The Wabi-Sabi Way
Representing a Japanese worldview, the wabi-sabi trend of finding beauty in the humble is catching on in America. Are you ready to celebrate imperfection?
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If you focus on what feels right and true to you, the overall feeling of your home will be welcoming—a key element of the wabi-sabi way of life, says Lawrence. Marianne Hornbuckle and William Preston have created such a home in Santa Fe, N.M., where they live in a double-adobe house. "Our wood floors are unpolished and unrefinished. Cracks run down the thick plastered walls; nothing is square," says Hornbuckle. Everything comes together to create a home that is comfortable, unpretentious and warm, she says. The natural beauty of their home is enhanced by their artwork. The couple specializes in wabi-sabi style work, from Sumi-e (ink paintings on white paper) and Chinese watercolor to abstract monotypes (images painted on plates with etching ink, then transferred to paper with an etching press), which they sell at their Preston/Hornbuckle Fine Art gallery. Their home, like a Preston painting, is "responsive to nature, expressive in a spare, poetic way — like Zen poetry," he says.
Don’t despair if you don’t live in an authentic adobe house or aren’t surrounded by nature. Regardless of the type of home you live in, developing a wabi-sabi mindset can be done by anyone who is willing, as Lawrence puts it, "to take the time to find beauty in what seems ordinary." So clear out some clutter and give yourself some breathing room—you might decide to keep that chipped vase after all.
For more on wabi-sabi, check out these books available on Amazon.com:
Wabi-Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers by Leonard Koren
The Wabi-Sabi House by Robyn Griggs Lawrence
Living Wabi Sabi by Taro Gold
Jennifer Huskey is an HGTV.com decorating editor. She has not yet converted her Knoxville home to the wabi-sabi way, but she is working on it.
Here's a look at Japanese and Chinese interior design styles from the special online feauture Design Styles.