“We all have within ourselves a blueprint for just the home that will shelter our spirit.”  Victoria Moran


Building a home is like designing and creating a container for your future life. It’s an opportunity to embed meaning,  possibility and care for the life and family you are crafting for.  It is a powerful and creative experience.

The following suggestions are processes we’ve used in brainstorming, envisioning and designing our home;

  1. Begin at the Beginning. Write in a journal or paste images on a vision board aboutearly memories of places you felt at home. Did you have a favorite grandparents home?  A tree fort that you and your brother built? What was your  (if it was safe and cozy) room like?  Harvesting ideas and memories about colors, images and activities is important here.
  2. As an adult, what are places you’ve loved? Have you been in houses you especially felt comfortable in? What were they like? Have you had important experiences in sacred places? Were there common shapes, images or colors in all these places?
  3. Begin at the End.  Who is going to live in this home (for how long? ie; teens grow up and leave the nest, but have significant needs for space and privacy during the years they are at home..). What will happen in this home in terms of work-from-home, gatherings, activities?
  4. Imagine the How. How are activities going to flow through this space? How will people enjoy moving around? How will people, dogs, groceries, tools etc enter and leave this home?
  5. Begin with What Is.  Sit with the land. Listen to the space. Observe how the sun moves around it, look for the placement of the cardinal directions, the condition of the soil, the slope, where wind, noise, neighbors and access enter the space. Create map of the exterior site. Be sure to draw important trees, views and special areas on your map.
  6. Envision each room of your future house. List the activities you want to perform in each room. Take out a tape measure and measure the actual sizes of the rooms, spacing and furniture of houses that you like.

Lars and I created a loose leaf binder to capture our ideas, words and images. We call it our “Brain Book”. It’s divided into different sections like;  Kitchen, Storage, Lighting, Master Bedroom, Flooring, Energy Efficient Appliances, Estimates, Schedule, Receipts, Budget.

We also created a “Design Brief”, a clear description of our over-all values for the project and the strategies we would use to achieve them (I’ll write a post about making a design brief at a later date)