Embracing the Art of Wabi Sabi

Harriet is one of the most endearing people I’ve met this year, and her home decor is stunning. You may recall her nature inspired high rise from her House Tour, where she seamlessly merges contemporary designers like Jonathan Adler with raw hand painted wood canvases. As she moves through the next season of her life, she has added elements of life and abundance to her home — all in the honor of her dear friends passing.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Architect Tadao Ando explains wabi-sabi (the celebration of imperfection) in this way:

Paired down to its barest essence, wabi-sabi is the Japanese art of finding beauty in imperfection and profundity in nature, of accepting the natural cycle of growth, decay, and death. It’s simple, slow, and uncluttered-and it reveres authenticity above all. Wabi-sabi is flea markets, not warehouse stores; aged wood, not Pergo; rice paper, not glass. It celebrates cracks and crevices and all the other marks that time, weather, and loving use leave behind. It reminds us that we are all but transient beings on this planet-that our bodies as well as the material world around us are in the process of returning to the dust from which we came. Through wabi-sabi, we learn to embrace liver spots, rust, and frayed edges, and the march of time they represent.

In the passing of her dear friend Lance, Harriet has begun to study the simple concept of the cycle of life. Her newest creations include a small green moss aquarium-like utopia on her dining room table. You can see the rocks, soil and roots of this green beauty from the inside out and yet its safe in its little controlled environment. She has added the hands above her small book case which embrace the sky and are open to all the gifts of life. On top of her red credenza sits a bonsai tree, which she is grooming herself. I noted its beauty and was surprised to find out how “controlled” their growth must be, to take their rare shape. The display on her glass coffee table is buddhist sculpture on top of two books, which belonged to her friend. The most incredible part of these books: all the handwritten notes and little memos that were scribbled along the margins. She placed abalone shells centered between two metal dining chairs, which makes for great juxtaposition. Lastly, Harriet found an oyster with a pearl still embedded in it — which seems to be fitting: somehow sad, but so hopeful.

Thank you Harriet, for sharing little bits of your home with us again.