Introduction to Designing a Timeless Home

Updated: Apr 4, 2019

The most frequent request I get as an architect when designing homes is to make it “Timeless”. What does that mean? And how do we achieve it? Follow in my footsteps and I’ll take you on a journey of discovery that will enliven your architectural sensibilities and give you a real understanding of why some architecture gets better with age. This introduction to achieving a timeless home is something you’re going to be banking on for a long while, so buckle up.


The Fundamentals of Timeless Design

If you ask me, the most important investment in life is a space worthy of being called home. Regardless of your stylistic inclinations, you can design a space brimming with warmth so personal to you that it brings you joy. It’s a home where form doesn’t just follow function, but design will follow purpose. Isn’t that what we all aspire to have with us at the end of a day? A beautiful home that marries purpose and design - that’s winning at life. The word “timeless” is thrown around so loosely by aspiring homeowners and bright-eyed architects that we fail to grasp it’s gravity. We live in a world where most of us accept the notion that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but what would happen if we move a word around and ask a question instead: is beauty in the eye of the beholder?





That was asked to me after my 3rd week of architecture school and it turned my world upside down. I’d always just accepted the statement as fact and never questioned it’s actual legitimacy. I felt like I’d just been let free. There began a lifelong quest to understand this idea of beauty and find answers as to whether something like a home can possess certain qualities that imbue it with a timeless character resulting in beauty regardless of style, taste, or opinion.

It's a tough question to ask about something having inherent beauty since it doesn't seem politically correct and enormously subjective, but this is what we're really getting at when we're asking for something timeless. If you think about it this way, you start to open yourself up to the realization that some things are capable of possessing a quality so lovely that they become universally appealing to nearly everyone. And we’re going to discover what those principles are. This is our pursuit -- to unravel the purpose and common principles behind great design so we no longer have to say--” I don’t know why, but I like that.” You will begin to say, “I like that and here’s why.”



It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to discern architecturally sound structures from bad ones. With a little discipline and grit, it won’t long before you become an expert in architectural understanding. Just beware the risk: you’ll start critiquing the places you see every time you drive down the block and everywhere you go.


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2019 Clayton Vance