lesson: the value of change

September 24th 2013 Comments: 4 Topics: , ,

This weekend I received a text from Bobby asking what my blog topic du jour was to be. I asked him to throw out a subject and I’d write on it. Having written a post every week for almost two years, I’m always open to suggestions. He replied, “The value of change.”
2013-09-22_0004We’ve been discussing some internal changes in our office, so I wasn’t surprised by this suggestion. Bobby also just moved into a new house in Atlanta, so I know a type of physical metamorphosis has been forefront for him. Change is always necessary to promote growth and without varying from the comfortable and the everyday, lessons are seldom learned. Faced with potential, however, fear kicks in and says, “let’s just keep things the way they are”; even if a situation is stagnant, it’s my stagnant situation and I’ll sit in it. But how can change have value? An example I can show (because you do tend to come here for visuals to accompany my soapbox) was evident in Bobby’s personal Montgomery home. In the ten years he lived in this English cottage, the interior underwent three major transformations. As designers, we always use our personal homes as living, active laboratories. We try things out on our tireless, often unsuspecting, families before we suggest them to our clients. Experimentation and change in our environs are personal tools of lesson and discovery.

Bobby’s first interior was a self-portrait. In our book The Home Within Us, he described it as a “public delivery – me at my best with everyone”. The second was a white phase – “which corresponded to a very extroverted, celebratory time – let’s be brave and ridiculous”. What naturally followed was a more introspective time. He wanted “to dim the houselights and contemplate all that had just happened and what was going to be”. All of these iterations mirrored what was going on with him emotionally and the statuesque space became the stage where finishes and furnishings played out the internal drama of his soul. Bobby always says, if you want to know what’s going on with me, walk through my house. It’s as if you could look at how the therapist’s couch was upholstered and you’d see the patient’s emotional state.

All these changes might be viewed as frivolous boredom or some type of unmedicated ADD, but all proved to be of priceless value. Lessons were learned and our clients were the beneficiaries of these rampant modifications. Not to mention, all these permutations were published and celebrated in magazines – here, here and here.

Value needs to be considered as something more than monetary. It can be defined as useful and important to one’s life work. After all, the only constant in life is change. ¬†We’re all ever evolving and this should be embraced and treasured, so why fight it? Receive whatever message is in front of you; revel and find worth in change daily.


Greg Tankersley, for McAlpine Tankersley


  1. Cyndia Montgomery says:

    While I understand the value of change, as I go back and look at these, I find I still prefer the first incarnation. The white always felt cold to me, and I’m not a fan of the moody latest phase. The first seemed more open, more welcoming, more down to earth.

  2. […] liked this recent post about why it’s worth re-making your […]

  3. I was delighted to stumble upon your blog not only because your photos and designs are beautiful but also because Bobby McAlpine is from my home town! We are all so proud of him.

  4. Love this house so much.

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