Week of November 13, 2009

  • Trent

    John, I think it is a good idea to complete a chapter vetting with those on the site. It is a fresh idea once again and speaks to the collaborative approach you have been showing on the site.

    I think the book is great idea, I had a client of mine the other week ask me if I had heard of Slow Home. She was thrilled when I told her I visit the site every morning. The movement is spreading !!!

  • Elizabeth

    John, I would be thrilled to participate in this! I figured that a Slow Home book had to be in the works, so exciting! And I’m a writer/editor, not a designer (obviously), so I’d love to try to add value on that angle.

    Concidentally, John, I did have a couple of questions about the posted descriptions of Simple, Light and Open, but hadn’t gotten around to sending yet. I’ll send them along in whatever format you use for this editing project.

    Looking forward very much!

  • James Scott

    What a terrific idea. And if anyone was to pull this off it would be John. Give it up for John Brown…a man of vision and passion.

    I’m very excited about this opportunity you have presented to The Slow Home team and participants. And if anything I’m confident this will broaden the reach of the site.

    Have a terrific weekend.

  • David P

    I have never participated in your website but visit every morning for “class”. I would be happy to use this as my leap off point to begin participating in the Slow Home process. Great idea!

  • Jim Argeropoulos

    I’m in for either plan.
    I also would suggest that as we go through the pitfalls areas, we the community submit real photos of that in the built environment around us. That would give you a great collection of photos to illustrate issues for those who may struggle to read floor plans.

  • Jim Argeropoulos

    You may want to listen to this podcast about community editing of a book http://itc.conversationsnetwork.org/shows/detail4239.html

  • Li-Na

    Hello John,

    I’ve only posted a couple of times before but I visit Slow Home first thing every weekday. Your enthusiasm is infectious, I have been mentioning your “secret surprise project” to my husband since you started teasing us all with it! :-) I’m definitely eager to help! This is exciting!!

  • Louis Pereira


    I congratulate you on the success of Slow Home and the impending release of your book.

    As a long time participant and follower of Slow Home, I look forward to the prospect of taking part in this collaborative effort and the opportunity of ‘giving back’ to Slow Home.

    I am deeply committed to this cause and your vision to enrich and improve the quality of daily living through design.

  • BradW


    I am interested to see the next chapter at Slow Home…have a good weekend.

  • Allan

    Hello John

    I’ve been lurking in the digital shadows but feel I might have something to contribute to the process. The Slow Home concept is a marvellous one, and Calgary could use a huge dose of alternatives to the McMansion cookie cutter.

    I hope to chip in comments for the checklist. But if I am silent for a day or so, it’s because I have nothing to add, rather than I disagree. I tend to be more of a “ponder-er”, so my thoughts may be well down the list on a previous day!

  • Dan


    I’m a new contributor, but would by happy to participate in this new phase. It sounds like the people are really coming out of the woodworks now! This is great!

    See you on Monday.


  • MJ

    I’m in. I think it’s an excellent idea and many could benefit from this book. I’ll contribute whatever I can and I like Jim Argeropoulos’s idea about sending photos.

    Looking forward to getting started.

    Have a nice weekend!

  • Ruth Hasell

    John, and all the Slow Home participants,

    I love the idea both of this book and of the collective participation of this design community in the endeavor. I think you do a marvelous job of illustrating design principles and the design process. I find the design alternates and pictures that the community submits particularly interesting.

    I so admire your commitment to improving the quality of our living spaces and communities. I’m in.

  • Paul Cameron

    Count me in on the editorial collaboration. I will endeavor to contribute when and where I can and I am onside with focusing on this vetting process before returning to our “regularly schedule program”.

  • John Brown

    What an enthusiastic response for so early in the morning on a Friday! It is also great to hear from so many first time posters. Your feedback is going to be really critical. We have to make sure that the book is understandable and accessible.

    Thanks for the heads up on the podcast. I will listen to it this weekend.

  • Doug Roberts

    The proposed project sounds like a great opportunity to make use of “crowdsourcing”. I will be happy to contribute what and when I can.

  • Terri

    This book and your proposal to the participants of Slow Home sound very interesting. I’ve come to this site to avoid my writing and editing worklife, but this next stage sounds like an ideal way for me to rid myself of the guilt by combining my two pursuits. :)

    The collaborative effort you’re seeking might just work since we will be focussing on very specific elements, and we’re all on the same page (sorry!) with the Slow Home philosophy.

    I look forward to this temporary change.

  • Robert Bierma

    Like several of the other posters today I have only posted to the site several times in the past. I visit the site every morning however and feel it is about time I start participating more actively. So with that I would love to add what input I can into this project. I am really excited see how this unfolds!

  • Silus Grok

    Sign me up!

  • Patrick

    As a residential architect (in California) I have used a variety of checklists, programming questionnaires, requests for photographs and written evaluations of existing homes as design tools when beginning work on a new project, all with various degrees of success. I am very interested in seeing how this format might be added to my quiver and help move the idea of better residential design forward.

