Giving your Home a new Option

Wellness Blogger Jules Acree Carves Out a Soothing Retreat in Austin

Wellness blogger Jules Acree was just a few months into her marriage and a year into living at their new Austin home before shelter-in-place took effect; amid the whirlwind transitions, the pandemic has actually allowed her to relish the small moments and take a break from the usual grind. 

As someone who’s worked from home for the past several years, her schedule remains similar in terms of the heads-down work. Still, even with allowing herself to “sleep in,” she gets up around 7:30 a.m. to start her rituals before tackling her responsibilities as a creative entrepreneur. The founder of Om & The City, a mindful living blog, shares wellness tips through writing, speaking, photography, and videos. She also hosts workshops, teaches yoga, and works with conscious brands. Needless to say, she’s a busy woman, and wanted her home to reflect the same vibrant—yet soothing—energy of her work.

“Some must-haves for our space were lots of plants, beautiful mirrors to open up the space, and textured throw pillows,” says Jules Acree.

Casual house hunting led Jules and her husband, Andrew, to find their current home in one of their favorite neighborhoods before it was even publicly listed. The two-story, open-concept dwelling is flooded with natural light from oversize windows—the perfect backdrop for the minimal, modern bohemia that they envisioned.

“I don’t like ‘decoration,’ says Jules. “I like everything to have a purpose, so you won’t find any decorative items just taking up space—unless it’s a 100-year-old family heirloom from Korea.” On the wall here is art from Jan Skecelik.

“I really gravitate towards a natural color palette with bohemian textures and a few pops of color,” says Jules. “This allows me to feel at peace in my space. My vision was to create an open and calming space that brings nature indoors.”

Unsurprisingly, she spends about 40% of her day sitting in their newly upgraded outdoor patio to both work and lounge. Inside, she focuses on biophilic inspirations to create a peaceful, intentional retreat. Here, she tells Dwell how her life has shifted, how she’s coping with the current crisis, and offers tips for everyday wellness. 

“I am all about organization, so you will find lots of bins, baskets, and organizers throughout the home, tucked into our drawers, and inside our cabinets,” says Jules.

First, how are you coping during COVID-19? 

Jules: I think we all cope with things differently. My first motto has been to meet yourself where you are at, and I’ve just tried to keep this in mind especially over the past few months. In the midst of a lot of cancelled plans, projects, and events, I’m taking this as an opportunity to breathe deeper, meditate longer, eat slower, and just lean into the reality of what life is at the moment. We are in this together.

The guest room offers some extra space with an added monitor for when Jules and her husband need some solo time to work during the day. 

What is your new normal? Do you have any rituals? 

My “normal” hasn’t changed all that much because I’m very much used to working from home. I think more than anything, it’s been a practice of patience with myself and my husband…and letting go of making plans for “when this is all over.” It’s okay to look forward to the future, but I want to focus on being present, living the life I have now, and making the most of it.

My daily rituals tend to ebb and flow, but I do make a matcha latte each morning, and it’s honestly one of the best parts of my day! This simple ritual brings me joy, it helps me focus, it calms my nerves, and it nourishes me. I also like to reset my space each morning before I start work so I can encourage focus and productivity. I like to remind myself that daily rituals don’t have to be complicated. You can simply be you: unplug, sit, breathe, and tune in. It can be as simple as taking five minutes out of your day to focus on your breath. It’s the little things, done consistently, that will add up to the big things. And the best kind of change isn’t always something you can physically see. It’s something you feel internally.

The day always begins in the kitchen with one of Jule’s morning rituals—making a matcha latte.

What does your day-to-day look like? 

I’ve been enjoying slower mornings in quarantine. While in my old routine I’d wake up at 6 a.m. every day, these days I let myself wake up naturally, which is usually around 7:30 a.m. I still like to get my morning movement in, even if it’s just 10 minutes of stretching. I meet myself where I’m at everyday, and even though my emotions seem to ebb and flow, I try my best to keep structure in my day-to-day with good ’ol task-batching and themed days. Here’s how I maximize my time as a creative entrepreneur.

Despite events being cancelled, Jule’s workflow remains about the same, especially as she’s used to working from home. Here, she sits at her World Market desk over a playful NuLoom rug.

How are you and your husband navigating the space together? 

We got married in Costa Rica a few weeks before all of this happened, so we were coming off of cloud nine and straight into quarantine. I definitely love having him home with me and the dogs. It can get lonely working from home sometimes, so I enjoy the company. As far as work flow goes, Andrew is a designer, so he needs a double-monitor setup. Luckily, we have monitors in both my office and the guest room. We take turns throughout the week, since the guest room is smaller. I think we’ve done a really good job navigating this time together overall.

Jules has been taking mornings a bit slower, allowing herself some extra sleep in her cozy West Elm bed and Parachute bedding. Above, handmade honeycomb shelves bring more of the outdoors in with some cascading plants. 

How do you each find time alone? 

We have to remember that neither of us are mind readers…so if we are feeling the need for alone time, we practice letting the other know. Andrew will go out for a solo run; I sit outside on the patio a lot. It just comes down to communication and respecting the other person’s space. 

What have been your biggest challenges and concerns during this time? 

Well, there are the obvious concerns for the state of the world and worry surrounding how this will impact our future. So, beyond that, we do have our fair share of at-home challenges like anyone else. Work hasn’t really slowed down for me, which I’m very grateful for. However, with me and Andrew being home mostly 24/7, adopting a second dog right before quarantine, and cooking most everything at home, it feels like there’s always a mess to clean on top of trying to run my business. I get anxiety when I’m surrounded by clutter—more than the average person. It’s been a practice for me to be okay with a little more mess, dust, dishes, and laundry. I’ve become better at delegating tasks and not trying to micro-manage things, as long as it gets done.  

The bathroom is clean and minimal to maintain a serene (and easy-to-clean) environment.

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