31 March, 2010

The House I Grew Up In by LuAnne Silvia

The lecture topic presented by Dr. Toby Israel environmental psychologist and author of  “Some Place Like Home: Using Design Psychology to Create Ideal Places” got me thinking. What influences, if any, did the house I grew up in have on choosing my current home, or my design philosophy as an interior designer? I  did not have answers immediately. But as I began to work through the exercise of listing descriptive words of my childhood home and other homes that I spent time in as a child, I began to discover something that I had not ever consciously thought about before.
Every summer my family would travel to both my paternal grandparents and maternal grandparents farms and stay for a week or two at a time. I have many fond memories of being there and can picture in detail the farm houses in my mind. In fact I can sketch them to scale on paper now as an adult. One of my clearest memories is spending time at the kitchen table. We always ate together at the kitchen table, but we also spent time putting puzzles together, playing games, preparing meals, making candy and celebrating birthdays. The dining table was in the kitchen, there was no dining room. It was the center of both homes and of my memories.
One of the things that attracted to me to our current house is the kitchen. Not the gold vinyl plaid floors and yellow counter tops, that I knew I could change in time, but the larger size of the kitchen that you could, if you were creative, just sneak a small table into. Ever since we moved into our story and a half I have been wanting a table in the kitchen. We have a traditional dining room that is adjacent to the kitchen which we do use, and yet I find myself wanting to be in the ktichen. I bought a counter stool, but still no table.  I can envision our family of three eating there, it would be what we like to call "cozy," but I can envision it. I have looked and looked and have not found just the right thing. It will have to be just the right size and probably custom. But I think now I know why I am trying so hard to get a table in the kitchen. It's comfortable to me and it is what I know.
One of the things I enjoy most about being an interior designer is space planning, that is the art of arranging interior rooms and the furnishings within the rooms. As a child I was often rearranging the furniture in our home, and thinking about how the rooms could function differently. For me the result of a well designed furniture plan is creating spaces for people to come together. Whether it is a space to do a hobby, have conversation, or gather at the dining table.
Below are sketches of my grandparent's  farm house kitchens, the kitchen of my childhood home, and my kitchen (with a future table and counter stools).

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