Bonny Doon Forest Temple with Eva Holbrook
Tell us the story of how this land came into your life?
Well, it felt pretty cosmic at the time, and still does, so I will do my best to explain it in the linear material realm. Long story short, my beloved of many years, Jamie (owner of the land)—now creative/business partner—had a vision of creating a healing center with me in Bonny Doon, CA through a transformative holotropic breathwork session.
At the time neither of us knew this forest well and had only driven by on Highway 1. We looked at several properties over several months, but I knew when we walked onto Sunlit Lane it was “the one”. Ultimately, it was our neighbor that sealed the deal for us. A beautiful medicine woman with long silver hair, wise eyes, and a strong spirit. She has become a teacher, friend, mentor to us in many ways and we are so grateful to have her in our lives!
What has called you to provide this land as a space for healing?
I think it was a natural progression for both Jamie and I being on a healing journey within ourselves, individually. We also wanted a safe place for our friends and family to experience healing as well. Specifically by connecting to nature— recognizing that we are not separate from nature. This forest is so powerful, we wanted to create a temple to pray and honor Her, our mother earth.
Given that we are living in a time where wildness is no longer valued by most, and we are so dependant on modern luxuries,it feels more important than ever to commune with the trees and try to learn the ways of our ancestors & the native peoples that once stewarded this land not long ago. In this case, the Ohlone & Awaswas people of the Santa Cruz mountains.
What was/is your dream for this place?
So many dreams! Many of them have come true, and still many yet to be revealed. I know for Jamie, hosting his teacher and family from the Yawanawa tribe in the Amazon of Brazil was a big moment. Coincidentally, or maybe not, his teacher’s teacher had visited the land some 10-15 years earlier. We had no idea about this, but later connected everything together.
For me, this place was an absolute dream to design & build. I had wanted to create something special like this for a long time, so I feel very grateful to have partnered with Jamie. He allowed me full creative expression and challenged me to think outside of my comfort zone. It got even better earlier this year with the addition of the “hideaway” , our indoor/outdoor bathhouse zone. There were so many challenges with that space, but so rewarding in the end & I am really proud of the end result.
What was the design inspiration for Bonny Doon?
So many things! I guess the main inspiration was the forest and color palette of the surrounding nature. I love Japanese design —the textures & balance. It can be refined yet rustic at the same time. The integration with nature and use of natural building materials. The tea houses! The garden designs! The art of traditional Japanese joinery. Ikebana, the art of floral design. All of it, I'm just in awe.
Let's talk about that gorgeous indoor outdoor bathhouse! Tell us about it.
It was an absolute dream to design and create this little hermitage in the forest. I wanted the space to feel rustic and immersed in nature, yet luxurious (but not fancy) with a slight Japanese Onsen touch—while still honoring that California coastal ethos. Oh, and a sprinkle of fairy dust, of course.
Obviously I love the culture of bathing, whether its japanese onsen style, turkish baths, korean spa, nordic sauna vibes.Soaking and bath house life is definitely my love language! Ha!
What role does bathing play in your life?
There is a Navajo/Diné traditional prayer called “The Beauty Way.” Or Hozho, a term that refers to a concept found in Diné culture that refers to an interconnectedness between beauty, harmony and goodness in all things physical and spiritual that results in health and well-being for all things and beings. Here it is in Diné (the Navajo name for their nation) translated into English:
In beauty I walk
With beauty before me I walk
With beauty behind me I walk
With beauty above me I walk
With beauty around me I walk
It has become beauty again
I follow the beauty way. I love caring for my body and treating it with reverence. Whether it's a sauna or cold plunge session to cleanse the lymphatic system and detoxify the organs or caressing my entire body with salt scrubs and oils as an act of self love. This also speaks to the idea that we are not separate from nature.
Boony Doon is made with reclaimed and sustainable building materials—tell us more about the process.
Well, not everything is reclaimed but we did our best to be mindful of where everything was coming from! For example, a huge topic in sustainability is wood for building. Right now, in BC Canada they are STILL logging old growth forests for lumber. It is mind blowing that this is legal. So I wanted to make sure I knew where ours was coming from,especially since this was a major portion of the building supply.
The bath house is made from Montana Ghostwood which is a unique product that is predominantly made from Ponderosa and Lodgepole Pine dead standing timber. Often this timber was killed by wildfires or bark beetles, which makes it more environmentally friendly than using new wood. Same with the wood floors in the Main house - we got them from a heritage salvage yard in Petaluma - they are spalted maple, from windfallen trees in Wisconsin.
You can learn more about Bonny Doon Forest Temple or renting the Hideaway at their website or follow them @bonny.doon.forest.temple
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