Toosie Slide if You Want:

Homes As Sanctuaries

By Christa Tarnoviski
Illustrations by PEL & Doug Aldrich

A few weeks ago, Aubrey Drake Graham brought us inside of his Toronto home—if you can even call it that. His 50,000 square foot manse far exceeds my comparatively simple definition of home and altogether makes me reconsider the minuscule railroad apartment that my husband and I occupy.

Shelter in place. Quarantine. I’ve come to the conclusion that, rapper-singer mansions notwithstanding, the idea of “home” now possesses new meaning and dimension.

No, not because Drake shattered its given definition with the grand reveal of his glamourous supermall home and its unfathomable amenities in the “Toosie Slide” music video. Home’s new definition is a result of the inescapable reality of COVID-19 and the challenging but necessary need to practice social distancing and remain inside of our residences.

Our homes, now more than ever, are literal sanctuaries—safe spaces reverberating our personal tastes, aspirations, and aesthetics—shielding us and our loved ones from an unsafe outside environment.

Like most New Yorkers, I’ve spent the last month and change inside of my home—its total footprint equating to a whopping 2% of Drake’s Canadian compound, in the event that any of you reading this were curious. Needless to say, I’ve had ample time to intensely examine its interior and, more importantly, the feelings that it imbues amid a global health crisis.

In its most basic form, home acts as a place of shelter protecting us from outside forces—and according to Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs—fulfilling an essential prerequisite of the human condition: safety. Going further, a more contemporary and potentially privileged understanding of home is as a physical structure that serves as an extension of our personhood.

These days, the latter definition seems most fitting for many of us and our good friend, Aubrey.

Home acts as a place of shelter protecting us from outside forces–and according to Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs—fulfilling an essential prerequisite of the human condition: safety.

Proof lies in our desire to accessorize our homes with items—including such wishlist favorites as Breuer Wassily chairs, Sottsass Ultrafragola mirrors, or framed Elise Peterson prints—that reinforce our individuality by highlighting our interests and tastes. We can’t go outside (for the most part), so who’s to say we can’t peacock for homebound audiences?

If home is indeed an extension of our personhood, our interactions with our respective spaces, amid the COVID-19 crisis, perhaps reveal a set of deeper desires:

To manufacture peace through interior design projects.
To bring the outside indoors by purchasing a surplus of house plants.
To transform our places of shelter into multifunctional environments replicating the personal and professional lives we lived outside of our respective spaces just weeks ago.

Although manifesting differently, each desire underscores the need to feel in control during a situation that feels completely and utterly out of our control.

My hypothesis is that as we spend more time inside of our homes we will become more focused on manufacturing safe and idyllic spaces that provide a sense of peace during times of extreme uncertainty because our homes are one of the few places we still have control over.

For many of us, our focus will manifest itself in the form of literal home improvement and interior-design projects, which the pandemic has given us ample reason—and time—to pursue. We’re not escaping our neighborhoods, but rather, finding escape in the areas of refuge we now occupy nearly 24/7, a personal corner of the world we can Toosie Slide in as much as we’d like to or not.︎

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