Philip Bess, School of Architecture at the University of Notre Dame wrote, “ we build out of gratitude, memory, and transcendent hope.”  I would add to that by suggesting that all are related in regard to the sacred connection to all things living, life giving and life affirming.

 GRATITUDE for peace, fresh air, stable temperatures, healing food
in MEMORY of days spent rolling down a hill of tall grass or watching lazy, sunning turtles in a local pond and in the HOPE that future generations will thrive beyond physical and intellectural bonds but also soulfully

As this applies to our homes, look at the connections where your personal refuge meets with it’s natural setting.  Does the SACRED meet RESTORATIVE here? There is more going on in your front yard, side patio, garden niche, porch and at the front door than mere built form. According to Therapeutic Environmental theory, Stess Response research and Design Psychology publications, your outdoor/indoor connection has the potential to inspire, nurture and even heal you emotionally, spiritually and physically which means the reverse is true as well.

I would say the best designs are those that bow down to the kids, the walkers, the pets, the birds, the bees, the water system, historical ecology… and in doing so, keep us healthy and connected to one another.  It is simple task. Embrace all things living from driveway to front door and create spaces that encourage such reflection. It is a win win.





…The efflux of the soul is happiness, here is happiness, I think it pervades the open air, waiting at all times, Now it flows unto us, we are rightly charged.

Here rises the fluid and attaching character,
The fluid and attaching character is the freshness and sweetness of man and woman…

Toward the fluid and attaching character exudes the sweat of the love of young and old, From it falls distill’d the charm that mocks beauty and attainments, Toward it heaves the shuddering longing ache of contact…

                                                                        Song of the Open Road
                                                                                          BY WALT WHITMAN

Your opening sentence is the approach to your home – the path from public to private. It is more than a connection of our built environment to the earth. It is also a movement towards something more sacred than the shared space of the street. I believe it should reflect a shared agreement between man and nature.  A progressive embrace of nature’s soft undulations, resonance, perfume, blush and luminescent shifts. It should be a place of stillness with only a ripple of movement – more of a beckoning to pause at each curve rather than a push to move on.

Take time to review your own path at home. What do you feel as you move closer to the  sanctuary you call home? Does it reflect a connectedness to all things living? If not, if the presence of joy appears elusive, perhaps your path is one of pure possibility this Spring.



bogjan142I have but one book from my undergraduate studies in the School of Architecture that I have kept close to me. My favorite pages are dog eared, referenced passages are highlighted in pink and the worn jacket is evidence of my admiration.  It is called, A PATTERN LANGUAGE Towns – Buildings – Construction by the Center for Environmental Structure out of Berkeley, California.

It is a small, fat, red bound book that could easily be mistaken for a bible. I inherited a love of books from both my parents who have their own library legacy – one of facts and ideology and one of passion and adventure. Both my children who are under twenty years of age already own more books than any other possession.  It is no wonder then that I design more home libraries and library style built-ins than anything else. A passion for books runs in my blood and this particular book speaks to my heart.

A PATTERN LANGUAGE describes, or rather deconstructs, the sacred connection between our built environments, the natural one and the people who use them. It details deeply rooted archetypal patterns which foster spirit and joy from alcoves and paths to pools of light and  from  the  smallest  scale  of  one’s  garden  to  the  larger   sense of space we call towns and cities.

I have a kindred understanding for this particular vernacular stemming from a time when I built forts and treehouses and explored walled villages in Europe as a child, when I ran retirement developments for the aging as a young adult to this current moment when I am building out a 4,000 sq ft home for a family in metamorphasis while designing five other interiors for couples looking to nurture a new facet of themselves. While it is an intuition more so than a cerebral one, A PATTERN LANGUAGE does a splendid job of breaking the causes of those feelings into timeless design specifics. I dedicate  this  year’s  blogs  to  this  book  and  the  path  of  inspiration  it   has set before me.

Enjoy the new year and take the time to 
discover your own sacred connection to place.






Crabmeat Salad
     3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
     1 tablespoons champagne vinegar
     1 teaspoon grated lemon zest or minced
     1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
     1/2 teaspoon table salt
     1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
     2 tablespoons mayonnaise
     12 ounces lump crabmeat (or backfin), preferably Atlantic blue crabmeat, carefully picked over for shell fragments

Gazpacho Salsa
     1 yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into 1/8-inch pieces (about 1/2 cup)
     1 medium plum tomato, cored, seeded, and cut into 1/8-inch pieces (about 1/2 cup)
     1/2 small cucumber, peeled if desired, seeded and cut into 1/8-inch pieces (about 1/2 cup)
     1 small rib celery, cut into 1/8-inch pieces (about 1/2 cup)
     1/2 small red onion, minced (about 1/4 cup)
     1/2 small jalapeno chile, stemmed, seeded, and minced
     1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro leaves
     3/4 teaspoon table salt
     1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
     2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
     1 tablespoon sherry vinegar

Avocado Salsa
     3 avocados (ripe), cut into 1/4 –inch dice
     1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
     1/2 teaspoon table salt
     1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
     2 tablespoons lime juice from 1 lime

     1 cup frisee
     2 oranges, peeled using a paring knife and segmented


  1. FOR THE CRABMEAT SALAD: Whisk the olive oil, champagne vinegar, lemon zest, mustard salt, and pepper together in a small bowl.  Measure 3 tablespoons of the vinaigrette into a medium bowl and mix with the mayonnaise.  Add the crabmeat to the mayonnaise mixture and toss to coat.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed.  Set the remaining vinaigrette aside.
  2. FOR THE GAZPACHO SALSA:  Toss the yellow bell pepper, cucumber, tomato, celery, red onion, jalapeno, cilantro, salt pepper, olive oil, and sherry vinegar in a medium bowl and set aside.
  3. FOR THE AVOCADO SALSA:  Toss the avocado, coriander, salt, pepper, and lime juice in a medium bowl and set aside.
  4. TO ASSEMBLE:  Place a 3-inch-wide round biscuit cutter in the center of an individual plate.  Use a slotted spoon to press 1/3 cup of Avocado Salsa into the bottom of the cutter using the back of a soup spoon.  Lift the cutter off the plate slightly to reveal some but not all of the avocado.  Holding the cutter aloft, press 1/3 cup of the Crabmeat Salad evenly into the cutter on top of the avocado.  Lift the cutter farther to reveal some but not all of the crab salad.  Holding the cutter aloft, use a slotted spoon to press 1/3 cup of the Gazpacho Salsa evenly into the cutter on top of the crab.  Gently lift the cutter up and away from the plate to reveal the crab tower.  Repeat the procedure five more times with the remaining ingredients.
  5. Dress the frisee with the remaining champagne vinaigrette.  Place a few sprigs of the dressed frisee on top of each crab tower and arrange the orange segments, if using, around the towers.  Serve immediately.






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