What is home? Is your story waiting to be built?

As a residential architect, it is always exciting when a client reveals pictures of what their dream home will be. For me, it is similar to unwrapping a gift with the anticipation of what could it be possibly be? Tearing off the ribbon, ripping the paper, opening the box and squealing with delight! Wow what a great way to start a project! But in reality it is a quiet moment for me as is the client opens the box and spreads the contents on the table, carefully explaining why they like each book (often post-it note flagged), picture, or dog-eared magazine. Sometimes there are even floor plans sketched on graph paper. I listen. There is always a story. Each house I design has a unique story to tell. Discovering the story is what makes it interesting for me to design a custom home.

Cottage Sketch Lawrence Kansas

My clients want their story built! It has been imagined for years. Dreamt about, worried about, money saved for the day they start their story. I listen carefully. Sometimes it is really hard for a client to explain what they like so we go through pictures and talk. Sometimes they are nervous as they haven’t shared their story yet. Worried it might not make sense or they can’t afford their dream.  Sometimes it is hours as they are excited to share everything they have collected sometimes for years. They are happy and releaved to turn it over and have it start to be realized Lots of pictures are reviewed, in order to narrow down and start a dialogue. Together we work to explain and understand the house in their head.  I need all the information I can so design it and draw it explaining in detail it to someone who will build it.  One day they will walk through it calling it home.

 I have heard many plan ideas, seen hundreds of pictures, but the stories of how clients envision their homes not in rooms but in feeling are always intriguing. Home is different to everyone but the same in many ways. Many of the ideas are not a room or space or detail or color…but a feeling which trust me it is the hardest to design for but the most rewarding when it happens.  Some of my favorite stories are:

A restful house that recharges me,

Space to be surrounded by what I like and collect. It makes me happy to see it everyday,  

A welcoming house that my kids’ friends will be happy to hang out at,

I want to feel on vacation everyday,

I want to hear the screen door slam when they run in and out playing in the yard. It has a tree swing near the future flower garden.  I can hear them while I am reading on the screen porch,

I need a place that inspires me so I can create my art,

I want well organized spaces so I can spend time more playing or relaxing,

I want a home that our families will want to visit for the holidays and feel comfortable,

and my all time favorite…

A place that friends will visit to take a break from their busy lives to recharge and reconnect with nature.

What is your home story?

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