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The house that holds you
We are all individuals and there is no "formula" to create a house that holds you. Pay attention to the environments that make you happy, even outside of your home, to create your own formula.
-- Meghan Kell Cornell

by Meghan Kell Cornell


Traditionally, our mothers ran it, our fathers provided for it - the "household." It's a utilitarian term at best, describing aspects that make up a house, including family, function and economic conditions.

How could we view the term to fit into our more modern diverse lifestyles? Let's look at the term with fresh eyes, houseHOLD.

If you look at the term more expressively, this is what we are ultimately trying to make our homes do for us: hold us in, protect, with great comfort, beauty and efficiency. We should desire to be present within its walls.

The key to creating a house that holds you is to allow your home to work for you so you don't have to work for your home. It's about ease of movement, daylight, access, affordability, climate, proper storage; these are just a smattering of the items architects analyze to ultimately create inspiring, personal and comforting spaces.

Movement is an example. When analyzing it, I think about the movement of sound, people, air and daylight. Movement in architecture creates easy access to other rooms. It also creates spaces where people might pause. It can ease communication throughout the house by opening audio and visual routes. Careful thought to a new door or window opening can change the comfort, safety and efficiency of a space dramatically.

The movement of daylight helps to define functions and holds us for a spell in special places in our homes. I am someone who likes to wake up to the morning sun, so I might place my bedroom on the east side of my home. On the west side of my home, I would place the eating area because gathering my boys for family dinners is important to me and the allure of the precious evening sun helps to encourage this.

The movement of air helps to create the proper climate both in and outside a home. This encourages health and comfort to any visitor in these spaces. Our more vintage homes were designed to do this for sticky Minnesota summers, and we try to design this into new designs to encourage less need for artificial modes of air transport.

We are all individuals and there is no "formula" to create a house that holds you. Pay attention to the environments that make you happy, even outside of your home, to create your own formula for a developing a houseHOLD.

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Meghan Kell Cornell, AIA, is owner and principle of Kell Architects, LLC, in St. Paul. www.kellarchitects.com

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