During breakfast, I watched The World’s Most Extreme Homes. A house owned by the jewelry designer Carolyn Tyler was the highlight of the episode. After spending thirteen years heading up her own advertising firm in LA, putting 18 hour days and hating it, Tyler quit and moved her life to Bali.
Tyler’s largest project was her own home. She calls it an “ over-sized piece of jewelry that functions as a house.” When the host walked through the front door, I fell in love with it.
The three-level open air home combines Hindu, jungle, deep hues, wood beams, and natural light. Each level Tyler dedicates to specific colors that corresponded to the kind of energy the space require. On the main floor, there’s a balcony walled with bright pillows forming an yellow floor seating area. In the middle is the green kitchen. Off the main floor and beyond the pool is the large bathroom. The sink’s basin is an entire shell. There’s nothing between the shower and blue bath and the sky. If it rains, it doesn’t matter. “You’re already wet.” In the middle of Tyler’s purple bedroom and blue workspace, a tree house staircase leads up to the third floor: the meditation space. Taken all together, Tyler christened it the “Rainbow House”.
When I saw it, it reminded me of one of my dream houses that had materialized out of a notebook I had when I was 10. I’m 22 and I still want to live in it. I want to move to Bali, swim in Tyler’s pool, meditate on the top floor, drink tea on her seating area. She has a purple bedroom for crying out loud. My bedroom’s purple. When I move in, Tyler and I would become friends and host the best sleep overs.
If you lose track of dreams, you lose track of yourself. Even these small fantasies like rainbow houses, with each room representing a different color, represent the future. They show you what home looks like. If you love a place, you should love the space that occupies that place. If you love home, make it a home worthy of your love.
I know that I’m not there. I haven’t built my place in the world yet, I’m not ready to move in. But that doesn’t mean the place I am can’t be home here. Even if this place was once was inhabited by a 10 year old me. That girl put up unicorn posters on the walls. Her room served as a dorm for more stuffed animals than I could count. But she and I still share a lot. I still have the same comforter, the same furniture, the same dreams.
I’ve made progress on my dreams, returning to this house less naïve, older, and stronger. Now I know both the good days and bad quickly slide away. If I work towards what I want to do, there will be a great many hard days ahead. Those days are the bricks I walk on. I put them there myself. Once they’re in place, they can’t be picked back up. But I can backtrack, retrace my steps and find where I started yesterday, three months ago, four years ago. I can go back to who I was back then, that 10 year old girl and whisper in her ear.
“You’ll do it all. Stop worrying, dream bigger.”
You build your own house, path, temple, library; laying it one brick at a time. But the sacred starts from within. Then you build the Rainbow House out there.
Carolyn Tyler had to realize she couldn’t go on working 18 hour days. Maybe she was raking in the money. Maybe she had the kind of security that makes permanent salary jobs appealing. But that life was making her miserable.
Tyler had to escape herself to build the Rainbow House and find her career in creating pieces of art.
The rainbow starts with you. But you have to lay the bricks.