Sunday, February 17, 2013

My Home is My Castle

My Home is My Castle

I write this article after nearly two years of upheaval in my city. We had a major earthquake on February 22 2011 and the people of Christchurch's lives will never be the same again. They lost their homes, some lost family members, jobs were ended abruptly because the entire central city was closed down and most of it is now demolished and still inaccessible  People have had to find a new place to live, put up with after shocks which are now less frequent but still there. Children practice their earthquake drills on a regular basis and my daughter won't even mention the date February 22nd as she just wants to pretend it didn't happen.

That is the background for what I am going to write now. I have been working in a job as a project manager to reinstate people's homes. It has been eye opening in many ways. I see people living with large cracks in their walls, windows boarded up, uneven floors, broken paths and driveways and once loved garden's now unkempt. They carry on their daily lives, adapting to their new environment, most don't complain as they are happy to still be in their own home. Others, I visit their home with them, they are no longer able to live in it, they basically walked out and left their home life behind. Their furniture and belongings battered and tattered all over the floor. It is quite distressing to have to take them back there. They will get a new home built, but it is not the same, they have had to rebuild their lives and be in limbo for two years now, finding somewhere temporary to live, moving kids schools, buying new furniture and everyday necessities,  finding work, and most of all trying hard to be strong and keep their families feeling safe and secure.

I write this from the heart as I have always stressed when I teach others interior design that the home should show the owner's personality, be full of their life's adventures, mementos from travelling, trophies won by children, collected paintings, handmade quilts, whatever they owner loves should be a strength in the interior design. I still agree whole heatedly with this theory, but it is hard to watch as a lot of families have lost their personality, their collected homely possessions. Yes, insurance covers the cost of replacing or repairing their home and their contents, but it can't possibly rebuild their home personality. Where do you start as a designer to get that home feeling back for people? How do you build them back their castle?

I will leave this article now as I would love your feedback to help me answer the question - how do we rebuild their home to be their solid, sturdy, safe and warm, homely castle? Do you have any suggestions that I can offer them? I would love to get some help with this as I am too close to be able to think like a real interior designer about this question.
Thank you
Lee Brown

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