I like to think that I am a thoughtful person, in the sense that I think before I act, or talk, or make decisions (my husband, Joe, finds this trait annoying at brunch because sometimes the decision can take forever). I’ve learned to appreciate waiting til the right moment on occasion, because doing something at the right moment can feel truly gratifying, better than doing it now just because I can.
So back in 2009, we set in motion a shift in thinking about the residential design firm (formerly known as Framework Design), that moved the focus from being a husband-wife team, to me at the helm. We hired a great team, ttweak, to come up with a name and a logo, impressing upon them the desire that it not have my name in it. I do believe they tried to find another name that was fitting, but in the end impressed upon me that my name was key. In the years that ensued, we worked hard, had a third child, moved into a larger historic home across the street, and thought hard about the name. The name itself is something I love, I’ve lived with it all my life. Hidden in it is Janus, the Roman god of beginnings and transitions. Of gateways, and looking to the past and future. Which, coincidentally, completely embodies my ethos about design. I always look to the past for inspiration and ideas, but also to the future to help inspire changes in people’s lives. My eye is often on this pivotal moment, the gateway that bridges between the past and the future. At what point have we drawn what we will from the past, and push through into the future, our future selves?
When we publicly announced in January that we were changing the name of the firm to Janusz, I had finally grown into the name, the identity. While I can no longer rest on the laurels of the previous name that we built, I will build upon the years of experience and illustrate why this is all important as a designer. Had we immediately launched the new name back at the end of 2009, I would have cast about for an identity that was previously unclear. I would have wished I’d ordered pancakes for brunch.
Similarly when we moved from one house in which we’d renovated and lived for 11 years, to another in which we’d officed for 5, we designed and built a fabulous kitchen but left all else as is. We’d had plans from the beginning as to how we would add on, and when we had our third child at the beginning of 2011, we became ready to further entertain that idea. When I’m designing an addition I put a lot of time into thinking about the ramifications of the design on how people will live in the space. Our house was no exception, and with our busy lives, we needed some deep thoughts into how we live. In addition to this, ours is a rare historic neighborhood in Houston and we take seriously the commitment to the 1880’s era Victorian homes. Over the course of the past year, we’ve watched light fall in the yard, noted the bold details on the existing house, fine-tuned our expectations of the construction process and costs. We drew drawings as complete as any others, a luxury for ourselves, and asked the historic board and city for permission. They said yes….
And in that one moment, me standing at the permit office shelling out $1100 for the permit, years of planning became a distinct reality. With jubilation and trepidation we are moving forward into construction, into the desire to finally embody the new identity of home. The home that we have created by ourselves, for ourselves.