A predictable pattern is emerging in the design and home fashion fads followed by today’s urban dwellers. It’s coming to seem that we are more concerned with the way our houses represent our social status to outsiders than we are with creating nurturing spaces for our families to inhabit. Instead of designing home environments that satisfy our own sense of comfort or tranquility, we seem to make choices based on how we might showcase our affluence and trendiness to the world outside our doors.

humanizeYet common wisdom tells us that investing too much of our energy in outward pursuits is not a path to peace and happiness. This desire to make our homes a presentation for the outside world is a main reason why—despite all our modern conveniences—so many of us are not at peace in our homes. Peace eludes us, as we have made ourselves unwittingly dependent upon the judgments of outsiders for our own sense of wellbeing. And though our home may be fitted with best of luxuries, it does not feel like our sanctuary. Instead, we find ourselves caught up in a rat race for having the most fashionable house.

It’s time for a new paradigm of thinking and living!

Instead of projecting our efforts outward, why not focus on creating living spaces that promote happiness and harmony for ourselves and our families, within? Designing and developing a home with harmony in mind leads to very different outcomes than the usual rat race. Spaces so created will subtly incorporate luxury, nature, and art, both indoors and outdoors. They can provide a retreat from the modern day stresses by feeding the senses and the spirit. Families who live in such homes may spend more time together in creative interactions— indulging in games, hobbies, gardening, and more, thus bringing them together and deepening their enjoyment of home. When we make our home environment engaging and nurturing to ourselves, we resist looking for our happiness in the gazes of others.

We call this design philosophy Humanize Harmonize.

You can transform any indoor and outdoor living spaces—including balconies, terraces, courtyards, entryways, lobbies, or covered verandahs—in your home into green spaces for better living by designing so as to unify indoor and outdoor spaces into one living area. Besides making your home environment more pleasing, this also lets you comfortably include outdoor areas as part of your living space, making your home feel larger.

Here are some simple principles to keep in mind, if you wish to design your house with the Humanize Harmonize philosophy:

• Green Art — Creatively fill your space with living plants, earthenware, wood, and other elements to create an art space that lives and breathes. Touch—even taste!—and engage with the living art as you water, tend, and care for the plants. The air is infused with the scent of floral perfumes and wet earth. Birds and other wildlife may be attracted to such a space, enhancing its beauty.

• Herbophilia — Grow your own herbs and vegetables. Nothing satisfies the palate and the soul like food you grew and nurtured with your own hands.

• Resthetics — (re-use + aesthetics) Reuse aesthetic elements from materials you might have thrown out. Wood, glass, and other household items can be incorporated as elements of inviting interiors and exteriors, promoting sustainability. As your plants grow, your artful garden also becomes a green micro-climate that can help cleanse and change the very feel of the air within it.

Green is the prime color of the world, and that from which its loveliness arises! So, Humanize your environment. Harmonize with life.

This is the actual experience of a person who lives in a house designed with the Humanize Harmonize philosophy—check it out!

‘I’m on my balcony, surrounded by leaves of ivy reaching out from the indigo trellis behind me. When I turn on the tap to fill a fish-shaped earthen pot near the balcony's edge, the sound of gurgling water makes the sparrows cock their heads. Colored fish motifs swim up the walls beside a patch of brinjal. A new shoot has appeared! I call my daughter to look. She waters the new plant while I feed it organic manure that arrived last week. My daughter tells me about the new Adenium flower she can't wait to show her botany teacher. And there's the green tea you’ve been waiting for! I pick up my book and ease back into the cushions of my wicker seat. How I relish the green solace of my home on Sunday mornings….’

For any suggestions or advice, visit the Facebook page for Humanize Harmonize.