Continuity is the most important element in a home for Douglas and Caryl Sickul. “It has to feel like it all belongs together,” says Douglas, who has been designing and building homes for 35 years. Douglas’ passion for creating inspiring spaces has lead the Sickuls to move a dozen times in their almost-50 years of marriage. “Doug would see a piece of land and get a vision and want to build a house,” Caryl explains.
The concept for their Tiverton, Rhode Island home, situated on 3.7 pastoral acres, was serenity and connecting with nature. As with all of the houses he has built, Douglas hand-picked all of the wood used throughout the interior. “The materials themselves affect us," he explains. “I worked at it so everything feels like it keeps flowing along. Nothing stops you, jars you, or hits you in the face as you walk by. It all flows.”
Curved lines both inside and outside the home, inspired by Zen and Japanese design, make the house softer. “The intention is for the house and garden to flow as one,” Caryl elaborates. “The sun, moon, and earth are elliptical, as are the features of land and faces. ‘All is one’ as the Dalai Lama says.”
The element of fluidity lends itself beautifully to Caryl’s life and work as a dancer and yoga instructor. A large 18’ x 36’ studio, with a wall of windows on two sides, provides an inspiring space for Caryl to dance and guide students through Vinyasa yoga classes.
Caryl’s long career as a dance professor – her area of expertise is sacred and ritual dance and yoga – provided a life of adventure for the Sickuls. Her research sabbaticals sent the couple to Africa, Australia, Bhutan, India, Indonesia, Mexico and New Guinea, where they observed performances, community ceremonies and events that Caryl would later share with her students. The ethnographic art displayed throughout their home reflects the deep impression these travel experiences made on their life. “People make the things they cherish,” Douglas says while pointing to a mask he and Caryl watched a little old man hand-carve in New Guinea. “Once you see that, and feel that, the objects you take home from there are just different.”
The continuity Douglas and Caryl seek in a home carries over from their work into their life. Creative expression is fluidly woven into the fabric of their everyday existence. Making their artistic pursuits a priority has given these septuagenarians the energy and glow of newlyweds half their age.
You can check out the full house tour and read more about the Sickul's home on Apartment Therapy.
Photos and text by Jacqueline Marque