This past week researching for a City presentation, I discovered an anonymous, yet poignant quote:
“Change is inevitable, but growth is intentional.”
In regards to architecture, this is particularly true. The spaces in which we live are forever changing. It is impossible for them to stay entirely still and static. Even without purposeful changes to your built environment, then at the very least, the space is changing by aging or simply from use and wear.
For many of us, as we live in and utilize our homes, we enjoy the vitality of making small changes continuously. Perhaps you enjoy changing the throw pillows to a new color scheme, painting a wall a new color, adding different candles, prints, or accessories to introduce a change. Even adding a plant or replanting can alter the space. And for others, who associate change with discomfort, leaving it exactly as it is, and maintaining the familiarity of it, is more important and less disruptive to a routine.
Regardless of your preference, our surroundings evolve. As the quote says, “Change is inevitable.” So we can choose to either let the changes just evolve through wear and over time, or we can embrace the opportunity at different stages in our lives to instigate a change and revitalize our homes, and in so doing, ourselves. Typically, we will reach a point where we have outgrown parts of our home. Perhaps as we grow up, the design aesthetic and style no longer accurately reflect our personality, or the way that we would utilize a space has changed because our family has grown up.
And this is the very key to remodeling.
Remodeling, however big or small, has the power to transform a space. Recently I just completed an interior remodel to a home that I had originally designed approximately 13 years ago. At that time, we had gutted everything except for the kitchen, since it had been remodeled by the previous owner.
We had actually demolished the entire house surrounding the kitchen, plastic-wrapped and sealed the kitchen, and furiously fended off El Niño to preserve it. Now, in 2011 my client asked me to redo the kitchen. The transformation that we did was truly remarkable! With the kitchen at the very core of the house, it is now a spectacular focal point.
The energy of the new aesthetic made its way into the living room as well...
This idea of transformation and change is something that we do personally to ourselves several times throughout our lives. When we go to college, there is a tremendous change. Similarly when we have kids, and again when the nest is empty, we transform our lives, often redefining ourselves. Though it can certainly introduce stress, uncertainty, pushing past our comfort zone of familiarity, it inspires tremendous possibility and creativity.
And maybe that is the key to staying inspired, to never stay too long in that familiar comfort zone; to always look at ourselves and our surroundings with fresh eyes. People and places are never too static to change or adapt.
And if we can look at our homes, places of business, places that we see or frequent every day with refined clarity, perhaps we can allow ourselves the freedom to think out of the box; to imagine new possibilities.
So if you feel hesitant with the discomfort of any changes in your life, remember…
“If we don't change, we don't grow. If we don't grow, we aren't really living.” -Gail Sheehy