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Designing a Life : Part 1

I started designing homes in 1999. A fresh graduate from Saskpolytech with a head bursting with information, a drive to work hard and a heart that wanted nothing more than to help others.

It was a rocky road to start to say the least.

I jumped into the chaos of navigating a male-dominated construction field right at the peak of the building season. Whoever decided to have Technologists graduate in May was insane! It was instantly evident, in the number of times I burst into tears as soon as I was in my car, that this young farm gal needed to find her footing, and fast.

So, as many women in this industry do to survive, I took on the personality traits of my primarily male co-workers. I dressed like everyone else (golf shirts and khakis), I grew an edge in my voice and took to shutting myself down emotionally because as I was told many times “You can’t be such a girl, you need to have a thicker skin.”

Looking back, I see now how this disconnected me from how I could best serve people. I was stifling my true self – one that had feelings – to find a way to fit in. I sometimes wonder why in the hell I kept going. My only conclusion is that I still had that fresh graduate’s desire – I wanted to help people.

Throughout the years, I’ve grown as a designer and for that fact, a person. I’m continually learning new information, absorbing design theories, admitting when I’m wrong – all to hone my skill and find my exact place within the design community.

When I started Beyond Measure Design, I had a feeling. People wanted their homes to reflect them, not the mass majority. At the time, the housing market focused on production homes – same homes with only small items different from one to the other. I thought this approach was ludicrous. I remember asking myself “How can everyone be ok with this?” It didn’t make any sense to me at all.

I figured people deserved much more. I felt it was my job to take the time to get to know how my clients wanted to live, build a relationship with them before I could deliver a design.

Looking back, I can see this as the seed of my design philosophy.

I know for sure that every designer has their process & philosophy; I have witnessed this. It’s what makes different designers a perfect fit for different styles of projects. It is also why you can’t compare a designer on metrics like cost or timelines alone – but that is a VERY long blog post for another time.

The message that I’m here to share today has been percolating since that fresh graduate started and that seed of an idea began.

It comes down to this one central premise.

The physical space – what you surround yourself with during any part of your day – has a direct effect on how you feel. The areas we inhabit can and will alter how we show up in our lives. Design can either support this or detract from this.

Let that sink in for just a hot minute.

Our emotional well being has a direct connection to our physical space. Each one feeds off the other in ways we can’t always see or even understand. The link isn’t visible; it’s one that is felt.

I believe people inhabit two distinct spaces simultaneously – our physical world and emotional world. For our homes to bring the most balance into our lives, we must consider these four distinct needs within our home- retreat, release, renew & reflect.

A retreat is a place where you can find refuge from the day. When you can be 100% yourself without holding back, you then are open to finding some release from the stressors of your life. Your home can support and renew you by bringing you into a space that connects you to how you want to feel daily. If all of these needs are met you can then reflect on where you want to be, to move forward into life with purpose.

Shoot a comment my way if this resonates with you. I will be continuing on with Part 2 where I give project examples of how these concepts have been integrated into design projects.


2 thoughts on “Designing a Life : Part 1

  1. Absolutely love this! Although I’m not a designer, I can see how much my environment impacts EVERYTHING. I nodded my head the whole time I read this; you make complete sense. Keep it coming – I want more!

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