Moving Forward Creating Your Perfect Home
Following our article in SWM previous issue, it would seem the UK Government has taken us up our call to encourage investment in the UK’s construction industry. That’s great news, especially great news has been a little thin on the ground recently! Time for an ‘arm’s length’ celebration! Celebrating feels good right? Let’s move forward with a view to celebrating our smallest victories more, after all, it’s largely down to our own uninfluenced frame of mind, yes?
I wish I could say this Governmental change in track was a result of Sports World Magazine and Design Marque’s article but honestly, I have to say, that’s unlikely. It does, however, substantiate what we had been preaching, ie. the value the construction industry represents in the UK’s economy. This kind of tactic may hopefully nudge those considering a project, a little closer to committal. I say be brave, be bold and create something lasting you can be proud of or that is at least meaningful in some way. Now, is actually a great time.
If you were unaware, the UK Governments recent promised to reduce the lengthy local governmental bureaucratic procedures surrounding planning procedures, that unquestioningly hamper or even worse stop development opportunities. Projects of all types are seen as fundamental to igniting local and national economies and naturally, therefore, employment.
As a born optimist, I look at this latest crisis as a partially open door. An opportunity for us all to do better. Covid 19 has generated a pause for reflection. It is an exciting opportunity to rethink routines and recalibrate. A chance for those in the building industry to get inspired and to encourage more praiseworthy design, beautify and create a sense of wonder in their projects.
Why not strive as a principal design objective, to create a “wonderful place to live and grow up”. Understand what that actually means and then reflect that in the built environment. Need it be that unobtainable? Is it not within our realm? Are we not learning from the worlds best and developing the best social environments we can? Starting with our homes, perhaps we should be less willing to settle for the same old, same old. Perhaps we should be pushing our local governments and bureaucrats harder for more leeway if it ultimately means improvements for the wellbeing of our communities and our home lives. Could you take pride in being involved in such a scheme? I could and if I could anyone can.
We can appreciate the fundamental benefits construction projects can bring by looking at the spin-offs that accrue from something as simple bathroom renovation;- The people employed; designers, engineers, printers, builders, demolitions. Equipment required; trucking, material suppliers. Specialists involved; electrical and plumbing contractors, flooring suppliers and installers, plasterers, painters, door and window suppliers…. not to mention local cafés, coffee shops and pubs. It’s a lengthy array of trades, skills, services and people, all benefitting from just a single thought extending far beyond the bathroom and into the various corners of our communities. Work, pride, security, comfort…
It’s time for all of us to really understand that banking a fortune in stocks and shares at this time doesn’t really help our economies. A fortune needs to be in circulation. It’s the oil in the machinery and now needed more than ever. Yes, it’s a balance as always. The Art of Life is Balance, as I have mentioned this before but the pride, accomplishment and sense of wellbeing generated from building a home and sharing that experience with all those involved, it’s hard to compare. The better news is there is often a reward for being brave enough to that step. Yep, another cause for celebration! And one your communities will take you for.
The Victorian’s, due to the industrial revolution lived in one of the most successful periods in history and much of their success is evidence in the buildings around us today. They were prolific builders with many ordinary people building homes for themselves for the first time. The Americans after the second world war recorded much of their success through construction. Homebuilding there is almost a part of life. The Chinese, now the largest economy in the world, is reflecting its success in outbuilding what it took the Americans over 200 years to produce, in just two decades! The pride of nations and individuals historically is then, I think we can righty argue, reflected in its buildings. I think we in the UK are overdue. All we at Design Marque ask, is it is done with compassion, with emotion and feeling and with our and others wellbeing in mind.
Just think of this. When you add and or rejuvenate a building or a bathroom, in this case, you increase its life. It’s “sustainability”, as many would refer to it today. In all likelihood, its efficiency increases and the feeling of wellness it resonates, can all be felt and shared by its owners and its user. It’s good positive stuff. With eyes open to this simplicity, we can truly begin to appreciate the little things that inspire and lead to greater things. We can easily recognise the extensive levels of services and talent required, in what is, in this case, a pretty simple renovation project. Take a moment and you can realise the enjoyment it generates. It really is no wonder then, that the Government thinks we ought to be encouraged to be building! With such rewards possible from such small projects, we ought to be willing to look at any and all opportunities.
