What Makes a Home a Home?
Fraher & Findlay
By Lizzie
May 2020
We design homes.
We work on lots of different types of building projects:

Specialist Music Bars, Restaurants, Cafes, Shops, Urban Gardens & Boutique Hotels.

We love that our work is varied, yet the majority of our projects are creating homes for people.

We often think about what makes spaces feel like a home? What quality of space should a home possess? What do these spaces mean to us? Do they mean anything or is it simply the lives that spaces support?

'We seek water, shelter, food and a means to gather all in one place for security and in most cases comfort/prosperity. This is what we call home, even if we do not truly own it.'

Noun: Home

  • a house, apartment, or other shelter that is the usual residence of a person, family, or household.

  • the place in which one's domestic affections are centered.

I am 38 years old, have two children, have been married for 10 years and living away from 'home' for 20 years - but I still see the house that I grew up in as 'Home Home.'

The house that I built with Joe is my now 'Home,' but these are the only two places that retrospectively I feel justify the term home - no doubt as significant events have happened whilst living there. But what is it about the spaces that are significant? Are they significant? To me the spaces are fundamental in my memories and experiences of home.

You can drown in blog posts from designers that detail how to create better energy within your home - and there is much to be said for the principles of Feng Shui. But to pinpoint what spaces constitute a home is impossible as they feed off the interpretation of the person living there.
My experiences of over 10 years of visiting people's houses and being involved in their architectural projects is that there are common themes that people want from their house refurbishment project to help them reinforce their idea of what home is to them.

Thermally comfortable house: To not feel cold in the house and also not overheat. The level of thermal comfort throughout the house is one of the primary contributing factors of a home.

Improvements to the feeling of coming home - principally the entrance to the home. The front door in Feng Shui is known as 'The mouth of Qi.' The first place that you need to feel the transition in energy from the street to 'home.' The moment when you close the door behind you are are 'home' is a significant spatial transition. We have to get it right! It also means different things to different people.

Daylight - technically you need to have natural light to all habitable rooms to make a home (other buildings do not technically need this to all rooms). Sunlight naturally energizes and wakes us up. Sunlight also renders all of the colours and objects that we see, so in our homes we are increasingly seeing that we want to let much more of it in. This is a departure from the Victorian and Edwardian times where glass was expensive and the quality of daylight within a home was not a driving factor.

Home should be a calming environment for whatever domestic activities you want to conduct there. We should be productive at home, but this is a different productive environment to work. Lots of storage and reduced clutter significantly helps us to create this productive and calm environment.

Taskeshi Hosaka Architects: Daylight House
Family: I strongly believe that every home should have a space large enough and laid out in a way that is conducive to socialization - this should also support independent activity within a shared space.

Secure: If a home is not secure then it cannot support a nurturing environment. The feeling of security is significantly impacted by the relationships between the internal and external spaces.

Image: Casa de Valentina
So when thinking about your project - think about what elements of the above feel really important for you to achieve and reinforce the feeling of home. I was once told by a new Client that came to visit a recently completed project of ours,

'Wow! It really feels like someone lives here.'

And that is what a home should be!

For someone.

If you are thinking of starting a project, please do not hesitate to contact us in the studio: hello@fraherandfindlay.com