As I approached the threshold of 35 Maryland Avenue, there was nothing especially extraordinary about the moment. The exterior of the building blended into the neighborhood seamlessly, I had to double check the sign to make sure I was in the right spot. Crossing through the doorway, I placed my umbrella down, shook off some of the lingering raindrops and looked up. My senses were heightened to the smell of paper and roasting coffee and to the murmuring sounds of parents patiently awaiting story time. The sight of vividly colorful book spines arranged in what appears to be a dining room of a historic Annapolis home, captivated me. There is a garden in the back, complete with a dazzling Chandeliers hanging from the tree tops, the door is guarded by a Knight in Shining Armor, of course. Copernicus, the resident Mouse, etched his extravagant abode (complete with library and winged-back chair) into the front desk. Unfortunately for my children and I, though, Copernicus was not home this morning; he was traveling the countryside to gain content for his eagerly anticipated novel. About 20 paces in, we began to enjoy the musical talents of the other resident, Frolic the Fox. Afterwards, we got a private tour of the basement where the eyes in the walls watched us creepily.
We were transported to a different time, to a world far from the quiet seaside town of Annapolis, MD. Suddenly I could conquer this creative world, without a doubt I could write my very own novel and maybe I really missed my calling as a Police Detective. Wait, how did they do it? How did these walls reveal such thoughts? It is this response to the environment that makes Old Fox Books work. They’ve created a layered space that sparks community. They do this through the thousands of stories within the very books themselves, paired with an eclectic environment which creates a thousand more. Theoretically, it shouldn’t work, but it really, really does. People are drawn out of the convenience of ‘Amazon NOW’ to enjoy the a cup of Brown Mustache Coffee, a good book and intriguing conversation.
This je ne sais quoi, is hidden beyond the drywall and hardware of a physical space. It cannot be directly replicated, begging the question:
is it possible to integrate an emotional response into our work-space or even our very homes?
Answer: yes, and we should seek it earnestly. The first step is knowing how you want to feel and work backwards from there. Creative, confident, happy, comfortable and relaxed; that’s what I gravitate towards.
When I was looking for my home, it was a beautifully simple process. To me, the hunt should be based off of numbers, location and square footage alone; everything else can be manipulated or replaced. Most of my clients tell me they want a certain feeling in a home (#HGTVsyndrome), and more often than not, IT isn’t present with someone else’s stuff inside. Moving into a new place, you have to see what it could be and know what it is you want to feel . My call to action to you, my friend, is to take a glace at your home and see if the environment moves you towards how you want to feel. If it isn’t, change it. If you’re looking for a new home please avoid ‘paralysis by analysis’ and just view the things that cannot change. Your happy place is what you create it to be.
“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” – Thoreau
So….you scrolled to the bottom just to get a synopsis
- Old Fox Books for story, coffee & conversation. A magical spot where you’ll see something new and learn something new with each visit.
- Know what you want to feel in your life. Creative? Try removing fluorescent lights and opt for a warmer option. Fun? Find an energetic paint color for your work-space. Confident? Integrate maps, trinkets from your travels and BOOKS.
- CREATE your happy place, don’t go looking for it. First step is finding out what makes you happy.
- Your senses and feelings play off of each other…incorporate textures, sounds and scents into your space.
- Support local businesses that offer an environment for community. Our society needs this more than ever now.