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Genue Inc.
October 4, 2017

Embracing Cozy: The Wabi-Sabi Way

Photography by Julie Pointer Adams

Over the weekend, I was hosted by my dear friend in the city we both went to college in. There’s something so warm and inviting about being in someone’s home with them.  You get to live in it together and experience the space together.  While each corner of her home held relics of travels and framed candid images, her home wasn’t perfect, but that’s what made it special. It felt like someone actually lived there—shared meals and laughter and coffee. It wasn’t so clean and tidy that it felt like a museum. I felt like I could stretch out on the couch and hang out in my pajamas without feeling like I was intruding.

 

Photography by Julie Pointer Adams

 

As I sipped my coffee from her cozy couch the first morning, I stumbled across a beautiful coffee table book called Wabi-Sabi Welcome, by Julia Pointer Adams. As I thumbed through the pages, I was struck by Adams’ gorgeous photography, but also the unique premise of the book. According to Japanese tradition, wabi-sabi is the art of finding beauty in imperfection and profundity in earthiness, of revering authenticity above all. Adams utilizes the notion of wabi-sabi as a guide for hospitality. Wabi-Sabi is about teaching others how welcoming people into our homes and lives can be more unfussy, more relaxed, and altogether more fulfilling when we step away from conventional ideas of how to entertain, says Adams.  Below, I’ll share three of my favorite principles for cultivating wabi-sabi at home.

 

Photography by Julie Pointer Adams

 

First, Adams says that embracing imperfection in our daily lives begins at home. By focusing on what’s really important—our families, friends, sharing meals together—our homes can become reflections of our most important values. When we begin to embrace and value imperfection, our homes begin to reflect those values. Our spaces don’t need to focus on “one-upping” one another, but rather celebrating relationships and togetherness in a warm and kind space.

 

Next, wabi-sabi requires making time to be together. Adams describes how easy it is for us to get too “busy”—with our jobs, with our families, with our children—and forsake the relationships that matter most. And that means prioritizing relationships over all the other “stuff” we have going on. It could mean having friends over for pizza instead of an elaborate meal if you’re short on time, or making time once a month—instead of weekly coffee meetings—to devote extended time to those who are important to us.

 

Lastly, letting your guests participate is another important quality of hosting and embracing imperfections. Even though you might feel the pressure of hosting an elaborate gathering where you impress your guests completely, we don’t always have the time, resources or abilities to host a 10-course meal for 25 people each week. By letting your guests participate—bringing a dish or designing a playlist—you enable each of your guests to share their unique talents, which serves as both a gift for you and your guests.

 

What do you think of the concept of wabi-sabi? How can you start embracing the imperfectly imperfect in your own life—in your art, your designs, your relationships?

 

 

 

 

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