Emotional Design: Finding a Home that Sings to You

Have you ever wondered why some houses appeal to some and not to others? Why some are on the market for a very long time and some only last days, or hours? Sure, some are priced well in a hot neighborhood, with a huge demand and no supply. Pricing and affordability play into it to a degree, but even with a tight budget, you see buyers stretching their dollars to buy that one house that speaks to them. For the affluent, this is even more of a phenomenon. Why do people get emotional and connected to a specific property? When the average time spent in a house for Americans is 9 years before moving on, why even bother trying to find that perfect abode? (2018 NAR stats)

A Connection to a House is a Lot Like Music

Let me give you my thoughts on the subject. I have sold many houses over the years. From multi-million dollar hilltop houses to very inexpensive walk-up condos, and everything in between. No matter the price-point or neighborhood, the homes that elicit an immediate positive response from buyers share a common thread. The ability to speak to the buyer through an emotional connection. In my view, that connection is a lot like music.

Just like well thought out music, a passionate house must have had deep thought given to the overall design. Like a good songwriter that creates a story with words, the house must create a story with its design. The design (interior and exterior) must be true to its intent, and not just follow trends for their own sake. I have noticed buyers gravitating to clean and simple designs, with less clutter and more livable and usable spaces. Flat paint rather then eggshell or gloss to give a matte finish to the walls that allow tasteful additions of furniture and art to be the focal point.

Allow the Home to Breathe and Flow

For a musician, what you don’t play is just as important as what you do play. Music must breathe and be allowed to flow, and let other instruments take the limelight from time to time. The same could be said for the passionate house. Less is more. Thoughtful placement of the most mundane items, and having less in the home to fit a clean lifestyle. Quality over quantity in every price point. Solid fixtures that last decades that are simple in design. Contemporary and efficient lighting. Open shelving in kitchens is a good example of clean design. Some may cringe at the idea of having all of your dishes on display in an open shelving plan. The idea of using and having just what you need is subconsciously written into this design. You certainly wouldn’t pack those shelves like you do with cabinets and doors, it would be embarrassing! And so it solves the problem of cluttering and having too much “stuff” by design.

Some of the most emotional and meaningful heartfelt music I have heard has been pared down, stripped to its core to allow the singer or instrumentalist to be understood on a different level. It’s neither fake or overproduced and is emotionally very powerful. The same can be said for the right interior and exterior design of a home. A place where you walk in the door and immediately feel at home, at ease. You admire the surroundings, imagine yourself there reading a book on a lazy Sunday afternoon. Having your best friends over to share stories and create memories in this space. A place you could call home. A place you just walked into 5 minutes ago! 

An Emotional Experience in an Open House

The perfect example of this harmony in housing is a listing I have at 1557 Kanapuu Pl. From the first open house, I knew this was an emotional experience for my guests. You could see people noticing the attention to detail. This simple clean design that is an absolute joy to spend time in, and to live in. A kitchen that speaks to the chef in all of us with grey slate tile, a deep stainless sink, and shelving made from reclaimed wood. A useful terraced back yard with a vibrant vegetable garden in raised beds. A master bathroom with penny tiles and clean white finishes make you feel like you’re in a five-star resort. 30 PV panels that make a great carbon offset to the energy usage a normal family would consume. This is good living!

I am always on the lookout for good design in housing. Design that hits home from the start. If you are too, let me know and maybe together we can find that house that sings to you. To find your home.

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Cherie Tsukamoto

June 12, 2019

Great listing and great article, John! You’re a true professional!

Jim DeVille

June 13, 2019

Nice writing John, love your theme and how it naturally brings you into the home. I’ll take it!

Linda Rantalla

June 16, 2019

Beautifully written article, I thoroughly enjoyed the comparison of a home’s design to music. I will definitely keep this in mind when my family’s ready to make the move to Hawaii!

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