We’ve all had the experience of walking into a room—or wandering through a garden—and feeling really good. It’s intoxicating, inspiring—yet try as we might to dissect that space’s design, we find there’s no one secret ingredient; the magic is in the alchemy of balance and scale, light and color, texture and pattern.

When I spin through my memories, I can recall many such places: beach houses that smell of damp wood and salty air, their doormats sprinkled with shells and sand; an irresistible corner of my cousin’s mountain home, where a pair of club chairs sits just so beside the fireplace; the charming, intimate dining room of a manor house in France’s Loire Valley, where I lived as an exchange student; the front porch of my childhood home in Florida, a perfect perch for catching the glory of an afternoon rainstorm.

And when I take a spin through this issue, I find more alluring rooms and gardens like those places in my mind’s eye; spaces that were designed to be greater than the sum of their individual design elements. I want to sit in this Wash Park backyard while the sun sets on a warm spring night, or spend an afternoon reading in the living room of this contemporary ranch home. I wish I could return emails in the yellow-wallpaper-clad office of the renovated Georgian in Park Hill. And the handsome 23rd-floor lounge at the Grand, designed by the inimitable Ken Fulk, makes me feel like celebrating something—anything!

Bottom line: The spaces in this issue feel really good to me, and I hope you’ll find them rife with inspiration for making your home a place that feels like magic to you.

This article was originally published in 5280 Home April/May 2019.
Hilary Masell Oswald
Hilary Masell Oswald
As the former editor for two of 5280’s ancillary publications, Hilary Masell Oswald split her time between the vibrant design-and-architecture scene in the metro area for 5280 Home and the always-changing field of health for the annual 5280 Health.