Not long after being diagnosed with PTSD in 2014, my home address was posted online by violent, right-wing misogynists. I became paranoid and terrified, often sleeping with a baseball bat near my bed. Sometimes, I would push my couch in front of my door because even the bolt lock wasn’t enough to make me feel safe. I became a homebody who didn’t even feel okay in my home.

After such a traumatic loss of control, my therapist suggested that I explore things that not only made me feel safe in my home, but things that made my home as pleasing and comforting as possible. Look into home security systems, cook really good meals that bring me comfort, and buy some candles to make everything smell lovely and create a positive association with the home.

I looked in grocery stores, boutiques, and big-box stores, but I didn’t like most of the candles I found. I like unconventional and complex fragrances, so I soon taught myself how to make my own candles in scents I loved.

When I moved into a new apartment to start off with a clean slate, I struggled to find attractive pieces of furniture and art that were also affordable. I went 9 months without a dining table because I couldn’t find an affordable one that I actually liked.

Instead of constantly caving in to Amazon for the items I wanted in my home, I started restoring beat-up vintage pieces and designing and building new pieces myself. People started asking me to make them candles and furniture, so I worked harder to hone my craft. I needed these things in my own home to feel safe and happy in my sanctuary and now I want to share them with other people — people like me.

I firmly believe that good design should be for everyone, not just the rich and elite. While there’s no ethical consumption under capitalism, I’m proud to be an independent maker offering up some alternative options to make your home the sanctuary it needs to be. Thanks for supporting the underdog, the commoner — the lowborn — by shopping with me.