Gathering Around the Table
Tommy Lei is an LA-based Interior Designer, Photographer and Modern Artist who runs the website, MYBELONGING, dedicated to modern lifestyle, interior design and luxury travel. We visited Tommy at his home in Pasadena where he shared how he finds nourishment and joy in the beauty of the everyday.
What does gathering around the table mean to you?
Coming from a Chinese-American family, we grew up around the dining table. It’s where daily morning tea rituals took place, where I did my homework while watching my mom cook, and where we had dinner together every night. Yes, every night. My parents were particularly strict about that, because it was the only time we really got to spend quality time together over a freshly cooked meal. We didn’t just celebrate special occasions and holidays - we celebrated the everyday. That routine stuck with me, because I think there’s something special about starting and ending the day with friends, loved ones or chosen families.
Creating a Modern, but Blissful, Experience
My home is my sanctuary space; it’s where I feel a sense of belonging. It’s a place of gathering and memories, where the material and immaterial things coexist in harmony. Nourishment comes in so many forms for me - cooking with my partner Braden, the natural light that floods through the house, the comforting textures of my Graf Lantz placemats. When hosting, my best piece of advice is to let it go and let it flow. Pro-tip: Download Bloom or Headspace. Both apps have done wonders for my mental wellness and self-care before taking on a significant life task like hosting!