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Taking Things Personally: Part 1

Updated: Jan 4

A Design Guide to Customizing Your Space.

Hello with a warm welcome back to our favourite design enthusiasts! It's a beautiful day to revive our blog section and of course we have yet another design case to solve. It may be a dull, cold, rainy season here in Kampala but we're here to fire it up with design talk.

In the past few articles we have represented books, the air, building materials, and even breakfast. But today we are representing you, the human being. Every architect or architectural designer has a number of demanding clients to please in design. It's never about just one because we have the sun, the ground, the trees, water, culture, religion and so many other important clients to hear out before we can even get into the tiny details of design, form and structure.

What if we told you, you could use your personality to design your space, including your bad habits? Yes, if you're going to spend a significant amount of time in a space, it should support whatever habits, passions, or hobbies you may have that make your life more enjoyable. We gathered some options for several personalities and it's a rabbit hole. Let's get into it!

Personality #1: The Nature Lover

We all know at least one person in our lives who would fight for trees. I'm going to very quickly throw my dad under this bus because he loves his trees, as he should. I love the idea of bringing nature closer to us and even more so with design; Biophilic design has entered the chat. It is defined as incorporating natural materials, views, vegetation, or indirect representations of nature like photographs, art, or color and pattern into the design of a space to simulate feelings of being outdoors. Basically, you don't have to live in a forest to declare your love for nature. Let's go through some design ideas for the nature lovers!

“We no longer have an outside and an inside as two separate things. Now the outside may come inside and the inside may and does go outside” – Frank Lloyd Wright.

Modern Tree Houses

A tree house sounds like a tiny cramped up space stuck between tree branches, but in this modern world you can turn any building into your own tree house.

Cascading or protruding balconies are a great way to literally reach out to trees.

A beautiful work of art built over a waterfall, surrounded by trees
Falling Water by Frank Lloyd Wright

Considering the majority of us don't live too close to nature and may not be able to build close to trees, we can decide to either build and mold our buildings around them or extend parts of our spaces to them. How fun would it be to watch birds nesting upclose or even pick fruits right off of your extended balcony? I know some of you are getting itchy at this thought so before the nature haters run off, wait your turn - there's more than green talk to this article.


Courtyards are another way to bring nature closer to us. Building around an existing tree not only saves its life, but adds healing value to our space; Not forgetting the natural cooling benefits of having plants around us.

A courtyard house
Casa Once, Mexico, by Espacio 18 and Cueto

Garden Houses

We can add little escapes into nature in the form of detached garden structures like pergolas or gazebos.

A modern gazebo by IODS Design
Modern Gazebo by IODS Design

These can also be open structures which may be used as bbq areas, reading spaces, or extensions of our living spaces.

Open Garden Space by IODS Design
Open Garden Space by IODS Design

For those who prefer to look at nature but not necessarily experience it, you can enclose your garden structure and enjoy watching the trees without the threat of crawling insects or bad weather.

Interior Design of Modern Gazebo by IODS Design
Interior of Modern Gazebo by IODS Design

Wellness Gardens

Also known as healing gardens, these are miniature nature parks that take advantage of nature's healing properties. I would love to see more of these in schools and hospitals because they can be a great boost for mental health.

View of Hospital Wellness Garden by IODS Design
A Health Centre Wellness Garden by IODS Design

The Lazy Nature Lover

If you'd rather not deal directly with nature but you're an enthusiast from a distance, you can lazily incorporate symbols of nature into your space without literally having them. In this case, it's the thought that counts.

Nature Photo Frame

From artificial rain walls and fireplaces, to sculptures and digital nature photo frames, we can all show our appreciation for nature or at least pretend to, because deep down we know half of us would be caught dead camping or hiking.

Personality #2: The Fashion Lover

From camping to glamping! Fashion enthusiasts, your bus has arrived. If you take your time dressing up and enjoy the process, you might want to look into incorporating elements that celebrate your love for fashion.

Entry Way Clothing Rack

This is where you can hang your everyday items for a quick pick before you step out.

Entry Way Clothing Rack

Outfit Of The Day Closet (OOTD Closet)

A simple closet with space for hanging just a few clothes and items. It's perfect for those who prepare their outfits to wear, the day before. It's not only a great organizational piece but will save you the time and nightmare of "what can I wear?"

OOTD Closet

We should be designing some of these in the future, but for now, can you spot the industrial hotel closet rack we customized for our tourist lodge project below?

Fitting Stage

There's no better way to romanticize your love for fashion than having your very own fitting stage. It can be a simple platform in front of your vanity mirror, a mirrored space in the corner of your bedroom or a well designed and dedicated space within your walk-in closet.

