I can still hear the crunch of the gravel driveway under the tires of Grandpa's Dodge Fury at my grandparents' home in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. I remember how well the house seemed to fit them and my great-grandmother, who lived with them, and how everything had its place in their home. In that simpler time homes were smaller and less complex, as were the lives of the people those houses sheltered. They were very comfortable in their modest ranch. It was a custom-built house, but it was unlike any of the others in their neighborhood. It was small, but spacious, and it had character. Knowing my Grandfather, I'm certain he shopped for the best bargain on the street, but he also knew construction and got himself a solid building of quality materials.
When as an Architect, I began to think seriously about home design, I wondered how that house came to be that fit them so well. I like to think that their quiet little homestead was designed and built with care and craftsmanship by someone who had a pretty good idea of the kind of family that might like to live there. Our lives are more varied and complex now, and the design of our homes should support and reflect that.
The opportunities for architectural invention in home design today are limitless – new materials, products, and construction techniques are constantly being introduced, and new technologies are having an impact. Unlike days past when historical styles ruled home design, our options today are wide open. We are free to interpret style, or to create our own to satisfy our aesthetic desires.
But all of these available design tools are too rarely used to create homes that are molded to the lives of their owners. Instead, homebuyers find themselves having to choose from among a few floor plans designed to appeal to a broad market, and then struggling to give it personality and character with just paint, carpet, and furniture. We try to make a house "ours" with features and decorating and never consider that it is the architectural design itself that brings a house to life.
We lose sight of what's possible and end up with just another house instead of a home.
Designing and building a new home is an opportunity to create something brand new, something unique, something as individual as you. We're working on several homes that defy any stylistic categorization because their inspiration, their "style" comes from the lives that their owners lead. These homes are built with character as the major construction material – the architecture and the "decorating" can't be separated.
Houses like these are so much more than just the number of bedrooms and the size of the floor plan – they're the ones that you return to look at again and again and think, "wow, there's something about that house that I really like ". What you like about those houses is the result of the owners having taken an active …Read more