One of the most important lessons we have learned from touring the trendy homes in San Francisco is that imperfections are actually what gives a home character and personality. Along the same lines, we believe it's that same character and personality that is the difference between walking into a well-built house that just feels like it's "missing something" and one that truly feels like a home.
The picture on the left is an extreme example where a homeowner decided to display the beauty of his historical home rather than fight against it. In Calgary we are less likely to come across such heritage buildings and we certainly won't be building new houses with giant cracks in the wall, but there are still many ways to embrace and enjoy imperfections in a custom home.
In some of our homes we have hand-troweled clay paint on the walls, we have used recycled scaffolding planks to decorate an entire basement and we have collected old bricks to use for a bedroom wall, just to give a few examples. By working with imperfect materials that come from nature, are recycled and/or otherwise unusual, we have discovered we can create stunning spaces that give off a distinct "vibe" the minute you walk through the door.
Clay paint helps to regulate humid air inside buildings by absorbing and releasing moisture naturally — responding to changes in the interior space. It's also non-toxic, mold-resistant and absorbs odours. That seemed pretty cool to us. However, it will never have the flawless shiny luster of a typical interior paint job and the texture will vary depending on how it is applied to the walls. No two walls will ever be the same... but if you scratch, ding or stain the clay wall, you can simply spray with a little water and re-work the plaster with a sponge or small trowel. That's the beauty of an "imperfect" wall.
The recycled scaffolding planks and old bricks have a similar appeal in that the pre-existing markings and "blemishes" allow for the normal wear-and-tear of a family who lives comfortably in their home, but its allure is not that it's "practical" or "comfy" but that it gives the space personality, character and history; it tells a story. And maybe (because our homes are built to last 100 years) someone in the future may want to re-use some of your design innovations in their own decor!
Perhaps our favourite material at the moment is our fumed oak hardwood floors. These floors look beautiful in a subtly rustic way and can take a serious beating. (We know because we put it in our own homes and we have multiple toddlers and dogs testing it for us every day)! Every scratch just adds to the charm of these floors, hidden by the natural grooves, striations and knots found in the wood grain.
A home with a lot of character and imperfections isn't for everyone and we have built stunning homes to a level of precision and impeccability to satisfy the most obsessive of clients, but we do encourage you to at least consider the idea that some "imperfections" can, in the end, be perfect.