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How Our Spaces Shape Our Lives

January 26, 2011

Our geography shapes us in so many ways, and often we are completely oblivious.  Most people think of their macro-geography and reflect on why they chose to live there.  For instance, most people who live in the Puget Sound region will cite the beauty of the area, proximity to ocean and mountains, and mild weather as reasons to live here.  And those things do shape who we are.  But have you ever thought about how your micro-geography effects you?  When you bought your home (or rented) you likely had a “wish list” of things you wanted in a home.  As a realtor, I see many people’s wish lists – they include things like formal dining rooms, hard wood floors, master bath, guest room.  The wish list includes things we think we are supposed to have in order to have a comfortable home.  In reality though, the wish list may not really be providing an enjoyment of life.  

I’ve talked to people who admit they don’t use their whole house.  A couple of rooms see 80% of the use, while the others go neglected or only used minimally.  I’ve seen it in my own family.  The kitchen table is the center of our family’s universe – it’s where homework is done, meals are eaten, games are played.  The majority of our lives are lived in about a third of our house.   And then there are the “traffic jams”, depending on the time of day, certain spots in the home get congested -the hall outside the bathroom, the entrance into the kitchen.  There is a lot of “after you” and stopping and waiting for the congestion to clear.

In the past, I think the auto-response to this kind of dilemma would be “We need a bigger house!”  But the nation seems to be re-evaluating its values and a more thoughtful approach is being taken.  Instead of bigger space, it is being discovered that what we need is better designed spaces.  I’ve explored some of these ideas on this blog here and here.

I came across this article about a family that realized that their living space was keeping them from living the way they wanted to.  They were able to make some big changes that resulted in them designing a home that reflected the way they want their family to live.  I admire their gumption.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Verms permalink
    January 26, 2011 2:13 pm

    Family finds Pioneer Square to be the fine life – I liked how they initially downsized to get to their desired location in Downtown – “Soon they’d moved to an 850-square-foot apartment over Pike Place Market.” But in the end they took 2 condos hired an architect and “The condo is 2,400 square feet on two floors.”

    IMO – I like the old style homes, apts. with serviceable bedrooms/bathrooms that trend on the smaller size. Then putting the majority of the sqft into Kitchen, Dining, Living rooms! Give me 3 or 4 bedrooms, 1+ baths(must have 2 toilets/sinks) and lots of area to hang out with family and friends – 1500-1800sqft should do it for our family of 6.
    I will let you know when we are ready to start looking, probably 2.5 yrs

  2. January 26, 2011 2:46 pm

    I’m with you Pete. Why turn your kid’s bedroom into a giant personal living room. I like the smaller scale bedrooms for kids and saving all your square footage for the living areas. I have a big extended family and we always had huge get togethers that I’d remember far more fondly than I would have had if I had a giant isolated palace for a bedroom as a kid. That’s why I love mid-century modern architecture so much. Those homes are designed to party in!


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