There's No Place Like Home!


By Paul Thyssen, Board Member and Jack London Resident


Living in a residential community is not for everyone. Community members have to rely on the decisions of others.  Have you ever thought that the residential community you call home would look the same until the day you die or move out?  At The Ellington, many interior design and aesthetic decisions were made well before residents moved into the building. I often thought it might take a natural disaster to make change, but then I imagined the possibilities and thought that there had to be another way.

When you are new to a residential community, it is hard to understand how to unravel the layers of authority to make change, but it can happen starting with a committee that provides input to the board and management of your residential community.  At The Ellington, that committee was the Design Review Committee, which is a board appointed group of residents who form design recommendations for their residential community.

Through discussion and well planned exercises to align everyone’s goals, an amenable outcome can be achieved with persistence and collaboration.  At The Ellington, we sought to get all of the committee members to respond independently to an exercise to form the vision and then discussed those responses in collaboration. We asked ourselves a series of questions such as: “What’s it for?”, “Who is it for?”, and “What should it remind you of?”. After the committee’s survey and collaboration, the Design Committee’s call to action was to create a welcoming and inviting feeling when they arrived on those floors with a focus on an art experience.

At The Ellington, we already had a solid list of local artist works in the collection and we decided to grow that collection for the floor renovation project.  A pool of artists’ works were presented, then reviewed and rated by the committee members according to how they met the vision for the renovation. Six works were finally selected for the project floors. Lighting for the art and benches were chosen to underscore the artworks.

The Artists chosen were Jeannie O’Connor, Catherine Courtenaye, Bonnie Neumann, Rodney Artiles, Tallulah Terryll, and The Artist Hines, all with studios in the Bay Area.  The committee celebrated the successful outcome with a reception for the artists. Five of these six artists were able to attend the event. Residents had the opportunity to learn about the inspiration of the artworks directly from the artists and appreciate the value added to their building and homes.

There’s no place like home!