I love the quote by a 1st century BC Roman lawyer, Marcus Tullius Cicero: “If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need”. Although an advocate of small houses, my approach to design is far from utilitarian. My pursuit in life has been holistic well being along with an environment that nurtures that pursuit. A garden and a library provides the space to nurture our body and soul, as well as a metaphor for small house design that nurtures every aspect of our well being
The garden sustains us in many ways by providing nourishment for our body and spirit. It is where we develop a relationship with the earth that sustains us – where we nurture the plants and the soil they grow in. It is a place for contemplation and appreciation for life. Without a garden we quickly become a society that hardly knows a definition of food or where it comes from.
Whether you have room for a garden or not, everyone can begin with containers in their house or on their porch. For food or just aesthetic value, by surrounding ourselves with life we can relearn appreciation for our Source and the nourishment we are provided. In the garden, we can then contemplate our needs and design our house to nurture the path we desire. Starting with the garden, nurture can be the center of our design.
The library sustains our intellect and soul. There we learn from the perspective of others and all of history. By surrounding ourselves with prose and poetry we find connection and growth. We also establish a vision for who we are and where we are going. In the library, whether bound or virtual, we can contemplate the thoughts of others as we nurture our own creativity. Starting with the library, we can build our design to express our place in history.
From this foundation we can contemplate other aspects of design consideration. Among these considerations are practical solutions to meet our personal needs and budget, to limit our impact on the environmental, to optimize our wellness, to express our creativity and personal aesthetic. Here are some design resources from my library that guide my path: