Some people find comfort in the kitchen. Louise Meyers has found a way to carry it throughout the house.
Meyers, who owns the kitchen and necessities store Pryde’s in Westport, started a collection of religious art with a garage sale find. The inspiration she felt from decorating with that piece led to a house filled through what she calls the “layering of time” to include spots of solitude and reflection both inside and outside her Countryside home.
Meyers encourages this kind of decorating to bring faith home and provide a space of peace for the family.
Describe your collection and how it got started.
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I have Madonna and child pictures from all over the world. The piece that started it all is a picture I bought for 25 cents at a garage sale. I framed it. Then I just started collecting them.
We decided about 15 years ago that we were going to get away by ourselves for one week out of the year and travel internationally. We have six children. Their ages are 25 to 7. At the time, we had four children. My oldest was 10 years old. We decided to go to Rome because I told my husband I didn’t want to wait to see the Sistine Chapel until I was 80.
That’s how the collection started. I would find pictures when we traveled. It just kind of grew from there. All of these pictures have meaning to me.
Why do you choose to decorate with religious items?
I just think, “What better to base your family home from than faith and truth?” Mary (the mother of Jesus) has always had a guiding presence in my life. We sit and read two newspapers every morning surrounded by my Madonna and child collection of prints. I think the religious art is beautiful. We’re in a total position of gratefulness for our faith and for our family. It’s just a reflection of how we feel, of the gratitude we feel.
How has it made a difference to you to bring the faith into your home?
We come home and exhale. Although my business is like not even going to work for me — I enjoy it even after working there my entire life. Our household is very even and peaceful. I think partly because we are surrounded by faith and truth. It is comfortable.
What tips do you have for someone who would like to put more religious art in their home?
I would start with one wall. I think you should choose something that moves you, that moves your soul. It doesn’t have to be an expensive piece, like my 25-cent Madonna and child. It just moved me. I loved it and I just went and found a frame for it.
I think it’s neat to have a whole collection of something that someone can give you, maybe your husband or one of your kids know you like that. Faith is such a wonderful thing to value and to pass along to your children. I like religious decorations in every room.
It comforts me. You can become a part of the art in your house. My house is the layering of 26 years of marriage. We have been in this house for 17 years. It doesn’t come all together at once. The layers of time allow you to enjoy your things and amass them in different ways in your house.
What have you done outside your home?
When my youngest baby, Mary, was born, we named her after the blessed mother. We wanted to build something to honor Mary and Mary. So we had a friend build a grotto. It is the greatest place in the world to go. My kids hang out there with friends.
I just built a side patio like a side patio I saw at St. Anne’s Church in Jerusalem, which is right next to the pool of Bethesda. I got an icon on my trip to Jerusalem that a 94-year-old woman made. My friend made an acrylic box to protect it from the sun and wind. I remember looking at this and thinking I’m going to build a side patio and put that out there.
Can people who are not religious use these same ideas?
Surround yourself by things you value. Have pictures of your family. Surrounding myself with the religious art is comforting, but I collect a lot of different things. I collect books, mortars and pestles. I like maps and globes. I think it’s important to surround yourself with things you like and that comfort you and that are personal to you.
Half of my books are my dad’s books, who passed away. I just think your home should be a reflection of what you like and what you value. Have pictures of your family. Have pictures of things that mean something to you.