John Brown believes a home should ease the stress in life, not contribute to it. Brown is the founder of the slow home movement, a philosophy of home design that emphasizes livability and sustainability. It’s about building a home that works for the occupants, not one that’s intended to impress.
The concept was inspired by the slow food movement, with its focus on healthful, sustainable ways of producing and preparing food, explained Brown, an architect, real estate broker and architecture professor in Calgary, Alberta. “You can think of the typical cookie-cutter house as being like fast food”–often supersized and designed to satisfy our craving for beauty, he said. It’s a house that’s designed to seduce us into buying by feeding our fantasies of a more glamorous life, he said, not one that’s necessarily easy to live in or easy on the environment.
A slow home, on the other hand, is reasonably sized and carefully designed to support its occupants. It might have an entry where family members can easily take off their boots, stash their keys and store their backpacks, for example. It might have a living space that encourages people to talk or read, not just watch television or surf the Internet. It’s energy efficient, filled with natural light and designed for easy flow among rooms and access to the outside. “It doesn’t have to be fancy. It doesn’t have to be expensive. It just has to be easy to live in,” Brown said.
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