Personal Spaces

Spaces that nurture the interests of every household member. Some seek a quiet retreat. Others desire an open playspace for friends. It could be a place to craft or create. It’s nice to have room to exercise or meditate. These places encourage everyone to find a space for themselves.


It is essential that a home provide spaces for people to nourish their personal interests and pursuits. Often these are spaces that can flexibly adapt to the variety of needs people have. Some interests require space for the gear that goes with them. Some require special lighting, ventilation, technology, or storage space. Some need quiet while other get loud. Often these spaces are carved out of what is left after all the other spaces are spoken for, while others are carefully planned for or created. The best invite the activities they are intended to support. They are spaces with the intention of allowing us to be our altogether unique selves.

Click images for a fuller view

Curl up in this Cozy Corner

This “cozy corner” was designed as a place to retreat and renew. It was built in a sunroom that was not used much. By setting the upholstered “couch” at floor level it feels private. The space is used for listening to music, napping, snuggling, and reading, alone or with a kid on a lap. Pretty inviting!

A Back Porch Retreat: Indoors

This inviting space was created down 3/4 of a flight down from the main living level. It opens onto an intimate suburban backyard patio and garden. Large sliding doors make that connection; left open they connect the two spaces as one. It is a place to retreat and relax away from the more social areas above. It is a place to visit with a friend, sit quietly with a book and cup of tea, or settle with a glass of wine to visit at the end of the day.

Exercise Room

Lower levels of homes are often candidates for a space to exercise, especially if there is room for the equipment that supports a well rounded workout. This space had the good fortune of being in a home built into a hill, so there it really is an inviting space. I guess there’s no excuse for not getting to the gym when it is right downstairs!

Craft Retreat

This space was created for an artist and yoga teacher. There is space for art materials and works in progress. The generous open space allows for her yoga practice as well as room to just spread out. There is a corner to sit, think,  read, or visit. This is what Stewart Brand described as “low road” space in his book “How Buildings Learn.” These are spaces that are endlessly flexible as people’s interests and needs change (and the people change). That flexibility in function is more important than architectural expression. The simplicity invites improvisation.

Lower Level Activities

The lower level in this home doesn’t feel that way. The ample light and views outside makes these inviting spaces to be in. While the social and main living functions are on the main level, this space was designed to accommodate a ping pong table, which requires ample room on all sides. In the space beyond is a home office and a door to the outside. This project features a polished (and insulated) concrete floor slab that holds the sun’s energy streaming thru those windows.

Surrounded by Books

Given a home large enough to devote a single room to reading and books this might be what you get. There is even a wall for magazine subscriptions done the way they do it in public libraries, with the current issues on display and past issues on shelves just behind and below them. The bookcases are crafted from recycled heart pine (as are the floors) and stop a foot short of the ceiling. Lighting above creates a warm glow in the room. This reading retreat is a world away – just what these spaces aim to achieve.

Window Seat Refuge

At the far end of a master bedroom suite is this window seat niche. It is deep enough to curl up in. It is a space to retreat to and get lost in a favorite book. It is a space to just sit and gaze out the window at whatever the season is offering. Just seeing it there is reassuring. Whatever happens out in the world, this retreat awaits.

Recline on the Couch

This had been the Living Room, but it was never used or occupied. The TV lived in a gathering room adjoining the kitchen, but it interfered with the social activities there. Dead space on either side of the fireplace was converted into a bookcases that allow coffee table books to be left open and displayed. It also accommodates the electronics for house media. The furniture is arranged for couch potato reclining. Now the room is used all the time and the gathering room is more convivial and less distracting.

Outdoor Kitchen Bliss

Not every personal space is devoted to solitude (though many are). And not all are inside. This beautifully crafted outdoor kitchen is nestled against the back of a garage and adjacent to a beautiful garden. It is meant for socializing and some serious grilling. It’s all about good times and good fun with friends and family on beautiful days from spring thru fall.



Pin It on Pinterest

Share This