Friday, June 27, 2008

Kid-Friendly House

Something about Steve Thomas' visit to BHB has been nagging me. During those hot, sweaty 5-6 hours of taping the segment, Steve kept remarking how "kid-friendly" the house was. Each time we'd show him a new aspect of the house he'd say something like The kids must love this! or You've created such a kid-friendly house! In fact, that phrase "kid-friendly" was uttered so often I began to fear that the overall impression Steve had gotten of the house was that of one, giant play structure.

Why does this bug me? I mean, the house IS *ahem*, kid-friendly. I think it bugs me because I don't feel he quite "got" BHB. I mean, I think he appreciated the barn frame and the craftsmanship of the original frame-wrights, and I think he liked aspects of the space we have created, but the "kid-friendly" moniker strikes me as being the best he could come up with as far as a compliment. Maybe that's unfair (if you're reading this Steve, apologies!)

You see, we didn't design the house for the kids. Yes, they were taken into consideration (of course). But the overarching inspiration for this home was a vision, a vision founded on and driven by a number of deeply held principles and philosophies about homes, design, space, materials, etc. This house came into being primarily because I had to bring to fruition my own yearning to create a space to inhabit that reflected who I am, what I believe, and how I want to live. I'll be the first to admit that the house is flawed in the realization of these yearnings - what house isn't? - but I am proud of what it is and what it speaks to everyone who passes by on the street and slows down to look and everyone who comes through the front door. I guess I hope that people will take it seriously - not in a joyless or purely academic way - but recognizing the intent (or trying to) and making an effort to listen to what it "says". To reduce it to "kid-friendly" just seems to miss the boat. I can hear skeptics saying, "You're asking too much of people". Maybe I am. Maybe I am. Maybe I shouldn't care whether people get it or not. In the words of Mr. Plumbean ,

“My house is me and I am it. My house is where I like to be and it looks like all my dreams.”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


I wouldn't look too deeply into Steve's comment - “My house is me and I am it. My house is where I like to be and it looks like all my dreams.” ...your home is where your kids want to be and they are in fact all of your dreams. The ironic thing is I believe this is the highest compliment one could receive. Congratulations for creating a space that reflects all aspects of your life.

Best wishes for a wonderful future.