Wabi-sabi is never slobby, but we can allow ourselves to stop trying so hard and just appreciate our warm bed at the end of the day—whether it’s made or not.
Wabi-sabi is wildflowers, not roses; weathered wood, not plastic laminate; native landscaping, not Kentucky bluegrass. Pictures tell a thousand words.
In the kitchen, we can cultivate our sense of aesthetics and function. Tools can be beautiful. Food can be art. Cooking can be meditation.
A wabi-sabi home just feels right, without pretense or compromise—like our grandmothers’ Depression era homes, where things were patched and mended but scrubbed and clean, handmade or chosen and paid for with care.
Wabi-sabi is sinewy, flecked browns and yellowed greens, the myriad stone and moss shades, a slate-gray cloud’s washed violet underside. Like nature, wabi-sabi paints in multidimensional swatches that are never what they appear to be.
Wabi-sabi has infused Western design for centuries—though its advocates rarely knew it. It’s in the plain, efficient homes built by the Shakers, the unsentimental Arts and Crafts style, Frank Lloyd Wright's Prairie houses and midcentury furniture.
In ancient Japan, preparing and serving bitter green tea became a means for ordinary people to escape for a moment and share a ritual. Tea ceremony became a venue for Japan’s finest poets and artists that endures to this day.
Wabi-sabi is underplayed and understated, quiet, undeclared beauty that waits patiently to be discovered. It’s a fragmentary glimpse: the branch representing the tree, shoji screens filtering the sun, the moon obscured behind a ribbon of cloud.
Elaborate, ostentatious Tea ceremony had become the norm in 16th century Japan when Sen no Rikyu proved that simplicity is ultimately more luxurious with his rustic, minimalist Tea ceremony--which endures to this day.
Sen no Rikyu's simple, unpretentious ceremony using rustic, local tools usurped the elaborate, ostentatious Tea ceremonies that were the norm in 16th-century Japan. His 'aesthetic of the people' made Tea accessible to all--and endures to this day.
A flea market basket that called to me, my grandmother's hand-embroidered linens and a quilt made by a circle of women in Minnesota are among the wabi-sabi items that I wouldn't want to be without.
Learn to let go of associations with price, value, age and prestige and just appreciate beauty without judgment. Nature is the best muse for cultivating wabi-sabi.
If we use high-quality items in our everyday lives, our lives become a sort of training. By using each item with care and careful consideration, the way we live becomes a tradition.
Inspired by back-to-the-landers Scott and Helen Nearing, Kate NaDeau grows her own food and enjoys the simple pleasures of seasonal living in her handbuilt stone cottage in Maine. She is the epitome of good wabi-sabi living.
Every once in a while we need to rebel against the machines. Hand a towel to your significant other and ask him to dry while you rinse. Sweep the floor with a real broomcorn broom. Have a real conversation. Enjoy things happening slowly.
A San Francisco architect brings wabi-sabi to his work through craftsmanship, employing natural materials to create a holistic environment that’s not cookie-cutter or slick, and eschewing ornamentation for what is needed and meaningful.
Mother readers weigh in on the wabi-sabi objects that give them joy and solace--from old books to heirloom quilts (and a few surprises). This community of kindred spirits embodies the art of appreciation. Enjoy!
Zen Buddhism's Seven Ruling Principles are wabi-sabi's foundation. They're also excellent guiding lights for a good home and life.
Charles and Ray Eames are modern wabi-sabi heroes who brought fresh, spare furniture, without pretense or stodginess, to the masses. Their home was a wabi-sabi masterpiece.
Frugality and lack of pretense or compromise are key ingredients in creating a wabi-sabi home.
A quiet life filled with appreciation for simple things is the richest life possible.
Strongly influenced by wabi-sabi's principles, the leaders of the Arts and Crafts movement railed against 'the swinish luxury of the rich,' ornamental excess and the poverty of people who lacked creativity.
Wabi-sabi teaches us appreciation for the good energy and soul that handmade items bring to our homes. Etsy, the premiere source for handcrafted home goods, offers an extensive list of items whose sale will benefit Japanese relief efforts.
In Japan, wabi-sabi can be found in the small moments of beauty and acts of hospitality that pervade the culture.
Find out how wabi-sabi, an ancient Japanese philosophy that promotes attention, reverence, generosity and respect, can build the foundation of a happy home.
Planning a party? Let wabi-sabi’s influence lead to a casual, comfortable gathering.