide the latest unnecessary distraction. For me this is not a fad, it is way of being and living and I am excited to share with you examples of those who are embracing this thinking around the globe. The WHY, was as a start point, for how my journey began. I hope it becomes something you will enjoy with me.
Thank you for reading. Ali
Photo Credit: Styling: Ali Heath. Location: The Home of Rural Office For Architecture, for YOU Magazine. Image: Alexander James.