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Sometimes design is about working with what you have.
A project in Section 8 housing.
Of course nearly all of us love luxury experiences. We want to run our hands across finished walnut, polished concrete, and brushed brass. More importantly, we all feel the urge to gather in these stimulating environments with other people.
We forget that design is actually about people sharing space as individuals. And that it's the individual who gathers people in his or her space to share stories and make new ones. If design were only about the material world, what would we have to say about people who may not necessarily be working from a foundation of abundance?
We have to ask ourselves about the bottom line when designing with limited resources. How can what we include in our space inform behaviour to promote a healthy lifestyle? Because that's the least home should do for us, right? We should be able to recuperate and make plans to achieve our goals.
"If design were only about the material world, what would we have to say about people who may not necessarily be working from a foundation of abundance?"
As I matured and began to successfully put my home in working order, I realized that our interiors should be optimized to help our brains make good decisions. Our brains are excellent decision makers, but terrible at filing. When we clutter them with reminders that nag at us, or ideas needing pen and paper, our home life reflects this condition. Tasks stack in piles of paperwork or as messy kitchens needing deep cleaning. We should arrange centers of activity to help us get things done, not recall and get distracted. When a family member needed help, I saw an opportunity to put this philosophy to good use.
I have a close family member who is disabled. It was this person's inward battle that inspired me to start thinking about what I can do with what we had to enrich my family member's life at home. Well, when Covid sanctions were put in place, vulnerable people were affected by isolation in very negative ways, and my family member needed someone who understood how to make necessary improvements. I had made previous efforts here; however, this was an opportunity to layer a quality of essentialism I was beginning to embrace in my own career and life. This family member was drowning in disorder at home, to say nothing of personal health. So of course, as a designer and builder, I knew that nursing the space as well as my family member would accelerate recovery.
"...as a designer and builder, I knew that nursing the space as well as my family member would accelerate recovery."
Already familiar with this individual's priorities in and out of the home, I rearranged activity centers, or modules, based on the recurring behavior I observed led to messiness and neglect. The main obstacle was we were limited to two rooms and a kitchen. We kept the list of modules short and simple: the office, the bed, the dining table, and entertainment. My theory was that if we could make this space so simple, so obviously clear that each room was to be used for no more than two activities, the clutter of the office and kitchen would not pervade and compound anywhere else beside that area. Furthermore, by placing the office in the bedroom we would prevent work coupling with entertainment. This would improve productivity by increasing focus and therefore reducing the time needed to get work done. Approximately 300 lbs of paperwork dating back to '89 were shredded, untouched items rooted out of closets, and a deep clean took place. This freed up brain-space, storage, and encouraged the maintaining of a clean environment. I provided a new modular storage system of clear containers, allowing us to find what we need to get things done faster. Remember, we want our brains to be able to make good decisions, so that we can spend more time doing, rather than thinking about daunting lists!
"We also could care less about luxury projects. What's more luxurious than enriching the lives of people?"
So what were the results? Well, you can see for yourself! We remarked that by simplifying the space, we actually noticed the collection of retro prints proudly collected from travelling and a career producing theatre. We notice that the furniture pieces collected are of high quality and that there are themes throughout that tell an interesting story. What you cannot see from the photos is that for several months, the tidiness has been maintained for the first time in my memory. And not only has productivity increased, but the newly acquired time has inspired new outlooks and a desire to adventure new horizons.
I share this story to demonstrate my understanding of each client's potential vulnerability. You're introducing a stranger to your home and your way of life, and you're trusting that stranger to recommend a potentially new lifestyle. We also want you to know also couldn't care less about luxury projects. What's more luxurious than enriching the lives of people? When you work with BIND Interiors, you can expect the same level of attention and conscientiousness that I applied to my loved one.
I approach design to help you improve your life, not to go shopping. I am concerned with the bottom line: that you should be healthier, more productive, and ready to continue your adventure with renewed vigor and hope facing new horizons.