Getaways: The Importance of a Personal Sanctuary for Well-Being with Chris Madden

By Chris Madden
WebMD Live Events Transcript

Chris Madden will discuss the importance of personal sanctuaries, which encourage family gatherings and personal renewal.

The opinions expressed herein are the guests' alone and have not been reviewed by a WebMD physician. If you have questions about your health, you should consult your personal physician. This event is meant for informational purposes only.

Moderator: Welcome to WebMD Live's Spa Auditorium. Today we are discussing Getaways: The Importance of a Personal Sanctuary for Well-Being, with Chris Madden.

Chris Madden is the author of 13 books, design correspondent for NBC's "Later Today," and the host of her own show on the HGTV network. She has designed spaces for celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey and has created her own furniture line. She also writes a weekly syndicated column and is the spokesperson for the Wallpaper Council.

Chris, welcome to WebMD Live.

Madden: Great to be here! I'm really looking forward to everyone's questions and comments today on the need for a getaway, a sanctuary, or whatever!

Moderator: Why "getaways"?

Madden: Okay ... I think most of us are leading very hectic, fast paced lives these days, whether we're on the super informational highway or not. And I think there is a great need to have somewhere in our lives, a place to get away from it all. Even if it's in our own backyard.

Dricka_WebMD: We have an old house in Manchester, Vermont and need some private do we/I find it?

Madden: Well, I'm in Manchester, Vermont as we speak! And, the way I found some privacy in my own home was to grab a room, and carve out a corner for myself. So, I suggest if you have a bedroom, or a living room, to take a little corner of it and put in a comfortable chair, or a loveseat, or a chaise longue, add a big basket or trunk next to it and fill it with things that feed your soul. Also, think about the five senses and think about adding music, candles (aromatherapy candles are great!), the right lighting, a cozy throw, and then personalize your little corner with photographs and personal memorabilia.

Moderator: Do I need a vacation home or cottage?

Madden: In order to create a getaway, the good news is you don't need to have a second home. Although it's wonderful if you do! But I suggest probably the best place is within your home because you know you can come home to that special getaway every night.

Moderator: Can I use one room or do I need to transform my whole house?

Madden: You can start small with one room and hopefully, your whole home will become a getaway for you and your family. But I always like to suggest to start small and go from there.

Moderator: What exactly are we "getting away" from?

Madden: (laughs!) I think, well, to quote Toni Morrison, 'A getaway is a vision of a place you've had in your mind. And, when you find yourself there, you recognize it.' And, for each one of us, a getaway or a sanctuary is as personal as we are. So some of us are trying to escape, again, from the computerized, fast-paced life we live. Some of us want, you know, a little tent in our backyard to chill out from the stresses of every day. It's really, I think, the day in and day out stress that a lot of us are trying, not really to escape from, but to sort of enter a new place, a new zone, to relax into.

Moderator: So you could have varying levels of getaway -- your home, your living room, your favorite chair --

Madden: Exactly! Yes. That's great. You keep getting -- or vice versa, you start small and make it bigger. And, for some people, hey -- it's their car! (laughs!) My little BMW convertible that got us up here, hey! That's my getaway! (laughs!) So good!

Moderator: What challenges do you face when designing spaces for others?

Madden: The biggest challenge I face when designing a space for someone else is to be sure to imbue it with their personality. With the elements that will work for them, that will make them feel comfortable and that will feed their soul. And, so, you know, whether it's Katie Couric, or Oprah or my sister-in-law, that's an important issue that I always put at the forefront.

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