The Soul of Designing a Home: Part One

“If a man is to live, he must be all alive: body, soul, mind, heart, spirit.”
-Thomas Merton

In our approach to design, we see home as the dwelling place of our souls. While this is not a new way of seeing, perhaps it is new to you or something that you have not considered.

The goal of designing a home is to create an environment that supports the deepest aspects of ourselves; to create a platform to manifest the life that we fervently desire and one where we are able to be at our best. The primary objective is to be in balance with the totality of ourselves (our minds, our bodies, our spirits) and to support awareness, self-understanding, good relations, and peace in our hearts. Some would call this sacred space, and it certainly is, but is also so much more.


Home for the soul addresses the hearts and minds of all who live in the space. Consider soulful living as addressing the totality of who we are in each moment of the day, in each aspect of our lives—our loves and losses, our successes and failures. Additionally, how well we take care of ourselves, our bodies, our family, and our friends. Each person, each family, and each situation is unique. Tailoring this notion of design is a worthwhile challenge and one that we love to embrace and enhance.

A lounge and meditation space by Tower Design – Ojai, CA

We tend to work with people who are highly successful, or they want to be. Part of our job in this domain is to balance what success looks like on the outside and what it feels like on the inside. Balancing the inside with the outside of ourselves is crucial for living a truly successful and satisfying life.


We worked with a client who is a huge success at the office, but this made her home a place to simply collapse after work. Part of our prescription was to create a small outdoor retreat that reconnects her with nature, reinvigorating her after a long, tough day. Bringing the outside close and being in nature is a sure-fire way to soothe our souls. A place to breathe and feel at peace helps us to relax and unwind, as well as energize us.

Courtyard retreat by Tower Design, Montecito, CA


Exercise such as yoga or strength training is great way to feel better. We have installed pull-up bars in small spaces, along with eye bolts in the wall so stretch bands can be attached for a super small home gym. Of course, it is nice if you have the space for a full gym, but if not, a small space can be purposed for a work out. We like to do what we can to support our clients in making stress reduction a priority.


When we are designing for clients, we love to see their clippings and files of ideas on what styles and trends they are comfortable with. What is most crucial is the soul of any space and how that will support our clients living their most powerful lives. Some of the questions that we consider and raise are:

• How will this place be the foundational setting for the spirits and bodies of those who will dwell there?
• Who do we want to be in life and how can our home support that rich and abiding connection to ourselves, our family, and community?
• Where do you start when you have a desire to shift and change your life so that you feel true peace and power in your home?

Ready to make your house a home of sanctuary and balance? Get in touch with Kathleen McMullen, Founder and Lead Designer of Tower Design Studio by emailing