If I had to describe myself with one word it would be artist - a visual artist and an artist with words. My artwork is included in Ohio Online Visual Arts Registry. I'm working with various galleries in the Midwest to promote my oil paintings and abstract light photography.

 

Inspirations for Home Design

 

Home Design 101: Private and Public Spaces

Image: One of the things I love about my apartment is that the two bedrooms are separated from the public spaces (living room, dining room and kitchen) by a long hallway.  However, the view from the front door is directly into the largest bedroom.  Since I chose to use that room for my home office/studio, I placed a tall bookcase/cabinet where it would block the view from the front door to give me privacy and additional storage space for supplies and reference books.

Private vs. Public

© Becky Linhardt 2010

Everyone holds private thoughts.  Everyone needs private spaces, even if only temporary.  I firmly believe that privacy is what keeps us sane and civilized.  Humans are social animals.  We all need love – and, a bit of time alone to relax and catch our breath; to evaluate and make decisions; to reenergize. 

 Doors, like fences, make good neighbors. 

Establishing boundaries is important. Consideration for others needs to be instilled through family values, respect for the others sharing the same space whether it is a home, an apartment, a dorm room, a RV/Motor Home, or a tent at a campground. Prepare to follow the establishment’s rules (parent, condo association, landlord, college, or campground).  Learn to both set reasonable rules and negotiate!

Now might be a good time to read or revisit Getting Started – Thinking About It to evaluate the activities within your home.  How do they relate to each other and do those activities need to be separated for privacy.

Who are you shutting out? Who are you letting in?

Family members, pets, guests, unexpected visitors – timing may be a factor, are they welcome or unwelcome at that particular time.

What are you shutting out? What are you letting in?

Sights that distract or inspire

Sounds that annoy or relax

Scents that irritate or soothe

We are constantly being bombarded by sensory input. For survival we need to be aware of our surroundings but we can reach points of sensory overload – too much happening, too much noise, an overpowering scent. 

Privacy by division of space

Vertical – Level Changes

In the past, divisions of space for privacy were vertical and often still are.  In those cases, public spaces are generally easily accessed on the main level and may flow to outdoor patios, decks and gardens.  Many lower level areas have been planned for public space or converted to accommodate more casual activities that we may share with family and friends in a “recreation room.”  Upper levels are generally the private areas – you have to make an effort to climb the stairs to reach bedrooms and bathrooms, maybe a study or studio as a private retreat.  This usually works until a temporary or permanent disability makes stairs a challenge.

Horizontal – Visual Barriers

Walls separate spaces and provide privacy.  A closed door generally means DO NOT ENTER.  Every door is an extra expense in construction, and in maintenance.  How often will you need to close that door, what will it be keeping private – storage, bodily functions, laundry in progress, messy school science projects?

Will a hanging curtain suffice?

Can a screen divide the space or hide storage?

If the sight line is broken by a wall, a corner, will that offer enough privacy?

Observations

Some people do not need curtains, drapery, or shades at their windows.  Friends have a house in the woods, no neighbors in sight.  The bathrooms are windowless or so high up you would need an extension ladder to peek inside so they have never put up any window coverings in the 20 or so years they have lived there.  I have stayed there and never felt a lack of privacy though I have shut the door to keep the cats out of the bedroom.  For them, suppressing light was not an issue – they like getting up with the sun.

 It seems strange to me that many people seem to be choosing to close in the toilet in their master bathroom (revisiting  the Water Closet concept), but then they have clear glass walls on huge showers or a whirlpool tub out in the open, often near a window.

 Some Great Rooms have become so large that the family is dwarfed in them when the ceilings are extremely high.  Friends with a one floor plan said they were amazed at how noisy it can get in their big open living/dining/kitchen and how the noise travels back to the bedroom areas.  Another friend recounted how he hated the house he grew up in where the children’s bedrooms all opened onto the open second floor balcony of the Family Room – not only did he have to deal with the noise but if he wanted to go to the shared bathroom he had to walk along the public balcony.

 Do you really want large open expanses of glass in a room that faces your neighbors’ large expanse of glass?  If you have an unimpeded vista of mountains or the seas, or maybe a view into a secluded garden then by all means open those windows wide to enjoy the scene.

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        As a travel writer it is my responsibility to select the best places, events, and experiences to present to you. Most travel has been on my own though some has occurred on sponsored press trips. Travel listings here will be more informal than my published articles.

 

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