Late last year, I moved into my forever home: The Ponderosa. It started as a joke name because it felt so big compared to the little houses and apartments we've rented around the world, but the name just stuck! I’ve cherished the travels we’ve had as a family, but I always dreamed about setting down roots someday with a real family home, so I feel incredibly lucky to be here.
We renovated an old Spanish Colonial house in the Valley, and contrary to what everyone told me about a major renovation, I enjoyed every minute of it! And why not? I finally got to pick out every paint color, tile, and surface, not to mention every stick of furniture with the help of my friend, Designer, @beckiowens. The visual part of design is fun, but people often forget about one crucial aspect: Scent.
Home fragrance is the second thing people will notice about your home. That’s why real estate agents always tell people to bake cookies during an Open House! It’s incredibly powerful and strongly shapes the way you (and others) feel about your space. We’re not having a lot of guests over these days but building an active Home Fragrance “menu” is crucial to my idea of comfort.
A beautifully scented home is just like a good wardrobe: it’s layered. As soon as I get home (or come downstairs from the Studio) I light a scented candle to signal the end of a working day. If we’re having people over (remember those days?) I light a few candles at least 30 minutes before they arrive, to allow the scent to “bloom” and create an atmosphere.
I always start by lighting a candle near the front door, so people can smell it right when they walk inside (even if it’s just us). I like my family to associate certain scents with home and even select different ones for each season of the year. Right now, my favorite scent is Red Currant because it just smells like the Holidays to me. It’s warm, sweet, and inviting but never gets cloying or heavy. If I’m trying to make an impression, I add a reed diffuser with a complimentary fragrance or even the same one, to amp up the scent a bit.
Gooseberry is another ripe berry scent that just happens to go beautifully with Red Currant. They have the same fruity, fresh essence and complement each other so well. Other pairings I love? Sandalwood and Quince. Just like colors, you can go matching, complementary or total contrast. Woodsy and fruity, or floral and fresh, scent is a deeply personal thing, so you have to experiment to hit the right notes for you.
The other thing about Home fragrance is the delivery method. Some are stronger than others, so it’s best to have a few different types to create texture. I think of it like lighting: You don’t want only floor lamps, or just task lighting or a solitary overhead light. You need all three to create a cozy ambiance. Same with Home Fragrance. You need different types!
I like to put a statement oil diffuser in our tiny powder room instead of a candle in there because it would be too overpowering. A reed diffuser is another good option, if, like me, you might forget to blow it out after a long night!
A nice room spray is always a good idea in the bathrooms. You know why. People always assume that because my company makes cleaning products, everything is always perfectly pristine. Nope! I like to keep a couple of them around (especially in the boys’ bathroom). Just in case. That’s where the Atmosphere mists come in. A few sprays and it covers any lingering funk.
If we ARE expecting guests, I like to be my best self. That means prepping everything I can well in advance and then taking time out to relax before people start to arrive. I like to light some incense while I’m bathing and dressing with a glass of wine to get me in the mood. It’s the pre-game ritual that every good Hostess knows. A relaxed Hostess is a good one, even if you burn the chicken!
Ps. Thanksgiving is coming up. I don’t know what your family is like, but I know mine can get…spirited after all that turkey, red wine, and politics. Burning some Palo Santo sticks will clear the air and any lingering bad juju. Better safe than sorry!
Bottom line? Home fragrance isn’t just for company. It’s for comfort. It’s something I do for myself, and my family, like a warm hug at the end of the day.