inspired life

April 10th 2012 Comments: 0 Topics: ,

What inspires you?

As a designer, that’s a question you get asked a lot. Truthfully, inspiration can be found everywhere: travel, poetry, songs, films… you name it. We tend to collect bits of life like magpies and store them away until the right recipient is sitting in front of us. The thing that never fails to provide our hearts and minds with artistic fuel are the clients who find their way into our lives. They are the wonderful patrons who are trusting enough to hand us their profound dreams and ask for them to be made real. Bobby always says if we do our job, the resultant house should look like the person for whom it was designed. We are to be our clients’ hands; to draw what they would draw if they could draw. That’s why we strive to observe and listen well; not just to what is said but what is unsaid.

A few years ago we had a client who picked Bobby up at the airport and proceeded to drive him out to her site. In the short trip, he learned that her children were both adopted and they even stopped to pick up a stray neighbor’s dog so he could be returned home. Bobby then recognized, in a short amount of time, that she was a born nurturer. As a result of this observation, the design of her new house became a series of buildings embracing courtyards and gardens. In other words, what was being held was more important than the holder.



Often our inspiration is found in travel. The spark that began this house was based on a day of romantic courtship for our clients (a newly engaged couple). They told us about the time they first realized they were in love. It was after spending a lazy afternoon dining in an Italian monastery-turned-hotel. In discussing a look for their new home, they reminisced about that date and showed us a postcard of the hotel, saying they liked the style of the architecture. We jumped on this lovely tidbit of memory and made the entrance to their house a loggia reminiscent of that hotel’s dining area. Therefore, every time they enter their home, they get to relive that etherial moment in the past. An important and dear memory from their life together has been now actualized in stone and mortar.



One of the most inspired inspirations I remember was a client who loved the film “Howard’s End”. She requested that we watch the movie and use the house as an inspiration for her new home. No other directions were given. No more were really needed.

As these few examples illustrate, there myriad sparks that ignite the creative imagination. We love those clients that bring a fiery passion to the first meeting. We’ll provide the kindling and fan accordingly.


Leave a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.


Discover more from McALPINE

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading