Take a look at the image above. Can you sense the story? The story in this room is that of a retired couple, who once lived in Asia for many years, love the art and culture of Japan, and lead active casual social lives. The kitchen, so often the heart of the home, supports quiet meals as well as entertaining. The bathroom is roomy, beautiful, but very useful and safe as well.
The home was purchased as a step toward downsizing, although it is not small, and required a complete and total renovation to bring it in line with this couple’s world in the Americas, after many years of living abroad.
So the design fits a lifestyle that is casual-elegant. Handsome momentoes of a large scale, and priceless art from life in Asia were the cornerstones to set up for this style. Entertaining without fuss is important here. Commodious kitchens and baths. Durable materials, low maintenance — befitting retirement but not inactivity — flow of spaces, and of course comfort, warmth and safety. And adds great value to the property.
Is your home a reflection of your best story?
Why a story? As a literature major, with a personal interest in design of all types, as I engaged with a story, I always wanted to know “What does this room look like? How does it feel? What does it feel like? How does it smell?”’ Great writers impart that directly with description, or in moody scenes. When I morphed many years later into design, the story aspect of a dwelling stuck with me.
The big question: What does your home say about you? Is it really your story, or some idea you saw somewhere that may or may not be you. Here are the questions I like to answer just from being in and around a home. They are the basic questions about the life being lived in the home.
About these questions: If I answer some of these questions correctly, without in depth interviews, the engagement is of one sort. If I can’t answer these questions correctly, it is another type of work entirely. Both are rewarding — interesting and fun.
Who lives here?
What do they do? And not exactly literally, but in a general sense.
What are their ages?
IF it’s a couple…who is she? Who is he? Who are they?
What do they do?
Do they entertain?
IF there are kids….what are their ages? Are they girls or boys?
Why does it matter? One of the most important things about my job is to figure out the best of the home’s story, and help the owners tell it in a comfortable way. This means to find and create whatever helps them feel they are living in their own best story, or even their own fantasy, and not someone else’s fantasy.
I don’t design “magazine” homes, although some have been published. I build support for their story.