Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Anchors: A Weight Grounds a Room

"Every room needs an anchor."  This is a truism in design.  Just as an anchor keeps a boat from being carried off by the tide, so too, a heavy, dark or tall piece of furniture grounds a room.

Below are some examples of room anchors in our home.

In the dining room, the corner cupboard grounds the room.

In most kitchens the stove with hood are the visual weight. Is this true in my kitchen? What about the large Subzero refrigerator?  Because of the hood over the range does not continue to the ceiling, it is a bit morphed by the frig.  I'd vote for the frig as the anchor in this room.

In our sunroom, the bird prints which fill the main wall act as the focal point. Individually, they aren't large or dark, but when hung as a set of six, they definitely command the room.

Our living room is an interesting example of the "anchor" design principle with several heavy pieces of furniture and a fireplace. I wonder what you would say is the weight? Look at the room from a couple of angles, before you vote.
Actually, I waffle on this. The tall bookcase has the greatest height and visual weight.
However, it is counter-balanced by the bulk of the black piano on one side and by the fireplace and grandfather clock on another corner.  I could never figure out why this room arrangement works, but as I analyze it, I believe the three large pieces form a balanced triangle.  So, maybe there isn't one anchor in this situation, but three.

The library, too, has more than one large, dark element, but the bookcase/fireplace wall wins hands down as the anchor, because the other bookcase has no where near the heft.

Now, let's inspect the bedrooms.  Our main floor master bedroom has a tall piece of furniture opposite the bed.  However, the volume of the bed makes it the anchor, rather than the armoir.

master bedroom
The same is true for the uptstairs bedrooms. 

upstairs bedrooms
And the lower level guest room follows the same rule.
lower level bedroom
Finally, in the family room a stone wall with fireplace is the room's focal point and weight.
The single anchor-less room in our home is the exercise room.  The heavy equipment floats in the room without any heavy or dark or weighty piece.  Do you have a suggestion for changing this dynamic?
Design principles often have parallels in life.  What is the focus or anchor in my life?  How I spend my time and money reveal what I weigh as important.  If my time and money usage don't reflect what I want to be the most important things in my life, maybe I should make some changes.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Bless This House

Thankfully, our home was not damaged by this year's convergence of the hurricane, Sandy, and the Nor'easter.  However, my heart goes out to those who were not spared.  Recovering from water damage is overwhelming, as we found out last year.

Viewing images of the devastation on the New Jersey shore led me to ponder a prayer I  prayed as a child.  Maybe you said it, too.  "Bless this house, Oh Lord, we pray; make it safe by night and day."

I am sure many of the east coast home owners prayed for protection from the hurricane, but the storm destroyed their homes in spite of their prayers. Why?  In this world, storms are a fact of life. We don't always have an answer as to why some are hit and others spared.

However, truth-be-told, most often our houses are safe, not destroyed. Catastrophes are not the rule, but the exception.
When we are safe and warm, we need to be thankful and not take for granted our protection.

A fellow blogger posted a prayer from the Lutheran prayer book to help us verbalize this thanksgiving:

"Lord God, our home is among the most precious gifts we receive in this life...Make us ever grateful for this shelter from life's storms...According to Your will, protect this home from the spiritual assaults of Satan, but likewise make our home a fortress against the calamities of nature and the wickedness of sinful man...May all who dwell in our home be blessed by Your presence and Your peace, and may all who go forth give thanks for the grace they received from You...We receive Your loving kindness in our home as a reminder of the eternal home we inherit through your Son, Jesus Christ, in whose name we pray. Amen."

Such modeled prayers are helpful in prompting me to be specifically thankful.  They remind me of what could seem ordinary.  Consequently, I have consciously placed pictures and plaques around our home as prompts to praise God for his love and protection.

In my office hangs a picture of the dove that Noah let out of the ark after the rain stopped.  The caption beneath the print reads:  "And the Lord did not forget."  What a wonderful reminder of God's unfailing faithfulness, even after a deluge!

A plaque on my kitchen counter also makes me aware of the Lord's supremacy over the lives lived in these four walls.  My in-laws purchased the original plaque in Haiti many years ago and graciously had a copy made for us.  Translated from French it reads:  "The Lord is the chief of this house, the unseen host present at every meal, and the silent auditor of every conversation."
Yet another reminder to be aware of and thankful for God's provision is found above my stove.  The words, "Give us this day our daily bread" are cross-stitched cues that every meal is a gift from God, not to be expected, but to be acknowledged with thanksgiving.

Then in one daughter's room is a Pat Buxley Moss picture of a little girl praying.  Hopefully, this reminds whoever is passing by to give thanks in all circumstances.

In the other daughter's suite hangs a print illustrating the tender care of the Good Shepherd.
Finally, there is a cross-stitched Scriptural quotation, "God's love endures forever", to remind us that even when storms hit our homes his love is present and active.