Home design is an area I’ve already started to touch on. However, I’m not an expert in this field, and it makes more sense to bring on someone who is.
Before letting Justin take the reins, I want to tee this up by saying all the reasons a man should care about his clothing apply to his home. It is his castle and should be a place that reflects his personality, ambitions, convictions, and comforts. The same can be argued for his office, but is especially crucial in the home. Far too many men are content with maintaining the appearance of their college dorm, and many others just let their wives take over. There is no right way for a man’s home to appear. Some may be more Spartan in nature, others (like Justin in this post) embrace mid-century aesthetics, and more may want something a bit more full. The point is that a man’s home should be as intentional as the rest of his life.
So with that, I’ll let Justin take it from here.
Alright, it’s almost twenty fifteen and you have spent a good amount of twenty fourteen focusing on your body, your grooming, and of course your style; but what about the space that surrounds you?
That is where I come in, I have worked in architecture and design for over half of my short life and own my own architectural design and consultation company. It is my calling and I cannot wait to throw in my two bits on some best practices that will help you find the perfect style for your space. To start I would like to reference the great architect Mies van Der Rohe in saying, “less is more”. I live by this – as should many designers.
As I started writing this post I debated talking about the history of architectural design, but I think starting in Egypt, Greece, and Rome is a little extreme when it comes to the placement of your television. So rather I think we should start at the turn of the technological century, or as we call it in the design world: Mid-Century Modern.
Don’t get me wrong, over the next year we will reference the greats that came before MCM. Greats like: Le Corbusier, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Louis Sullivan, we may even talk about Michelangelo, and Thomas Jefferson. However, my primary sources for this exercise will be our Mid-Century heroes like: Ray and Charles Eames, Dieter Rams, Philip Johnson (before he went post-modern), Louis Kahn, and photographer Julius Shulman.
Now I know that is a little name heavy; I did that on purpose so you would feel that there is something to be learned from these design posts. I want you all to recognize that when it comes to your space knowing these names is as important as knowing names like: Tom Ford, Enzo Ferrari, and Giorgio Armani. They are names of designers that have all influenced the way we should design. For more in-depth information on these names follow my personal blog where I will be writing regularly about these architects, designers, and photographers as well as discussing how they should influence our modern design.
With that plug aside I’d like to start by addressing the globe in the room. Many men, when asked about their dream masculine space, will start describing an Elizabethan era study. They will talk about the large oak desk, the walls lined with leather bound books, the large uncomfortable leather chairs, the bear rug, and the antique globe. Actually using this look is like telling your tailor that you would like jerkins and a cloak. It is beyond out-dated and does not fit your home. That is, of course, unless you are one of our European readers and you actually own a castle.
It is to those who do not own a castle that I’d like to address my posts; I’d like to help you know some of the ups and downs of design. It’s serious business and too many men are taking it lightly, or relying on Hollywood, Pinterest, or the Joneses for their frame of reference. Before you begin working on your space it will serve you best if you forget all that you may already know about architectural design and start with some of the basic principles.
Where do you start if you have to forget all you know? Start with Deiter Rams. Rams is a legend in the design community, in my eyes he has been as influential on today’s good design as Frank Lloyd Wright was on mid-century work. Rams originally studied to be an architect in the late forties at the Wiesbaden School of Art in Frankfurt Germany. After deciding not to be an architect he ended up working as an industrial designer for Braun and changed the way the digital world works, or better said: looks.
Rams, has always been one of my idols, and he has been an idol to most of the design community. I strongly urge you all to research more about him, and even look up his clip in the documentary Objectified by Gary Hustwit. Should you find the right clip, Rams will talk about the Ten Principles of Good Design, they are as follows:
1. Good design is innovative.
2. Good design makes a product useful.
3. Good design is aesthetic design.
4. Good design makes a product understandable. 5. Good design is unobtrusive.
6. Good design is honest.
7. Good design is long-lasting.
8. Good design is thorough down to the last detail. 9. Good design is environmentally friendly.
10. Good design is as little design as possible.
After reading through the Ten Principles of Good Design you should have your wheels turning. If not, read through them again, think about your space, the furniture in the space, the colors, the textures, the finishes. All of those should be details that you focus on when designing your space. Remember the quote from earlier, “less is more.”
Working on a personal space that is in our time should not be difficult. It should be simple to find a focal point, it should be obvious. Don’t let finding the perfect piece of furniture fool you. Be deliberate in your decisions. When I focus on a project I like to work through each square inch of a space. Examine everything from top to bottom. Find a functional use for everything in the room. If you will not use an object then you do not need that object.
It is famously said in the design world that form follows function. Do not take this lightly – often we get so caught up in the design of our space that we don’t have a place to put our pencil. Or we have to run a cable across the room just to power our iMac. By thinking through these details and researching solutions you will find your space to be clean, orderly, and well designed by doing as little design as possible.
I’d like to end by saying that good design is a process, it does not happen overnight. You will go through many different iterations before you find exactly which one works best for your needs. Prototyping is absolutely normal to the design process, do not let this discourage you. Start by working out the function of your space. In my next post I will discuss form and arrangement and after applying those principles your space will begin to transform the most.
Start today by sorting through your space and feel no shame in throwing away anything you have not used in the last 6 months. Make sure to touch everything: every piece of paper, every book, every envelope – EVERYTHING. By doing this you will know exactly what you are throwing away and what you are keeping. Once you have your “keep pile”, sort through it again, and if it helps do it again. Once sorted begin organizing by function. Apply a verb to each article – this will help you assign it a function.
Spend some time doing this. Work through it, refine what you have kept over the next couple months, and next time I post we will discuss exactly what to do now that you have your space organized by function.