“Everyday Is A Fashion Show and the World Is Your Runway.” – Coco Chanel.

For those who would like to get further into this, I'd recommend watching this Architectural Digest episode of 3 interior designers transforming a walk-in closet. One of the designers came up with a wildly extravagant fitting stage from which we can draw some inspiration. Small or large, we're going for something which gives you a chance to admire your outfits and dramatically reveal them to yourself everyday.

Closet Fitting Stage Design by Darren Jett
Closet Fitting Stage Design by Darren Jett

You may also consider lighting options and mirror designs which can complement your stage. There's nothing like being reasonable here because the world of fashion is for dreamers, and fashion lovers are beautifully delusional to begin with. The rest of the personalities here will judge you but you have our blessing to go all out!

Personality #3: The Gym Rat

Clearly, we've got everybody covered. If your life revolves around health and fitness, this one's for you. Such a personality needs to be in a highly motivating environment and carries a sense of discipline that not many of us can relate to.


Because you need to be in a constant state of motivation, you'll need to surround yourself with things that remind you to stay fit. What better than having a fitness station along one of your walls with all your go-to fitness items like your gym shoes, gym bag or even a water dispenser. Too much? Simply place a large sign with a motivational quote over some shelving.

Gym Home Station

Climbing Walls

Spiderman, is that you? A climbing wall is perfect for the adrenaline junkies out there who would jump off a cliff for fun. The best thing about these is that you can build them against an existing wall.

Cache Creek Residence by Carney Logan Barke

Pull Up!

Not everyone has access to the gym so just like with the climbing walls, attaching gym equipment to your existing space goes a long way. The pull up bar is a popular option which can be installed above a door way or against a wall.

Pull Up Bar home Station

Lap Pool

Lap pools are far more affordable than standard size pools and are specially designed for fitness and hydrotherapy. They can fit into little spaces and add a beautiful aesthetic to any landscape, providing a great focal point for any structure. Some of them are even made to wrap around houses to form a moat - can you imagine the views from every room? Very tempted to randomly design one right now. Oh, sorry, this is about fitness. As we were.

Infinity Pool

You can use lap pools to complement beautifully landscaped water features around your house and stretch them out as long as you like. To infinity and beyond! Yes, if you love infinity pools, lap pools make the very best ones. Look at the customized pool below which we designed with a tiny infinity edge overlooking a small garden space. This is your sign to get good use out of every square inch of your land.

Pool House
Vacation Home by IODS Design

Personality #4: The Bedhead

If you're getting bored or sleepy soaking in all of this great information, we're pushing you into this bus because we rounded up the best options to support your sleepy head. Your dreams are valid.

Balcony Hammocks

We're all used to hammocks being placed between trees but who wants that itchy mess? You're guaranteed of safer naps by installing one on your balcony. Take advantage of a corner and add design details like pillows, soft lighting and potted plants to complete your sweet little escape.

Outdoor Hammock

Swing Beds

Simply put, a more comfortable version of a hammock.

Outdoor Bed Swing

Sleeping Nooks

Any dead space you may have can be transformed into a beautiful nook for relaxing. Staircases provide the perfect spaces for these. They also make the perfect reading or working spot but we all know that's the last thing our sleepy heads want to hear.

Under stair day bed

Day Beds

If a bed and sofa had a baby, this would be it. Did you know that day beds predate sofas? From the ancient Egyptian day beds built from palm sticks, we now have more modern pieces like the famous Barcelona day bed by Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe. This iconic piece is the true definition of "minimum effort, maximum effect" and we throw it in more visuals that we'd like to admit. Can you spot it in the interior we designed for our tourist lodge below?

Hotel Room Living Space by IODS Design
Hotel Room Living Space by IODS Design

Day beds can be placed anywhere - your kitchen, your living room or your balcony. Because of their minimalistic design, you can easily fit them into the general aesthetic of your space.

Barcelona day bed in living room

If you prefer a more traditional aesthetic, you can build your own cabana in your backyard with a comfortable day bed to transport you back into ancient Greece or Egypt at any time of the day. Once you close your eyes on one of these, you'll immediately open your mouth to receive the imaginary grapes you're being fed. Why do I get the feeling these would be a hit with our next personalities?

Backyard Day Bed

Oops! Looks like we have come to the end of the first bit of this two-part series. Was your personality represented? Do you feel seen? If not, let us know what other personalities you'd like to see represented in the comment section and you just might find yourself being used as a case study for our next design case. Stay tuned for Part Two of this exciting series!

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