House or Home? It’s in the story.

Welcome back, gang! Last month we covered Style and what it means or doesn’t mean to architects across the nation. This month we’re segueing (maybe) into “House or Home”, a topic offered by Keith Palma.

Note: This is the twenty-fourth post in a group series called #ArchiTalks in which Bob Borson of Life of an Architect gives a group of us architects a theme or a set of questions and we all have to post our response… this month’s theme: “House or Home”.

House or home could be a contested topic. You see, people tend to ascribe the word House with a space that makes them feel unwelcome, that is “cold”, or that doesn’t feel inherently “theirs”. Whereas someone uses the word Home when they feel safe, included, or a sense of ownership. One person’s home is another person’s house. It’s subjective and typically very closely tied to emotions – no one likes someone else ragging on the place they call home.

You see, house or home isn’t about style. It’s about the story the space tells.

See…even at the exterior of the home, bias creeps in. I bet most people would say the one on the right looks more like a home than the one on the left. If you agreed, give yourself a pat on the back. Just kidding, but really.

That’s the subjectiveness of house or home.

What if I told you that the first house looks like this inside?

I mean….it likely doesn’t. From a design standpoint, nothing matches. But, play along.

What did you FEEL when you looked at that picture? Does it feel like a house or home? Probably a home. There’s warmth, there’s a happy family, there are memories being made.

That last part? That’s the profession of architecture. Our spaces involve PEOPLE and memories. The making of things worth sharing.

A house is a holder of things. We need McMansions to hold our 3 cars, 1 speedboat, 6 tv’s, 4 couches, 8 closets full of clothes, 6 of which we never wear… A house stores all of our stuff, but it likely doesn’t store the most important thing – memories. If your objective in life is stuff, a house will suffice and a house it will become.

But a home? A home is where you relax after a long day at work.

Where your puppy learns to take the stairs for the first time.

Where your child learns to walk, or bake cookies with you in the kitchen.

Where your teenager will sneak their first kiss or your parent will move into as they age.

Where you share laughs, holidays, family meals, and hot cocoa after sledding on snow days.

A home gives you the space to re-invent based on your needs, whether it’s blanket forts at 5 or slumber parties at 11. You can have lego-building sessions Saturday morning and wine night with the girls Saturday night. A home is where those memories are made.

Homes are made by architects.

Anyone can build you a house. They can know nothing about you and build you a space to house your things and your family. But where’s the love of that labor?

An Architect, however, will design (and build, sometimes) you a home. We will be with you every step of the way; walking you through the early layouts on paper all the way to walking you through the kitchen flow as you look around at studs rising tall and your dreams coming true. And then we’ll walk through it with you as you run your fingers along the counter, easily picturing the meals you’ll make on the stove while family laughs and shares the day’s adventures nearby.

You can have your house of stuff: go cheap on the design and build…and fill it with things that you hope will fill your heart, but never quite do.

Or you can have your home: let an architect guide you through the making of a space…where little is needed, but the laughter is plenty.

So what will it be for you: house or home?


To see the take on “House or Home” from other Architects, follow the links to the others in the #ArchiTalks group who are posting today on the theme:

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