The First Shell

I designed my ‘first shell’ a.k.a. Dream Bedroom at 15. But it was so comfortable – all the work I had put in to create a space tailored to my every need gradually disappeared with time.

My first memorable bedroom as a teenager was self-customised. Yes, I was a lucky brat given the privilege to noob-sketch my dream room and have it built to a tee at the tender age of 15. I had everything I needed, exactly where I needed them – without paying a single cent!

Designing, a Natural Progression

First things First

My first ever custom-bedroom design came naturally. I figured out what my basic needs were, and added to that the ‘extras’ I would like to have. I knew exactly what my most basic needs were. I needed a bed to sleep in, a desk to study on, plenty of shelves for books and objects, drawers to conceal my true mess, a wardrobe for my clothes, a huge cutting mat for my arts and craft work – yes, a cutting mat, and a huge one too, was a basic need to me!

Nice-to-Haves, Next

Then, comes the fun part! I upgraded the study-desk to an L-shape as I preferred a generous working space, no 1.4m by 0.6m dwarf proportions for me. I had built-in lighting above the desk, locks specified for several drawers, and even designed a little alcove for a wastepaper bin under the desk. Since I had ample space within the room, I also cut-out a part of the desk area to be a dressing space complete with mirror and light! (Luxury… in the middle-class-sense?)

At that time, it was a THE dream bedroom.

My DREAM Bedroom at 15
My Dream Bedroom at 15

All that Comfort Made Me Forget

Upon moving in, I quickly settled into this perfect space, enjoying all the benefits I was reaping from the design work I had put in – my room fit me like a glove! I was so comfortable – all the work I had actually put in to get here was slowly but surely forgotten.

“I was so comfortable – I forgot about all the work that had gone in before. “

The work I had put in to realize this seamlessly functional, enjoyable space faded into the background over time as I got used to it, and I started taking it for granted. It became the norm, my norm. The norm was that I had everything I needed, located precisely where they ought to be. I definitely had a literal ‘comfort zone’

Plus, we had Other Spaces!

Outside of my dream habitat: there were the Living, Dry Kitchen, separated Wet Kitchen, a little Storage Room for tools and equipments, an indoor Laundry, an Alcove for the piano… for a middle-class family, my family and I had everything we needed to live comfortably, and I easily took it all for granted.

And This is Only the Beginning…

They say people do not appreciate what they have until they have lost it, and that realisation tends to kick-in especially when one is uncomfortable.

But discomfort is relative and hence the basis of comparison is dependent on where and how one started out.

This oh-so-comfortable ‘First Shell’ will be the basis of comparison of the coming ‘shells’ as my journey through Design made me Hermie-the-shell-scavenger many times over.


The writer is an Interior Designer sharing ‘shell-scavenging’ experiences and banal #notjustdesign ‘aha’ moments as holes, corners, and full-blown habitats are gradually outgrown as needs and wants inevitably change with the passing of time.