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Your Strange Little Quirks and Interests Can Be Used As Your Architectural Palette

Updated on January 12, 2016

From where do the inspirations come that we are supposed to use to create our Home Haven? How do you know which of the things you like will make for good archi-candy? If you have an affinity for baseball and baby back ribs, does that mean you should build a home around those things? Does that mean your house would be a big round ball smothered in sauce? We don’t need to be super literal about our likes and dislikes, but it is worth brainstorming with someone who is trained to take those types of inspirations and help you look at them in a different light. Then you edit until you come up with something that feels right for you.

Michigan Autumn Colors
Michigan Autumn Colors | Source

When I was a young kid, I used to collect all of the colorful Michigan Autumn leaves in the yard and create lines in the grass that would, at the end of a very long day, closely resemble a floor plan of my Home Haven. The elongated lines of leaf piles would create walls designating Kitchens, Bathrooms, a room for my Cabbage Patch Kids and the like. (Did I just date myself?) One day, I was walking around my neighborhood and noticed a house to which I hadn’t paid much attention on previous walks. The ground was flat on the right side of the house and then took a sharp dip down on the left. The architecture took advantage of this opportunity, and from it came a double height Living Room with large enough windows that you could see just how voluminous the space was. For the first time, my early architectural aspirations went from 2D (leaf floor plans) to 3D (vertical space), and I became fascinated with how that lower Living Room (in my mind Living Rooms were only on the Main Floor of a house to put it simply) would connect to what I dubbed the other “Main Floor Rooms”. So, I did what any small child would do growing up in Flint, I went and knocked on the door. I thank my lucky stars that a kind older woman answered, and I asked her if I could come in and look around her home (I know, I was an strange kid). I explained that I couldn’t understand how this Living Room on the Lower Floor could connect to other “Main Floor Rooms” like the Kitchen. Once the door was wide open, she moved out of the way and extended her arm out as though to approve my self-invitation into her home, and I saw it. I believe this was the thing that set me on my path to becoming an architect. When you pass through the Entry Foyer you are literally standing on a bridge overlooking the double height Living Room below. This wasn’t a modern house mind you. This was like a dark wood law library on steroids. Off to the right were other “Main Floor Rooms” (Kitchen) and an old tight wooden spiral staircase leading down to the Living Room, and up to the “Upstairs Rooms”. I was absolutely blown away. This 3 dimensional vertical space that you could see from all three floors, redefined space for me, and the leaf floor plans instantly became a thing of the past. After all, those were for kids, and I had graduated on to studying all of the homes in the neighborhood (from the outside). I am not sure how long I stood there with my mouth agape, but she eventually shuffled me further along and began her tour. It was so kind of her to take time out of her day to show me around my future profession, but when you are a kid, you don’t really grasp such things. As a result, I immediately ran home to retrieve my little brother and knocked on the door once again so she could repeat her tour of this amazing space.

I love modern architecture. I have seen some amazingly inspiring and unique homes that would cause you to use phrases like “clean lines” and “open flow”. Still, if I were to build my very own Home Haven (one day soon I hope) and I could design anything I wanted, I would lean towards an aesthetic resembling my old wood law library on steroids with a modern twist of course.


I realize that this particular story is using architecture as an example of architectural inspiration, but I thought that was a good place to start. Tune in next week when I explain how I derived architectural inspiration from an epically embarrassing moment with a gorgeous dress in a shop in Austria. Now back to baseball and barbeque… Perhaps we would create an accent wall in your Den completely lacquered with all of your newspaper clippings of your favorite players that you’ve been saving since you were a kid. On it could be a few shallow shelves with upturned edges to prevent your baseball collection from rolling off. Perhaps we put a glass door on only one cabinet in your Kitchen, so you can show off your extensive barbeque sauce collection. (You know, the one that is the consequence of every gift opportunity from your friends and family due to your once mentioning you had a small collection of your favorite sauces.) Or maybe we create an entire outdoor Kitchen and Living Space complete with a 60” gas range, smoker, and fire pit so you can get your bbq on. The point is, you don’t have to have it all figured out, but you do have to share bits and pieces of who you are. Those are the bits and pieces that can be turned into your Home Haven that can’t possibly be repeated… anywhere… because they are unique… because they came from you.

Not sure how YOUR little quirks might translate?

Not sure how YOUR little quirks might translate into architectural space? TRY ME! Tell me a bit about yourself and I’ll toss out some thoughts and ideas. I can’t guarantee you’ll like them, but it will inevitably get you thinking!


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