A Design for Life – The Kevin McCloud Column

Designer, writer and television presenter, Kevin McCloud leapt into our consciousness with his vastly successful Grand Designs show on Channel 4. This month, the affable architectural business owner talks about getting back to the basic elements of how a home should make us feel.

I was in conversation with someone the other day and they asked me what sort of feeling I thought they should give to a new home interiors project of theirs.

What I found interesting about the question is the fact it’s an almost impossible one to answer, for the main reason that you can’t force anyone to feel any way about something that they don’t naturally, instinctively, or unintentionally feel themselves.

If a person dislikes something with a passion, it’s very likely there is no positive slant you can put on things that will encourage them to change their mind. This is just who we are.

My answer was instead to think about stimulating positive feelings in the way the house was designed. In essence, to realise the things we want to feel, then style and create in order to fulfill those emotions. So, for example, it’s always important to create a sense of place and belonging in our homes. These homes are not just physical structures, but also repositories of our memories, emotions and personal identities, and should be designed to reflect our values, personalities, and lifestyles.

Most people know I am a big fan of authenticity in home design, so that comes into it; and I also believe in the importance of creating space that is functional and practical, rather than simply beautiful, perhaps with references given to the environment or sustainability.

Mostly though, above all those things, a home should be a place that feels safe, comfortable, and happy. Only then will it feel ’right’, and it may take several failed attempts along the way to finally get to that place where you are content.

And then prepare for the point a decade down the line when your evolving tastes talk you into ripping it all up and starting again!

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