Designing Homes for Exuberant Living

In 2004, Dan Buettner teamed with National Geographic, the National Institute on Aging, and the world’s best longevity researchers to identify pockets around the world where people lived measurably better, longer. They found that people reach age 100 in Sardinia, Italy; Ikaria, Greece; Okinawa, Japan; Nicoya, Costa Rica; and Loma Linda, California at a rate that is 10 times greater than in the United States – and with lower rates of chronic disease. They dubbed these places “blue zones”. They then assembled a team of medical researchers, anthropologists, demographers, and epidemiologists to search for evidence-based common denominators among these places. They found nine and called them: “Move Naturally, Purpose, Downshift, 80%, Plant Slant, Wine at 5, Right Tribe, Loved Ones First, and Belong”.

At TBA, we believe that architecture can make a significant contribution to vitality and longevity. While we may not influence the amount of meat our homeowners eat or wine they drink, we DO shape their environments, support their enterprises and engage them out of doors. How does this work?

“We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us.”
– Winston Churchill  

Our homes welcome friends by providing a wide front door and an entry sized just right for goodbye hugs, with a comfortable place to remove shoes. Living and dining rooms are sized for conversation, kitchens where more than one person can work, well-equipped guest suites for overnight stays – even parking is considered.

02 Front Entry Contemporary Colonial Ranch Tim Barber Architects
The foyer of a renovated Santa Monica, CA home for a family of six. Interior Design by Lucas Studio, Inc. Construction by Powell Construction. Photo by Roger Davies.

We advocate for moving naturally, designing steps and stairs to be comfortable, inviting and safe, with railings and lighting. We provide ladders and moveable steps to reach high storage, and manual controls for drapes and blinds.

We plan for activity, with space for pianos and music-making, home workshops and craft rooms, lowered counters for pastry-making, art rooms, and all kinds of spaces for pets.

Music Room In A Colonial Revival Residence Designed By Tim Barber Architecture And Kristen Panitch Interiors
Music room in a Colonial Revival renovation in Pacific Palisades, CA. Interior Design by Kristen Panitch Interiors. Construction by Valle Reinis Builders. Photo by Tim Street Porter.

Sound is a priority in our homes. We design serene places, reading nooks and quiet libraries, acoustic surfaces that aid conversation, and fountains as masking for traffic noise. We recommend that dining and sleeping spaces are not within sight of a TV, and that electronics and chargers are kept far from the bed.

“The world is quiet here.”
– Lemony Snicket

We build in adaptability, because families grow and change. Babies are born, children launch, elders need care, and grandchildren visit. With forethought, spaces can be designed to accommodate these life-changes. It is our goal to protect and build family bonds – including with those who have passed on. Even a tightly tailored home is enhanced by a keepsake from an ancestor.

We work to retain mature trees and to plant new ones for strategic, seasonal shade. We open our homes onto gardens and quiet terraces. We plan for cutting and herb gardens, citrus trees, and raised vegetable beds while encouraging butterflies, birds and bees

“Nature is full of genius, full of the divinity; so that not a snowflake escapes its fashioning hand.”
– Henry David Thoreau

Contemporary Lodge Garden Shed By Tim Barber Ltd Architecture
Garden shed of a contemporary lodge renovation in Santa Monica, CA. Landscape Design by Ted Weiant Landscape Design. Construction by Hanover Builders, Inc. Photo by Joe Schmelzer.

Possibly most important, we understand the health-giving value of beauty. Through the strategic use of daylight, dynamic composition, curated views, dramatic discovery sequences, and the balance of serenity and delight, we aim to nourish the soul.

“The human soul needs actual beauty more than bread.”
– D.H. Lawrence


Tim Barber Architects is not associated with or promoting the Blue Zones brand. See more of Dan Buettner’s research and brand here.

Fair Use Disclaimer
Tim Barber Architects (TBA) has utilized copyrighted material and/or trademarked nomenclature which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright or trademark owner. The Company is making such material available for criticism, scholarship, and research.The Company believes this constitutes a “fair use” of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the United State Copyright Law. TBA is in no way proclaiming ownership or declaring expertise on these topics.If you wish to use copyrighted or trademarked material from the Service for your own purposes that go beyond fair use, You must obtain permission from the copyright or trademark owner.