In our latest series, Creating Your Intentional Space, we are sitting down with those that have curated and constructed spaces that live and breathe intention, beauty, and home. Angela O’Brien certainly fits that bill, as the Founder and Creative Director of ethically-made boho brand, Cleobella, she has spent her life bringing conscious design to the world. Splitting her life between Bali and California, she certainly has mastered the art of blending cultures in authentic ways. Check out her responses below and make sure to add a meditation room to your “forever home” manifestation list.
What does creating an intentional space mean to you?
Similar to designing a collection for Cleobella, creating an intentional space starts with a clear story and vision. Our intention with our home was to create a calm space that felt like a retreat and reminded us of our travels. It was important to incorporate natural and found objects that were memories from far away places that feel loved and not too precious. We wanted our home to feel lived in and comfortable, a place to bring together family and friends.
We thought about how we live and how we want to center ourselves. Building a meditation room was an important design element and is where we find ourselves most mornings. It’s surrounded by glass windows, faces the ocean, and has become a great place to watch the sunset and wind down from the day.
Designing a home is a sacred act, it’s an expression of ourselves, it’s a place to nourish our souls and lift our spirits.
What tools and practices have you used in your homes and stores to bring to life your values and intentions?
I’m fortunate to be surrounded by many female healers who I work with to clear each space and raise the energetics. My dear friend Shannon Aganza who is an incredible astrologist, comes to our home, office and boutique yearly to shift the energy. Using the vibration of fire ceremony, tuning forks, and crystals, we work together to raise the vibration of our space, which helps protect from negative energy and bring in more light and love. It’s an ancient ritual in many cultures that’s proven to massively clear the energy and move positive flow. It’s a practice that anyone can do themselves. Pour equal parts Epsom salt and rubbing alcohol into a heavy cast iron pot and then light it and let it burn out entirely. Get lost in the flame and set your intentions for greatness.
You’ve spent a lot of time traveling. Do you have any advice for creating grounding and comfort in environments and locations that aren’t your own?
Whenever I arrive at a new location, I make sure to ground myself in nature; whether it’s my feet in the sand or in the grass, it’s important for me to connect with my new environment. I also travel with incense, it brings in a familiar smell that connects me to my daily ritual.
Currently, you split your time between Los Angeles and Bali. How do you find the experience of living in two different locations?
It’s been a natural rhythm for our family for the past 14 years and a very important part of my internal self discovery. There’s a lot more alone time living in Bali, which gives our family an opportunity to slow down and live in the moment without plans. Our lifestyle in California is full of engagements and it’s a pace that isn’t always sustainable. Living in Indonesia has been an incredible gift to our family, our children have traveled the world and experienced many cultures and we see it in their spirit. In order to live this duality, we homeschool, so we have the flexibility to be mobile. Bali has had our heart from the beginning, it has been like a second mother to me, it has helped grow me into the person I am and I never take for granted the beauty and blessings it has given us. I love living in two places, both California and Bali bring so much abundance and beauty that has enriched our lives. California is where our roots are. It’s where family is, it’s where our business operates. Bali is where my creativity blooms. Both places were surrounded by a community of artists and entrepreneurs, open-minded individuals who we admire and inspire us.
What are some of your most treasured rooms and areas in your homes? Why?
The downstairs powder room is such a special area of our home and I love having it for guests to experience when they come over. We mixed a black and ivory limestone checkered floor, with a vintage Indian wedding trunk as our vanity with a marble slab on top and two antique old Hollywood light sconces and we painted the walls a plastered color called Nitty Gritty by Portola Paint.
Are there any significant items and pieces in your spaces that hold particular meaning or fondness?
I cherish my quartz crystals that were a gift from my husband five years ago. We don’t typically give each other big gifts, and this was a really meaningful surprise. Clear quartz channels healing energies and spiritual vibes. They help cleanse, focus the mind and bring mental clarity. They sit next to my African wood-carved statues that I believe hold magic qualities that strengthen my marriage. My most recent addition is this large art piece I found at the Long Beach Flea Market. It reminds me of tribal women dancing and symbolizes a freedom and an uninhibited energy that just makes me happy.
Do you think our external environments affect our inner world?
For me, yes, I’ve learned that it’s an energy exchange. When I’m surrounded by beauty and meaning, my internal reality feels more alive and at peace. And in turn, when I’m grounded in my internal world, I find my external world is in a flowstate and I can attract more abundance.
What has been one change that you’ve made in your home that has impacted your physical, mental or spiritual health?
We’ve created a spiritual sanctuary that is nourishing to our souls, a shelter that protects us from the challenges of our world and reminds us to go inward. Our backyard was designed to be spa-like with a sauna and ice plunge. Inside, we have a mediation room and we use our guest room as a home gym and yoga studio, which has been so necessary while we are home during COVID.
How do you find creating a space for your family different from creating a space solely for yourself?
When you have children, everything changes and they become your priority. It was always my dream to create an open kitchen floor plan where I could cook for my family and engage in watching my daughter work on art projects and hear my son write a new song. The kitchen is the heart of the home and where we spend the most time together. I love cooking and entertaining and we have a great open floor plan with bifold doors to the backyard that really feel like we’re bringing the outdoors in.
Creating any space is being mindful of how you live in it. When designing our home, it was important that my husband and I could create a retreat space that quieted the noise and brought us back to us. Our master bedroom feels like we’re on vacation. Our bathroom has a soaking tub, where I do nightly Epsom salt baths, dual walk closets, meditation room (faces the ocean) sunsets, and a small balcony that is a sweet place to read or wind down the day with a glass of wine.
Has your definition of home changed over the course of 2020?
2020 has inspired us to live a Renaissance lifestyle of creating and indulging in the simplicity of life and enjoying the arts. Reading, painting, gardening, baking bread, eating dinner by candlelight, playing music, dance parties and cementing more connectedness with our family. It’s also been a time of self reflection and going inward, connecting with a virtual community of healers through breath work, Kundalini, mediation and maintaining a wellness ritual in our sauna and cold plunge has really helped ground us. It hasn’t always been easy navigating but I’ve come to appreciate the lessons and have eased into a flow that I hope to carry with me when the world opens again. I’m longing for more connection and travel. I’m already dreaming up our next trip to India to be with our beloved makers, and visit my best friend in Australia and be reunited with our Bali community, but until then we’ll harvest at home and enjoy the simple abundance.
Angela O’Brien is the Founder and Creative Director of the California-based, ethical fashion brand Cleobella. Her globally inspired, timeless handmade pieces are a celebration of beauty and heritage techniques. Cleobella is best known for their one-of-a-kind hand woodblock printed dresses that are equally flattering as they are versatile. When Ange isn’t designing, you can find her practicing Kundalini yoga, traveling, or creating memories with her husband and two children.