Local Flavor Series: House of Steep in Cherrydale

Recently, while walking in the cute and close-knit community of Cherrydale, I happened upon House of Steep.  The sign on the front window read, “tea house and foot sanctuary.”  You certainly don’t see that every day so I looked inside and saw a contemporary, yet welcoming interior, with small café tables, a petite couch and an orderly, attractive bar and food prep area. Not being a tea-drinker, I moved on, but not two days later, a friend asked me to lunch at House of Steep.  I agreed and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.  The food was light and satisfying, the atmosphere was warm and inviting and the foot soak I indulged in was a much needed respite from my usually frenetic days.  I admit, I found the concept of a teahouse and foot soaking/reflexology venue an odd combination at first – but my opinion is that this concept works (and works well) due largely to the vision and mission of Lyndsey Clutteur De Palma, the owner of House of Steep.

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I sat down with Lyndsey recently because I was curious about the inspiration behind House of Steep.   Lyndsey radiates an aura of quiet energy, mindfulness and accessible wisdom.   Her strong sense of purpose is apparent at House of Steep.  While working as an HR manager at a large company, she became increasingly aware that many people found it difficult to “unplug” and wind-down from busy workdays.  After years in the professional arena, she could not help but notice that in the daily rat race, people often arrived at work stressed out rather than energized, and more disconnected than focused.  As a former attorney myself, I related to this observation almost immediately!

Her vision behind House of Steep was born out of a longtime interest in herbal teas and natural remedies as well as a desire to create a sanctuary from the everyday balancing act of work, family, obligations and commitments.   Her belief that many of us have become progressively disconnected from our inner selves is coupled with a strong conviction that there is a burgeoning movement centered on personal awareness and self-care, both physical and emotional.  House of Steep is a haven for those who would like to become more aware of their needs and become more centered and authentic – even if just for an hour out of the day!  Lyndsey feels that a visit has the potential to change the whole trajectory of your day.  In other words, if you arrive tired and careworn, Lyndsey’s goal is that you’ll depart more centered, relaxed and at ease.

House of Steep was not designed in a day.  Rather, it was an evolution of ideas and inspirations culled from years of observation and trial and error.  Almost everything here bears Lyndsey’s imprimatur.  From the imaginative menu, to the themed and flavored foot baths to the inventive skin care and aromatherapy lines, I felt that everything there had been personally curated for her patrons.

House1When I indulged in the foot bath, I truly didn’t know what to expect.  A member of Lyndsey’s staff gave me a menu of foot soaks that sounded so delicious that at first I wasn’t sure if they were herbal teas or foot soaks.  Think lavender, citrus, cinnamon, and lemongrass to name a few.

After seating myself in their sanctuary, an area screened off from the café and stocked with pillows and a plush couch, my soak arrived in a copper tub with small beads or stones at the bottom.  After the infusion of herbs, the tub was filled with warm water and in went my feet.  It was a lovely experience  – sitting on the couch, with my feet immersed in the clean, warm bath.  To be completely upfront about it, I did not relax immediately.  My mind still swirled with my daily task list, what calls I needed to make and worries about whether my iPhone was within easy reach.  Luckily, I resisted the temptation to multi-task and instead focused on the idea that it was OKAY to just “be” and enjoy the relative quiet of the sanctuary.  It’s amazing how hard it is to do that sometimes.  Ten minutes later, a staff member came back with MORE lovely warm water.  Yes Please!! Fill ‘er up!  By that time I was thoroughly committed to letting my mind go blank and true to Lyndsey’s vision, I left more relaxed and calm than when I arrived.

While House of Steep is primarily a destination for tea in my opinion, Lyndsey strongly encourages the very well priced foot baths and reflexology if you have time for it.  If you have an hour, her suggested “itinerary” is to have a pot of tea, indulge in a light meal and then have a foot soak or reflexology.  I say go for it!!  I think you’ll like it.  I know I’ll be back.

Here is a summary of what you’ll find at House of Steep, just based on my observations.  For a more complete description, please visit the website:
house2Tea – many different varieties.  Her staff will let you smell the teas beforehand and can make recommendations based on your taste, your mood, and your needs.

Food – these are some of Lyndsey’s favorite recipes, which she has collected over time.  The emphasis is on light healthy fare (except for the dark chocolate sandwich, but it’s so yummy no one cares – doesn’t dark chocolate have anti-oxidants?). Seasonal rice bowls have been a huge hit as well.  Whenever I visit, I snag a salty oatmeal and dark chocolate cookie by Out of the Box Bakery and resident baker Kerry always has a few of her own specialties out for you to enjoy.

Beverages – waters, coffees, fresh juices and delicious hot cocoas for those among us who aren’t tea savvy. (I can personally attest to how indulgent the cocoa is).

Skin Care and Aromatherapy – Bring the relaxation home with you.  Lyndsey has partnered with local artisans to create signature House of Steep scents like Invigorating, Carefree, Grounded, Lovely and Balance.  Products include bath salts, foot soaks and candles.  Absolutely the perfect gift for that special someone, you.

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