Good design helps families embrace ideas of the slow home movement

Mar 1 2011

Having well-defined areas of a home with lots of natural light is the focus of the slow home movement.
Having well-defined areas of a home with lots of natural light is the focus of the slow home movement.
Slowing down a house is like slowing down the body – it keeps stress at bay, sustains energy and enhances livability.

That's the idea behind the slow home movement, as it is behind slow cooking, the culinary trend that inspired architect John Brown to take on the slow home mission.

According to the Akron Beacon Journal, the houses Brown wants to see built are those that will serve families for the long term, with a reasonable amount of space to grow in and sustainable features that meet their lifestyle and needs.

''It doesn't have to be fancy. It doesn't have to be expensive. It just has to be easy to live in,'' Brown told the newspaper.


Akron architect Hallie Bowie agrees with Brown, but doesn't necessarily attach a name to the process. She believes it's a combination of green building principles, making better use of smaller homes and relying on good design to solve storage needs, address the multiple tasks of a modern family and emphasize the quality of time spent in the home.


''It seems to me the slow home has a real values kind of focus,'' Bowie told the Beacon Journal.


Some examples include having closets in entry areas instead of empty space, a laundry room near a back entry that interferes with the traffic pattern into the house or additional bathrooms that open directly to living areas.


Shannon Honeybloom, author of Making a Family Home, said slow home living bolsters interaction and imagination, not just entertainment and instant information. She advises placing computers in places other than children's play areas and closing off the TV in an armoire to slow the pace of a home.
 

Making the best use of natural light also is an important part of the slow home movement, and choosing the right window treatment is one way to achieve this. Soft sheer shades are an elegant window covering that allows filtered light to enter a room, while maintaining visibility of the outdoors.


Brown's design business, the Slow Home Studio in Calgary, Canada, offers a 10-step checkoff list to achieving a slow home, with most points emphasizing how to organize space in a meaningful and functional way. "A slow home has a good flow between spaces with a strong connection to the outdoors," states SlowHomeStudio.com. "All indoor and outdoor living spaces in a slow home have good daylight and are easy to furnish."
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