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Just Looking At This Tranquil California Home Will Make You Feel Instantly Calm

Emma Loewe
mbg Senior Sustainability Editor
By Emma Loewe
mbg Senior Sustainability Editor
Emma Loewe is the Senior Sustainability Editor at mindbodygreen and the author of "Return to Nature: The New Science of How Natural Landscapes Restore Us."
Image by @alenagee
July 15, 2021

Alena Laura Magsino's Rocklin, California, home (@alenagee in Instagram) is a total mind cleanse. Magsino and her husband purchased the space in 2020 and have spent the last year making it their own using a subdued, warm color palette with pops of plants, artwork, and ceramics. Here's a peek inside the tranquil haven:

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What's your favorite room in your home and why?

My favorite spot in our home is the dining area. We spend a lot of time entertaining family and friends here. Also, it gets so much natural light during the day, which gives off such a calming vibe. It's also home to my favorite furniture flip to date—our dining table!

How often do you change up the decor of your home? What are some small changes you've found make a big difference?

We usually change up small furniture and some decor placement every couple of months. We like to switch things up to get an instant refresh on a space without spending a pretty penny! In terms of small changes with huge impact, we quickly figured out that hanging plants from our ceiling not only creates a stunning foliage focal point but also gives us some of our square footage back.

white living room with light wood accents and lots of plants
Image by @alenagee
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What's the most sentimental thing hanging on your walls, and what's the story behind it?

The most sentimental thing hanging on our wall right now would be the framed plants puzzle in our primary bedroom. The puzzle is very dear to me because it was gifted to me by my sister! She knows how much I love plants and how much I'd enjoy working on it.

What's the oldest thing in your home? Newest?

The oldest items in our home are a pair of vintage mid-century modern nightstands in our primary bedroom, which were thrifted. The newest items are a pair of accent chairs for the living room from Target.

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What noises can be heard in your home? What smells are there?

I have music playing all the time! You'll often hear acoustic covers of songs from the '70s, '80s, and '90s. You would smell candle scents like sandalwood or incense as soon as you walk into our home. If we're cooking, then you'd smell our favorite Filipino dishes being made!

couple posing in living room of calming home with wood accents
Image by @alenagee
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How does your home support your health and well-being?

I'm very grateful that we purchased our home when we did. We've learned that creating a tranquil space is truly a form of self-care. My husband and I have discovered skills we never knew we had, which changed our mindset—that we literally can do anything as long as we have each other. Maintaining our home's cleanliness and keeping things in order have brought us so much joy as well. Knowing that we'll come home to a tidy home after a shift at work has given us great peace of mind.

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What does the word "home" mean to you?

To me, home is a feeling of belongingness. It's the feeling of being exactly where I am supposed to be. Our home is my happy place. It's where I feel safe. It's where my family and friends can feel safe. It's where I am the most comfortable and worry-free.

Recreate the look:

tutorial about how to recreate the look of a calming home
Image by @ alenagee
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Emma Loewe
Emma Loewe
mbg Senior Sustainability Editor

Emma Loewe is the Senior Sustainability Editor at mindbodygreen and the author of Return to Nature: The New Science of How Natural Landscapes Restore Us. She is also the co-author of The Spirit Almanac: A Modern Guide To Ancient Self Care, which she wrote alongside Lindsay Kellner.

Emma received her B.A. in Environmental Science & Policy with a specialty in environmental communications from Duke University. In addition to penning over 1,000 articles on mbg, her work has appeared on Bloomberg News, Marie Claire, Bustle, and Forbes. She has covered everything from the water crisis in California to the rise of urban beekeeping to a group of doctors prescribing binaural beats for anxiety. She's spoken about the intersection of self-care and sustainability on podcasts and live events alongside environmental thought leaders like Marci Zaroff, Gay Browne, and Summer Rayne Oakes.