Join us as we step inside the home of Tara and Darren Williams, the founders of Conscious Spaces. Taking us on a virtual tour, Tara describes how she and Darren turned a Grade II* listed, Cornish coachman's house into a light, bright, uplifting sanctuary and incorporated innovative, wellbeing-boosting products to create a health-giving haven.
What does a 'conscious space' mean to you?
“It’s about bringing awareness to your indoor environment. What's the air quality like? How pure is the water that you're drinking? Have you dealt with damp issues or electromagnetic frequencies? How does your home make you feel – does it support your wellbeing, or does it drain your energies?
“We need to pay attention to the architecture, objects, and materials that we surround ourselves with. Our buildings can have a big impact – either negative or positive - on our health.
“For me, a conscious space is a more thoughtful, considered space. One which incorporates sustainable, functional design, and noble, natural materials free from toxic chemicals. Perhaps most importantly, a conscious space is a space that makes you feel good.”
The feng shui-approved red door
“When we first moved in, we hired a space clearing and feng shui consultant. Once the space clearing had taken place, it was like a breath of fresh air flowed through – it just lifted the whole house and got rid of any tension or negativity, ready for us to start living our life here.
“The consultant also gave us some great feng shui recommendations – things like what colours to use and where, what purpose each room was best suited to, and where to place the furniture for ideal flow.
“One thing she recommended was that we paint the front door bright red. Because the house is north facing, the feng shui specialist said that this would help to gather more energy and warmth. We would never normally pick red as a colour for a front door, and it’s such a simple idea but it has made a huge difference to how you feel every time you enter the house.”
A private space for learning and healing
“This is ‘my’ room, and it’s my favourite space in the house.
“I work here, I do yoga and pilates here and I take saunas in here too. There’s a whole wall of books just out of shot. It’s always been a space for learning and healing.
“The window looks out onto a sunny enclosed courtyard, which is a very calming sight. I find it easy to think when I’m sitting at my desk looking out onto that little private oasis. I also love the light in here, which floods in through the south-facing window.
“I try to use my SaunaSpace Faraday Infrared Sauna at least 3 times a week, daily if possible. I like to hop in first thing in the morning if I can, to set myself up for the day. It’s super portable and easy to assemble. It’s just such a joy to be able to have a sauna at home. You can jump in anytime you like, and wash in your own shower when you’re done.
“I also use this room as a home office. To minimise our exposure to electromagnetic radiation, we don’t have Wi-Fi in the house, so whenever I’m working, I wire up my laptop using an Ethernet cable, which helps to lower the amount of radiofrequency EMFs. The phone is a corded phone for the same reason, and I make all calls using this.
“Wherever possible, I try not to use my mobile as I find it really affects my wellbeing. Darren plugs in his phone with a specific adaptor at home so he can access the internet whilst having it in airplane mode.”
A relaxing haven (and occasional dance floor)
“As you can tell, we love our vinyl. This room is like our cosy sanctuary, where we can come at the end of the day and relax in front of the fire, and put some favourite records on. Or, if it’s a Friday night, we might even have a little living room dance-off!
“We had a gravity-fed wood-burner installed, so it’s completely off-grid. They did it the old-fashioned way; in fact, I think they had to get a guy out of retirement to help with the installation! Normally you need an electric pump to heat a property, but with this wood-burner, the system is entirely gravity fed. It can heat the whole property with radiators in each room and we can get all our hot water from it too (although we do also have an electric boiler - so we can use either). It’s brought such lovely warmth to what could otherwise be quite a chilly old house.
“A Hextio air filter deals with any indoor air pollution – fumes, mould spores, VOCs, allergens - (which is a much bigger problem in homes than most people realise - indoor air is often between five and thirteen times more polluted than outdoor air) and keeps the air flowing through our house fresh and healthy. It helps that it looks good too! It’s a super sleek and compact design.
“I keep a Qi-Shield EMF protection device on the living room shelves so it’s within easy reach for me to place it near me if I’m using a computer.”
Local makers and infrared light
“We try to champion local makers. The natural wood light shade is by Tom Raffield, who hand-crafts his pieces here in Cornwall using traditional steam bending techniques – all with the smallest ecological footprint possible.
“Incredibly, the beautiful old piano was being chucked out by someone, so we gave it a new home!
“We love using our SaunaSpace Red-Filtered Photon Lamp to create a calming atmosphere (visible here on top of the piano). We move it around the house – sometimes I place it on my desk whilst I’m working, and we also like to have it on in the evenings for a soothing dose of infrared heat and light therapy. It makes a big difference and gets your body ready for sleep.”
A pure and simple sleep sanctuary
“In the bedroom, we’ve kept things pared-back and unfussy to create an airy and restful atmosphere. The natural light in here is amazing. Each morning I open the shutters and take a moment to absorb some sunlight, which helps to wake my body up.
“It’s so important to get your sleeping environment right if you want to support your health. Our bed base, mattress and bedding are all made from organic, natural materials, and the mattress is non-sprung (metal bed frames and sprung mattresses can act as a conductor for electromagnetic frequencies). The Qi-Home on the chest of drawers gives another layer of protection against EMFs whilst we sleep.
“Throughout the house, we’ve used the same two paints, both by Lakeland: a white for the walls and a pale grey for the floors. Lakeland eco paints are non-toxic, odourless, eco-friendly and VOC-free. They’re so natural, that even if you put your nose straight up to the walls after you’ve painted them, there’s barely any smell. I’d highly recommend it – especially for anyone with Multiple Chemical Sensitivities (MCS).
“For the walls and the woodwork including the skirting boards, we used the Lakeland white ‘Feng Shui’ paint, which lends a harmonious, unified feel to the room. It also makes decorating so much easier because you can use one paint for everything! The floor paint is another by Lakeland, which you can paint directly onto anything – no need to sand down first or anything like that.
“We chose not to use carpets anywhere in the house, as they can harbour dirt and mould and off-gas chemicals. Toxin-free alternatives are better for MCS and asthma sufferers. Painted floors are also a lot easier to clean than carpet! Where we wanted floor mats, like in the bathroom, we put down 100% natural cork boards. Cork is naturally antimicrobial and resistant to mould and mildew. It comes from the cork oak tree, which is native to the Mediterranean and Africa, and is the only tree that can have its bark removed without harming it so that multiple harvests can be made from the tree during its lifetime - making it an extremely sustainable material.”
Creating a healthier home environment
“We keep a Qi-Home on the chest of drawers in the landing so that it is directly outside our son’s bedroom.
“An EMF specialist, who we work with through Conscious Spaces, rang me recently after completing an EMF survey in a house that had been fully kitted-out with Qi-Tech products. He was astounded by what he found. He said that the geopathic stress was reduced by more than half inside the property compared with outside, to the extent that it was negligible and not a concern on any level.
“The bathroom is just down the landing here. For our tap water, we use a reverse osmosis filter, which removes any contaminants like chemicals or traces of heavy metals. Once the water has been filtered, we infuse it with molecular hydrogen and revitalise it and then add mineral drops.
"People tend to forget that we absorb water through the skin, too. So that's something which I think we should all consider, especially with the hidden pollutants that are in the water. Whole house water filtration systems are great for this (do get in contact if a whole house water filtration system is something you are interested in).
“The next thing we are planning on changing in the house is the lights. We’ve found what we believe might be the best LED lightbulbs in the world; they have zero flicker and very low dirty electricity issues - so watch this space as they will be online soon.
“I feel duty-bound to finish by saying that the house doesn’t always look this clean and tidy! We have a five-year-old and it’s near-impossible to keep the place looking like this, and that’s ok. That’s life.”