Designer Spiritual Retreat: Beryn Hammil

1.Do you have a real Diva Den?

At first I thought I would write about a room in my home that is my home office, but one day will become my “sitting” room, or “Spiritual Retreat” or Chic Cocoon as we’re now calling them.  Then I saw that I can respond to that fantasy in the next question, so I thought about it some more and realized that my Diva Den, in fact, is my garden. It’s the one area of my home that is truly mine. Yes, my husband shares the pleasure of it with me, and guests admire it, of course, but it’s the space where I feel most “at home” when I’m in it.

2.If no then expound on your fantasy room

My fantasy Diva Den is a room where I can read, write, and watch TV and movies while sitting on a sofa with my legs up on a coffee table. Yes, I can do that now (am, in fact) in my family room, or library, or den, whatever we want to call it. But in the evening or on the weekend, when my husband is home and watching sports or napping on the sofa, I want a place where I can do the above without having to go to bed. That would be my Diva Den, my sitting room.

I remember, many years ago, visiting a Home Decorators Showcase house and there was this perfect lady’s sitting room. It wasn’t large, but it was sweet. Never mind the sweeping view of SF bay and the Golden Gate Bridge, which I wouldn’t have here, but it was the feeling of the room that comes to mind, and I want to recreate that whenever I transform my office into this special place.

3. What’s your Diva style?

“Lady-like” is the word I would use to describe my Diva style. Gracious and quiet are sub-sets of it. In terms of a style that one can see and touch, it doesn’t matter if it’s traditional or contemporary, but it must be refined. It encourages appropriateness in the space, and to be honest, both with yourself and everyone else.

4. how long did it take you to create your sacred space?

Since it’s a garden, it’s a work in progress and there is no expectation of it ever being completed. I encourage Mother Nature to go in this or that direction, but ultimately, it’s not mine to command. I would love to grow flowers that require full sun, but since my garden is solarly challenged (two mature redwood trees being the reason), I have to work with what’s given to me.

5.what is your favorite item in your room?

In terms of a specific item, I’ve “decorated” my garden with an antique birdcage that was an impulse buy. I saw it in a consignment shop and had to have it, even before I knew where I would put it. Now it has a place of honor and is one of the first things you notice when you enter the front gate.

6.how much time do you spend in your sacred space a day?

Weather permitting, I work in it approximately 4 – 5 hours a week, more in the spring, less in the winter. In the summer, I claim the hammock as my most special place where I can lay for hours and hours, gently rocking while napping and / or reading.

Of course, in the summer, the garden at the back of the house is our “bonus” room with a dining table, hammock, and chairs, so we entertain and socialize there.

7.what color draws you, in your Diva Den?

The changing of the seasons gives me different colors, and I live in eager anticipation of each. The pale green of new leaves and rust red of the Japanese maple in the Spring, the brilliant colors of the liquid amber trees in Fall, the orange red berries of the pyracantha at Christmas time, and the opportunity to change annual flowers each season, are all reasons to enjoy the garden, no matter what time of year it is.

8.how has the sacred space changed / inspired you in your life

My garden has taught and inspired me, and each year I learn more and more from it. The cumulative effect, so far, is:

Patience: it takes as long as it takes to get results

Nothing is forever

Embrace unexpected change as part of a plan

Be flexible in both action and thought

Take time to literally and figuratively smell the flowers

9.What key elements rejuvenate your inner Diva/Divo definite MUSTS for your barebones diva den?

Anything I do in the garden rejuvenates me. I hesitate to call it “work” since that suggests effort, and perhaps even reluctance. I don’t consider routine maintenance a chore since the result of doing it always rewards me with a feeling of satisfaction. Even sitting here writing about my garden while listening to the birds talking to each other, watching a bough of the redwood tree sway gently in the breeze as it simultaneously creates a moving shadow on the pillow of my sofa, gives me a sense of fulfillment and joy.

10.What is your dirty little secret (how do you indulge the inner you that you wouldn’t tell but are sharing with us -eg reading corny love stories or eating chocolates)? (we will keep your secret) (LOL) (take the shame out and share)

I wear white sweat suits when I work in the garden. Yes, white! I wear groady old knee pads that are 30+ years old, and I have never found a good replacement for them. I love getting soaking wet when I tweak the irrigation systems. Then I come into the house like a wet dog, peal in front of the washing machine, jump into a hot shower, and, refreshed, sit somewhere in the garden admiring the fruits of my efforts.

This picture was taken many, many years ago, but the feeling in it is as clear as if it was taken yesterday; I had been working for hours in the garden, had showered and changed, and was lying on the floor of my den by the garden door, clearly, sound asleep, exhausted from my efforts, with a book on my chest while my (now late) dog stood guard over me as I slept. It was taken by a friend who had arrived unexpectedly

This picture was taken many, many years ago, but the feeling in it is as clear as if it was taken yesterday; I had been working for hours in the garden, had showered and changed, and was lying on the floor of my den by the garden door, clearly, sound asleep, exhausted from my efforts, with a book on my chest while my (now late) dog stood guard over me as I slept. It was taken by a friend who had arrived unexpectedly.

Beryn’s Website:    http://www.bhammil.com/

Beryn’s Facebook page:   http://www.facebook.com/BerynHammilDesigns?v=wall&ref=ts

Beryn on Twitter:  @Beryn

Beryn’s blog:  http://berynhammil.blogspot.com/

If you want to have a Diva Den that inspires you daily, call me Jennifer Duchene @ 650.644.8592

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