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We all know the classic American saying, home-sweet-home. After all, it’s captured in cross-stitch and is hanging in the entry way of at least half the homes in the country. This simple phrase perfectly summarizes our innate desire to create a space of our own. People from different regions, cultures and backgrounds approach this part of their life in varying ways, attaching different levels of emotion and effort to it. The designer is no exception. Some are more relaxed than others, though myself and a few of my designer friends can definitely be labeled as the “designer’s mind – always on” type. We take our work mentality home with us and infuse our personal lives with the same designer attitude; whether it’s appropriate or not – evidence of an excessive emotional investment in design.

Being “always on” I can’t help but wonder if there is a point where too much design could compromise other qualities of our daily lives. Wouldn’t it be mutually beneficial to find a better sense of balance?

If we take a look at how we spend our time, about two-thirds of it is spent at work. As designers our job is to create unique experiences for all sorts of target groups; building relationships and business success for our clients. We match beautiful hardware solutions with intuitive and exciting UI and much more. So, what does the other one-third of the pie look like – our personal home-sweet-home?

At my place, a perfectly working Mr.Coffee machine recently made way for Jasper’s slick brew tool by Rowenta. The Mr.Coffee version was approached with the “design by the square inch” mentality; the more options and buttons, the better my experience. True to a certain degree. Rowenta’s brewer looks fantastic, sleek, simple, is a feast for the eyes and also makes good coffee – all with just one button, on/off. For the sake of beautiful design we have lost one of our favorite features, the auto-timer for our morning coffee. Now I have to walk downstairs, turn it on and wait – life can play you hard.

Our well-designed discomfort does not end in the kitchen. Ever since I was young, I’ve loved Corbusier’s LC2 line. Now we have the set up and have ditched our very nice looking and super comfortable other couch to make room. The old couch included a great slouch bonus, decreasing blood circulation and therefore enhancing our movie and chill-out experience. Now we sit almost upright; great for entertaining, but impossible to rest comfortably for a TV marathon – just in case you’ve just finished a great book and feel like being lazy.

I’ve come to realize that balance is indeed a necessity, but at the same time is entirely subjective. People have different ways of expressing their personalities and breadth of emotions through design. Home-sweet-home is really about living out the little dreams you want to achieve piece by piece in order to enjoy your own time. In the end it’s not about the objects themselves, but about finding balance between what you love and how you live.

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