In this series of journals we will be speaking with David Holland, an architect with a passion for delivering beautifully crafted and truly sustainable places to live and work (as we know these habitats sometimes overlap). We’ll be exploring how you can integrate a more mindful approach to your home and the building it’s within to lift the soul.
Rethinking a space isn’t all about redesigning. It’s about creating that sense of belonging and appreciating the beauty.
We visited Mousley House Farm, a magical former farm house home nestled in an idyllic country setting, and this is what happened.
Over to David…
“Why is it that some buildings just don’t feel right?” Mr Clarke asked me. “They have nothing about them. They feel… cold.”
“It’s because they have no soul,” I replied.
We were sat with his client around her kitchen table, drinking coffee (of course). Paul had invited me to come and take a look around a beautiful farmhouse in the heart of the Warwickshire countryside. He was interested to see what I might do with it. It was a typical British summer’s day outside: it had been raining consistently (and heavily) for the past hour, so we were all happy to stay where we were and carry on talking and sipping our coffee.
Sensing that Paul and his client were intrigued by what I meant, I continued:
“Buildings with soul are the ones that can tell a story. They may have imperfections, they might be a bit wonky, but that is part of their charm, and what gives them their unique character.”
I could see that Paul instantly got what I meant and he told me about a table he owned that was bruised and battered, but beautiful and homely. It told a story.
Then Paul’s client asked us to turn around. “That dresser has been in my family for generations. I remember my dad stripping it, whilst I sat inside!” she said. This piece of furniture, was so much more than a collection of pine assembled in such a way as to provide some practical kitchen storage. Paul and I had been looking at it for no more than five seconds, but we both were able to instantly recognise the richness and authenticity it had. It had soul. “I’ll be taking it with me when I leave” she said.
Possessions within spaces don’t have to be just decorative props and buildings can do more than simply provide shelter; they can tell stories, and that makes them so much more valuable if we can just learn how to appreciate it. If we embrace their imperfections, the journeys they’ve been on, we can find moments of real joy. It’s all too easy to be dismissive, and sometimes it isn’t obvious at first. Next time there’s a rainy day or you get that spring cleaning urge, take your time, try to appreciate the flaws and how they got there, and give them a true place in your home. Then just maybe they’ll find a place in your heart too.