This weekend I had some opportunities to pick a friend's brain. This gal is an eclectic, amazing, artistic individual full of spunk and spirit - with a design aesthetic that combines modern, eclectic and very simple living. She decorates primarily with art she's purchased from local artists. Her current home (an open plan loft in downtown Dallas) is a perfect gallery home - FULL of light from super-high ceilings and tall windows. It really expresses her personality.
(This is not my friend's condo - this photo is from a current listing in her building. I neglected to take a good photo of her condo during my visit.)
My friend and her husband are starting to think about moving away from the downtown life - into a more traditional home. So, of course, we had a lot of fun talking about the challenges she'll face transitioning from such a large, open, eclectic condo to a more suburban lifestyle. We talked about some unique design dilemmas that she anticipates in her next home. Perhaps the most interesting part was to hear such a different perspective on the problems faced when planning a room.
Her biggest anticipated problem space is an art room. We spent most of our time talking about how to create a room that organizes and contains the mess of being artistic without completely cutting the artist off from the main area of the house. What was truly awesome was how different our approaches to arriving this problem were. In the end, we don't know if a chain wall, clerestory windows or some other solution will be the answer - not until we're looking at the actual space. The fun part was throwing ideas at each other and seeing what stuck!
Later this weekend, a chance remark to my husband gave yet another example of how two people can have different priorities while sharing the same desired outcome. We saw a very modern couch and both of us liked its clean lines. However, what was important, and very different was why we didn't like it! I was concerned about how the metal pieces would set a more distinctly modern tone - making an expensive piece of furniture very dated very fast (form). He was more concerned with how difficult it would be to sprawl out on it to read a book (function).
This was a good reminder to me of why, when making an important decision or large purchase, I always run things past anyone who will have to live with the decision and at least one outsider. Its especially valuable to talk to someone who has made a similar choice and had to live with the results.
For instance - in my next home search I will totally look at townhomes and condos (wouldn't touch them last time around!), but I will require an easily accessible mailbox! In one case, experience has changed my mind - I now find an HOA fee a reasonable payment in exchange for low exterior maintenance responsibilities. I also passionately dislike having to walk two blocks just to check my mail! Now - if I lived in a very walkable neighborhood, that might be a different story. My point is - always run big decisions by an informed outsider, whether you're buying a couch, a home or bringing home a puppy. And big decisions are not necessarily monetary - often a big decision can have more to do with time. How much time will you spend staring at your new plates, wishing you'd forked over another $40 for the ones you REALLY liked, instead of buying the ones that were on sale?