Crisp mornings and cosy evenings are marking my days at home. As a bit of a winter tradition, my family and I have reconfigured our living space to turn inwards and invite connection as we hunker down over the cooler months. During the recent Matariki holiday weekend, we had friends to stay, which offered me an opportunity to reflect on how the new furniture arrangement and, indeed, our entire house is working for us. So far, my family and I have learned that our new home functions well when we want to spend time together, and there’s also plenty of room for us all to have our own space. We’ve been enjoying hanging out around the dining table at night as much as having the option to leave the mess of a meal behind and retreat into the lounge, and I’ve been relishing gradually settling into these rhythms without feeling any urgency to make major aesthetic updates.
Spaces that help us connect with people, places and individual preferences emerged as a theme as we put together this issue too. As well as exploring the power of colour, form and special finds to support this — not to mention meeting creatives who’re deeply connected to their craft — we visited properties by architects, interior designers and a gardener to discover how they did it.
If you’re not planning a build, renovation or landscape overhaul, you can make connections in smaller yet still satisfying ways. I made my own the other day through the simple act of changing a lightbulb that had been casting a stark white light across our living room. With this easy update, the ambiance of the space changed and our desire to spend time together in it increased. For you, as with me, something as easy as this or rearranging your furniture might facilitate better connections — with your family, your friends, your outlook or yourself.
Editor Alice Lines