The messages about simplifying are everywhere - buy this closet organizer or give away all that "just in case" stuff. Buy. Buy. Do....

Instead I suggest you take a deep breath and consider examining what is really important to you. Make your own clear-eyed and heartfelt choices about how you want to live and what is important to you. But how do you get to your own simple home?

The first few "paths" are: Simple is Enough, Simple is Thrifty and Simple is Flexible.

Houses are our intimate connection with our own life. "Simple" applies at all scales in home design. The "paths to simple" concept invites you to imagine and then benefit from design that borrows common sense for beautiful.

For example, the path "Simple is Flexible" offers a way to build less - less being the easiest way to be green. Flexibility is a design approach that looks to both plan ahead for large gatherings as well to accommodate just the usual folks. "Simple" is a journey home: discovering who you are, and what you really need and so, finding your home.

Is "Simple" just a dreary necessity? Not at all. "Simple" is also thrifty, offering the prosperity of needing less. It is your choice and the benefits are yours for the taking. Thrifty is sustainable: triple bottom line economy, ecology and equity. The root derivation of thrifty is to thrive. There's no depravation in that approach.

"Simple" is not something you can measure: it is your own "simple." Your choice to find your own authentic simple and your luxury of enough tells you who you really are.

Sarah Nettleton, FAIA, LEED AP, practices architecture and garden design in Minneapolis. She is the author of "The Simple Home: The Luxury of Enough."

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