All posts in "From the Studio"

How To Design Your Home For Loved Ones Who Need A Little Extra Support

Designing your dream home should be exciting, but for many families, it is more of a necessity due to lifestyle changes. You may have an aging parent that you plan to bring home and care for. Or maybe you are like our clients, the Tanners, with children that need special accommodations. Perhaps you are just planning ahead for your retirement. No matter what your motivation, when renovating or designing your home you want to consider your lifestyle now and in the future. 

Here’s how The Tanners have created a home for their ailing children, and The Sussons are renovating for an in-law suite with our guidance.

A labor of love for the children

Janet and Chris Tanner wanted to renovate their downstairs bathroom in order to accommodate two of their children. Born with a very rare disease the diagnosis was devastating — they were told the children might only live to around the age of twelve. As the children grew, it was almost impossible to carry them up and down the stairs for bathtime. The Tanners decided to remodel to make their lives easier. 

The Tanners considered their current situation. They didn’t want the new bathroom to look or feel like a hospital bathroom. But it had to be wheelchair accessible and allow for a shower chair. There also had to be an easy way to clean any water that splashed on the floor. 

As professional architects, we worked closely with the contractors to make sure that everything would enable easy access including a wall-mounted toilet. We chose materials that would meet the requirements so the shower could drain properly. Knowing that their children were the same age as ours, the project took on an added layer of love and care.

It was important to consider the elephant in the room: How would the space function after the children had passed away? Redesigning the space improved how the Tanners currently lived in the house and by planning for the future, fixtures were selected that would be appropriate for the family even after the children were gone. 

The focus for the renovation was on the quality of life in the present and for years to come.  In fact, the bathroom was designed so you wouldn’t realize that it was for children with special needs.

Designing your home to include your parents

As parents get older, they may require more care. Some still want to enjoy their independence, but that isn’t always possible. They may be able to tend for themselves, while others may be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or have a physical limitation like a broken hip. Clients often realize the need for a parent suite or an apartment for grandma.

As architects, we guide our clients to not only think about the present living conditions but consider the longer term.  What will happen once your parents have passed? Our clients, Michele and Barry Sussons wanted an in-law suite for their parents. Michele’s mother wanted a full working kitchen, somewhere she could make a turkey. Michele didn’t think it made any sense to have two kitchens. Michele’s mother wouldn’t be cooking meals for two once her husband was gone.

We gently prompted questions to allow the Sussons to make a decision that was right for them. A small kitchenette would be sufficient while still letting Michele’s mother feel independent. What her mother really wanted was a place where she could bake chocolate chip cookies for her grandchildren. 

Planning and designing for the long term when both Michele’s parents have passed away, the walls to the in-law’s suite could be removed and the Sussons would have a big family room. It’s important when renovating or designing your home to consider more than just what you need now.

Designing for the present and the future 

You are probably aware of your current lifestyle needs, but you might not be considering what you’ll want in the future. With professional architects to guide you, you can envision what your home will be like. The spaces that you design for your current needs for a caregiver or a hospital bed can be converted to a laundry space, pantry or exercise room. Having someone assist you to plan in advance, will allow you to make the right decisions for your family.

When you are ready to address the changes coming for your family and renovate your home, contact us at

Continue reading >

Are You Celebrating the Holidays in Your Dream Home?

Find out how to have your custom designed dream home in the Chicago area

December is the time of year when most of us gather together to celebrate for one reason or another.  Loved ones come from far and near to add another page to the Story of your family. No matter what the traditions, there’s excitement in the air. Young and old, the home is decorated to mark the occasion and commemorate the completion of another year. Is your home living up to your dreams for the holidays?

The reality of your celebration is rarely the same as your ultimate vision. Perhaps by Christmas, you hoped for a larger living room with ample space for your oversized tree and abundant presents. Or when overwhelmed by the stress of your in-laws staying for a week, maybe your guest bath hasn’t been renovated. And no one wants to hear from Uncle Bob about the draft in the guest bedroom!

While it’s too late to construct a wish list for your dream home for this holiday season, it is the perfect time to begin your project planning for next year, 2022. The design of your dream home would be the perfect gift from Santa.

Create the story of your home, your family

Imagine the scene: Snow is falling, the room is aglow from the crackling fire, stockings are hung from the mantel, the scent of Frazier fir fills the air, twinkling lights and family heirloom ornaments adorn the tree, brightly wrapped gifts are carefully placed underneath. Through the floor-to-ceiling windows, you glimpse the frozen lake with a new layer of freshly fallen snow glistening in the sunlight. In mere moments, children will race down the new stairs eager to see what Santa delivered. Plenty of space for the family, in the spacious yet cozy family room of your dreams. Your knowing smile is a subtle reminder you made all the right design decisions. This is what Christmas should be.