    I’d be glad to offer my assistance in this editing process and I’m very interested what direction the group intelligence from both professionals and amateur enthusiasts will take the ideas presented.

  • Steve

    A very creative way to leverage the power of an online community. I can’t wait! Is there any pre-reading or prep – other than the quick links above – that might be helpful?

    Also, recently we’ve been spending two days on each design conversation (Mon/Tues, Wed/Thurs), kind of an Exercise and Debrief pattern. I wonder if one-day-per-subject will be enough to allow people to “ponder” (as noted above), participate, and thoroughly interact. As it is I sometimes feel like a submission coming late in day doesn’t get the same play. Also, some of us will be taking vacation time the week of American Thanksgiving and won’t be able to check-in every day.

    So, is there some way to keep each conversation going more than one day, even after the next one is introduced? I’m sure you don’t want to stretch this out too long, but perhaps we could circle back each Friday to review and pick up threads that needs more work. Or topics that are especially rich or troublesome could be continued another day.

    I’m guess I’m anticipating some really good ideas and interaction. Thanks for the opportunity!

  • Annette Eason C.S.B.A.

    First, it was great meeting you in L.A. at CaBOOM.
    We would love to participate. Accessibility and application are the key drivers to moving forward. We think this concept has terrific potential and will support it any way we can. Congratulations.

  • Frank

    Sounds like a great concept for a book and an innovative way to refine it. I will contribute as time allows and look forward to learning from the community.

    I was wondering who your target audience is? Is it only consumers of housing or are you also hoping to reach residential designers and builders? Perhaps you could frame this audience on Monday when you lead us on another great learning adventure.

  • Peg

    Here’s another Slow Home lurker moving towards the light.

    I think this tool has the potential to make a real difference. I’ve learned a tremendous amount just by ‘attending class’ with everyone here, and am impressed with the level of collaboration and support I’ve seen. I’m looking forward to contributing in whatever way I can.

  • Grace

    Count me in, John.

    I’ve missed the site (i.e. terri and louis, brad and doug, leo, james and jim, et. al.) while I was away and thought of some of the slow home principles while in the homes of friends in various parts of Rome, where small but efficient and elegant kitchens, united living/dining/study spaces, small bedrooms, and few but gorgeous bathrooms prevail.

    When I left, there was some discussion of staircases and some of my favorite stairs are in a small bookstore off the piazza della Minerva (around the corner from the Pantheon).

    Here is the story of the architecture with access to a photo gallery that includes the model as well as the finished store.



  • Jane

    John, this is a great idea, anything to increase the education level of a non-professional (me) that is fasinated with architecture. Once the book has been completed would it be possible to do an exercise focusing on each section of the checklist?
    I want my next house to be amazingly slow and I only have 5 years to learn everything!!

  • Jabari


    Like many others today, I am a long-time visitor and first-time commenter to the site. I too would love to participate in the collaborative editing project.

    Parenthetically, this is a wonderful way to allow those of us with limited design skills/design tools to participate more fully in theslowhome.com. I, for one, can’t really draw, but I can write!

  • Dawn

    I’m excited and look forward to particpating with the new phase on Monday.

  • James Scott

    I am so excited, look at all of the contributors lining up for this. I think I checked the site 6 times today to follow up on the postings. It’s great to see names from the past and some new names as well.

    John – I think Steve makes a very good point, quite often some of the more critical, in-depth, thought provoking discussion occurs on day two of the design conversation. It seems to be a cycle that has become a valuable tool for many of us as we process (absorb, evaluate and re-submit our ideas) the material presented .

    BTW, I hope you’re not grading us on grammar and spelling?!

  • Sandra

    I am another long-time lurker coming out to join the community on your book editing project.

  • John Brown

    You bring up a really good point about timing. I wasn’t sure about it myself. The idea is that we are going to create a new category for this and keep all of the segments available for continued commentary. That way if you can’t participate for a day or so you can catch up OR if something in one segment reminds you of something you want to add to a previous segment you still can.

    Like everything on this site, and perhaps design itself, – we will adjust as necessary.

    In terms of prep I have a bit of an introduction taped for Monday that should be all you need. If more is required I am sure you and the rest of the group will ask.

    Thanks for agreeing to participate.

  • John Brown

    It is exciting isn’t it. So many new names on the site.

    I promise I won’t grade anybody’s spelling and grammar but I hope you will all grade mine.

  • jim baer


    count me in. most of my work is in older brooklyn apartments and townhouses, which may not relate directly to “cookie cutter” homes throughout the US, but i will participate and contribute when and how i can.

  • John Brown

    It is really nice to hear from you again.

    Lucky you being in Rome. I know the Piazza della Minerva – my favorite coffeshop was there when I was a student. Thanks for posting the stair images. I particularly like the shot from the back. The gently curving spine that touches down and then pops back up is really beautiful.

