Anyone At Home explores the lived experience of design.

We have all lived a life before today – and hopefully a life after tomorrow. 

Life is a continuum of change. There are some events we can control, some we cannot. 

What we experience in our lives affects and inform our choices, expectations and outlook. But also, where we live, how we live and who we live with – the places and spaces of a life lived.

Through different lifestages we can reflect on how our health, relationships and financial situation changed.  We can see how our job, education, travel, culture and faith affected, shaped and influenced who we are – and what we value most.

We can also see how political, sociological and technological shifts changed our lives and how we lived.

Everyone has a story to tell.

The stories represented in Anyone At Home expose the very close spatial relationship we have with our home. It looks at that experience holistically across different lifestages and circumstances.

Each of these accounts contributes to a wider range of personal stories. When viewed together they provide a unique account of home as a lived experience.

Design is an implicitly part of of that experience; in what we want, need and have. But also, in how it all comes together in one space. The space that is our home.

This site brings together visual and oral data connecting physical environments to the richness of life experience.

Each story is a reflection of a time and a place; of how we see the world and how the world is for us.

This website an open resource for anyone who has an interest in ethnographic design research and experiential design.

It highlights issues associated with ageing, health, lifestyle, location and changes in personal circumstances. It aims to show the wider context of design: where and why it is important  – or not.

If you wish to use the images or text (for which I hold the copyright ©)  please contact me for permission.

I hope these stories will be used to  inspire others, spark ideas, develop understanding, widen connections, dispel myths and fill existing gaps in our knowledge of home.

I would like to thank everyone who participated in this project for  letting me into their lives and homes so I could share this with you.

     People   ×     Society  ×     Ideas   ×    Design


Design, Nuala Rooney,

Nuala Rooney, PhD, FRSA, FHEA

Dr Nuala Rooney is an independent human-centred design research consultant based in Northern Ireland.

As one of the very first people in the UK to be awarded a  PhD in Interior Design  my work looks at the context of design, people and space in the real world.

My thesis  “At Home With Density: Spatial Representation in Hong Kong Public Housing” (Napier University, 1998)  positioned interiors research within the context of high density dwelling. This study was further developed into an award winning short documentary: A Thousand Pieces of Gold.

I write widely on the subject of interior/spatial design in both academic and popular journals. I am the author of  At Home with Density,  published by Hong Kong University Press (2003).

My research focus is wholly concerned with design as lived experience. It combines academic rigour and creative thinking to present a qualitative view of human concerns within the social/spatial sphere.

I am a Fellow of the Higher Education Association (FHEA) and have held appointments as External Examiner for academic institutions across the UK, New Zealand and Ireland. I have been a judge in several prestigious design competitions including UA Design Awards and Asia-Pacific Interior Design Awards (APIDA)

Anyone At Home  is a radical and leading approach to design and design research in the real world.

Life stories help us to see, listen, and think more about the questions, problems and solutions that affect  people everyday. That is: anyone, anywhere. People just like us.

Which is why I believe a formal academic approach is not the best way to reach people.

In a fast-changing world we need to respond with flexible, alternative ways of looking, listening and understanding. Design is a way in, because it is so intrinsically part of our everyday life.

I am very keen to work with business and industry to develop responsive, creative human centred design insights. Ultimately, to create actionable outcomes that address real-world problems, issues and scenarios.

Please contact me on: Email: