What is slow home design? Basically, it is the principle of slowing down to design homes and spaces that are sustainable, practical and functional. The slow home movement began in 2006 when John Brown, Matthew North, and Carina van Olm wanted to create a critical response to the poor design practices that pervade the mass housing industry. Our intent is to advocate for a more thoughtful approach to residential design that improves the quality of our daily lives and reduces our impact on the environment. Slow home design strives for a more considered, calm and intuitive approach to residential design. The concept is to use well-considered design principles to create smaller homes that will be both environmentally sustainable and literally so, in the sense of being built to endure. The practice also includes remodels of existing, appropriately sized older homes that need updating.
Modern home design elements can enhance a home and make it look more attractive and inviting. Additions can help to modernize a home and expand the possibilities of contemporary styles and design. Even small changes, such as updated furniture, color schemes and room design can bring a modern touch to ones living space. After all, a home is not truly yours until you add some aspect of yourself into its design.
North, in this interview with The Calgary Herald says, I think the boom of the big-house era is coming to an end. So those houses will be less desirable and valuable as time goes on. Expect a shift to smaller, more energy-efficient homes, North says, and a move away from homes on the fringes of cities. A decade ago, a 5,000-sq.-ft. home sounded like a dream to some. These days, that much square footage sounds like a noose around your neck. Theres uncertainty about the energy cost to heat your house. Slowing down to design a space that is functional, long-lasting, meets the needs of the family now and later, and is, of course, stylish and comfortable - thats the aim of the slow home movement.
Adaptable design is different in concept from universal design. Where universal design benefits people of all ages and abilities, adaptable design allows the home to be modified for a specific need. An example of adaptable design would be designing a two-story home with stacked closets a closet on the first floor directly below and aligned with a closet on the second floor so that a residential elevator or lift could easily be installed in the future. In contrast, a universal design item might be the installation of lever door handles that are easier to use for people who have lost the ability to grip a standard round door knob. These lever handles also benefit anyone who may have their hands full with groceries and want to release the door latch by using their forearm or elbow, for example. Children also have an easier time using lever door handles.
Almost all discovery processes used by home designers focus on the use and space requirements of the rooms in the house. This is good, but too little attention is given to the personal needs of the people actually living in the home. Without performing a comprehensive assessment of the clients functional abilities, identifying areas of the home where modifications are necessary is often overlooked.