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april2014

 

 

 

Take ten steps inside your home and your psychic and spiritual state is either lifted or drained instantly. You know what I mean, most especially if you are a working mother. The aesthetic qualities which greet you are not merely for the utilitarian satisfaction of the body but sustinance for your inner poet.

Like a tender muse, our entries should draw forth a letting go of formal affectation. You should feel a deep breath and release of posture waiting at the door. An entrance transition which flows from gate, to porch, to door, to foyer, to a space filled with something that represents your personal JOY allows multiple levels of  shedding. This archetypal pattern is a natural  part of us as we seek to find reconnection to peace, harmony and joie de vivre. The question is this – how did you make the most of your own transition from entrance to the arms of your inner sanctum? And then, what collection was waiting to greet your senses? It doesn’t matter what it is, only that it solicits a smile every time you see it – a piece of inspirational art, a sculpture, the perfume of fresh blossoms, family photos, a water feature, a family heirloom? None is wrong. Nothing is bad design if it uplifts you. Only you can be the judge of what you need in the design of your restorative sanctuary. Find something inspirational and place it at the door to be that loving friend waiting for you.

Let the first ten steps into your home be an invitation to retreat and recharge on all levels – physically, spiritually and emotionally.

 

 

 

marchblog2014

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.

 

 

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…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.

 

            january20142

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.

 
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