Tag Archives: South Yarra Victoria

What I’m Reading Now.

Just the other day  I was at the South Yarra Library and saw Naomi Cleaver’s book, The Joy of Home. I was intrigued by her introduction to the book for she talked about how happiness can be fostered through design, and so I read more and ended up answering 25 questions that she suggests might help people design their homes.

The first chapter of Cleaver’s book is titled First Things First. She writes, “The more questions you ask, the more successful your design will be. In designing a home you first need to define your goals, your principle needs and desires, and the context in which those goals are to be realized.” There are a series of 25 questions that she suggests that one should complete in order to better organize their approach in designing a  “home.” I have listed my answers to some of the questions below as well as the full list of 25 questions.

Cleaver calls the answers a “design brief” that will, “act as a kind of road map to the perfect home for you.” Though I am not currently redesigning a space and still don’t have a space of my own, I approached the questions as though I did have a space to work with. I also approached the questions as an opportunity to better understand my own relationship to what kinds of spaces make me happy. I answered them about residential spaces, so, for example when asked, “How do you like to relax?” I answered the question, “How do you like to relax at home?”

Through the questions I certainly learned more, or perhaps acknowledged more: basically I enjoy spaces that I feel comfy in; spaces that don’t feel too stiff, or too fragile; spaces that feel like they want to be lived in and loved.

There is nothing magical about this set of questions, and while answering some of the questions I felt like I was answering a self-help questionnaire as opposed to a questionnaire about space. But  what I realized is that those questions that felt irrelevant to space asked me to search more deeply into my personal needs and desired in order to really understand my relationship to spaces that work and spaces that don’t.

In choosing images to compliment this post I found that the images of spaces that I am aesthetically attracted to don’t always correlate to my practical interests in a space (a comfy space that I feel like I can live in). When I do get to design my own space, I will have to approach it from the perspective of practicality rather than aesthetics. This is not to say that those spaces that satisfy the practical aspect of happiness for me are aesthetically unappealing, but rather, spaces that I appreciate visually may not be spaces I care to spend time in from a practical point of being comfy and welcome.

What is your favorite room, and why?

Any room with good light, comfy surfaces, a place where I can sit in multiple configurations (formal, cuddled up with a book, work on my computer), and engage in many kinds of activities (art projects, cooking projects, long conversations, dance parties, movie watching).

What is your least favorite room, and why?

I very seldom enjoy home offices, I find that the importance of light and design is often bypassed in favor of organization and generic office supplies with little inherent character. I think offices should still be cozy, light, and organized and should be careful that they don’t get too cluttered with scattered paper and receipts.

How do you relax, and how do you like to relax?

Taking time to cook something yummy, looking at beautiful images in a book, listening to my favorite music, watching a good movie with family and a homemade pizza.

What are your interests, and what would you like to be interested in?

I am interested in wellbeing and design. I see happiness, health, fitness, family, friends as a few of the elements of wellbeing. I see space, objects, starting my own book collection, organization, art, movies, music, and systemization as a few of the elements of design. I also am interested in Koalas and natural bodies of water.

Do you enjoy entertaining, at home? If so, how formal or informal?

I love entertaining at home, and love most of all when my guests are contributors to the event. I like when they bring dishes, the love and traditions, and when they help clean up and do the dishes at the end of the night. I feel that it brings a wonderful sense of collaboration as opposed to showmanship, though I do love to decorate and prepare yummy food for parties.

What is your favorite hotel/restaurant, and why?

My favorite restaurant is the Pelican Inn pub in Marin, CA. It is so cozy inside, and you can stay for hours without being asked to vacate your seat for other patrons, it is one of the few places you can just hang out with friends as if it was your own intimate dinner party (and you can play darts, competition always adds quite the flare to any dinner party).

The Full List of 25:

What is your favorite room, and why?

What is your least favorite room, and why?

How do you relax, and how do you like to relax?

What are your interests, and what would you like to be interested in?

Do you enjoy entertaining, at home? If so, how formal or informal?

Do you have friends or family to stay? If not, would you like to?

If your house were on fire, what three possessions would you grab before escaping?

Would you describe yourself as tidy or untidy?

What are you good at?

What do you wish you were better at?

What is your favorite hotel/restaurant, and why?

What is the best thing you remember about your childhood home?

What is your favorite place in the world, and why?

How would you live if you were not living the way you do now?

What is your favorite color?

What is your least favorite color?

Do you work from home?

Who do you live with and what are there needs?

Who will you live with and what might their needs be?

Do you live in the country or a more urban environment?

Do you work night shifts?

What is your favorite climate or season?

What is your least favorite climate or season?

Is there a crush for the bathroom in the morning?

Do you have difficulty sleeping?

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