There is a concern of course, that with deregulation, some will take advantage and create a “lesser project”. There will be those who try to cut corners or save somehow, usually at the cost to the rest of us but the discerning end user/employer will decide quickly with their cheque book whether or not, to buy or hire those individuals just out for themselves. The buyer will learn quickly and regulate whether what has been done represents “value”. (By value, we mean not just material cost but environmentally, aesthetically, functionally, sustainably and emotionally.) Question your professionals. Is this the best we can do? Can I do more to improve anyone in these areas? Can you see me standing proudly alongside you when this project is completed? Can I put my name next to it? Am I setting a new higher standard?
It’s always expensive to make mistakes but possibly never more so than today. Doing it right, ought, therefore to be of key importance. Using the right consultants who care about their projects, their clients and very importantly their client’s ambitions over their own, might be the best place to start. The fault of a lot of architects is that they see their clients as the opportunity for them to create the building they have always wanted as an epitaph, to themselves, so don’t be afraid to quiz them. Who is the building for? What do you want it to do for you? or make you feel? or how will it present to others? These questions start to formulate the character of a home and answers will be conveyed through the design criteria into the design. The senses and vibrations this creates will emanate to the visitors. If you have any doubt about this just think about your last visit to a bank and how that building made you feel, or a spa or gym.. each is designed to help establish a frame of mind. Maybe your home should too? Do you know what that sense might be? If you haven’t given it any thought why should you expect it? We often see much of what we have built in the distant past as highly praiseworthy. The Georgian style, for example, is possibly the most repeated style of home in the UK. Why? Possibly because of the lifestyle it represents. It is also a simple balanced and usually symmetrical form that many of us can relate to. It is charming and generally non-threatening. Its’ comfortable, identifiable, enduring and poised. Traditional laws of proportion are employed in the design and they convey important subliminal relationships with us as humans, as the ancients realised and we still find it hard to deny or completely understand today. The style portrays an understanding of form and the effect of aesthetic, there is intent or focus, that has an inherent sense of power and pride that emanates from the style. The style reflects success.
We like to be a part of a story like that but does it fully reflect you? Europeans, in particular, have plenty of other popular architectural styles but personally, I think it the reason for a design’s success comes down to the true intent of its creators and how well it was able to meet that intent given the resources available. As I’ve frequently quoted, Shakespeare said, “nothing exists, yet thinking makes it so.” It’s a pretty profound statement and one you might possibly relate to in your own life. If you didn’t think deeply and profoundly about your ambitions, how could your energy ever been directed or channelled toward what has become your realised world? Your energy would have most likely been depleted and scattered and with it your chances of success. It is the pure essence and focusing of that thought, that when targeted on the desired outcome helps obtain it. An unconditional belief or focused vision is powerful. I think built environments ought to be conceived the same way. They should be a reflection of the thoughts inspiring us. We should project more of our beliefs into our buildings, especially one that means so much to us and those we care about most.
If you want to create a “Home,” rather than a “house”, the focus ought to bear on that ambition and precisely all “home” means to you. The understanding of what home means to our client is therefore important to us. It becomes an essential difference in one home over another. They are as unique as their owners. Reflecting pieces of themselves and what they hold dear. Sadly I often find houses are a reflection of something less admirable, 4 walls and little soul or individual character. Just the show. Neat and tidy but lacking somehow. There is little focus, even functionally they fail and emotional they are uninspired often so much so, I believe it shows and is even palpable. Livability, comfort, wellness, sanctuary, protection, warmth, happiness if goals at the concept stage, they can formulate design solutions that can be folded into the overall character of the home. They become their essence. These are the homes we enjoy creating for our clients. Are they sustainable, economically, environmentally and energy-efficient? Yes, of course, that goes without saying and we hear a lot about that but they are also in balance with each of the elements above and relate wholly to the occupant/owner. Harmony and Home, are synonymous with each other and they are multifaceted.
So as you can tell we specialise in creating “homes” for our clients that are the best they can be, regardless of budget. The process is not controlled by money or size but as I have mentioned, the thought process itself. It is that which will determine the homes “soul”, its “character”. We have designed many homes of 25,000 square feet, of different styles but they feel as warm and as comfortable and as purposeful, as 1200 square feet ski cabin.
We are proud of being able to help our clients achieve their ambitions for a home, so feel free to reach out to us, we would like to think we could do the same for you. Given we now have a Government willing to help us in that endeavour, I think you know what I think that means? Yes, another cause for celebration!