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Mindful : June 2016
2 Measure It Carry a tape measure with you for a while, and as you go about your life, notice how you respond to different spaces you encounter, whether it’s a grand historic building or a copy room at the office. If you can, measure the propor tions of the spaces (including ceil- ing height) and record them in a notebook. Consider what spaces feel good, and if they appeal to you in an emotional or physical way. Try to ar ticu- late why, and how you might incorporate any elements of those spaces into your home. 3 Keep a Journal In a three-ring binder or notebook, assemble data about places in your life that make you feel comfor table or uncomfortable. Document their size, take photos, even make diagrams illustrating what in the space evokes a response. Supplement your notes with images that catch your eye in magazines or online. to see is that it’s not about the size at all. Some people think 1,200 square feet is way too big and others think 3,000 square feet is too small. I’m not there to judge. I’m there to help them discover what’s right. I’m working with a woman right now who has two large rugs that are going to make the core of her house. They were her mother’s, and so she loves them dearly, so we are shaping the house around those rugs. Without them, we might make the house smaller. But, for her, rightsizing includes those pieces of her past. Why does rightsizing so often mean downsizing? A lot of the population has gone overboard. We’ve got more space and stuff than we need. We’ve equated more quantity with the notion of a better life. That’s a lie. When humans were living in very small, cramped spaces, bigger was probably an improvement. But there’s a point at which more square footage does not make a bet- ter life. We passed that point, most of us, quite a way back. How do you determine the right size for yourself? You have to observe yourself in different spaces to discover what feels right to you. You need to pay attention to what your body tells you about a space and its size. You can learn a lot from being in friends’ houses or going to open houses and architects’ house walkthroughs. When you say, “what your body tells you,” what do you mean? I’ll give you some examples. Sometimes I notice that a client of mine feels uncomfortable sitting with their back to the door—they don’t like not knowing what’s → Interested in making changes some around your home? Find resources and more info at notsobighouse.com PHOTOGRAPHS©PLAINPICTURE/ABLEIMAGES/BLOSSOMPEACHESANDNARRATIVES/POLLYELTES/BRENTDARBY June 2016 mindful 39 home