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Creating Joy and A Calming Oasis at Home

Expert Sandy Mahoney shares how to cultivate a sanctuary space to relax & rejuvenate

Relaxation… Inner Peace… A tranquil sense of calm. No, not the five minutes of peace you experience sipping your coffee before rushing out the door. We’re talking about a designated space in your home that allows you to disconnect from the outside world and tap into your inner calm, nourishing your mind, body, and soul: a sanctuary in your home.

If your first thought was “impossible,” you’re not alone.

So we asked, Sandy Mahoney, founder of Create Home, a furnishings and home goods store in downtown Excelsior. Sandy now works with people interested in building and remodeling their homes with Highmark Builders. She recently posed the question to her friends: How do you create a sanctuary in your home?

“Some responses were 'I can’t' or ‘I have no where to go?’,” says Sandy. Between kids, a partner, endless work interruptions, or simply limited space in your home, carving out a sanctuary for yourself to unwind and rejuvenate may seem like a nearly impossible task.

“Sanctuary can be a place where we have time alone, a space that you carve out of the bedroom or bathroom,” says Sandy. “And, a sanctuary likely won't look the same for everyone."

"I see sanctuary as a place that’s comfortable, that we feel at home, a place that honors the things we value – those things that are important to us – and for each person that may be very different. That could be quality time sharing with family and friends, honoring our faith, wellness and exercise, or opportunities to recharge and relax.”

With experience as a real estate broker, home builder and interior designer, Sandy is truly the "Design Concierge" if you have a question or need help in real estate, finding a homesite, building a home, or remodeling, even how to create a sanctuary in your home, she's the one to go to.    

“Creating a sanctuary in our homes starts with looking at what we hold dear, what’s precious. We look to discover those values when designing a new home, or remodeling a home, and from that, we can add those details that are so personal,” shares Sandy.

One client of Sandy’s finds her calm and place of comfort when she cooks for her friends. She loves to cook and entertain. Constructing the perfect kitchen, with appliances right where you need them, and the perfect pantry and cabintery to organize storage, cooking items and utensils, exploring all the little details like creative spaces for tech items
and simple things like where to house the paper towels, creates a space and easeful experience that allows that client to enjoy creating beautiful meals to share with her friends. 

“Design, aesthetic, and functionality are important,” explains Sandy. “For this client, we wanted everything to be where she needed it in the kitchen so she could focus her time and energy being with her friends.”

Other sanctuary spaces Sandy sees are designed around relaxation or meditation. “We work with our designers to create a spa-like bath, choosing just the right, free-standing, soaking tub so clients can get away and relax and recharge.”

Whether you envision a sanctuary space dedicated to wellness, like a yoga studio or exercise room, or you want a space to connect with your faith, Sandy encourages you to ask yourself what brings you joy. What do you value? What provides comfort? 

“For me, my sanctuary is a beautiful window view in my bedroom,” describes Sandy. “I can shut the door to the room. It’s quiet. Out the window in one direction, I see nature and a picturesque church that lights up beautifully at night. It’s very calming.”

When considering how to cultivate your sanctuary space, Sandy recommends engaging all your senses. How do you want the space to feel? What do you see? What do you hear? What are the scents? For instance, if you don’t like a certain wall color, repaint it with something more soothing. When choosing artwork, select a piece that transports you somewhere you love.  

“So equally important to building and designing a beautiful space, it’s also important to get to the heart, and that means discussing how we live, what we value most, and embracing the things we love,” says Sandy. “Then we dig into those little details in architectural planning and when working with our designers. When that’s done right, and we pull that together with strong, creative architecture and quality construction – that’s not just a house – that’s a home.”

It’s important to get to the heart, and that means discussing how we live, what we value most, and embracing the things we love.

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