What is important to you in a home? I currently find myself in the same place as many of my clients because I just purchased a “handy man special”… yes, a complete gut job, lol. I was also thinking about our needs as humans, for more than the shelter near the bottom of Maslow’s pyramid, but for the need for home that is closer to our actualizing. It is a place that not only offers safety, but also presents an expression of ourselves and works in tandem with every aspect of our life and lifestyle. The interesting part from a designer’s perspective is the similarities in two recent design challenges – one for a couple moving from the Boston suburbs back to the city into a stunning flat overlooking the Greenway, and the other for a couple with young children who just suffered a fire (thankfully no one was injured- and please have your dryer vents cleaned), and are discussing the needed renovations with the hope of making the aftermath home again. These design projectscouldn’t appear more different, and certainly, one will involve creating more space for all the kids’ needs, and the other will focus on creating a fit and finish that will work seamlessly into the couple’s new lifestyle. The dichotomy is obvious; however, I am struck by the similar way both couples talk about their needs… the need to be “home”. A place that “does” what they need, provides what they need, and expresses who they are…not just a place to live. The similarities can be found in two completely different discussions, and hopefully, it will help you when you sit down with your designer to know what in the conversation will make your home and house better. In the Boston high-rise appointment, we walked with the couple into the master bath and had the Mister stand in the existing shower- large by modern standards, but small compared to their Wellesley bath. He said he could work with it if it meant getting his wife a cosmetic area where the tub is currently located, and making the closet larger. Here we meet the need of things, but after time to digest, we discussed a couple of paradigm changers about moving the laundry, shifting walls and in the discussion realized, it was not just the size of the shower, but more of an open concept that would make the bath feel more open and airy… and a desire to provide his wife with a better solution that wouldn’t make her feel cramped (something possible by using space in another bath that isn’t part of their current need). So it’s not really whether the shower is bigger or smaller. In the house fire project, as I walked around on the second appointment to do the field measurements, the Mister was quick to let me know the parts of the home his wife loved…not just “my wife loves the porch”, but “we love sitting out there almost every night and it is a great spot to watch the kids come and go from outside and feel like we are really enjoying the outdoors”. We talked about making a few changes to the current layout, because there were a few things that didn’t really work as well since they first bought the home awhile back. That is when I came up with the idea for this article. I had just been in Boston the day before, but I could sense the same exact feeling from both clients – the need to know that they would be in a good place when they moved in! And none of it had to do with brands of appliances, colors of walls and all the details we would take care of in the coming design meetings, only the need to have a home that works just for them when the long days of work are over. So before you embark on your next bathroom remodel or home renovation, give some thought to your needs first, and the rest of the design will unfold easily in the next steps.