Inscribed in neon on the wall of this Soho penthouse apartment are the words ‘You are here’. It’s something of a soothing motto and mantra for its owner Michael Acton Smith, the co-founder and current co-CEO of meditation app Calm.
When interior designer Sacha Berger, founder of Honeybee Interiors, began creating a scheme for Michael’s home, it seemed only right that these words take centre stage. The bespoke sign was even created using Michael’s own handwriting – a personal touch that speaks to the close collaboration the pair enjoyed throughout this whole project.
Also important was the inclusion of the colour blue. Michael’s favourite shade, and also the branding colour of the Calm app, it can, says Sacha, ‘evoke calmness and serenity, from the pale blue of a daytime sky to the rich blue of a deep pool of water’.
Despite these associations it can also be a very dominant shade in the home. Sacha’s challenge was to soften it with warmer terracotta and stone shades, as well as a natural materials palette that includes warm woods and rattan.
The ten-metre-long bookcase in the living area was perhaps the biggest custom-designed piece Sacha created for the penthouse, but just as important was her attention to the feel of this home. True to Michael’s belief in the positive powers of meditation and relaxation, the apartment includes a hygge room, designed with the Scandinavian concept of comfort in mind.
Complete with a super-cosy chair that encourages time spent gazing out of the window at central London shoppers or reading a book, this is also where Michael works – a standing desk and two walls of cork tiles onto which inspirational images can be pinned ensure minimal working-from-home stress.
It’s not just this space that encourages downtime. Almost every room in this apartment (even the bathroom) includes an armchair, perfect for Michael to practice what he has been known to refer to as his ‘superpower’.
‘Calming the mind is not about switching off and retreating from the bustle of life. It rewires our brains, changes the way we see the world and helps to unlock our true potential,’ believes Michael. The same could be said for calming our homes. By focusing on Michael’s needs and beliefs, Sacha has created a very personal sanctuary. honeybeeinteriors.co.uk; calm.com
Five easy steps to creating a mindful home
Sacha Berger, founder of Honeybee Interiors shares her expert tips
Remember your mantra
For Michael Acton Smith, the words ‘you are here’ had significant resonance, but your own life motto will be unique to you. Keep it in mind when planning your home and be guided by its message.
Include things you are passionate about
Generic artworks and designs won’t give you that personal feeling of calm. Michael had a love of peacocks, so a metallic gold feature wall in his bedroom champions their beauty. A Peacock chair is another nod to his favourite animal.
Decorate with colours that are meaningful to you
Don’t be driven by trends – the important thing is that a shade speaks to you. For Michael, blue has special importance. Whatever your chosen hue, you can build a complementary palette around it.
Introduce areas for relaxation
Comfort is key beyond the living room. This could mean introducing a cosy armchair into your bedroom or bathroom so that it becomes a place to unwind as well as sleep or bathe.
Find space for inspiration
You could create a moodboard using cork tiles, like the one above the desk in Michael’s hygge room which he describes as ‘an old-school version of Pinterest’. Alternatively, a gallery wall can act as an artistic version of a vision board
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