a musical retreat for artists, yogis and friends
After driving up and down Roscomare Road several times (I am notorious for never finding my way anywhere), it is only the number painted on the curb that alerts me to the fact that I have finally arrived. A long high hedge presumably runs the length of the house, as a white door in the center of it marks the only visible entrance from the street. I ring the bell and get buzzed in. Walking through the door feels like stepping into another world as I find myself met with the vision of the sun shining on an expansive lawn in front of the great white house that lies ahead. Two girls carrying yoga mats cross my path and wave back to Erin, (Mantra Girl to those familiar with her music), who is standing in the doorway. “Welcome,” she says as she greets me with a warm smile and ushers me into the home she and Adam share.
As I walk in I am struck by the bright light that filters through from every angle and the high ceilings that add depth and openness to the space. Erin leads me into the living room where, through the glass doors behind, I can see the pool out back and a steep hill starting around it and stretching out above the property. The space feels very safe and I notice myself beginning to relax into the environment.
Adam arrives and just as we begin to discuss the house (which is, I remember, why I’m here in the first place), the phone rings. “It’s for Erin,” Adam declares. “How do you know?” I wonder out loud. “Erin’s ring is one third higher than mine,” he quickly replies. Thus begins our interview and my tour of their home as well as their musical and artistic minds. It doesn’t take long for me to realize that it is going to be very difficult to write about the architecture and the layout of this house when there is so much more beneath it: the foundation upon which it was built and the current of life and art that flow through every inch of the space each day.
Erin Kamler and Adam Smalley are musicians, artists, and yogis. Erin has a past in musical theatre and singing in off-Broadway shows. More recently, she has been singing, chanting, and practicing Kundalini Yoga for more than eight years. Adam is a film score producer, music supervisor, music editor and songwriter. His work ranges from projects such as The Thin Red Line and Gladiator to The Lion King, The Prince of Egypt and A Knight’s Tale. Combining their wealth of musical experience and passion for chanting, Erin and Adam have set up an umbrella brand, Mantra Girl, under which they have released a CD and two DVDs, and have another album and new line of lotions on the way.
Erin and Adam’s home, I learn, is the space in which Mantra Girl blossomed. Acting as a retreat from the outside world, it provided them and those around them with an outlet to express their creativity and to manifest their musical, artistic, and yogic inspiration and ideas. Complete with a beautiful yoga room and high tech recording studio, the couple has in their own words “created a space that is a sanctuary within the city for artists, yogis and friends.” Intent on having a home that is deeply rooted in community, Adam and Erin constructed a number of guest rooms (two plus one in the studio) and built seating areas in the kitchen, den and patio designed to hold far more people than those belonging to a single family. Even the yoga studio has the potential to support a flow of visitors as its garage-like door – usually sealing the room off from the outside – slides up and opens the room out onto the patio, allowing for a good-sized community class to congregate.
Although Erin and Adam did not build the home themselves, the couple spent over a year remodeling the residence. It was a large project to take on but they both felt that the energy of the space and its history as a positive family home, once owned by good friends of theirs, made it a worthwhile investment. Ultimately encouraging the house to grow organically, the partners placed everything they saw and continue to see as being sacred in their lives (light, openness, music, meditation, mantra, yoga and love) inside, setting the tone for a life embodying all of these elements to prosper. Today, one need only step through the door to realize that what lies within is a sacred space dedicated to art and creation.
Outside the home live the four elements: earth, air, fire (a clay pit), and water (the pool), igniting the house and invoking the energy of creation into it. Since transforming their home into a sacred space, Erin and Adam believe that a certain amount of humility can be felt by those within and around the abode. In addition to having created an artistic oasis, Erin and Adam have also chosen to honor the environment in a number of ways such as fitting in a tankless water heater for their water system and having a saltwater pool installed.
Erin and Adam’s home serves to illustrate how by setting the intention for your desires, you allow the manifestation of them to unfold. Everything that we create has an effect on this planet in the same way that every mantra we mutter has a vibrational consequence in the universe. If you are looking for a retreat from life or perhaps a retreat into life, a place where you can feel safe and free to be yourself, it is time to begin to recognize the mantras in your own life and the potential that you possess to manifest them. While it may be difficult at first to move away from the Sanskrit connotation that the word ”˜mantra’ invokes, I urge you to look beyond it and towards the words or phrases that when spoken help you to connect to a deeper source within yourself. Beginning with idiom “there’s no place like hOMe.”