Home Design, Imagined (part 2)

One of my secrets in the home design process is this: I want to know what makes my clients tick. What inspires them? How can I make sure to incorporate their true personality in their new homes?

So, I ask questions. Sometimes, really random ones! Below are a few of my favorite questions from the interview document I created for ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. Remember, I never got to meet these families. I just had to design their homes based off questions on paper. Somehow it worked, and the greatest compliment I heard over and over again after a new home was revealed was this: “It’s like you got inside my head!”

  1. List your Top 20 favorite things in life. This should not take long. It’s a stream of consciousness question. Number 1–20, and start writing only one word next to each number.
  2. If you could add any room in the house, what kind of space would you add?
  3. Describe a perfect day. If you could spend an entire day doing something, what would it be?
  4. Think of your dream vacation. If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?
  5. Capture the 5 senses. What is your favorite…?
  • Food
  • Smell
  • Sound
  • Season of the Year
  • Top 3 Colors

And last, but not least…my favorite question…

  1. If you could live anywhere, where would it be? Would you live in a cabin in the woods, a bungalow on the beach, a cottage in the English countryside? It’s OK to dream. We should all dream! After all, this is your home, and one of the biggest investments you’ll likely ever make. Do notsettle for anything less unique than you.

Your answer could help you determine what style of architecture you are inspired by. Now you can define the character your home should take on. Research the style of architecture and be as authentic as possible, down to the details. A home does not have to be big. It just needs to have personality! Your home should say something about who you are. It should tell your story.

For example, during my last episode of “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,”(after 46 states and over 120 houses), I met with a non-profit group planning to travel to Ghana, West Africa, to build an art center for children rescued from slavery. The art center would be built in honor of a little boy named Connor, who tragically died at the age of 12. He had told his mom that if our television show ever came to build him a room, it would be a Lego room.

So, I jumped on another plane, this time to West Africa. We met the kids, walked the land, and stayed up that night drawing. This is, after all, what we do! We came up with this design of three Legos put together. The symbolism and character behind this building tells this story: a Lego standing alone does not do much, but put Legos together and they build something beautiful. Not only did Connor love Legos, but these building blocks said something about these beautiful kids who would be using the art center for healing. Together, these kids are stronger.

This explains why I’m writing this post from Vietnam. My friends and I believe there are more kids who need art therapy in this world…so let’s just say we’re exploring possibilities. Afterall…”Every child is an artist,” said Picasso…and, he went on to say, “the problem is how do we remain one when we grow up.”

Your home design “IMAGINED” is just that. So go ahead and…IMAGINE IT! Sadly, very often the older we get the more we lose our imagination. I want to encourage you to design the home of your dreams, as if you are a kid again. Dreams don’t have to be about size or location….a dream home to me simply means it is the reflection of all you’ve hoped for and envisioned…and reflects the sum total of your personality and the family who lives inside.

Whether you’re building your own home, or one for a client, remember this: architecture should tell a story.

Now go paint YOUR canvas!