I spent some time the other day with an Architect that I greatly admire. We quickly got into a philosophical discussion on Design. Interested to pick his brain to gain some knowledge of how he views Home Design (his design work is stellar by the way), I asked him an opening question and prepared myself to sit back and listen.
My question was this: “How do you approach designing a home for someone?” Over an hour later after he finished talking I realized this man had given me more than a wealth of knowledge – he had given me a chance to deeply connect with him in a way that I wasn’t expecting. But, hold that thought while I tell you what he said in answer to my question…
I’ve known this man for many, many years and have followed his work as often as I’ve been able to. I know he excels in several areas of Architecture – Church Design and Residential Home Design being two examples. He’s even designed a Women’s Prison, which I find utterly fascinating having a degree in Criminal Justice myself. I thought I knew this man’s philosophy and I knew his mantra, “Design with Dignity”. But, as I sat there and listened to him it got harder and harder for me to sit and only listen. Everything he said absolutely positively mirrored my own design philosophy. Caught up in an avalanche of emotions with goose bumps erupting up and down my arms and bubbles of laughter wanting to burst forth from my mouth, I found myself impatiently waiting for my turn to talk. Word for word, everything this man said echoed my own design philosophy and I wanted to shout out, “Yes, this is exactly how I approach decorating a home.”
So similar are our styles in our professions and who knew until now? For example, he told me that he never takes notes in the initial meetings with new clients. Ditto. We both keep everything in our heads. And, I understood completely what he meant when he said,
“I listen intently to the client and quickly begin to understand better than the client what he/she is asking for. I leave the meeting with all my notes stored carefully in my head and then go to my drawing board to put onto paper what I see in my head. I give them what they don’t even know to ask for.”
Then he continued, “My design tells a story. The story is about the person or persons the space is being designed for. In telling the story, the design becomes sensual so that every sense comes alive in the space.”
Now – as a storyteller myself, I got it. And ditto again. When I design and decorate the interior spaces for a client, I, too tell a story about how and what makes this person tick. That’s why I never want any two spaces to look alike. As humans we are much like snowflakes – no two are the same so no two spaces should be the same. Uniqueness – that’s where the beauty is and yep, that’s where the story is!
This man’s next words were more personal as he started telling me about the home he is designing for himself and his wife. He readily admitted to me the agony of doing this, as working for someone else is so much easier. It dawned on him that he needed to approach the project seeing the two of them as “the clients” and so late one night (while his wife was away) he wrote the story of their life together to begin conceptualizing the design. He of course, is an Architect. She is a Master Gardener. Hence, he titled the story, “An Architect and a Gardner”. I asked him if later he would email me the notes he wrote to tell their story. He sent them to me a few days later with a quick note telling me that more than a story, his notes were a poem with phrases weaving together the parts of both of them that would be blended into the design plan. He also sent me a sketch – the original sketch he drew to visually show what his words described.
If I wasn’t already blown away from my conversation with this man, I certainly was after I read his words and reviewed his sketch he emailed me. What a beautiful story I saw in his words – the absolute spot on understanding he had of how to marry their two chosen careers into the design of their home honoring both of them in such an awesome way. Poetic phrases to describe who they are, I hope you enjoy reading a portion of his poem yourself…
An Architect and a Gardener
A Life Together
A Transition In Life Together – A New Home
Sharing The Desire To Live Inside-Live Outside
A House To Live Inside/A Garden To Live Outside
The Site… Offering Wonderful Vistas & Views
Springs, Creeks, Rivers, Lakes
A Continuation of Pathways/Entry
A Sense Of “Arrival”
A “Parkway” Setting
A Transition From “Manmade” To “Handmade”
A Transition From The “Required” To The “Desired”
An Active Place Offering A “Canvas” For Continued
Architectural Stories And Gardening – Always
An Architect and his twin
I have to tell you something about the conversation I had with this man. You see I shared my mother’s womb with him. Yep, he’s my fraternal twin brother. I’ve known him since the beginning of time – literally. And yet, this unexpected philosophical discussion changed my entire relationship with him. What started out as a question of how he worked turned into a defining moment in both our lives. There we sat, the two of us middle aged and soon turning fifty-six and for the first time we both understood how deeply alike and connected we are. How awesome life is!
If you’re looking for a moral to my story (since there usually is), there’s actually two for you. First, let your home tell your story and let it creatively express your uniqueness in both the structural design as well as the interior design. Second, take the time to really listen and take the time to really talk to the people around you that you care about. Deeper connections are always ready for the taking. I know.
To you Craig…
Please take the time to visit our new website for B&A Interiors by going to www.bainteriors.com. We just launched a new look and I hope you’ll like it! And now that it has launched, I’m back on track writing again for LIPH. I thank each and every one of you that takes the time to read the words that pour from my heart on LIPH. Please keep reading and sharing your comments.