I think I’m stating the somewhat obvious in deeply valuing experiences in life that feel really good. While this sounds rather obvious, it’s taken me a long time to come to trust my own instincts in design and making other decisions in life. This good feeling is also different than excited, a deeper feeling of ease or contentment or a soft glow. I think we all have these experiences from time to time in life, and this is the ephemeral feeling I’m after in life and the homes we restore.
The thing that people most often comment on when they visit our home, or are able to buy one, is that it feels good. I’ll sometimes ask what it is that they notice that has them feeling good in our space and they have a hard time identifying what exactly is creating this experience. So what contributes to this feeling? While on the one hand, it’s a bit of a mystery, there is one understanding that is the foundation of everything I do to restore and create a new home.
Trust your own instincts and good feeling. So play, and look out for the color or furniture arrangement or remodel that feels just right to you. Not right as in the one and only way to do something, but that you get to place where your insides smile.
I remember going to a talk years ago by David Miller of Miller Hull architects, a fave firm of mine. He told the story of building a new home for clients. They had the basic framing done and they were trying to decide on the exact location of windows. He took one client at a time into one of the framed rooms and held up a window and asked them to tell him where exactly it felt best to locate it. He then did the same with the partner. The locations they each independently chose were within an inch of each other.
My experience is I will try things until something inside knows it’s good. This is the most fundamental learning from my life long passion around the design of spaces, play with possibilities until it feels right to you. It challenges our preconceived notions of what something is supposed to be like. And it can challenge our patience and even budget. Yet to do something that feels just good enough tends to be more expensive and time consuming when it comes the time that it’s not good enough and you want to do it over.
And when it does feel right to you, it seems most others have a similar feeling. One of my deepest joys in life is sharing this joy with others. The house we are currently finishing is on a corner of a well traveled pedestrian part of Sellwood. It has been so fun to have many people tell us how much they enjoy the work we are doing and how lovely the home is we are restoring. To brighten others days, to surprise them when they turn the corner and are struck by beauty they didn’t expect…makes my heart sing.