Article By | Stearns Design Build
Does your home make you happy? Could it make you happier?
This pursuit started when the owner, Hugh Stearns, was a student at Texas A&M studying psychology. He read papers indicating that people with stronger connections to nature scored higher on self-assessments of happiness. The idea that such connections could influence happiness was intriguing. Moreover, the thought inspired him that such connections could be an aspect of design.
Stearns points out that people think of their home in functional terms. “This is the room I sleep in, the room I bathe in, and where I cook food. A home might be called a 3-2, meaning it has three bedrooms and two bathrooms. This type of thinking is linear and devoid of the human connection so rich in a home. But a home can and should be so much more. Most people recognize this. If all is good, the home is a family’s safe place. But, without the intentionality of science and mindfulness of personality, much will be missed.”
There are several ways that Stearns Design Build seeks to tap into a home’s more significant potential. The process starts with a deep curiosity about their clients and the connections that are most important to them. For example, Stearns points out, “while we know that a sense of connection to nature can inspire happiness, simply adding more windows will not automatically generate more happiness. If a client has security concerns, the added windows may diminish their capacity to be happy in a house with more windows. Once we understand their concerns, we can design spaces that assuage them.”
While sustainability is a focus, Stearns Design Build differentiates itself from the general trend of green building, which is about the relationship of the building, rather than the people in the building, to the environment. Production Manager, Eric Webb, said, “the green building movement has brought about tremendous advances in building science that makes modern houses much more efficient, but the people in the home continue to make decisions as consumers and voters that have an ongoing impact. By paying attention to the needs of the people first, we can best serve the environment.”
By focusing on the psychology of space, Stearns Design Build brings a level of intentionality to their projects that are often missing in home design. Designer, Preston McMath, points out, “designing to the personality of our clients gives us an ability to have a more dramatic impact on their lives.” He continues, “We greatly expand our design palette by paying attention to the critical connections to our clients. No longer is it just color, texture, and lines. Now we are putting those elements into the context of people’s lives. We are adding traditions, memories, aspirations, and more to our design palette.”
Stearns Design Build has been serving the Brazos Valley since 1993 and specializes in large remodeling projects such as additions, kitchens, bathrooms, whole-house remodels, and custom homes.