Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Infusing Heart

My condo is boasting a new kitchen, useful new Expedits, some lovely (and varied) wall paint, and is no longer littered with boxes, tools and an accompanying mantle of dust. No, my condo is clean to the touch, and relatively inoffensive to the nose. But somehow it is lacking....errrr...je ne sais quoi. That difficult-to-define element which is what I think the folks at Apartment Therapy refer to as "heart." When the walls are blank, and some of the furniture is brand new, a space doesn't yet feel cozy or lived-in.

Art certainly breathes life into a space, and I only have a few pieces of art, which are still leaning against some wall or other. They haven't exactly jumped out at me and said "This is where I belong. On the wall to the right of your dresser." Perhaps my walls and I are just not yet well-acquainted enough for the hanging ceremony.

I also tend to accumulate art slowly, so while I am certain that art will bring some spirit to my place, I am suppressing the desire to indulge in fleeting Ebay and Etsy art fantasies.

I have learned, however, that a way to bring vitality into a space, is to invest in some beautiful air-cleansing plants.

Have you heard of the NASA clean air plants study? Clever NASA, always offering the latest in sensible home-renovation tips rooted in nuclear science.

It was NASA's clean air plants study that inspired me to buy some greenery for my office a few years ago, as it turns out that these multitaskers suck the formaldehyde and other cell-corrupting chemicals right out of the polluted indoor air. Ironically, sealing buildings up in an effort to make them more energy efficient has resulted in something called "sick building syndrome" where otherwise healthy folks are coming down with mysterious ailments as a result of being trapped inside with off-gassing carpet, walls, and furniture.

One or two plants in any space can drastically improve measures, AND these beauties do a great deal to enliven an otherwise uninspired room. I have a Peace Lily, a Spade Leaf Philendron, and some kind of Dracaena. I figure that my small army of air-cleansers will compensate for those years I spent *occasionally* compromising my lungs. Okay, I'm an optimist. But I hold firm that they will provide some modest protection against the factory stink of my new kitchen cabinets Expedits. And they certainly enhance the heart center of my home.