Amazon Challenge: Design a House Using only Products from Amazon.

Have you ever heard that constraints can make you more creative? This idea has been bouncing around for some time, so long in fact I cannot remember when I first heard it– maybe college? It’s intriguing and felt counter intuitive at first but the older I’ve got the more I’ve embraced this idea. (If you’re interested in this topic, check out this article).

Along those lines, I’ve decided to challenge myself to design each room in a (fictional) house using only items from Amazon. Amazon is a huge market place but it’s not necessarily known for it’s home goods or furniture, like Wayfair. In addition, Amazon doesn’t give many sorting options, so it can take longer to find exactly what you’re looking for and in many cases I had to “compromise” certain design elements and replace it with something that Amazon stocked. Quick spoiler – in reality, it wasn’t very much of a compromise and I found that since I had to choose something different, I combined new things in different ways (usually patterns that I wouldn’t necessarily pick if given all the options on the internet) and ended up liking the outcome.

To make this challenge as realistic as possible, I found a house on Realtor.com that is currently for sale and used the room dimensions and features (door, window placement etc.) to dictate the design of each room. The house is a 3 bedroom, 2 bath two-story century home. The house is 1,252 square feet without an attached garage. My imaginary clients are a 4-person family. There is the husband and wife plus their two kids, a boy and a girl. Since the house is modest, it’s important that storage and function are kept in mind when designing every room. Most rooms will need to be flexible as they will serve many functions. They have no existing furniture and the structure of the house will generally remain the same.

The house is located in a residential area of a small city surrounded by houses of similar age and style. The neighborhood is mature and walk-able. The family wants the house to feel updated but not too contemporary. They like a transitional style with textures, patterns and colors. Both parents work and they have school-age children engaged in several activities. They want the house to be relatively easy to care for and maintain. Although they love the look of white upholstery furniture, they would like to avoid it due to the upkeep.

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