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How would you describe a 'barefoot home'?

dcclerk
14 years ago

Yesterday I was skimming a book, The Barefoot Home: Dressed Down Design for Casual Living, and it struck me that that describes the feeling that I want to get out of my house when it is completed. I want the type of home that is comfortable for kids and adults to come into unannounced and enjoy themselves and relax. I want it open and airy, and not at all fussy. We plan to have a very open floorplan, hardwood floors, lots of windows, natural materials, etc., but I wonder if that is enough.

What do you think that a "barefoot home" would look like? And what would you do to make it that way?

I look forward to reading the responses...

Here is a link that might be useful: The Barefoot Home book

Comments (21)

  • rhome410
    14 years ago

    I think you hit the main things I think of...Make sure all those windows are facing the right direction, if possible. Our last house had all the good-sized windows on the north (facing the view, so it made sense), but I really missed morning sun from the east and the warming, nicer sun from the south. We have great windows to the south in our new house, which is where I love to curl up in a chair and sit. I'd tried for eastern windows for the kitchen...and even though dh put skylights in our porch roof, it doesn't get much...Because I forgot about the covered porch blocking some, and the trees in our backyard, too.

    I do think the covered porches add a lot that make our house feel like you describe wanting. Also materials that are easy care and no one has to baby.

  • flgargoyle
    14 years ago

    I think of various cottages I've stayed in. A lot of painted wood, very simple trim, rustic floors, lots of windows and connections to the outside. A lot of houses today aren't well connected to the outdoors- the windows are too high off the floor, and there aren't enough of them. Porches make a nice transition to the outdoors as well. I also like to adapt to the change of seasons, rather than keep my home at 76.3 degrees year-round. I'm comfortable from 55 to 85, as long as I have time to adapt. Every house I've lived in was a 'barefoot' house, at least as far as my attitude is concerned. I think an eclectic mix of furnishings and accessories helps, too. A formal parlor with ornate Victorian furniture is anything but 'barefoot'. I'm not comfortable in a house where everything matches, and there's plastic on the furniture, and flawless wall-to-wall carpet that doesn't look like anyone has ever stepped on it.

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  • marthaelena
    14 years ago

    I think a barefoot house is the result of the selected materials, design and location.
    A barefoot house is made of noble materials that are not fancy. For example: a natural wood countertop that you can chop things on and over the time it will have some character. Concrete or tumbled tile countertop are also options.
    Maybe oak or pine hardwood flooring with a matte finish. Pavers or exposed concrete are also options for the flooring. The concrete could have some treatment or stain?
    Exposed beams if your design has any. Cabinets have clean lines and faucets most likely are chrome or dark brown.
    I think the design itself will not include any "formal" spaces, such a formal dining room. Windows are a main feature; Outdoor/indoor relationship is important.
    Easy maintenance or maintenance free and nature friendly cames to my mind in a house like the one you describe.

  • brutuses
    14 years ago

    to sum it up I'd say everything is washable including the, floors, fabrics, walls, etc.

    From what you've mentioned it sounds like you're on the right track.

  • allison0704
    14 years ago

    I'm always barefoot and, like the description of the book. always feel like I am on vacation. For me, it's all about textures (wood flooring, pine island countertop, beams, copper, painted/distressed finishes, stone), letting the indoors out (cushy furniture and a place to eat out on the verandas and screen porch), letting the outside in (large windows, repetition of beams and copper, using an outdoor table or bench inside) and the view (mountain ridge and lake). We spend more time outside walking around the yard (4.5 acres) with the dogs than doing yard work (which is minimal).

    I will be the first to admit that my idea of casual living might not be someone else's casual living. I don't want our home to look like a weekend lake or beach house since it is our full time home. I think most would describe it as a "casual formal," but it's not formal in the sense someone wouldn't feel comfortable kicking their shoes off to curl up on the sofa or put their feet on the coffee table. We have a dog and cats that get the run of the house and it is furnished with many pieces our children grew up around. It's warm, inviting and comfortable....and they are going to have to drag me out of here! lol

  • che1sea
    14 years ago

    I noticed a white couch on the cover of the book, I would recommend against that. :)
    We plan on something very similar. Lots of windows. Floors, counters, everything that can take a beating and just looks better with age and a few dings.

  • oruboris
    14 years ago

    I'm a member of the Society for Barefoot Living, and will have to pass the existence of this book on to the others. But I note it's from an associate of Sarah Susanka, and frankly, a lot of the designs associated with her movement suck: great looking, not great living homes. IMO, of course.

    A respect for natural materials would be one of the hallmarks for me, so I'd have to disagree on painted wood.

    I'd disagree on hardwood floors, too, if they are mirror finished and need to be babied. I choose not to wear shoes, and honor your right to choose for yourself-- in other words, I'm shoe free, my house isn't. Having a dress [or undress] code seems the antithesis of a barefoot lifestyle.

    Actually, though, it isn't a matter of materials to me, so much as design: so many homes today seem to be created for a very formal lifestyle, and I'm a jeans and t-shirt kind of guy most of the time. I don't care for rooms so stuffy that you feel underdressed without a tie.

    But I don't necessarily want to change immeadiately on returning home, either: If I choose to lounge a while in my Zegna Cashmere [and barefeet, of course], thats cool too. So no patio furniture indoors, no bookcases made from cinder blocks, etc. In other words, a barefoot home needn't be monument to the hippy era.

    I'd say the true hallmark of a barefoot home is a feeling of comfort and relaxation, both physical and psychological, that is low maintenence without being shabby. It asks little and gives much, it welcomes, it is genuinely gracious but never grand.

    It does not dress to impress.

