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Happy Place: Fort Edition

Bernese Mountain Dog in sheets.
Written By
Kate Speer
Photographs By
Photos courtesy of Kate Speer

Creating sanctuaries has been my love language since I was a little girl. I was the kid who rearranged her room once a month, so it was no surprise that I took a liking to expressing myself beyond the bounds of furniture whenever I could. I built my first sheet fort in first grade after I was bullied for my learning disability. My parents came to accept my ever-rotating furniture arrangement and fort extravaganzas because of the healing effects they had on me. Lost in those tented cocoons I found a place where I could daydream beyond the bounds of my room, the bullies at school and the challenges of growing up.

While most adventures in make-believe fort building fade for children, my passion did not. Creating an oasis out of sheets and blankets stuck with me as interior design became a formative self-care routine. Each new hurdle challenged me to design a new sanctuary, a new happy place to come home to.

While most people barely hung a poster in their college dorm and were consumed with what parties to attend, I struggled with mental health. To help me combat the darkness, I turned to my form of self-care – building a fort. Within the soft white walls, lit by an inviting glow of twinkle lights, I found a way to rest my mind, daydream and enjoy peace. 

Fast forward to today and my mental wellness is in a much better place. I choose joy, fighting to make every day a happy day with my service dog, Waffle and my husband, Dave.