An August Letter From the Editor: This Month Is All About Comfort
Growing up, my grandparents’ house was one of my favorite places on earth. The bedtimes were later, the rules were more lax, and the fridge was always stocked with full-sugar soda (no diet varieties in sight). I still can viscerally remember reading books for hours on their cream leather sofa, and the way the dishes would rattle ever so slightly if I ran too quickly through the dining room. It was a place of freedom, unconditional love, and fun. When they moved away to an assisted living facility, I couldn’t bear to say goodbye to the house one last time, so I never did. I prefer the way it feels in my memories than full of boxes—and I requested a few favorite items to be saved for me, like my grandfather’s typewriter that I used to play “office” for most of my childhood.
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A few months after my grandma died (which was a few years after my grandpop), one of their caretakers sent me a beautiful hand-sewn quilt, made from their old clothing. It was one of the most meaningful gifts I’d ever received, and I quickly put it away so I wouldn’t mess it up. Last week, I was visiting my sister who has her own version of the quilt, and she passed it to me when I was cold. At first, I was so worried I’d somehow ruin it. But within a few minutes I felt like I was wrapped up in a hug with both of them, reconnected in a way I hadn’t felt in years. When I got back home, I took mine back out. It doesn’t match my decor, but it’s a precious piece of them that I’ve decided to enjoy for all the comfort it brings.
When we first planned our editorial content for 2020, we thought the August theme would be travel. We had no idea how inappropriate and impractical that would feel, six months or so into the COVID-19 pandemic here in the U.S. So a month or so ago, our editors met to talk about what people really need right now at home. Our Lifestyle Director Taryn Williford (perhaps you know her from her popular IGTV series Taryn Cleans It All or as the host of our annual decluttering program, the January Cure) pitched the idea of “comfort decorating.”
Comfort decorating, as she describes it, is like comfort food: “It’s familiar, sensory, nostalgic, and maybe a little bit impractical—but it will always hit the spot,” she writes. It’s about feeding your soul, not your Instagram feed. It’s the patchwork quilt of memories, not the trendy blanket. The last few months, our homes have had to support so much—transforming into schools, gyms, offices, and points of (virtual) connection. We wanted to honor that, and celebrate the little things that can make home feel even safer and cozier as we settle in for what looks like months more of social distancing. Nothing feels safe or certain right now, whether it’s job security, health, seeing friends and family, safety, and the list goes on—but this can serve as a reminder that making home feel a little more nourishing and comfortable can be free and accessible and a tangible something positive. And apparently the concept struck a chord: when Taryn tweeted about comfort decorating, she got more than one thousand pitches (and yes, she read them all).
For the past few weeks, Taryn has been vetting, assigning, and editing those ideas into a 20-piece package which will launch on our homepage tomorrow. We can’t wait to hear what you think—and what the comfort decorating principles are in your own homes.
The team is so excited to kick off August with comfort decorating. But it’s not the only thing we have planned this month. The week of Aug. 18, we’re hosting our first ever Mistake Week, an exploration of the oops moments that we all have at home (like painting a color you hate). And next week, Aug. 9, I’m debuting a new weekly newsletter, At Home With Laura. I’ll write it myself each Sunday, highlighting favorite articles, sharing tips I’ve picked up at home, and more. If you’re interested, you can sign up here.
Wishing you all a safe and healthy August.
Our letter from the editor series appears the first Monday of every month.
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