Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Wabi-Sabi / 04

This week's contribution to the Wabi Sabi Series comes from Morgan of Panda Head, which documents all sorts of creative things she has her hands in, including some very  events at her shared studio, Wild Hand Workspace. Since Morgan is practically a neighbor, located just an hour away in Washington, DC, I'm hoping that life slows down enough this spring so I can attend one of those workshops and actually meet her IRL.

Exploring the real, authentic, imperfect homes of others.

Tell us about your home. 

It's occupied by myself, my husband, and our thirteen year old Border Collie. It's currently in a state of total chaos – we're midway through a (seemingly endless) kitchen renovation, which spurred what the most intense bout of Spring cleaning our place has ever seen. We've been upending closets/junk drawers/bookshelves – everything! – for the last few weeks, and we're looking forward to the dust settling. 

In its usual state, we try to live by the code of "a place for everything and everything in its place," but in practice it's usually more like Highly Organized Disorder. We use every inch of our apartment, and between my work and my husband's hobbies, there's an endless flow of things coming and going.

What is your relationship to the mess, to disorder?

I'd be lying if I said I DIDN'T thrive on a little chaos, but I'm a total psychotic when it comes to visuals. There's an invisible and ever-moving line between what I consider lived-in and wildly out of control. I will say I'd probably benefit from spending a little less time merchandising and devoting more time to tackling actual cleaning projects. You may never find fault in my book stack, but man alive, my baseboards need cleaning.

How does your home reflect wabi sabi?

I'm proud to have our place be a real reflection of who we are. Those details are absolutely in the wabi sabi: piled up branches by the front door, mismatched glassware, slightly off-kilter picture frames, and the million-and-a-half nail and tack-marks in the walls. We get that the apartment looks "exactly like I thought it would" from a lot of our first time guests, and I think it's 100% due to its wild streak of imperfection. It's the highest of compliments.

What do you find beautiful?

The short answer is everything and the long answer is, well, everything. I'm secretly a massive cheeseball.

Morgan, thank you so much. I love that you truly appreciate the chaos and the imperfection, rather than just tolerate it. I find myself constantly vacillating between the two realms, frequently worried too much about the floor boards and not concerned enough with the bookshelves. 


  1. I've enjoyed reading how wabi sabi is expressed in Morgsn's hone, and seeing the photos too. Lovely series you are curating.

    1. Thanks so much, Alexa. I find myself coming back to things these women have said--I'm working hard at trying to find the beauty in the things that I am sometimes quick to change.

  2. Argh! This is a great series How great is a little bit of chaos!!! I've *just* discovered your blog and can't believe what I've been missing. What a beautiful space you have here Rachel. Just beautiful. x

    1. Thank you so much. After spending way too much time digging through your blog, I'm having a million thoughts about how to approach/ decrease my consumerism in a way that is actually sustainable, i.e., that I won't just abandon because it's too hard.

  3. really digging this series...just stumbled into your blog. xo

    1. Thanks. I have really enjoyed working on it.