Slow Home: a Conversation-Napa Valley Life Magazine

Slow Home: a Conversation-Napa Valley Life Magazine

Today I had a great time speaking with Kari Ruel, publisher of Napa Valley Life Magazine and Kellie Fuller from Kellie In The Morning at 99.3 The Vine and 1440 KVON, on their Sustainable Life segment.  The subject…Slow Home!  You can listen to the show (only about 10 minutes) down at the bottom of the blog…in the meantime, this post includes all the information…and more!  I’d love your comments on what YOU do in your home to sustain and balance your life…Enjoy!

Sloooooowwwww Hooooommme…think about it.

Don’t you just want to stop a minute, close your eyes and breath?  That’s the essence of a Slow Home.

Slow Home is about:  

  • Simplifying
  • Slowing down
  • Sustaining your life
  • Personalizing
  • Beautifying

What better place to do that then at home? As our lives continue to speed up… communication zipping around the world in a matter of seconds and an overload of information coming at us from all directions…we have lost track of a way of life that connects us to ourselves, each other, our community and our world at large.  The speed at which we live is fact…it is not going away, if anything it will continue to increase. A Slow Home (also an architecture firm in Calgary Canada who is studying housing plans to help define and design a well thought out home….they have defined this movement best to date)…it’s the opposite of our cultures fast pace mindset. It’s what we call a house that is simple to live in, light on the environment and of course…BEAUTIFUL.  A Slow Home is designed to support and reflect the personal lives of all the people who live there.  It is a landing pad, a place to unplug from the world at large, re-charge your batteries physically, mentally, emotionally…and surround yourself with beauty that uplifts your spirit…all in a way that’s personal to you! This Slow Home movement is a springboard off of Slow Food, which arose as a reaction to the processed food industry. Whether it’s in food, travel, parenting or urban/residential design, slowing down is much needed to help maintain balance in our lives.  Living in the Slow Food Capital of the USA, and being an interior designer, I’ve taken it on as a personal mission to find out and consolidate information on this cutting edge trend that is taking the design world by storm!

Slow Home is a reaction to the sprawl of cookie cutter housing that surrounds us, and like fast food is to fresh, organic and sustainable food…a standardized, homogenous house is to a simpler, sustainable and more intimate home.

The difference between our urban sprawl and a Slow Home is not defined by style, size, age, type or cost but by the quality and intent of the underlying design. It is not formulaic, but rather very personal.  It’s about:

  • The space as a whole, seamlessly supporting the daily lives of the people living in it
  • How efficiently the space is organized and flows
  • How effectively each individual room functions.
  • The overall simplicity of beauty and design
  • A sustainable and healthy environment
  • Supporting community through the use of local materials and product wherever possible

The idea is to reduce, re-use, re-purpose and recycle.  This isn’t a new concept; it’s just that in our new economy we’ve become more aware of this…again.  People downsizing, rightsizing, and simplifying.

What can you do to begin to create a Slow Home right now, right where you are?

  1. Re-Purpose-donate, give away, have a garage sale for all the things you no longer use or need.
  2. Re-Cycle: declutter and get rid of all the old paperwork and broken objects , turning them into something productive.
  3. Re-Fresh: paint your home…color as paint is the least expensive way to re-fresh the look and feel of a space.
  4. Re-Energize: move your furniture around. Things that never move are stagnant and create stagnant energy.  By simply moving things and cleaning out, energy will be able to move freely again.
  5. Re-Integrate: move into your space as if it was brand new.  Look at it without putting traditional names to the space.  Perhaps you could re-purpose a room.  For example could the formal dining room you never use better serve you and your family as a library, office or craft room?
  6. Re-do: it is more sustainable to renovate your existing home, making it more user friendly for you and your family then to sell and buy new.  Even in the current housing market there are certain trends that are emerging that will add value to your home plus beauty and emotional satisfaction to your everyday life!

What will you do to create your Slow Home?

You can listen to the show through the link below…Cheers!

And, watch for my Slow Home Book to come out early next year…





  1. Maria 12 years ago

    Great article. In this day and age, it’s hard to not join the multitudes of multi-taskers, calendar hawks and over schedulers … but for sanity sake, it’s a must. I’ve taken the plunge in the last few years to downsize, purge (Goodwill loves me), create space through simple decor, and hide the calendar…and I love it.

