How do you balance an architectural dream with livability?
McShane: We did a feng shui study and mixed it with the technical side, really considering how we wanted to live in this home. The basement had a small footprint, so we put the kids’ bedrooms there. Upstairs, an open floor plan allows us to spend more time together as a family.
Cleo: The kid and adult spaces are separated. You sometimes give up when you have children, and it becomes the kids’ house. I really wanted beautiful furniture, so the communal space is comfortable but definitely grown-up. Downstairs is more playful.
I heard a shaman was involved in the project?
McShane: We blessed the land before starting construction.
Cleo: Everything was on the line. We’d never owned anything before! I don’t know exactly what shamans do, but it feels very official. We each held a rock, thought of family and then passed them around a fire pit. He blessed the rocks and put them in corners of the property.
McShane: [laughing] … and then the neighbor called the fire department.
Cleo: Two fire trucks showed up!
You were off to a good start! How did acoustics factor into your home’s design?
McShane: We did consider it, but it’s not the driving factor. The consideration is more about layout within the room. We also considered which direction the sound travels and planned windows and doors to keep sound in. We don’t want to blast our music to the neighbors.