Drawing My Ideal Home

The childhood obsession that became a lifelong project

Irene de Mas
4 min readNov 23, 2017
One of the many depictions of my future home — c. 1996

I deeply admire people that have turned their life around to adopt the lifestyle they want — probably because I want to do so myself. But how? Connecting the dots looking backwards, it seems like an easy thing to do. The steps are fairly rational. Find your passion. Quit your unsatisfying job. Do whatever makes you happy and screw everything else.

Many self-help books and Instagram posts advertise this message as an obvious mantra so it might not strike you as something new. But think about it for a minute. How many people do you know that work in something that’s truly aligned with their lifestyle goals? Let me put it another way: how many people do you know that work in something they are not passionate about? Probably quite a few. But how many of them would dare to leave the security of a good-enough job to pursue a more fulfilling path? And the question to rule them all: how many of them know what they’d rather be doing instead?

I am lucky enough that I’ve known what I ultimately wanted in life for as long as I can remember. I was four and already drawing my ideal home: a farm. I don’t know where this idea came from. I was born and raised in Barcelona, a definitely urban and not-too-green environment. My parents took me hiking and skiing before I could walk but they never presented living in the countryside as an option. This wasn’t something people in my family or my social circle did. Ever. Nevertheless, I somehow was sure that was what I wanted.

I knew what this farm would be like and this vision hasn’t changed much since. My future home is a simple house, inspired by Claudio Silvestrin, John Pawson, Vincent Van Duysen and Luis Barragán on a chill day. It is surrounded by a veggie garden, fruit trees and my loyalest companions: dogs, chicken, geese, goats and horses. All of these elements have been in my mind since the first drawing I made. Back then I also included my first boyfriend Jordi — no, we’re not together anymore and haven’t been for over 20 years, but I’m happy to say that we’re Facebook friends and he seems to be doing great. Obviously I wasn’t right about the exact person, but I was about the concept of living with someone who shares your vision and vital project.

Don’t get me wrong. I have faltered, repeatedly. I passed through some dark (not to say stupid) years in which I lost my focus. I valued a lot of things that seem so superfluous now. I even chose a major for reasons I now fail to understand. Well, no. I know why I chose it. I just don’t recognize the person who made that decision and so many others. Still I regret nothing and not only because I love Édith Piaf’s hymn. I firmly believe every decision I’ve taken, every mistake I’ve made and every bet I’ve lost have led me where I am now — and I guess I’m not in such a terrible place. I’ve regained my focus. I’ve recovered the vision I had since I was a little girl. Not so many people have the luxury to have known what they wanted out of life all along.

You might be wondering: how is this magical house that I’ve been fantasizing with for so long? Not so special. The star materials are wood and glass and it has no superfluous things or fancy decor — only the basics to have a hyggelig home. It has some color accents and fun details that cheer me up when I see them (an Ed Ruscha painting here, some quirky tiles there) but I keep it as uncluttered as possible.

I am flexible on the specifics but my home has some unnegotiable musts.

  • As much glass and as little walls as possible to flood the rooms with what’s most important in any space: light.
  • An open kitchen so I can talk to someone while I make up my latest recipes — or, being honest, an excuse not to drink wine alone while I cook.
  • A couch that’s so comfy that I could read and binge-watch movies for days.

And that’s it. That’s all I need. Give me these, a dog and a garden to take care of and I am the happiest girl on earth.

So okay, my end game in life is clear: I want to live in this cozy home surrounded by nature and the people (and animals) I love. But how do I get there? If you know me or have read me before you probably have noticed that I am a little bit obsessive. When I like something I can’t help it but research the heck out of it. Right now I am in this phase, trying to meet as many people that have followed similar paths as possible. This is what lead me to connect with Nicolau da Costa, interview Nicky and Michael C Place or go visit Federica Barbaranelli in Cantabria. I am learning about permaculture and everything that I can think of will take me closer to this goal. Actually, let’s call it by its name. So what if it’s corny? This is not only a vision. This is my dream.



Irene de Mas

Product Owner👩🏼‍🔬 Freelance Writer 👩🏼‍💻 Food Nerd 👩🏼‍🍳