Building a House Is a Lot Like Writing a Book

When I decided to build a new home, I quickly saw the similarities between designing the space and writing a book, or any other artistic endeavor. Why? Because you are in the position of selecting the pieces that will make this space a place where you want to live – a lot like the author who says they write what they want to read, or the movie director who makes movies they want to see. For the most part, you are in charge.

In writing fiction, you choose the background, setting, time period, characters, plot, twists, mysteries – everything that will bring your story to life, and in many instances are an expression of who you are. For example, The process of building the home started by building it on paper. I decided to modify the master bath so a jetted tub and custom master closet could be added. For me, this was akin to developing an outline for a novel.

Then, I met with my project manager to discuss changes I wanted. I decided to add elements like a drain and water spigot in the garage for easy cleaning, and several other items. Since large changes should be made early in the process when they’re the easiest to implement, this phase felt very much like a first draft.

Next, I selected paint colors, flooring, counters, cabinets, light fixtures, built-ins, etc. This was akin to populating a novel with the characters who would carry out the plot. During this phase I worked with designers, who I viewed in the capacity of editors. They pointed out what looked good, and also when something did not. Just like an editor, they made suggestions to make the house shine.

Watching my new house materialize has reminded me of the publishing process. Your book goes through the stages of manuscript to advanced reader copies to the final published product. And then come the reviews. With a house you may not care as much what they neighbors think of your home as you do about reviews of your book – or maybe you do.

Writing a book and building a house have one last denominator common – they are both your creation, an endeavor you invested much time, thought and effort into.

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