Modern Comfort

In the initial consultation with a client, we always discuss whether they envision their home to be modern, transitional or traditional. These are general categories that I find everyone defines slightly differently. What I'm truly after is what they would find to be comfortable, because comfort for everyone is also slightly different. I love this moment where we have the opportunity to define for them a very particular vision for their very particular home.

For many, modern is a term that evokes a cold, minimalist environment. Primarily the architects Mies Van der Rohe, Le Corbusier, and Richard Neutra defined the ultimate in modern minimalism that rests in the backs of western people's minds. It uses a material vocabulary of stone and steel and glass used with such corseted restraint as to suffocate free expression. To me, these beautiful sculptural spaces boldly created historically, in reaction to Victorian stuffy exuberance, are elegant and cool, and an excellent starting point for a discussion on comfort.

Comfort is defined by association. Period. We all grew up in homes created by our parents that like it or not shaped each of our views on what is comfortable and homey. Thinking about what you loved about the home in which you grew up, is the key to discovering what you will love in the home you're about to create. Sometimes it's the inversion of that home, what you will absolutely not repeat, that serves to define your own definition of comfort. Whichever of the two, you cannot escape the fact that our preferences are defined by our personal experiences.

It's worth noting that comfort is really found in moments. Imagine you're in a stark glass, concrete and steel environment. Now imagine a soft sofa, a blanket, a fire crackling with soft music, a book, and a distant view. You are fed, and perhaps a loved pet is nearby... These are comfortable elements irrespective of your personal preferences. As we work together to craft a unique home, my clients and I explore "the imagined life", and I often toss out a scenario that helps to bring a moment in that space into focus.

Jeffrey Douglas