• Wei Shen

If possible, I want a home like this...

Despite that nowadays various home decoration tips are omnipresent and perhaps overwhelming, some fundamental concepts are often overlooked by the general public.

When it comes to abstract concepts, they are somewhat metaphysical and can easily trigger controversy. Today I am going to share some ideas that represent what I am pursuing in the sense of a dream home. They are very personalized since they are the fruits of independent thinking. After reading it, you are invited to express different opinions, but to some extent, I wish that my idealized home picture will touch somewhere in your heart and maybe eventually help you find your own dream home in certain ways.

A courtyard with tantalizing access

Having a front yard or backyard in the house is not enough. The most important thing should be the consideration of the way I approach the house through the yard and how I enter from outdoor to indoor space.

This will require holistic design.

I have been admiring the traditional Japanese residential design, as the courtyard and the indoor space are carefully planned as an entire whole. The size of each room does not matter the most, and the integration of garden view and interior space is the key. They are naturally connected through a transitional space which is shown in the image below. The sliding doors are also playing an essential role in framing the garden view while dividing the interior and exterior space.

residential courtyard design

A traditional Japanese house with a garden view in Kyoto. Image from

Residences with transitional space in Kyoto and Tokyo. Images from

Images above show the sequences and views while people are approaching the interior from the courtyard.

I have to admit that the delicately designed experience of how I enter my house rather than the house itself will significantly contribute to my mental health. Scenes are not static but projected into the brain as a series of constant movements, so you cannot get the variable sensations just by watching still pictures.

Close view of outdoor greenery

If I choose to live in a condo unit, the perfect level would be between the second and fifth floor. Many love to live as high as possible in a contemporary condominium building which would turn out my personal nightmare.

Because the view from a skyscraper residential unit, filled with an empty sky as well as messy roofs, does not charm me at all, compared to the street residences. What is worse? Units above a certain height in a tall building don't really have functional balconies; even if they do, it would be too windy to spare some time there peacefully. Balconies to me are like the eyes of a person, I won't be able to live without eyes.

Instead, I prefer a literally "down-to-earth" living experience, where I can sometimes see the leaf veins, watch birds interacting with each other, and smell the mud after a summer rain. I would also be able to closely witness the change of leaf colors as the seasons rotate.

I need to feel physically connected to the ground.

Or if it is located in the city center, seeing some old architectural features on the buildings opposite the street makes me feel closer to the splendor of human culture and history. Also, the vibrant urban street life is always comforting.

Balconies with a "down-to-earth" view. Images from

Having outdoor greenery views in a residence is imperative for the sanity of our soul. Images from

Lighting contrasts

When it comes to visual appeals, contrast is a critical ingredient.

Contrasts exist everywhere in residential interior space: tall wardrobes vs short benches, bright colors vs deep colors, rough surfaces vs smooth surfaces, etc. Today I am only going to exemplify with lighting contrast.