That’s definitely what I want… I think.

My wife and I are contemplating a small addition to our home. In the process we have worked through several reiterations we like or dislike, finally landing on an approach that may end up dropping in just over the budget fence in the left outfield. Never the less, it’s a target. We are pretty content with how the solution will improve our daily and seasonal routines.

Then, this week I was asked to meet with a client in her home to provide direction on some of their home organization needs. Although not complete, their kitchen was simply beautiful, very comfortable and very new. It reminded me of a vignette I toured on the LuxeHome floor in Chicago’s Merchandise Mart. A brief wave of lust came over me and challenged the direction we were headed in with our own project. If ever you have ever attended a Parade of Homes Show, I’m sure you can relate. I noted how easily the peaceful boat I was in had been rocked by the wake of another.

After some commute time contemplation, I concluded this. What initially seemed like a different green pasture only served as a tool to reinsure that what we are doing for our needs is the most appropriate. Remembering the emotive “wow” reaction I had in Chicago was like using a calculator to check my math. I mentally went back through our criteria and confirmed that the “pilings under our pier are solid.” Although many of the homes I am in are easily places I could spend a lot of time, they are not solutions that address our specific life-stage or lifestyle.


(1963 “mini van”… perhaps more appealing then

today’s option, but would it serve as a good primary car?)

I once read the notes from a sermon on relationships that said “love is like a plant in your garden… it’s either growing or dying”. I fear that our quest for growth can sometimes be misinterpreted as greed or discontent. Sometimes there is no confusion about it… it is just greed and discontent but, perhaps as healthy humans, it’s good to strive for growth and improvement. Perhaps It’s actually a good thing to find motivation in alternative perspectives because sometimes it confirms your own.

As fiscally responsible homeowners and good global citizens, we can be inspired by others ideas and abilities, but we must remain focused on acts of design and it’s results that express who we are and what we value. As designers, architects, organizers and builders we must remain committed to the client, and strive for understanding their true needs and goals.


5 thoughts on “That’s definitely what I want… I think.

  1. What a fabulous post! I certainly didn’t expect to find you or ORG when I when Googling for ‘eco friendly closet solutions’.

    Like you, I’ve recently seen some ‘wow’ homes on the Parade of Homes here in the Triangle area, and thought about ‘trading up’, but at the end of the day, I like my house. (and I”ll like it better when I get my closets organized!)

    Thanks for ‘being online’.

    All the best!

  2. I’ve never been through a Parade of Homes — maybe because I don’t have any true options that I truly adore here in NYC. We accept that the place we are in is a rental, doesn’t have the bedrooms or square footage we want, and so on. It is NY and there is a lot we give up in terms of tangibles to be here… We get intangibles in return — and I feel that we’re able to give back to the environment by commuting daily on the train, using our one car only for short trips or on the weekends and living smaller requires less stuff + energy.

    “As fiscally responsible homeowners and good global citizens, we can be inspired by others ideas and abilities, but we must remain focused on acts of design and it’s results that express who we are and what we value.” — But you can temper your design and results with what is best for the environment…no?

  3. Andamom,

    The mass transit system in the larger urban areas is inspirational. In both this career life and pervious ones, the cost per square foot in NYC has been amazing to me. When I was with Steelcase, the difference between a 2″ thick office partition and a 3″ could make or break a deal due to the life cycle cost of owning the product over the years.

    Sometimes its hard to illustrate your point accurately in the limited amount of text one excepts people will read on a post. My concern is that looking around any suburban area, over the last decade or so, the trend has been large volumetric spaces that consume resources (land, wood, fuel, etc). As designers my hope is that we are able to help people understand there is more reward in a qualitative space that addressed true needs, rather then recommending something that mimics the latest trend. Even if there is competitive pressure (curb appeal, status) to follow the masses.

    I suspect we share the same perspective?

  4. I’m watching on the news a young couple raking through the ashes of their home, trying to find her wedding ring.

    The fires in California destroy homes and environment. I hope people will have the opportunity to rebuild in a thoughtful way. A good outcome would be addressing true needs, including the need to nurture the ecosystems.

    I’m still adapting within the kind of limitations mentioned by Andamom. Recycling through charities and thrift shops makes some decisions easier. Some things I think I want, like a way to display photographs, just ain’t gonna happen. I need more bareness and the illusion of space. It helps so much that my door opens onto an open space.

  5. Irene,
    In my tenure on this planet, I have had several close calls with wild fires. Twice they raced through the woods behind my childhood home in Indiana. Fires I help control as a young boy wielding a shovel. Several times in the Rockies I have witnessed them from afar. But the most haunting experience was reading the final work of my favorite author Norman MaClean, “Young Men And Fire”. It is a documentary of a fire the claimed the life of 12 Montana smoke jumpers in 1949. The brute strength of this natural act is just flat out haunting.

    The photography challenge is real as well. I struggle with that too. Especially now that a lot of mine are digital.

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