Memories made in the kitchen

Cookies shaped with vintage cutters, decorated in red and white, sit on Grammie’s crystal platter for everyone to enjoy. The warm aroma of cinnamon and gingerbread wafts in the air while powdered sugar drapes the countertop after finishing the pizzelles. Remnants of this morning’s homemade cinnamon rolls from Aunt Diana’s recipe fill the under-the-counter drawer dishwasher. Ingredients for tonight’s turkey feast are spread across the ample island as The Nutcracker Suite drifts softly through the whole-house audio system.

A well-designed kitchen that allows you and your family to bake and cook together is one where vivid memories are made. Favorite foods and special treats complete the holiday experience. But it’s more than the food itself, it’s the process of creation, the act of working together, the singing with the aunts while cleaning the kitchen afterward―where stories are told of past and present. The wreath is hung on the beautifully trimmed stove hood, the candles decorate the gleaming marble counter. Your home is designed to create experiences your children will cherish for their lifetime and will share with their grandchildren. These are memories to last a lifetime.

Exterior design is as important as inside

Your dream home is more than the interior spaces. Your luxurious wrap-around porch to enjoy on steamy summer nights easily transforms into a winter wonderland with warm yellow lights, rails wrapped with garland and big red bows, a balsam wreath on the front door and single candles in each of your new windows. A driveway and sidewalk lined with luminaria completes the spirit of the season. If your family is anything like mine, you’ll hop in the mini-van with hot cocoa and drive around the neighborhood “oohing” and “aahing” at the beautifully decorated homes.

But your home is your favorite, without a doubt. When it is finished, your experienced, licensed architect will have guided you through the lengthy design and construction process, customizing every decision for you and your family’s Legacy Home. Turning on the lights, you stand back with your family and admire your home, content and relaxed. Yes, you think, Santa brought me everything I wanted.

Celebrate the holidays in your dream home

Each family has its own history, customs and traditions. Honoring your unique family history sets the stage for the creation of new memories – your Story.  When surrounded by loved ones in a home you love, holidays are even more special. It’s a time of magic and for wishes to come true. Every design begins with a story. Let us tell your story. 

If you are ready to create memories for your family and add another page to your family history by designing your dream home, contact us at 630.346.1620.


All photos, including feature image above, by Ron Warren. Design by 1212 Architects.

Continue reading >

Psychology in Architecture: Home That Complements Your Personality

Should we feel nostalgic when it comes to choosing our new home style and follow the footsteps of our ancestors? Is it necessarily better to look ahead and leave our own footprint on the fabric of human civilization and be creative? Using psychology in architecture helps us connect with our roots, but at the same time allows us to explore new horizons.

It’s an impressive experience to trace back our steps through history and observe how the architecture and home design have evolved over centuries. When we revisit the past glory and what our ancestors left behind, we witness the vital role of a creative mind behind each building. Every masterpiece of an era now tells the story of the lifestyle, people’s mindset, and their culture. 

There were always daring pioneers like Frank Loyd Wright or Gaudi. Many other architects also stepped out of their comfort zone to create functional beauty over and above streamlines and traditions. There were people as investors, homeowners or developers who believed in them and helped embody the legacy we learned to appreciate today. The work of art is an evolving culture that has to move forward, create beauty, continue the storytelling to the future generations and reflect the current culture.

It’s easy to design and build an ordinary building, a house or a shelter. Still, it needs a heck of a gut for the homeowner to ask for something out of the ordinary, which represents their personality and culture. I genuinely admire homeowners who want to step out of their comfort zone. Subsequently, I welcome the challenge of the task of creating the next masterpiece of habitat art for them.

Psychology in Architecture: A part of Our Identity

The design of any physical space heavily influences the psyche of people inhabiting/visiting that space, shaping their decisions, attitudes and behavior.

Scientists study the connection between psychology and the physical environment for the last four decades. However, that relationship is, at an intuitive level, as old as civilization itself. The effects of architectural frames on individuals and society have been considered from the early shelter to today ́s modern structure. Ancient temples were placed and organized in a way to enhance the desired effects. Alongside this, one can say that modern “temples” like malls and supermarkets continue the exact same approach.

Human perceptions of spaces they spend time in are under direct impact of the reflection of overall cultural and social identities. However, the psychological identity sense and its interaction with interior architecture occur more directly in smaller domains such as local neighborhoods, personal environments and homes. We subconsciously identify with places that reflect our personality’s main features in a complex, bilateral interaction. It’s important to understand that our identity does not depend merely on the composition and form of physical space, but also heavily links to the concept of meaning and making sense. The person defines the space as much as space defines the person, mutually exchanging the gains.

Visual, audio and physical sensations affect the psychological attitude of humans. That explains the vital role of all kinds of design in shaping behavioral pictures worldwide. Interior design needs a special place in studying these connections. One of the primary duties of architecture is to provide sheltering environments that can sustain, or even enhance, its occupants’ well-being. Considering the amount of time most of us are spending indoors, I dare say it’s truly essential.  

