Designing differently

With the popularity of tiny homes and a greater focus on minimalism and the accompanying lifestyle, estate homes seem to be getting the cold shoulder.

Why is that?

In my opinion, society has started to equate a specific number of square feet as an acceptable “normal” size for a home with total disregard for the needs of the people living there.

Not cool.

When you hear of someone talking about a 4000 square foot home, what is your first reaction?

Be honest.

You may catch yourself saying “Why does anyone need that much space?” or “That’s huge!”

When I first started designing homes (20+ years ago), I thought like this.

Instant judgements surfaced about the person building that home.

Who they were.
What they valued.
How they acted.

This judgement was based solely on the square footage with no other information about that individual.

Again, not cool.

For the past eight years, my design work has focused on collaborating with builders to create high-end custom homes.

My approach now is to weigh the values of each client with equal importance to the spaces. We create a list of rooms and talk about functionality, all while leaning into understanding their unique set of values.

In my experience, three values remain consistent between designs.

Individuality.
Connection.
Well-being.

Clients do not want a one size fits all approach. From the exterior to the interior, every aspect of the design needs to showcase their individuality. The spaces need to reflect the unique needs and desires of those who live there.

I believe connection is a fundamental human need. We all crave those moments where we can connect with others in meaningful ways. That looks different for every family, but often gatherings for 10-20 people is not an unusual request, and for that, you need to give thought to the space that requires.

Many of my clients work in high-stress occupations: doctors, lawyers, business owners. To function at their best, they need to take care of their well-being. Again, there are several ways to accomplish this, but common spaces like gyms, home offices, spa-like bathrooms are all a part of the equation.

My point is this – a home can fit the needs of each family in a variety of ways.

My needs are not yours and vice versa.

A small home shouldn’t be celebrated just because it is small, neither should a larger home be vilified because of its size.

We all deserve to take up the space we need to live our best lives.

Published articles and the lessons I learned

A close friend has been suggesting (or rather insisting) that I put up the links to the writing I completing for Saskatoon Home in 2018. You see, I can be very humble at times and don’t like to draw attention to myself. She quickly, and lovingly reminded me that I should celebrate this accomplishment so I made a promise I would post the links. I keep my promises.

The three links below will take you to the articles I wrote in each quarterly edition.

 

Saskatoon Home Fall 2018 Article – A Home Reborn

Saskatoon Home Summer 2018 Article – Thoughtful Mind and Garden

Saskatoon Home Spring 2018 Article – Redefining Minimalism

 

Looking back, I’d say there were some lessons learned in this past year.

1. Ask for what you want more of. In my case, I wanted to write for a magazine and in 2017 I finally mustered up the courage to ask Saskatoon Home if they would take a shot on a relatively unknown writer. Since then, I’ve discovered that I am very skilled at connecting with people and bringing life to their stories. A skill I’m incredibly proud of.

2. Don’t let perfectionism get in the way. We’ve all had those moments where we don’t put something into the world for fear of how it may be received. I can say this last year has helped me work through this hurdle. Am I the best writer ever? No, I still struggle with grammar at times. Do I need to be? Hell No. I simply need to keep working on this creative expression and improve my abilities as a writer, something this opportunity has given me in spades.

I want to say “Thank You” to Amanda Soulodre & Karin Melberg Schwier for their incredible support and guidance this past year. I am looking forward to what content we can create for the magazine in the new year!

 

 

Freedom to Choose

I’m sure we are all feeling the same way.

Schools back in session. Activities have commenced. Schedule has gone haywire. Your “to do” list replenishes itself daily.

As women who are running businesses while also keeping a household running we live in constant search of the illusive holy grail…work/life balance. We slip into comparison with other women, “I’d sure like to be where she’s at, she’s got it all together” or we entertain thoughts of judgement like “She’s just crazy!”.

I’m going to share something with you that took a huge weight of my shoulders and has kept me out of thoughts of comparison and judgement with other Mom’s…

I hold the power to define what work/life balance looks/feels like for me. 

For our family, I look at it more as finding a harmony between work and life. They blend together to create my life, one doesn’t necessarily stop before the other begins. Over the past 9 years of BMD I have not always remembered this fact & honestly, it has been just recently that I have really come to terms with this thought. So how did I get there? I think it could be narrowed down to Two perspectives.(and they both just happen to be Danielle LaPorte Truthbombs-go figure!).

One…Respect your wishes.

I am a recovering overachiever. I am a person who runs a business that is based on service. If I don’t work I don’t get paid. The question was, how much work is right for me? Not what needed to be done or others wanted done… that list is never ending and often doesn’t have a single item on it for ourselves. I decided, for me, I needed to set boundaries with myself on work hours. In a world where productivity & being busy is the measure we all use this was the hardest step for me. Setting times where I am and am not available seemed almost counter intuitive to the type of business I have. In the end, keeping these hours has proved to be critical to my own self care and self worth. The moment I realized that I didn’t want to be tired and detached from my life was the tipping point to setting my life around what was of greatest importance. Setting dedicated work hours has afforded me the flexibility to be where I need to be, when I need to be.

Two…Go where the love is.

Sounds a little woo woo or touchy feely right? Well, let me show you my practical interpretation. I love my business and I love my family but over the past few years(and past 6 months in particular) I realized I was leaving myself out of that equation. Where was the time for me? I know that my personality is such that I can’t be a Mom, CEO or Wife 24 hours a day(and NO this is not blasphemy) without finding some time in there for myself.  So I came up with a plan… Each week I would sit down and outline priorities for the following week. Not just a laundry list of “to-do’s” but a list that had work, family as well as mind/body/soul, chances for my creativity to come out and play. I also built the flexibility into the mix. What do I have the ambition to do right now? What am I in the headspace for at this moment? Then, and here is the woo woo, I listen to my gut. Yes I have items that need attention, every business has them, but there is a huge difference between urgent and priority and only you can define those for yourself.

I’ve always believed that living my life to work wasn’t my goal when I started BMD. I work every week to bring harmony into our family life, it’s not easy and often is a moving target but as a friend has often pointed out, we wouldn’t want it any other way.

Ultimately you hold the freedom to choose what is right for your life. I invite you to comment below and share with me any tips you have in designing your weeks? Let’s get a conversation going ladies!