I think that when it comes to home design, the term “simplicity” can have multiple—and occasionally disparate—connotations. Oftentimes, the word summons images of austere settings; linear concrete bunkers with nary a speck of dust or hair out of place. While spaces like this are beautiful in their own right, they can often belie strenuous and meticulous practice on the part of the homeowner, things that don’t necessarily go hand-in-hand with simple living. In the case of yoga teacher and artist Ja Soon Kim‘s New Mexico home, simplicity finds a different meaning. Not quite minimalist or maximalist, this quiet space has an at-ease, laissez-faire quality about it; the rules and rigidity of left-brain thinking are exchanged for a more fluid approach. Plants are placed in unceremonious clusters in corners, magazines are stacked in piles, and pieces of art are hung in accordance with their surroundings, rather than on a pre-conceived grid. Kim’s artwork, stunning photographs that depict collections of foraged leaves, plants and flowers, are beautiful meditations on the ephemeral quality of nature. Her home is in many ways the same—the space is one that seems able to evolve and refine over time, with personal objects and collections of naturalia painting an ever-changing story about the home and its inhabitant. —Max
Image above: Ja Soon’s chihuahua, Ipo, stretches out in the living room. When Ja Soon purchased her home, the entire home was carpeted in wall-to-wall shag. Prior to moving in, she removed the carpeting and refinished the floors. The downstairs features a concrete floor, the upstairs is knotty pine. “I think the floors set the mood and look and feel of the whole house,” she says.
Image above: A collection of feathers pinned to the wall near the fireplace.
Image above: The front entryway and part of the living room. An antique Korean chest sits in the corner alongside a stump holding a Takeshi Murakami doll. An antique scroll hangs in the entryway.
Image above: The corner fireplace acts as a home for collections of rocks, shells, and birds’ nests.
Image above: A collection of ceramics made by local artists. A Noguchi lamp sits alongside the couch.
Image above: The downstairs bookcase. A Kiki Smith print hangs on the right.
Image above: A view into the main staircase. A Toshiko Takaesu bowl sits on the right.
Image above: “Didn’t Diana Vreeland say that a home should have something red?” Ja Soon ponders. “I took that literally and painted the guest bathroom red. It cheers me up so.”
Image above: The kitchen.
Image above: The main staircase features a railing made from a foraged piece of aspen. “It’s the touch of nature that makes my home cozy,” Ja Soon says.
Image above: Looking into the bedroom from the upstairs landing. A Korean scroll commemorating Ja Soon’s father’s 60th birthday, written by a well-known Korean calligrapher, hangs in the hallway. An embroidered Mexican dress hangs on the interior bedroom door.
Image above: A traditional Korean linen top, originally worn by Ja Soon’s grandmother, hangs above her bed. “I have an old photo of her wearing this very top with long, white linen skirt,” she says.
Image above: A collection of blankets and textiles in the bedroom.
Image above: Ja Soon’s yoga room where she practices and teaches yoga. “This is my santuary where I sit in meditation,” she says.