  • Doug Roberts

    Grace — I hope the collection of books carried by the bookstore is as impressive as the architecture! Thanks for the link.

  • John Brown

    Your question about the target audience is critical. Thank you for bringing it up.

    The book is intended first and foremost for non deisgn professionals. My sense is that some of the collateral professions like real estate and house building would also find some benefit.

    The Slow Home Checklist is, at one level, designed as a tool for non-professionals to analyze a house. On another level, however, it could also be used to review a larger sampling of houses to send a message to the larger fast housing industry. I will talk a bit more about this on Monday.

  • John Brown

    Thanks for the enthusiastic comment. I am glad that you feel more comfortable participating in this mode. I look forward to working with you.

  • John Brown

    How nice to hear from you. Thanks for participating in this project. I hope all is well in your part of the world. I know it is certainly warmer than mine.

  • Cat

    What a great idea for a real project! I am looking forward to it. It’s wonderful that so many new people have posted. I thought I was the only person who watched every day, but rarely posted. I’m so happy that there are so many others, and that they are now seeing an opportunity to share their thoughts in a meaningful way.

    As a side question, that John mentioned in passing: I am getting better at looking at a house plan and seeing what is wrong with it, but have a problem walking through a real house and seeing what is wrong with it. Is there a trick to imagining the floor plan from walking through a house? Or is it just experience? When I’ve tried, I’ve ended up with proportions all wrong.

    When I bought my first house, the real estate agent took me to condos and houses and more condos and more houses before we finally found one. It would have really been nice to have the skills and the language to tell her what exactly was wrong with all of the houses I kept rejecting — I just kept saying that they didn’t feel right. I think this book would have been a big help to me then, and will be if I am ever looking for another house.

  • ErgoDesk

    I like the idea,but why not if not now at some point in the project, discuss the addition of high Efficient Building Systems in the design process. All the great design theory is for not if the whole project is expensive to keep and build, I say make it great and last forever, well at least a few thousand years. http://StyroHomeNew.blogspot.com

  • Robert Bierma


    I was wondering if you have heard of “Google Wave.” If not I encourage you to check it out (wave.google.com). I think that this could be a great tool for this process as well as our regular exercises. The site has a page where domains can request the service just thought you might want to consider signing up. What does everyone else think? Is this something anyone else on the site thinks could add to the collaborative process of the site?

    p.s. It is a looooooong video, but that because there are so many possiblites.

  • John Brown

    It is nice to hear from you and thanks very much for your interest in the project.

    I am happy that you are feeling more comfortable analyzing floor plans and you are right, it can be much more challenging when you walk into an actual house. Part of this will be solved with practice. However, we also hope that the process outlined with the Slow Home Checklist will help as well. One of the primary goals of the Checklist is to help people make better, smarter real estate choices.

  • Leo

    Hi John

    This looks like a great project. I wish we had had something like this for our first house, which not only lacked a front entry, but also a dining area of any significance (rookie mistake)!

    I think Cat’s experience really reflects the reality for a lot of first time (and second, and maybe third) time home buyers: you can’t really say what’s wrong or right with the house and you rely on instincts that may not be sufficiently seasoned to be reliable. Real estate agents will not give you this advice. The best thing that they ever say is “you’ll know it when you see it” which isn’t necessarily true, especially for a first timer. It’s really easy to be fooled by a well staged space. A simple checklist of what you need and critical dimensions would be invaluable for a rookie.

  • John Brown

    Hi Leo,
    I look forward to your comments on the book in light of your “in the trenches” experiences.

  • jjim x

    Hi John
    I tune in to the Slow Home site almost every day and I think I learn something new at least once a week. I am a writer/designer/artist with an amateur’s interest in architecture. I am interested in the little details (how to design a mud room) to the larger issues of how to build a home that works.
    I am extremely interested in working on the book and hope I can contribute to the discussion, although it will be a small percentrage compared to what I have learned.

  • MichaelG

    What a great idea John, and I congratulate you for having the courage to pursue it. They say that the best way to ensure you’ll really put your all into a project is to tell as many people about it as possible. To publicly ask a community you’ve personally built up to review and contribute, well, this is bound to be a success.
    The creativity, discussion and collective learning facilitated by you and generated through the community on every post is exceptional, unlike anything else I’ve seen online.
    A book is a logical next step for the Slow Home movement, but leveraging this fantastic community you’ve built is brilliant. 45 posts of support and commitment to the idea is validation of that.

    I hope to contribute where I can, but I’m afraid that with time differences, any point I think I could make would have already been made. So if I don’t comment on every post, know that I’ve watched the video, read the information, read everyone else’s comments, and feel like I can’t add further value to the discussion.

  • Meg

    Hi John,

    It’s been a while – I’ve been checking in every now and again and watching a few classes! I’ve got a few days to catch up on but I loved your room by room exercises so bring it on! I was wondering where that book you mentioned had got to.