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Home Design Goals: Creative Vibes

Susan Sward’s Charlestown art and meditation space helps her create works of art and maintain balance in her life

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When Susan Sward and her husband Niels bought their Charlestown home nearly two years ago, they appreciated all of the critical spaces: kitchen, living room, bedrooms, etc. But there was one undefined attic/closet/storage/space that equally excited Susan – not because of what it was, but because of what it could be. “We saw such possibilities!” she says. “I began moving my art supplies in, along with every extra table, chair and shelf unit we had. Our goal was to create a space for me to create art.”

Back when the couple lived in North Scituate and their daughters moved out on their own, Susan and Niels had created a small space for Susan’s art. Yes, she appreciated not having to work on the dining room table anymore, but the transformation was much more profound. “The studio was a small space; nothing fancy, but it was always there waiting for me when I got home from teaching all day,” says the full-time art teacher at West Warwick High School. “Each time I walked in, I was reminded that I am an artist. That art is important to my life.”

Taking a cue from the original, the couple made the Charlestown studio space simple, describing it as “a bit rag tag.” Furnishings and décor were primarily sourced from local yard sales, estate sales and antique shops like Jules Antiques in Richmond. “What makes it special is the vibe of the room. It’s a secret space within my home. There is a stillness to the room – a very serene and meditative aura.” Susan says that after school, she likes to retreat to the room and be swept into a different existence. It’s a space dedicated to creativity, dreaming and quiet. “I think it’s important for anyone with an interest like painting, sewing, reading, meditation or yoga to create space, even if it’s a small corner. Our homes have spaces for cooking, eating, sleeping and gathering. Why not honor the artistic or spiritual side of our lives as well?”