Your Definition of Good Design?

>> Monday, November 17, 2014

I am working on a really fun local project right now which has got me thinking about my own definition of good design and how that definition came about. My strange guilty pleasure these days is reading the comment sections of various Facebook posts. When I want to feel good about the world, I read Humans of New York. When I want to be kind of scared of the world (I like scary movies) I read comments under the Obama administration posts or My point is, we all have opinions, really strong (sometimes scary) opinions and all of those opinions came from somewhere, right? My little boys don't walk into my kitchen and say "uhh, ugliest cabinets ever" and trust me, if they thought it, they would. My three year old informed me last week that I needed a bigger neck, fortunately I am very confident with my neck size. But in thinking about design, what have been the major influences on my life? I came up with a few.

Nashville! and good southern architecture

I grew up in Nashville and a couple of school projects in my elementary years involved some of the local historic sites. Two big ones were the Belle Meade Plantation and the Traveller's Rest, which I built a sugar cube model of in the third grade and many moons later danced my first dance as a married woman.

Porches, shutters, shingles, that's my love language. 

TV and movies

I was a child of the 80's and I believe pediatricians were a little bit cooler on the tv allowances back in those days. (30 minutes a day, come on!?) Needless to say, I watched a ton of tv. Anyone remember when Stephanie and Michelle got a bedroom makeover on Full House? Is it weird that I do? 

That room was the bomb. In adulthood I do not think that room is the bomb, but you know what I loved the most about it and still do? Sisters sharing a room. I love that my boys are currently in the same room and hope they want to stay that way until they go to college (doubtful but hopeful). After all, nothing is cuter than a pair of twin beds and the thought of them sharing late night thoughts on life (boys do that, right?)

Home Alone, the movie that had us all wishing that our parents would up and totally forget us on a family vacation AND that our home would be invaded by robbers. Questionable story line, spot on architecture.

And oh Father of the Bride. 

Let's not forget the nursery. I'm glad 8 year old Stephanie had no idea she would be bringing her babies home to a closet. The irony would have just been too much:)

Other things that come to mind are my grandmother's kitchen, which has the dining table right in the middle. I just loved the energy that was always around it. And my great grandmother's garden, she lived in a trailer but had such a luscious array of beautiful, perfectly arranged flowers on her property, you felt like you were walking in the gardens of Versailles. And I'm sure I could rack my brain for more, including some from our time in Boston.

But it's funny to think how something as simple as our preference in design came about, isn't it? Because even if we say we don't, we all have a preference. And like most of our opinions on things, that preference was somehow shaped by our lives. It may seem trite, but people are as passionate about their design preferences as they are with their politics. If you don't believe me, spend some time over here. I have come to the conclusion that some people have stronger opinions about different species of granite than they do over who controls the Senate, making me feel very validated (as a design practitioner) and very scared (as a human being:)

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