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of coziness without sacrificing grandeur: small spaces juxtaposing with with larger spaces so they balance each other, and create a soothing flow for every mood and every event.

Intimacy is also enhanced when we deliberately design all but the most private rooms such that they both allow and invite multiple uses. Rather than the traditional set-purpose of "the living room' or "the television room," the areas within the intimate home contribute a layered, living feel to the home. The layouts and trappings that support multiple uses between rooms also inspire sharing and interaction between people.

Now, thanks to the increasing influence of science on architecture, a few architects know and use the principles of Emotionally Intelligent Design to create intimate rooms. Social science and neuro science are providing evidence that underscores the adages found in architectural primers such as Christopher Alexander’s “A Pattern Language.” Elements such as “light, color, a degree of messiness and layouts promoting eye contact” have all been proven to play their part in improving the quality of an intimate home. As an architect,  I regularly use this information to tune environments in ways that can enhance intimacy and happiness.

You do not need to be a neuroscientist to appreciate the value of an intimate home, Even young children, with their innate love of togetherness can sense how a home can foster intimacy. Will, my son had been suggesting that we lease out less of our three-family Victorian home so that the two of us could spread out. However, when he returned from an overnight stay with a friend who lived in a large suburban house, Will announced that he had changed his mind. Will noticed that because we occupied fewer rooms, we spent more time in the same or adjoining spaces. He preferred our closeness and relaxed sense of belonging to his friend’s more solitary life isolated in a television room, a game room or a bedroom.

Will could see that in sharing more of our day-to-day lives, our little family gained something that he wanted to preserve. Like Will, we know that in both homes and in relationships, intimacy is created by shared moments, by closeness and by familiarity.

If we also believe that “intimacy is the basis of friendship and one of the bases of love”, then it stands to reason that we would all benefit from rearranging our homes so as to encourage a healthy level of intimacy. Creating the intimate home, be it large or small, is a primary theme of my blog, so please check it for ideas, inspiration and advice.


About Intimate Homes

Small spaces do not necessarily foster an intimate home, cozy spaces do. Large spaces need not undermine intimacy; they can enhance it.  Ideally, an intimate home creates a sense

Comfortable, warm and familiar the ideal home is a place where intimacy is created by shared moments, by closeness and by familiarity. Our homes can be intimate by design, shaped for encouraging us to relax and to be ourselves when we are with our family and with our friends.

Regardless of its size,

an intimate home is

made up of rooms

where we are comfortable. It is not the square footage that makes the difference, but how the spaces are proportioned.

How to shape                 an intimate roomIntimate_Homes__How_To.html