Even though, it has few “design” images or really anything about formal design detailing, Clare Marcus Cooper’s book House as Mirror of Self is one of my favorite design books. In it, Cooper describes the process used to get clients to understand for themselves (and for the designer to get into the clients’ minds) what is truly important for them in their house.
What creates these priorities for people is what is fascinating and extremely important in creating individualized spaces. It harkens back to many of the key memories of experiences that someone has - happiness, excitement, relaxation, comfort, embarrassment, fear, wonderment, anxiety, nervousness, enjoyment. What is interesting is that these memories are most often emotional but the descriptions of the memories are often physical – dark, light, warm, cold.
It is fundamental to understand the associations between both the physical and emotional in order to design a space truly for you. Why would you want a house that looks the same as all of the other houses on your street, with very few if not purely superficial variances? Are you the same person as your neighbour? Do you share the same dreams, hopes, aspirations, fears or interests? What does living on that street say about you? How does your home affect your experience of living in that home? What memories are you creating?
We should not expect that the same base house serves all of us equally. Be open to exploring how you want your home to make you feel. You’ll be surprised how this manifests itself into fundamentally different physical nature of customized spaces for you and your family.