Redesigning Your Home After Divorce: How to Create Your New Space
Guest Contributor: Brooke Werhane Maples
I am a designer, an artist, a bohemian spirit and a wannabe Martha Stewart. I have lived and loved interior design with the best of the best for over 20 years. I have been the creator of my own environments more times than I can count. I’ve worked in the Northeast, the Southeast and the West Coast. I’ve shown art in Berlin and New York. I have designed five New York Times reviewed restaurants. And as I write this, I sit in my bed and my eyes well with tears because I am recovering from a double mastectomy, following a spirited brush with breast cancer.
My hair hasn’t been washed in days, a shower is a novelty and prayer is a necessity. It is not divorce, but it is a life altering moment. And like divorce, it’s a journey with a lot of ups and downs. I have to remind myself frequently that the hardest of times won’t be forever, they will just be for right now.
A rainbow of emotions flow at a moment’s notice. Friends come with food and face masks. You’re grateful for what you have been blessed with and you are profoundly sad for your new reality. During difficult times like divorce or cancer, your heart begins to recognize small comforts. Food that reminds you of your childhood, kisses from children you love, long naps, a sunny spot on the porch, your favorite tufted arm chair covered in cashmere velvet. Maybe you’re in recovery mode, or maybe damage control – but at the end of the day you’re home.
Interior design can be spun many ways, but I like to take it in a painterly direction. It’s a place that comforts you, shows your history and interests. It may have curated corners of piled self help books and old Vogues, broken shells from your last beach walk or silver framed family memories frozen in flawless moments of the past. It may have lighting that encourages luxury, a fireplace that covers you in warmth, or a table set for the ease of Sunday brunch composed of buttery ivory linen, tulips and Nana’s china. A mystical screened porch that buzzes with cicadas, the charm of vintage wicker and eerie gas lanterns. A blanket of humidity and nostalgia set the stage for sipping on your favorite drink. Your bed is heaven on cotton and your bath, an escape. It may be organized chaos or it may be styled to perfection.
It takes time, artistry and conversation to evolve your home into it’s environmental personality. Your home rides the tides of life with you and that should be eloquently conveyed through the entirety of the interior spaces – even if that home is in a new location. Having moved my family 7 times in 13 years, over three states, I know how valuable it is to make your living space home, wherever that may be. Like the saying goes, “Home is where the Heart it is.” And if you need a reminder that you will get through this, and be better on the other end, we’ll find a needlepoint throw pillow that makes you smile! Because just as much as your home should comfort you, it also needs a sense of humor. After all, laughing through tears is one of the best emotions.
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