House or Home? – Depends

I’m going to have to be completely honest right up front, in my architectural career I have worked on a grand total of zero houses. Nada, zip, zilch.  I’ve worked on projects that consisted of remodeling a single room up to hotels that wound up costing in the hundreds of millions.  I think maybe the closest I ever got, was working on a garden office that had a very residential feel to it and even ended up being a wood frame structure, but never actually a house.  Not even some sort of multi-family project that people ended up living in.  That’s not to say though, that some of the offices I have worked on over the years, the client didn’t ask for a few… let’s say, home like creature comforts to make themselves more comfortable.

No Homes

This is the 24th entry into the #ArchiTalks experiment.  A monthly posting where architects from around the country all are given a single subject to write about, a specific time to post, and no clue as to what the rest are going to interpret the subject. This month’s subject, House or home.

So, how does an architect with absolutely no experience in the residential market make an entry this go around? Well, if you have ever met an architect, they aren’t usually known for not having an opinion about something.  I don’t think the technical terms are going to help much on this one.


House Capture


Home Capture

Yeah, not much difference there.  So although mine might be a little more anecdotal than some, I think it still has something to offer.  I’m sure everyone has heard the phrase “Home is where you hang your hat.”  I personally think there is a little more to it than that.  I think home can end up being just about anywhere, but I think there is an inherent investment that goes along with that claim.

First I think I need to clarify what I consider the difference between the two. A house is simply a structure that people happen to conduct their daily routines in.  There is no attachment, and yes I think that most of the big name residential builders out there deliver exactly this.  When that structure has some sort of connection to the people that live there, and those people have some sort of an investment that goes beyond just money, it can turn into a real home.  Simply buying a piece of property and performing the occasional repair doesn’t really seem to cut it.  I mean a real investment of your time, your energy, and your imagination.  I really don’t think that is too much to ask, do you?  That really leaves the door wide open for any house to become a home, not just the ones designed by an architect.  Wait…. What?!?!?

Ok, before I piss off too many architects out there, I will say that typically a house that has been thoughtfully designed through client input, site strategies, and lots of other fancy architectural mumbo jumbo definitely holds an immense advantage in this distinction. Come on, think about it.  I would have to wager that most of the homes that are designed by architects go through months if not years of back and forth design changes not only between the home owner and the architect, but within the architect’s office, and even bouncing around someone’s head just trying to come up with the best solution.  Did you ever go throughout your day and think, man I wish this room was just a little bit bigger or that this room was closer to that one?  If you were able to work with someone that show you all of the possibilities and benefits, or maybe downfalls, of having things that way, you have already started to create that attachment to a specific place or idea.  That attachment ends up being something that is far beyond measure and of so much value in this process.  If the amount of time I spend on a new office building is anywhere close to the amount of time someone spends designing a new house; that dedication is bound to show through in the final product.

I guess all of this really boils down to, how are you going to get from house to home?  Not an easy question to answer.  There are probably a million different ways and probably even more differing answers to that question.  The one part of this I can answer with a good amount of certainty though, Architects are pretty uniquely qualified to help you on that journey.  Getting you to a place you might not have even expected to end up.  Writing that last sentence made me think, that might actually be a big part of it.  Imagine the story that you start when you make that big decision to create a true home.  Imagine in 20, 30, or even 50 years when you can share all the different experiences that all started in that one moment.  Sounds pretty cool to me.

Now I know some of the other writers have a little more experience at this particular subject than I do, so I will be very curious as to what they have to say about it.  Click on the links below to find out.


Bob Borson – Life of An Architect (@bobborson)
The Designation between House and Home

Lora Teagarden – L² Design, LLC (@L2DesignLLC)
House or Home? It’s in the story.

Collier Ward – One More Story (@BuildingContent)
House or Home? A Choice of Terms

Jeremiah Russell, AIA – ROGUE Architecture (@rogue_architect)
house or home: #architalks

Eric T. Faulkner – Rock Talk (@wishingrockhome)
House or Home — Discover the Difference

Michele Grace Hottel – Michele Grace Hottel, Architect (@mghottel)
“house” or “home”?

Greg Croft – Sage Leaf Group (@croft_gregory)
House or Home

Jeffrey Pelletier – Board & Vellum (@boardandvellum)
Designing a House into a Home

Kyu Young Kim – J&K Atelier (@sokokyu)
Making a House a Home

Jim Mehaffey – Yeoman Architect (@jamesmehaffey)
House or Home: One’s a Place, the Other a Feeling.

Mark Stephens – Mark Stephens Architects (@architectmark)
#ArchiTalks #24 House or Home? #RefugeeCrisis @GrainneHassett mentioned

Mark R. LePage – EntreArchitect (@EntreArchitect)
Emotional Marketing for Architects: House or Home?

Meghana Joshi – IRA Consultants, LLC (@MeghanaIRA)
Architalks #24 : House or Home

Michael LaValley – Evolving Architect (@archivalley)
House or Home? Train for One, Design for Another

Jarod Hall – di’velept (@divelept)
A Rose by Any Other Name…

Greg Croft – Sage Leaf Group (@croft_gregory)
House or Home

Jeffrey Pelletier – Board & Vellum (@boardandvellum)
Designing a House into a Home

Nisha Kandiah – ArchiDragon (@ArchiDragon)
Dwelling on a Macro scale



10 Replies to “House or Home? – Depends”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: