The Hierarchy of House Needs


The 37% of me that is Type A loves hierarchies.

The other 63% is a solid Yellow that would rather be swinging (on a literal swing) as high as possible in the moonlight. (Never moonlit-swung before? I highly recommend.)

Together, this completely unparallel personality combination brings me great joy.

And, I am thrilled to tell you that they’ve united beautifully in this scenario. May I present: The Hierarchy of House Needs!

The crowd goes wild! 

My Type A Sistas are like “What is happening?!?!”

The fellow Yellows are like “We don’t care this is gonna be FUN!”

Let’s back up. Then everyone can be super pumped together.

Back in 1943, the psychological legend Abraham Maslow wrote a paper called “A Theory of Human Motivation” where he blew the world’s mind with the idea that human decision-making is guided by a hierarchy of needs. These motivations begin with physiological necessities like food and shelter, and progress through safety, love and belonging, esteem, with the pinnacle motivation being self-actualization (creation, value-add, inner fulfillment). Basically, if your arm is cut off and you’re bleeding to death, you don’t care if your friends are being bratty. Yes. We all agree. Further, if you’re not confident in who you are (esteem), you are not capable of reaching your full potential as a self-actualizing human. Yeah! Cool right? This theory solidified Maslow’s place in developmental textbooks in universities worldwide and laid the groundwork for nearly 62,000 studies since then (that’s a WHOLE lot. Although I’ve been cited by nearly 20 now so… watch out).

I deeply appreciate the work of this man.

As I’ve learned more about the home and the ways we interact within it, I realized that our houses set us up for “self-actualizing” decision making according to pattern, a hierarchy if you will, as well. However, many of us don’t even know that the Hierarchy of House Needs exists, let alone how to use it. 

And that’s REALLY fun.

Pumped yet? Great. Just wait!

Let’s dive in.

Our houses are the perfect stages for the screenplays of our lives. The way that we interpret and interact with our houses creates our home experience. It’s fascinating (and super empowering) to consider the cues that we’re taking from the props we set for ourselves to utilize day in and day out. 

At the Base Tier, we have the level that encompasses everything potentially obvious about home that we often can take for granted. These basic things we need from our houses are shelter, sanitation, and safe systems. If your paint has lead and your walls are moldy and there’s sewage leaking everywhere, your house will not aid you in your pursuit of happiness. These things must be addressed first. Also in the Base Tier I’ve included “love and belonging,” because I’ve met people who live in very humble circumstances world-wide, and they experience just as much (if not more) happiness and joy than anyone I know. I believe that when we’re safe emotionally and physically, we can nail life. Anyone who says you need more than that to live a wonderful, beautiful life is, frankly, wrong.

The rest of the hierarchy is just a hoot! Understanding the next three tiers will help you build/renovate/decorate your home to suit your highest self and family values in ways that feel better than a trip to Disneyworld. And I’m not one to say that lightly. 

Tier 2 is where Function lives. This is the arena of privacy, automation, and comfort. This is where you love your slick storage solutions. You can’t get over the legit touchless sink faucet that makes your life so much easier and Jetson-esque. This is the place of reclining power sofas and drool-worthy pantry and linen organization. Completely. Dreamy.

The next level is the Design Tier, where beauty takes center stage. We talk about cohesiveness, aesthetic, design style, and color combinations. We insist on pattern balance and focal points. We mirror nature and we push the edge of asymmetry. This is where most designers live. Tier 3 is legitimately so much fun, and brings out our best Pinterest-groupie within. If you find a solid, top notch designer, they know how to visit the Function Tier too, and they say wise things like “Form Follows Function” but enjoy arguing about which actually comes first and why. These golden designers will get you the pretty faucet that actually works and the pillow cover that can be washed. 

What most designers don’t know, however, is that there’s a fourth tier. The magical tier. The tier that makes all the other tiers come to life and in turn, inspires life to elevate. The fourth level of the Hierarchy of House Needs is the Intentional Tier. Here we dive deep into the principles of ownership and freedom, connection, parenting, marriage, fusion, sensory processing, alignment, expectations, academic research, belief systems, becoming, vulnerability, interdependence, and power. The Intentional Tier reinvents the entire Hierarchy because, once you’ve considered it, you can’t ever see any of the lesser tiers the same way ever again.

If you’re looking to truly elevate your home experience, we need to get you into this Intentional Tier. Don’t settle for anything less. While a house can look good and do what it needs to do, I guarantee you that how you FEEL in your space is going to make all the difference in the world. Here at Intentional House, that’s our mission– to train you on how to experience, interpret, and feel WITH your house. 

Your sudden and surprising spontaneous happy dancing, the solid scientific backing, and the sheer empowerment of it all will blow your mind just like Maslow did in Psych 101 in college. 

If you want in on this goodness, here are three ways to work with us:

  1. Join the membership!!! Monthly trainings, weekly live coaching, and custom workbooks to take you and your home experience on the Space X journey of a lifetime. Interested? Shoot us an email here!
  2. Experience the full Home School program!! Only taught once a year LIVE, these 6 weeks will truly transform the way you view your home and everything inside of it. Want in? Get on the waiting list!!
  3. Work with us one-on-one for private coaching and design!! If you’re considering building or moving, renovating or redecorating within the next year, this is for you. We’d love to take you step by step through the whole Intentional House process, ensuring you consider all of your options and make the most mindful, true-to-your-big-goals decisions possible. Is this your dream come true? Fill out an application ASAP!

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