  2. Joy 12 years ago

    Irene I love this idea and so want to be there someday! Slow is just not in my vocabulary and needs to be 🙂

  3. Darcie Newton 12 years ago

    The idea of slow home and slow food resonates with me. Just the other day I stopped to appreciate the fact that I made the time to cook a meal from scratch in my beautiful kitchen that overlooks the ocean. Simplify has been my mantra for 2010…now I think it will be Simplify and Slow Down.

  4. Michael Cavitt 12 years ago

    You bring up some salient points. Are there any resources for highrise condos in the downtown?

  5. Web & SEO tips 12 years ago

    Nice article. I’m still trying to find the time to thoroughly de-clutter. Like Joy, slow is just not in my vocabulary.

  6. Louise Edington 12 years ago

    De-clutter -hmmm – will you tell my kids that – lol. We are not too bad really apart from the kids not letting go of ANYTHING – but I’m working on that :). Our redundant dining room has become our music room as one daughter plays the violin and piano and the other ow learns electric guitar. That seems a much better repurposing of the space.

  7. Sasha Sabbeth 12 years ago

    Irene, I loved so many aspects of what you wrote. And, I happen to be one week into my customized closet de-clutter project. Your highlighted points were useful and timely. The concept of Slow Home is brilliant. The cup of hot whatever is palpable!!!! Thank you 🙂

  8. Andrew Van Valer 12 years ago

    What great timing! My wife and I have made a decision to “Slow Home” our lives. Every year the family goes through our house and gets rid of stuff we no longer use. We feel that if we aren’t using it someone else can! We put it on craigslist and it is amazing the people you meet. The perfect person who can use whatever we had to sell or give away arrives!

    But this year we are trying to do the same with our lives. What things are we doing that are not bring joy into our lives or lives of others. It has been an interesting journey.

  9. Donna McCord 12 years ago

    I love the concept of Slow Home! We have been actually working on some of the elements you described over the last year — decluttering, repurposing some of the rooms — but still have a long way to go! It feels really good, though, when we finish a room (like an extra bedroom that is now our office) and see how much more comfortable we are. Thank you for the list of how to make it happen!

  10. Brandy Mychals 12 years ago

    My favorite way to have a “slow home” moment is to unplug, lie in bed and read…Love home as a landing place to recharge 🙂 Thank you for the post.
    Brandy Mychals

  11. Hope Desroches 12 years ago

    Love these ideas! I live in a really small space so these tips help me feel a little more comfortable in the small space I have.

  12. Marcy 12 years ago

    Thank you for sharing this with me Irene. I love the beauty and simplicity of creating a “Slow Home” and the journey is priceless. Irwin & I wouldn’t have it any other way.

  13. Candace Davenport 12 years ago

    Having moved from around 1500 down to 800 sq. feet, we’ve had to come up with Slow Home and I love it! Purging over the past year has been so theraputic. Now I can see my beautiful things that I held on to because they meant something to me.

    Great post and great idea.

    Candace Davenport
    Our Little Books- Little Books with a Big Message

  14. Jennifer Duchene 12 years ago

    Love your post Irene and the slow home mentality. Being a Redesigner / One day Makeover Mixtress by day feeds my passion for helping people to live in a space that serves and beautifies their lives. Helping them to let go and live with less stuff and more time and space to breathe.

    Jen Duchene
    The Home Makeover Mixtress blending cool & cozy style

  15. Nice Irene! I’m a big fan of the slow-cook movement, and this is perfectly congruent with it.

    Like Candace, I’ve gone through a big downsizing recently (from 2000 sq ft, down to 500). Initially, I was a bit panicked, thinking about all my “stuff”, and where will it go… well, a big garage sale and many donations later, and I have cozy, personal little house, surrounded by only the most important acquisitions.

    It’s funny, that in a much smaller space, it is actually less cluttered than when I had a larger house. There simply isn’t room for “stuff”… it’s freeing and simple.

    Every week, I buy a bouquet or two of fresh flowers. A few beautiful vases, a little creativity, and voila! my house is a home!

  16. Henry 12 years ago

    We were almost there. After reading this column we are there. Thank you.

  17. Henry 12 years ago

    Slow homing got us this far. So we will keep going slow.

  18. Joana Michelotti 11 years ago

    What a great article. Thanks for taking the time to write it.


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