“I feel good here”

Marlies de Jong lived with her husband and two children in a spacious home with a beautiful yard overlooking the river in the Netherlands. It sounds idyllic, but she wasn’t happy there. The house smelled musty. It was dank and gloomy. The acoustics were terrible. The house sucked all her energy away.

De Jong (not her real name) and her ­husband started thinking about what their dream house would look like. They built the ­horseshoe-shaped dwelling at the edge of a forest, and ­everything went just as they’d envisioned. Vaulted ceilings. ­Rounded walls. Plenty of windows onto the garden. Exterior walls of rugged stone. Ceramic roof tiles. Lots of wood and metal trim inside. “It’s like being on vacation every day, in your own house,” De Jong says. “I feel good here. And I’ve finally gotten my energy back.”

De Jong has experienced firsthand the influence a house can exert on the minds and bodies of those who live there. That connection is what motivates the architects who practice what they call “healing architecture.” They believe their designs can foster human health. De Jong’s architect, Huub van Laarhoven, agrees. “Building a home is more than just stacking bricks,” he says. “It requires inspiration and respect for people and the environment.”

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