Looking around for inspiration

When designing your home, office or place of work where do you turn for design inspiration? We often look for inspiration locally, in the place and region we are working in. We do so to help clarify the mood and character of the place and spaces we hope to cultivate and design. We think its crucial to the place based design we favor. We think its critical to get outdoors, to take a walk, hop in a canoe or get in the car and go experience and see your surrounding looking for inspiration in unlikely places. 

Here is a recent example from Stephen Frey.

Recently I drove around where I live looking for design inspiration for our architectural, placemaking and creative work.  The hills outside of Montpelier have lots to offer this time of year with the seasonal transition from winter to spring.  I look for intriguing forms, shapes, textures colors and compositions.  Here's a historic 100 year old plus 1-1/2 story cape style farmhouse, mid-house and barn combination I found.  The creaking bend in the barn frame caught my eye evoking the timeless play between building and landscape, and the inevitability of nature and time.  Also, the simplicity and sturdiness of the forms intrigued me as well as almost matching roof slopes between home to barn.  

For me, I find inspiration in the barn board, the red time worn color on the siding, the white trim, field stone walls and foundation, and yes the grass, mud and snow.  I also get a kick out of the form follows functionality of the barn windows sizing and layout. Often these windows are laid out reflecting the internal milking stalls providing views outside during milking.  Also, the front-house, mid-house, back-house barn connected building layout is an enduring aspect of our vernacular landscape.  Note how the site is cut with the barn's levels allowing easy access to the middle floor and lower levels at opposing grades?  This appears to be a smaller general purpose barn used to farm a small tract of land with a small amount of animals and room for hay above. 

Barn on Kent Corners Road - Stephen M.  Frey 

Barn on Kent Corners Road - Stephen M.  Frey 

What do you have around where you live? Do you have common to your area vernacular building forms or traditional buildings?  They often have a lot of endearing qualities, even more so, if you don't own one and are trying to keep up with all of the quirky ongoing maintenance. 

That's another story.  Bottom line, get outside and take a look around and really look to see what lies in plain view for inspiration for your design project's materials, colors, mood and detail character.  Try to suspend your preconceptions about what's there and really take your time looking.  You won't regret the effort.

You will no doubt find unexpected insight and a treasured memory.