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House Therapy: Work With What You Love

Aug 24, 2017 10:27AM ● By Ren Campbell

Work with what you love. Ever wonder where to start when designing a room? How about following the early 20th c. Viennese architect and designer Josef Frank’s “accident-ism” philosophy? Simply choose what you love and the rest will fit in around it. In 1958, Frank wrote in Form magazine that “a home does not need to be planned down to the smallest detail or contrived; it should be an amalgamation of the things that the owner loves and feels at home with.” We say simply and then we think “is anything truly simple?” It can be and it should be, especially in regards to creating a beautiful and functional environment. Start with one room and one object or piece of furniture; if you look around the room you are sitting in and the thought that runs through your mind is “I’d rather just through this all out” then maybe you should pay attention to that thought! Maybe there isn’t anything that you love in front of you, maybe it is just stuff that has accumulated around you over time, or been unloaded on you, or bought because you needed it to fulfill a function but was meant to be replaced – someday.

Today is as good a day as any. You have my permission to chuck anything you don’t love, needs fixing, doesn’t ‘speak’ to you or is flat out in your way and keeps getting shoved from here to there around your house.

As I write this and prepare for the next phase in my own life I am looking out at my living room which is nearly devoid of the things I truly love in my house; those things are now in storage, waiting in limbo for the moving van. Preparing a house to sell and tightening the quarters is a challenge, but it is also freeing. My favorites are all waiting for me and I’m a bit excited to see them again in a new place. I even have Josef Frank fabric folded away to become curtains for the den! And not having them with me lets me see what is left and I know I won’t miss the rest. Truth is I’m moving far too much to the new house. As a designer I was very near to eliminating everything and starting from scratch, but I am sentimental and I figure I can get rid of the left overs just as well there as here. But, enough about me, let’s see what we can do for you. When you are at home, sitting in your living room try the following: move one thing from your sight and see how it feels, then don’t hold back and don’t question or second guess yourself. If you love it keep it. If you don’t love it, well you know what to do, make the break and remove it.

Let the accidents happen and you will create a wonderful experience in your home revealing more of your true self in the process.


Ren Campbell has practiced the discipline of architectural interior design for over 30 years. He’s been a University studio instructor and currently consults with individuals on their issues concerning their homes and how they live in them. For House Therapy questions, email [email protected].