Our Philosophy

The Slow Home Movement was founded in 2006 by John Brown, Matthew North, and Carina van Olm as a critical response to the poor design practices that pervade the mass housing industry. Our mission is to advocate for a more thoughtful approach to residential design that improves the quality of our daily lives and reduces our impact on the environment.

We call them fast houses because they`re like fast food. A fast house is a standardized, mass produced commodity that has been designed to attract our attention, ignite our desire, and give the illusion of value as much if not more than it`s been designed as a place to live. This lack of attention to the fundamentals of good design makes a fast house difficult to live in and hard on the environment.

In our recently completed survey of design quality of over 4600 new residential properties in nine North American cities we discovered that 57% were badly designed fast houses. The situation was most critical in the single family house category where 78% of the properties were fast houses. We believe that homes are too emotionally significant, have too large an environmental footprint, and represent too significant a financial investment for this kind of institutionalized bad design to continue unchecked.

A Slow Home is the antithesis of this too-fast mindset. It`s a house that has been designed to be more personally satisfying, environmentally responsible, and economically reasonable. The design decisions in a Slow Home are made according to a set of guiding principles that put the long term benefits to the home-owner and the environment at the forefront. Our 12 step Slow Home design philosophy is a practical, easy-to-follow architectural guide for creating a Slow Home that is simple to live in and light on the environment.

Design Education For Everyone

Like the Slow Food Movement on which it is patterned, we believe that this readjustment in attitude is best achieved through education. By learning how to `think like an architect` you become more than just a passive consumer of the cookie cutter housing industry and can start to make smarter, more sustainable choices about where and how we live.

Design education, like learning how to cook, is something that is best accomplished through practice. In the same way that Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution is committed to demonstrating the basic techniques of good cooking, Slow Home Studio`s John Brown and Matthew North are on a mission to teach the basics of good residential design. Slow Home Studio is the first design school intended specifically for homeowners, design enthusiasts, real estate professionals, and homebuilders. Our workshops and seminars explore the various aspects of the 12 step Slow Home philosophy and demonstrate how it can be applied in a variety of different situations.

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