A personal revelation leads to a systematic approachfor creating psychologically fitting homes The Truehome Story In 1992, Christopher K. Travis experienced a profound insight about his personal “experience of home”. A designer and builder, he was restoring a large compound of historic buildings many hours from his home. He was at a low point in his career and missed his family. His circumstances gave him every reason to feel downcast and alone. But in the evenings after work, while sitting on the high pier-and-beam porch of one of those farmhouses, he noticed he was feeling inexplicably happy and at peace. He began to wonder why and was struck by a vivid memory from his early childhood. He realized the architecture of that porch reminded him of another old farmhouse which existing only in his subconscious memory. Forty years before, during another difficult time in his life, Christopher lived on the farm of his great-grandparents. He realized his brain had associated the architecture of his current project with another similar porch from his childhood where he felt loved and nurtured. A flood of positive feelings was the result. Travis saw that if that positive emotional state was cued by memories of experiences in past environments, the same type of associations were likely influencing his emotional reactions to every place he visited, even though he was entirely unaware it was happening. He also saw the same would be true for his clients. He began to apply that insight to his client relationships. It changed everything about how he designed and built homes. In 1998, he created an early form of the Truehome Workshop. His goal was to develop a systematic approach to gathering design criteria for living spaces that supported the wellbeing of his clients. He offered it to his customers and many agreed to try it. The Workshop asked questions that were psychological in nature and designed to identify what he called the "emotional architecture" of his clients - essentially how their brain reacted to home environments. He sought the details of the experience of home in their heads and hearts, as well as the physical "bricks and sticks" of a building. After using the process for two years, he began to notice a radical difference in the outcomes of clients who used his Workshop to develop design criteria as compared to those who preferred traditional methods. He was shocked to find that every first-round design presentation made to those early Truehome clients had been accepted. Clients whose projects were complete reported they found their homes unusually fitting to their lifestyle and priorities. More importantly, their emotional experience matched their goals. He had stumbled upon a way to predictably create designs that helped people feel the emotions they wanted to feel in their homes. The approach also transformed Travis' client relationships. It created a new level of trust, intimacy and partnership with every client. The time he spent coming to understand his clients deeper goals also turned out to good for his business. His design production costs dropped 35% on average for Truehome clients as compared with those who preferred traditional methods.. Travis realized he had stumbled upon something important and began a passionate five-year multi-disciplinary study trying to understand why his process worked. Many of the books he studied are included in our Reading List. Using his architecture and building practice as a lab, he began to expand the scope of the Truehome Workshop. In 2002, he brought two wellbeing professionals with greater expertise onto his team. One was a clinical psychologist and the other a family therapist. He found he could compensate them for supporting his clients, which profoundly impacted their choices in a positive way, and still produce designs that pleased his clients in less time and money. The Workshop then caught the caught the attention of several academic experts in the fields of psychology. Dr. Cecil Reynolds, an internationally known neuropsychologist, author and expert in psychological testing, endorsed the process in 2005. Dr. Reynolds later became an advisor and investor in the company. Travis' youngest son, Benjamin Travis, an IT and software wunderkind who had been paying attention to these developments, approached his father in 2006 and suggested they turn the process into software. Soon afterwards, Dr. Sam Gosling, a noted personality scientist and 2008 recipient of the prestigious APA Distinguished Scientific Award for Early Career Contribution to Psychology became familiar with Travis' work. Gosling had long been researching how personality was expressed in living spaces. He interviewed Travis' clients and was so impressed he devoted much of the last chapter of his book, Snoop: What Your Stuff Says About You to Travis's work. Eventually, he too became an investor and advisor in Truehome.. Three months after Dr. Gosling's book was published, The New York Times published a two-page article on Travis and Truehome. It was followed by a string of international media including major articles in Greece, Germany and Australia. It took several years for the father and son to create the web based software and social network. They designed it to help people explore their ideas and experiences because they believe each person's experience of home is a unique "fingerprint". In 2012, a beta version of Truehome was announced, culminating over a decade of devotion to the possibility of creating homes that heal their inhabitants. Travis remains passionate about this pursuit and sees Truehome as both a business and a community project. While the web-based platform is designed to be a practical tool for real projects, it also is intended to bring people together who share a similar vision. "I know it is possible to create a personal environment that supports your wellbeing and the life you want to live" says Travis. "I know because I have done it with my own clients. If we can tailor living spaces to individuals and families in a way that improves their wellbeing and life experience, then it must be done. It is an ethical issue as well as an environmental priority. "Right now, we are degrading our planet with the ways we design, build and develop. We are also degrading our quality of life. If we don’t make creating homes that enhance the wellbeing of our own children a priority, what chance is there we will be good stewards of our planet and the homes of the other species who share it with us? "The biggest hurdles to creating a green, sustainable built environment are not technological or political. They are cultural and psychological. Our homes influence our behavior in powerful ways. The “experience of being at home” is in our heads - in our perception of the world that surrounds us. We need to focus on creating psychologically fitting living and work spaces. If we can transform our relationship with our home environments, it will be a critical step towards transforming our relationship with our home planet. "There are many others out there who share a vision of a greener, more sustainable, human-centered environment. There are many searching for new ways create living spaces that improve the experience of being human while supporting the wellbeing of the planet. We invite them to join together and share their ideas to accomplish that possibility. "Truehome can't make that happen alone, but we can plant the seeds. Our goal is to amplify their voices in hopes of expanding the work we have begun."