Coming home as an architect

This month’s chosen topic was Homecoming. Homecoming makes me think of football…which I really don’t care about. But homecoming can also be the act of returning to a familiar place…a sense of coming home…perhaps even if you haven’t been there before because it’s your first night in your new place. A great design by an architect will give you that feeling – one of the many reasons it’s worth hiring an architect to do your design instead of building from a plan in a magazine. But what does the act of coming home feel like for an architect? Do we practice what we preach?

Note: This is the twenty-ninth post in a group series called #ArchiTalks. This month’s topic is “Homecoming”.

As most of you know, I’m in the (extended) process of renovating the L² Design Lab, lovingly called #ThisOldHouse. I’m also an extroverted introvert, which means my home is my sanctuary – my place to recharge. Some may think this is an oxymoron. How can coming home to an 1890’s Victorian that’s missing ceilings, windows, and a quality kitchen be relaxing? How can living out of one room (nicknamed the “war room”) in the house for the first year of ownership while you strategically attack different rooms to renovate them…recharge your batteries?

Well…I’m an architect. Which means I’m wired a bit differently.

Coming home from work…to work on making a space my own…makes the next day coming home feel even more like my own. I can tell you more about the history of the place I call home since having torn down walls and ceilings than I could before. That a previous owner taught piano lessons and played music and that’s why she thought it was a good idea to glue 2×2 acoustical tile to the dining room ceiling (ugh).

Another previous owner loved their son enough to give him the entire attic and rip a hole in the back of the house to fit his car bed…and give him a urinal when he grew up. But didn’t love him enough to run central air to said attic. (Don’t worry, I’ll save your eyes from the urinal picture)


I can only imagine the conversations that happened in the sitting room that is now my office…

but I also made the space my own by removing the door between that room and the master bedroom. Instead of a single twin mattress in the war room (shared with M)…

…I can now look forward to coming home to a master bedroom I designed myself, down to the bulkhead details.

A lot of my days of late have involved coming home to a mess of an exterior and backyard. But just like that first year in a single room, I know the wait and the mess is well worth it.


A post shared by Lora Teagarden (@l2designllc) on


A post shared by Lora Teagarden (@l2designllc) on

Soon I will be coming home to a relaxing backyard and a fresh coat (or three) of paint on the siding.

I will be coming home to a house that is *my* home; my personality stamped into the house through the latest visible design intervention.


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

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  • robertswinburne

    The waterbottle beside the bed (familiar) plus where did you get that white plan file? That looks like a very beautiful and fun house.

    • Lora

      You mean the yellow one in the before/war room picture? I got it from an old office I worked at that was getting rid of it. I sold it a year or so ago in a garage sale for good money.

      • robertswinburne

        The white one in the later picture – it looks like it didn’t cost a fortune. I’ve searched craigslist for years for a flat file. Although my house and office are too small to keep files in paper form anymore. but for the kid’s art stuff…

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  • You’ll never be able to sell this house – not because you haven’t put tremendous value into it, but because you’ve put so much of yourself into it. It’s more yours than anyone that preceded you I’d guess. That helps make it home. If we didn’t build a modern house 10 years ago, this was an alternate plan – I wonder if I would have had the patience you have.

    • Lora

      There’s still time 😉

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