by: Elizabeth Diane –
Home is a powerful archetype. Home is a place of refuge, warmth and safety. At its best, it nurtures and feeds the soul. It requires that we pay attention to it’s heating, electrical, moisture and air quality maintenance to prevent discomfort. At worst, it needs costly repairs to keep it as a worthwhile structure. But deeper in the psyche, it represents what we really are. It represents the body we wear… our soul’s garment.
In Green Building, we have now come to analyze it for its inherent good or bad to the environment. We assign points for every little green detail in order to give it a green seal of approval. We have begun to wake up to some of the atrocities we have done to this lovely blue pearl of a planet we live on and are in the process of triage. We are in a state of analysis with home design, and we sometimes forget about the “soul” of the home.
Great, balanced, healthy home design has soul, along with practical considerations. It has an intentional relationship to Mother Earth, respecting and honoring the plant life, stones and materials that come from her, in order to make a wonderful place to live. Sounds nice, right? But how do we achieve it? A check list, such as ones you can find through LEED or the Living Building Challenge can be a great place to start, but don’t stop there. The soul is about harmonizing and balancing opposites. Checklists can be very linear and left-brained. Balance comes from bringing in an intuitive, right-brained approach. So, be playful with colors, materials, shapes and textures while listening to what “feels” right. Set a clear intent about what you want the building spaces to feel like. Clear your mind and imagine what the series of spatial experiences will be as you move through different parts of the building. And most importantly, listen to and trust your inner-guidance with design decisions. Your heart and soul will fill your future space, before you even begin to build!