Imagine this: You head home after a ten-hour workday. Maybe you stop for groceries, then wedge in line behind a woman shouting at 110 decibels on her cell phone. It's raining sideways and traffic is snarled, horns honking, frantic energy in the air. All the stuff of modern life. We deal with it constantly and bear it heroically, but—and this is where the fantasy comes in—imagine that when you open the door to your home, everything changes. The vibe is warm and welcoming, the lighting soft and flattering. The first thing you see when you walk in is a dish of beautiful seashells you collected on vacation; every time you look at them you're reminded of long beach walks and glimmering sunsets. Setting down your bags, you kick off your shoes, so your feet can sink into the plush rug. As you head toward your living room, your favorite song plays subtly in the background.

If experiencing this kind of Zen pleasure in your home sounds preposterous, Xorin Balbes would like to have a word with you. Balbes, a celebrated designer who has done many high-profile architectural restorations and author of the book SoulSpace, believes that making your home a nurturing reflection of your inner self is not only possible for anyone, it's imperative. Whether he's renovating landmark buildings or transforming ordinary residences, his goal is the same: to enhance the true essence of a place, and the people living in it.

In this revved-up, demanding culture, Balbes says, "our homes are our greatest possibility of support. When you are completely in love with where you live, you can go out into the world knowing that you get to come back home and be taken care of."

If you'd like to create your own soul space, follow Balbes's eight steps...


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