A graceful and delightful home design succeeds in achieving great relationships between the parts and the whole.
Designing a home is one of the toughest challenges for everyone. At first seemingly so simple (three bedroom, 2 storey, etc), a house can be quite complex. That is because a house has to support its residents and guests in everything they do: through different stages of life, eating, sleeping, resting, dreaming, playing, learning, working, cooking, entertaining, and lots more. Additionally, there might be a demand to accommodate for particular needs, either for accessibility, or work/ hobby related, or particular preferences.
The construction of this house spared the tree so the entry experience could be organized around it. This tree is now a delightful feature of the front yard that can be enjoyed for years to come. Full accessibility was a very high priority for this home. This requirement enhanced the ability to achieve graceful relationships between spaces, interior and exterior.
The house is a collection of spaces, indoors and out, where these activities happen. Beyond this, we also have to think of the house as a collection of systems (structural, mechanical, plumbing, electrical, building envelope, walls, windows, doors, etc) that support the activities and our comfort. These are the pieces of the puzzle.
The natural light that washes over its interior, and the large windows with views to the street and to the backyard, make living in this narrow house a delightful experience.
For our design studio, the overriding goal for how all the parts should fall into place, is that the relationships between them should be graceful, and ultimately, living and moving through the house must be a graceful experience. We want the design to be:
- attractive in appearance and experientially
- adaptable and accommodating to the changes in our lives
- supportive of the physical and visual movement through the house
- a design, and spaces, that treat its occupants with kindness and generosity
How one feels about doing activities at home is always in relation to the space in which these happen. The quality of light, the proportions of a room, the views out the window, the room's thermal qualities or the sounds and vibrations that we feel, are all part of what defines this experience. Careful attention at design means more success, and lasting delight.
In this small dwelling, natural light and the view from the living room window can be enjoyed from the kitchen and bedroom hall. The stairs to the bedrooms allows for a graceful transition from the living to the sleeping areas.
All the activities that fill up much of our lives, such as cooking, even the chores, can have a huge impact on how you feel about our house. We want everything to work and be reliable, to be easy to access and use. Thoughtful design takes these as seriously as the more lofty goals, as part of graceful design.
Finally, there is a key item that defines our relationship with our house, the flow between spaces. What is it like to enter the house from the street? Is is possible to enjoy the backyard from the interior of the house? How do you move from the more private spaces of the house to the more public ones? What is the quality of the transition from areas of circulation to areas of activity?
All of these design considerations can be used to influence the quality of your experience as you turn house into home. They are independent of its size, its location, or whether it is a brand new house or a renovation for change. The goal of achieving grace is equally applicable to any project, and it adds value each and every day.