I am Nicole, co-founder and co-owner of Aval House and the master smith behind all the writing you read on this website and our shop on Etsy. Besides writing for Aval House, I also run my own blog, Remembered Lore, where I expound with abandon on Story and Language.
Thus far, on Aval House: The Blog, all Elise and I have posted is shop-related: sale announcements, product launches, etc. However, Aval House is deeper than this. Elise and I built Aval House to celebrate the lifestyle we live. We are inspired by great works of literature, lessons learned from travel abroad, and, most importantly, our Christian faith. With this in mind, you may now look forward to dozens of lovely, uplifting snippets in the next months smattered amongst shop announcements and updates!
So, as our homepage says so poetically:
Please, enter. Come in out of the wind and wild and let your heart be enriched and your mind refreshed. Here Beauty and Worth are celebrated, Wisdom sought, and Truth upheld.
On Building Rivendell
This post is the first of three on how to incorporate Rivendellishness into your home. Both Elise and I are admirers of J.R.R. Tolkien’s works, particularly for their clarity and beauty. I am often pondering how I can bring the wonderful experiences I have in literature into my daily life. This short series is an attempt to share some of these experiences with you.
Rivendell is the name of a house in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien. It is situated in a deep valley surrounded by waterfalls and mountain woods—reminiscent of the Lauterbrunnen Valley in Switzerland. However, at this moment I am not so much concerned with the location of Rivendell as the atmosphere of the house itself. In The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien describes Rivendell as “perfect whether you liked food, or sleep, or work, or story-telling, or singing, or just sitting and thinking best, or a pleasant mixture of them all.”1 Would it not be wonderful if we could say this about our private homes?
In J.R.R. Tolkien’s works, Rivendell is not a major centre of action. The reader sees Rivendell through the eyes of the main characters for whom Rivendell is a resting place on a greater journey. Travellers who come to Rivendell find peace and rest to strengthen them for their journey ahead. They receive healing, refreshment, and wise counsel for their future road. The air around Rivendell is itself uplifting: fresh, filled with the smell of waterfalls and trees and the singing of birds. This sensation is so potent that it floats from the page and rests in my mind as I read. How can I bring this feeling of rest into my own home so others as well as myself feel refreshed, uplifted, and strengthened?
The place where you live is your home—your haven. It should be a restful place. Do not think about others just yet. If you are at peace and find rest in your own home, others will also.
There should be spaces in your home where you can enjoy quiet. The recipe for quietness is different for every person. For some this means lots of plants or growing things or a window looking onto a garden. For others, quietness is in tea, books, art, candles, any variety of these, or something else entirely. For myself, I make a cup of tea, sit down, and simply drink my tea. Sometimes I gaze out the window at God’s wondrous creation, sometimes I read, sometimes I just think. You know what quiets you most. Use your imagination to discover how to incorporate these rest-inspiring elements into your home. Remember, a restful space need not be a room. It can be a corner, a bookshelf, a chair, or a window: wherever it is that you can feel silence, peace, and the breath and inspiration of God.
In repentance and rest is your salvation,
in quietness and trust is your strength…
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1J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, Chapter 3
Featured image: Yosemite Falls, by Albert Bierstadt