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House design for a friendly family

Contact points, tension busters, informal entry ease interaction
Published on Apr 23, 2004

What describes a great house? It looks good and makes you feel good when you're inside it. It is energy efficient and comfortable. And it facilitates frequent casual interactions among family members. This last qualification may seem to be such a statement of the obvious it's not worth making. But as our houses have become bigger with more rooms in the shared public area and more bedrooms and bathrooms in the private area, family life has changed. The daily familial interactions that characterized American family life in a smaller house in which everyone was within talking distance of each other are no longer the rule. Why does this matter? Frequent interactions are the essence of family life. They make us feel good and help maintain household cohesion. Even more important, through the thousands of interactions that we have with our children from infancy to adulthood, they learn a crucial life skill–how to get along with other people. When children are young, family members wil...

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