I used to build forts. I built forts out of sofa cushions and sheets, gnarly tree limbs and leaves and my brothers and I even built a fort out of an old rock outcropping with a fire place and stove behind my aunt’s house in the woods. Finding things is one of my weaknesses. I collect, I don’t hoard. Travel is another weakness where finding things takes on a new significance because it is more special, significant with memories and new insights. Building forts for my brothers and I was a magical playtime where new micro realms were fashioned and then jumped on and then momentarily rearranged into a whole new realm. Each rebuild gave us turns in being king of the castle. I’ve never outgrown this fairy tale outlook on what I do. It’s not like designing terraces and outdoor living spaces is critical to our human survival, nor is it even seriously important. It’s fun and I love it. The imagination behind building forts and designing outdoor realms feeds on history, architecture, havens, natural splendor, magnificent light, garden follies and fountains, worshipful beauty and styles. We don’t have a style at Just Terraces, we have heart and soul that gives us license to design whatever style you want: it’s your fairy tale.
I believe sharing ideas, beliefs and snacks is a way to open better conversations and to find inspiration with people we sit next to on a plane or with clients who want a terrace design. Often it’s difficult for people to ‘feel creative’ or to ‘see what’s possible’ because of a simple fear that they’re not creative—I ask, ‘Did you ever build a fort?’ I like when our clients have ideas and have inspiration. To kickstart some juicy dreaming, here are three books that have inspired the path I take in the forest, through the meadow and alongside the brook which I’d like to share. NOMAD DELUXE, by Herbert Ypma is a travel guide around the globe of uniquely historic or unusually designed places to hang your hat or adjust your mindset, Mr. Ypma calls it ‘Wandering with a purpose’. I like that. Next is Sibella Court’s NOMAD: A global approach to interior style. I’d call it a lavish warning for collectors of stuff. Her book is about ‘making you smile and taking you to another place’. Pretty perfect. And an out of nowhere gift from one of my employees: EAT DRINK NAP: BRINGING THE HOUSE HOME. This book is about what we landscape designers call genus loci or spirit of a place and how to enjoy it to the full! Soho House has an incredible thing going and we can all find inspiration or even learn how to see our physical world differently because of their book. Bravo!
A prayer for inspiration is how Just Terraces came into being. Really. We need inspiration to do our job well. Inspiration is imagination and perspiration: once the idea arrives we have to run with it. I ran with Just Terraces once I saw the light after completing a simple balcony design for a friend’s wedding gift. Inspiration hits when a project is right. What makes a project right? For me, a client who is willing to explore what’s possible and is willing to be vulnerable sharing how they want to use the space. This is like oxygen and fuel—creatively explosive! Here is where inspiration is born. Walking along the ocean, taking a shower, skiing, flying and sleeping is when inspiration naturally arrives for me. I bring this to my work every day, so with my team and with our clients we can inspire and be inspired.