When creating your new Home Haven, I encourage you to utilize your own likes and dislikes to influence the customization of the design, and there are a few ways of going about it. In my previous article I gave an example of how a building or space could influence the design of other buildings and spaces, but only briefly touched on the use of non-architectural things as inspiration. I would like to expand on that a bit, because the more you can delve into the little things that you love and enjoy, and incorporate those things into your space, the more joy you will get from your home. I once fell in love with a piece of fabric, and that fabric was the catalyst for a new found love of textures, patterns, colors, and surfaces that have since influenced many a design throughout my career.
This initial instrumental piece of fabric happened to be attached to a beautiful dress in the window of a small shop in Austria. I was young lass and had on my “backpacking through Europe” boots and jeans. I was a trifle underdressed for this type of establishment, but I just had to go in and get a closer look. It was a thick and silky fabric adorned with a perfectly stitched beautiful small pattern with colors I hadn’t previously thought to combine. I was really blown away. I don't know if it was the actual fabric, or the events that followed, that imprinted this pattern in my head, but it is burned in there nonetheless! The shop owner said something in German, motioned me into an odd smallish elevator and hung the dress on one of the hooks. She said something else I didn’t understand, hit a button, closed the old swinging door and left me there with this amazing dress and a full height mirror. Side note: I have since made a very conscious effort to either learn the language of the country to which I’m embarking or, at the very minimum, learn some obvious basics. Anyway, I stood there waiting for the elevator to move… and waited… And waited some more. So I thought what any young girl in a hurry to make it back to the station before her train left would think… this MUST be the dressing room! I absolutely couldn’t wait to try it on. I knew I needed to be expeditious, so I just pulled my jeans down over the top of my well laced boots instead of fully disrobing. (Yeah, I know…) It was a fitted dress that I discovered went on over my head, so off came my shirt and on went the dress. Sort of. Both arms were straight up, and it was already tight even though I had only managed to get it past my elbows or, rather, part of my head. I was stuck. If I ripped the dress I would never have been able to pay for it, which is what I was focusing on when I realized my dressing room began to move… up… I very shortly thereafter realized that what that woman probably had said to me closely resembled, “Take the elevator to the second floor to find the dressing rooms.” My desperate squirming to release my arms came to a screeching halt, along with the elevator, and the doors opened to 4 men and 1 woman dressed in business attire with their jaws dropped to the floor. (I’m guessing you saw that coming, but I will forever stand by my testimony that the elevator looked JUST LIKE a dressing room and the amount of time it sat motionless was very misleading!) The woman yelled, “Dressing room, dressing room!” Yes, in English (thanks for THAT assumption…. she was right though…). So here’s me, jeans over boots, arms stuck above my head, eyes peeking through my luxurious material and yelling back, “Un momento!“ (I’m not sure how my high school Spanish was relevant here, but hey, I was under pressure.) And THAT’S not even the worst part. (Yes, it got worse.) I had to ride down with them in the elevator… yep, really.
Since then, I have been drawn to more elaborate details, both architecturally and non-architecturally (and languages). Don’t get me wrong. I love modern clean lines, but I also love ornate details that ooze craftsmanship. As a result of that escapade, I began collecting small fabric samples of all shapes and sizes. What I’ve came to realize is that it wasn’t the actual fabric that I loved; it was the patterns and colors that intrigued me. I’ve designed projects where we used colorful stone mosaics to fill walls creating intricate patterns. In another project, a plaster artist created ever so slightly repeating shapes on a large Living Room wall. This fascination has since manifested itself in many ways, and I can confidently say that the dress was the impetus to this lifelong interest.
The point is, don’t be afraid to take your little piece of fabric, or whatever it is that brings you joy, to your architect as inspiration. I’ve had many people tell me that they don’t have an opinion and want me to provide options without input. You may not have an opinion now, but talk to your architect, tell her about yourself. Bring a few ideas to the table to kick around, and you would be surprised at how you jump in and fall in love with the story of your new home. And don’t worry, we won’t take it too literally. If you show up with a polka dotted bowling shirt, you won’t end up with a home that looks like 101 Dalmatians live there, but I do recommend that you not try it on in an elevator.
If you still aren’t convinced, or are unsure of how something might translate from idea to spatial concept, email me or note below in the comment section a few of your favorite things, and I’ll happily respond with ways they could be incorporated into you Home Haven. Here are a few ideas, and don’t worry you won’t be graded on this:
- Do you already have something you are thinking you want to incorporate but don’t know how?
- What is your favorite thing that you own or wished you owned, and what makes it better than other things?
- Have you ever seen something that blew you away for one reason or another? What specifically did you like and why?
- Or… maybe you just want to stump the chump?
I can’t guarantee you’ll like them, but I can guarantee that thinking about it (whatever IT is) will get your creative juices flowing. Give it a try. Don’t be embarrassed. It couldn’t POSSIBLY be that bad.