Have you ever thought about the most healing features of your home?
What in your environment brings you comfort and peace and reminds you to focus on the right things?
These are questions that interior designer Kaysie Strickland might ask if you hired her.
My daughter Kaia introduced me to Kaysie’s work with Homes & Havens in Chattanooga, Tennessee. When I checked out the website, I was impressed! I’d never heard of such a ministry. A perfect blend of using one’s creative gifts and helping women heal from past abuse.
Kaysie, founder and president of Homes & Havens, is an interior designer whose creativity thrives in surrounding wounded women with a healing home environment.
What shaped your philosophy of “Home” as a healing place?
Kaysie: Put simply, I’m a home-maker. Since I was a little girl, I’ve loved creating cozy spaces. When my sisters and I would play together, I spent the entire time building a little haven for my toys to live inside. It didn’t matter where I was — in the car, in the woods, in the barn, in my room — I wanted to make it feel special, to feel cozy and beautiful.
In 2011, I married the kindest, most loyal man I’ve ever met and we had our first son, Charlie, in February 2016. We live in a well-loved craftsman home that was built in the 1930s — with squeaky hardwood floors, small rooms, and gorgeous crown-molding. These four walls have framed our pain and our healing, our losses and our new births, our struggles and our victories. I believe in mission-minded homes that serve the dreams, goals, and values of the people inside.
Over the years I’ve learned to let my “missions”
shape my decorating so that my home isn’t used to impress people,
but rather to bless people. I love Jesus — and while many people
don’t see how that’s related to home design, for me it is inseparable.
He resurrected beauty in my own home first.
He fills me with inspiration that matches His mission.
He gives me courage to walk into homes and offer mercy,
comfort, and creativity. He is my true “Home”
— a place where I can rest, fall apart, dream, and enjoy.
What do you love to create?
Kaysie: In a word, I love to create “home.” And to me, “home” doesn’t begin with decor, it begins with creating space in the heart. If someone feels welcomed, accepted, and embraced by a person, any place can turn into a home.
So for me, home design and decor is all about tapping into that internal place of welcome and designing a space that reflects the personality, warmth, and missions that live within a family or individual. My goal is to walk away from decorating a space and think, “Now that home really reflects who they are on the inside.”
Since I was a little girl I have been drawn to places that feel forgotten–places that are disordered, dirty, and deserted. I can’t really tell you why, but something deep inside of me wants to rebuild and restore those places.
That manifests itself in different ways in my life, mainly through the work I do through a nonprofit I founded called Homes & Havens, but also through furniture restoration. I love finding those old pieces that are run down and forgotten, and yet they have so much hidden potential. A little elbow grease, paint, and new hardware can take something undesirable and transform it into something that is loved and wanted.
Because there is so much brokenness in the world,
I feel like my mission is to create as many healing spaces as possible.
I’m really sensitive to environments — so I’ve always been drawn to design
that is peaceful and calming versus dramatic and statement-making.
All of my design goals are centered around the idea
of soothing someone’s pain or anxiety
and helping them feel peace, comfort, and light.
Where do you get your home decorating ideas?
Kaysie: All of the work I do is but an echo of a greater redemption. I feel like the closer I get to Jesus, He shows me the kind of work He is about. He always moves toward the broken. He always chooses the unloved. He always creates beauty from ashes. I am made in my Father’s image, and perhaps these are the ways that I resemble Him. He is my inspiration for life and He fills me with inspiration for each and every project.
As far as specific design choices, like many people, I love using Pinterest and Instagram to find ideas that hit the target of what I’m hoping to create. Anytime I go shopping, I take pictures of displays and color combinations that intrigue me. I feel like anywhere I go there can be inspiration waiting. I enjoy watching how people react or engage with certain spaces, too.
In my next post, learn more about Kaysie’s Homes & Havens as she discusses her creative process, how she injects creativity into her daily life, and offers tips for aspiring creatives.
Visit Homes & Havens here . . .
How has your home or art been a healing place for you?
Which surroundings bring you comfort and peace and remind you to focus on the right things?
I’d love to hear from you!
P.S. Coming next: More about Kaysie’s Homes & Havens.