Everybody is headed somewhere. Some times we know where we’re going. At others we can only hope that what happens next is right, good, satisfying, safe. We spend our lives in this motion. Along the way we need different things at different times and at different ages and at different stages in our life’s journey. And we do this with different people at different times and in different places.
I’ve spent my career helping people create spaces that serve this journey. One thing I’ve learned is that we mostly know, and think about, and are focused on what we need now or in the near future. We’re always in the middle of our movie.
Young adults (well young adults can’t afford to hire us) are thrilled to have a place, any place, to make their own, usually with sweat equity. Young families are obsessed with child safety risks and an easy way to clear the floor of a dozen toys before dinner. Parents with teens want a safe, and separated, place for their kid’s friends to gather, within earshot. Empty nesters want comfortable (but not too comfortable!) space for family to visit – at the other end of the house preferably.
There are single moms, stay at home dads, work at homes, in-laws, care givers, sabbatical years, and dozens of other life conditions that place unique demands on the spaces required to accommodate life’s moments. And in each case we want those places to provide us sustenance and sanctuary.
Here’s the trick. A home can be all the things you need. It just shouldn’t ever try to be the sole thing you need right now. And here’s why. It’s actually not really your house.
You’ll move in. And you’ll move out. And in the moments between you’ll hopefully find ways to make the house feel and work better. But to my mind, and in my experience, better has to mean better always. Better generally means flexible and accommodating. Today its a guest room. Tomorrow its a home office. Next year you’re grateful to have a usable bedroom on the first floor.
I’ve seen and worked on and undone so many spaces that over reacted to the moment. Cute kid’s play spaces that were nearly outgrown by the time the project was finished. Empty basement rec rooms turned storage area. Soaring great rooms too big to be alone in.
A good home makes space for each scene in our life’s movie. A better home allows us to shift from scene to scene without jarring editing. The best homes provide the same to the next people to imagine the home is theirs.