  • allison0704
    14 years ago

    Up until now, why did I think Oruboris was a gal? ;D

    I so agree on the wood floor finish; no shine for me - on stone either. I have never looked at a Sarah Susanka book, but I have a feeling I would agree with you on that too.

  • flgargoyle
    14 years ago

    The house I grew up in was over 200 years old. The floorboards (up to 14" wide) were hand hewn, which could still be seen in the un-traveled corners. The gaps between the planks had rope pounded into them to keep out the drafts. The floors were nailed down with exposed hand-made nails. That's my idea of a hardwood floor! Although not hand-hewn, I intend to use the oak harvested from clearing our homesite for flooring, and I plan to nail it down with cut nails, which look hand made. Hopefully after a few year of pets and grandchildren galloping through, they'll begin to acquire that lived-in look!

  • worthy
    14 years ago

    Our four children have made every home we've lived in a place for "barefoot living". (We never wear shoes in our home anyway. Not allowed.)

    Still, I prefer not to have open concept living. (Though, admittedly the 50 ft long kitchen breakfast family room area is all of one.) I sound proof and sound deaden as much as possible. Though that's not much, as my allergies require that all floors be hard-surfaced. We've chosen hardwood, slate and quartz; and there are no soft window coverings. We chose a kind of "battered castle" look to take their abuse: wainscotting, rough glazed surfaces, non-select hardwood. We should have gone further with rough handpainted kitchen cabinetry.

  • rhome410
    14 years ago

    "Having a dress [or undress] code seems the antithesis of a barefoot lifestyle....
    "I'd say the true hallmark of a barefoot home is a feeling of comfort and relaxation, both physical and psychological, that is low maintenence without being shabby. It asks little and gives much, it welcomes, it is genuinely gracious but never grand."

    Amen, oruboris!!!! SO well said. I am saving that one as a classic, 'Sweeby Test'-type of vision statement for our home. Thank you.

  • phoggie
    14 years ago

    To me, this type of home would be a log home....they are so casual and comfortable...they just seem to say "come in, relax and chat awhile". I know they are not for everyone and it does take a special setting to make them "feel at home". My brother has one and it always feels to warm and inviting that I enjoy being there.

  • kellyeng
    14 years ago

    I just found my dream home and to me it is the perfect "barefoot home." I just can't stop looking at the pictures!! However, it's a little bit out of my price range . . .

    Here is a link that might be useful: Perfect House!!

  • chisue
    14 years ago

    kellyeng -- Wow, that is a BIGGIE, inside and out. Someone must be 'camping out' there, given the furnishings. Sure beats a tent!

    allison -- C'mon. Did you ever know a gal named Boris? (His is one of my fave usernames.)

    You'll find many 'barefoot' homes in Hawaii. It's customary to remove shoes before entering -- lots of red dirt and dust in the Islands. People want cool and smooth underfoot and lots of doors and windows to let the Trades blow through. Much easier there, where you can wear easy-on and easy-off 'slippahs' (flip-flops). We have a tile at the front door of our condo that says, "Mahalo (thanks) for Removing Your Shoes"

  • mikeyvon
    14 years ago

    chisue, while needing to take off your shoe does make a home "barefoot", it is not the kind of home being described here.

    I will requote oruboris as he says it so well.

    "Having a dress [or undress] code seems the antithesis of a barefoot lifestyle....
    "I'd say the true hallmark of a barefoot home is a feeling of comfort and relaxation, both physical and psychological, that is low maintenence without being shabby. It asks little and gives much, it welcomes, it is genuinely gracious but never grand."

  • kellyeng
    14 years ago

    Yep. For me being "barefoot" is a state of mind rather than not wearing shoes.

  • dallasbill
    14 years ago

    Veeeeeeeery interesting! That describes our home to a "T," although we have always called it rustic-modern.

  • kellyeng
    14 years ago

    Dallasbill, you really do have one of the most beautiful houses I have ever seen. Your mix of rustic with modern is something most people would not be able to pull off much less conceptualize.

  • dallasbill
    14 years ago

    Thanks for your kind words. My dear wife is the genius behind the details. I think she needs to make a (new) career of it, myself.

  • dcclerk
    Original Author
    14 years ago

    I was away for the Fourth of July weekend, and it was so fun to see this thread still on the first page when I returned! Thank you to everyone giving their thoughts on what makes a barefoot home.

    I really do seek a sense of overall peace and comfort when you walk through the door. I want my home to be the one that our kids always want to bring their friends to, and the neighbors gather for happy hour.

    I could absolutely adopt the mission statement set out by Oruboris, "a feeling of comfort and relaxation, both physical and psychological, that is low maintenence without being shabby. It asks little and gives much, it welcomes, it is genuinely gracious but never grand."

    I just want to figure out what the little pieces are that make a home into the one described above.

    Do you think of really comfortable furnishings? Do you want nooks to read in and places to just plop down on or are you looking for wide open spaces? Do want something interesting to look at or more serene for the eye? Do you have lots of decorations to make it more homey or is it a more streamlined, almost monochromatic look?

    The house we are building is what we call a "modern beachouse" and I want to keep it from being too much of a showpiece without enough soul.

    Thanks for all of your thoughts :)

  • kellyeng
    14 years ago

    Without being a designer it's really hard for me to express what makes a home feel comfortable and cozy. Of course warm colors but not bold, more subdued. I think texture plays a huge role in how a room feels. I love the contrast between rough, worn wood next to polished stone. Or natural bamboo shades combined with silk drapes. A distressed, paint chipped nightstand next to a smooth black bed (like in Dallasbill's room). Overall, the use of natural materials, light streaming through the windows and a mixture of old and new furniture and a comfy blanket on the couch!

    I think what your are planning sounds great. If you like this look and the feeling it gives you, you'll probably end up with it by default.