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Classic design features like hardwood flooring serve families for the long term

February 05, 2014

Hardwood FlooringArchitect John Brown wants to see homes built that will serve families for the long term, with a reasonable amount of space to grow in and sustainable features that meet their lifestyles and needs. Wood floors like those in Anderson's rustic Hardwood Gnarly Plank Floor collection would fit right in with his view of how homes should be designed.

''It doesn't have to be fancy. It doesn't have to be expensive," Brown told the Akron Beacon-Journal. "It just has to be easy to live in."

Brown's approach to home design is fashioned after the same premise as the European-based slow cooking trend, which encourages people to savor traditional home cooking by slowing down to appreciate it. By extension, the "slow home" idea combines green building principles and making better use of the space in homes with smaller footprints.

Akron architect Hallie Bowie told the newspaper that relying on good design to solve storage needs, addressing the multiple tasks of a modern family and emphasizing the quality of time spent in the home also fit with Brown's concept.

''It seems to me the slow home has a real values kind of focus,'' Bowie said.

Some examples include having closets instead of empty space in entry areas, not locating a laundry room near a back entry if it interferes with the traffic pattern into the house or having bathrooms that open directly to living areas.

Interaction and imagination
Shannon Honeybloom, author of Making a Family Home, said slow home living bolsters interaction and imagination, not just entertainment and instant information. She advised placing computers in places other than children's play areas and closing off the TV in an armoire to slow the pace of a home.

In her own home, Honeybloom tries to teach her children to appreciate the differences in the seasons.

"We try incorporate what is happening with the seasons, with the natural world in our home in large and small ways," she told "I have found that my children are very 'in tune' with what is happening seasonally and really yearn to have that recognized through activities and celebrations."

In Brown's design business, the Slow Home Studio in Calgary, Canada, he follows a 10-step checklist to achieving a slow home, with most points emphasizing how to organize space in a meaningful and functional way. For instance, having an easy traffic flow in room design is a priority in space planning.