Psychology in Architecture Means Designing a Home That Fits

Setting up an interior that reflects the psychological needs of its inhabitants is quite a challenge. There is no one-size-fits-all solution, as the ways we receive, perceive and respond to a stimulus are numerous and dependable on personal experience. Culture, age, education level, gender and social status are just some of the major factors determining occupants’ needs. 

The recent expansion of psychology in architecture and person-centered design had shed new light on a certain disconnection between designers and clients’ needs, research, and practices. From one point of view, architecture leans towards programming and determining clients’ needs. Proposed drafts are sometimes more in line with the current trends and location requirements than with the actual human interest. On the other hand, behavioral sciences take an interest in the role of the environment in terms of consistency with society’s needs. The best approach to architectural design is tending to create physical space as a crossover of the two, based on people’s behavioral characteristics.

Design outcome has a substantial impact on the quality of life, human behavior, and organizational performance of the place. A quality design fits the owner’s needs and can be adequately felt by the owner and attributed to him. The interior doesn’t have to be envisioned by the owner, but it has to reflect him. Great designers possess the ability to see the space through the client’s lenses but also correct mistakes that come with the lack of professional experience, teach and direct in the best way possible.

Psychology in Architecture: No Place Like Home

The home interior also makes a statement for his owners while providing shelter. Thus it has to offer an unbeatable sense of “being on your own.” Your home is your kingdom, shaped by the way it fits you above everything else. There’s no place like home—because nothing else is a reflection of ourselves on such a large scale.

Close your eyes and imagine that you see an absolutely blank living room. There are no finishes, no furnishing, no parameters, no connection with the exterior. Does this room speak to you? Hardly. But try to add some color to the walls, bring down a wall that doesn’t feel right, put in some textures, and open the windows. Does it speak now? Imagine how far such a connection can reach in the hands of a knowledgeable architect or interior designer. The sky’s the limit.

Essential Reflections of Particular Styles


This style rose to fame due to its uncomplicated and straightforward vibe focused on nature and comfort. Minimalistic and functional features mark the essentials of the Scandinavian approach. Key color schemes are clean and bright, like whitewash and timber tones. A variety in textures is welcome, as it gives the home an inviting, warm sensation.

In short, this style fits with an open, friendly, stylish personality interested in culture and elegance.


This interior design style dwells on a motto of “less is more.” Minimalism features highly defined, polished aesthetic design elements, developed to represent the most simple qualities. Every piece is a discreet statement of its own, and every tailored detail serves the function flawlessly.

Minimalism is a great fit for an introvert, as well as anyone highly organized, methodical and efficient.

Rustic/Modern Rustic

Rustic aesthetics are not only for farmhouses. It can also be a great way to reconnect with nature in a city environment. A fusion of style elements can create a trendy and sophisticated picturesque interior. It offers a sustainable solution to reuse old furniture, infusing it with new life with pops of color and fresh finishes. Throw blankets, pillows and textures provide an unbeatable “homey” feeling that teleport some straight back to secure, pampered childhood. 

This style is an excellent choice for a trendy yet classic, chic and nature-loving person.


The classic style offers a certain feel that time can be stopped. Often featuring high-quality pieces with lasting value and immortal décor, this kind of interiors embrace history and heritage. Color schemes are calming and neutral, in earthy hues like olive, beige cream and wood.

The traditional interior style fits the person who is very detail-oriented, poised, elegant and balanced.

vancouver living room
Traditional Vancouver living room


Younger generations (but not only them) generally prefer the sleek, spacious, simple design concentrating on function and organization. The modern design style enhances practicality, clean architectural lines and cubist forms. It’s praised for having a strong impact on productivity, mainly because modern style implies a clutter-free environment, which helps to maintain the focus on essentials.

In terms of psychology in architecture, modern style is a paradise for an organized professional. This approach also serves the needs of a person who dwells on time-management.

Home Is More Than a Style Represented

Wherever your life takes you, home is the place to come back to over and over again. Your home is a place of comfort, safety and self-expression. Your interior design style has purpose and meaning. It’s a communication tool that sends a clear message, a representation of everything you are.

A home perceived as safe and intimate provides significant psychosocial benefits. It represents a private sanctuary and develops a sense of identity and attachment. Any disturbance in harmony strongly limits this feeling, thereby reducing the home’s mental and social function. 

There are many indoor factors, such as thermal and lighting aspects, moisture, air quality, noise, radiation or chemical compounds, which affect the psychological impact of the space. Exposure to these stressors can provenly cause both short-term and long-term effects.

That is why psychology in architecture is important. It’s not just your way to get a prettier home. In the hands of a serious designer, it’s also your one-way ticket to improve the overall quality of life.

Continue reading >
1 2 3 9
Page 1 of 9