Homes That Make Us Happy – TEDx Talk Reviews

Personal Reactions to TED Talk

Doug, I just came across and watched your TED SMU 2017 talk “Homes that Make Us Happy” (somehow I just found it now, 6 years after the actual talk…)  Still, you make points that are as valid today as they were 6 years ago – and will be 60 years from now.  So good to have you validate my hunch that good homes are not necessarily the large or expensive or new homes, but the ones where we feel good, where we feel comfortable, and at peace.  Kudos to you to keep drumming on the value of good design.

Eurico R. Francisco AIA, NCARB, LEED AP
Architect, Urban Designer

Fantastic, Doug!

Would you believe I put on 5 old TED namebadges, turned off my phone, and clapped you on to the stage?

What a great talk! The content is really insightful and inspiring. Love that you were part of an exclusive society with the keys to the kingdom. I don’t think I’ve ever laid eyes on a top secret MLS book but the grainy print and tiny images and bad paper certainly paint a vivid picture.

The idea of selling the neighbourhood not the home really resonates with me. I’m in an emerging neighbourhood myself. My condo building was CBC’s warehouse in the 1950’s – 70’s. The 14′ ceilings, wide hallways and my “artist and urban pioneer” neighbours make me really happy. I was raised in big, old homes because we were such a big family. I certainly appreciate character and charm over new anything.



Okay, you are certifiably adorable!!!!! What a natural, comforting, wise, disarmingly charming and compelling storyteller you are. I am really, really, REALLY impressed! “Styles come and go but great design is forever.” “Good locations come and go but great sites are forever.” Amen! I love that you really challenge what “the best neighborhood” actually is. It’s not about money. It’s about what MAKES YOU HAPPY. Thank you so much for sharing. I’m so proud of you!!!


Finally had a chance to watch your beautiful talk. Bravo! Such an important message and your story telling was very compelling.
Class act all the way.
I especially valued your insights about what makes us happy in a home. Such universal, human concepts. But, it takes a pro like you to synthesize them into insights that a layman like me can grasp.
I loved the way you described the woman who built a house on a ravine, where you enter through the roof.
You did a superb job, Doug. How did it feel to deliver? What feedback have you gotten?
Yes, I will be at TED this year. Hope we can sit down and catch up. Eager to hear about your year and your outlook for the coming year.
Warm regards,



Congratulations on the TED Talk. I really enjoyed it.

Let me know what you plan to do to expand the project.

I look forward to hearing from you.


You are so right, the happiest homes have nothing to do with all the things we think they should. Great perspective, clear & clean story – all those years in the TED audience produced a great speaker! Bravo!


You have such astute observational powers. You deducted a truth and made an insightful, intelligent analysis not only of the markets of real estate and architecture, but also of human tendencies and the profound effect of nature. Your rhythm of speaking also holds your attention. You communicated this analysis in a clever and occasionally witty and humourous way. You made it easy for the audience to understand and gave us some of the answers to the search for happiness.

I really enjoyed it – very thought provoking.

And I must say you are looking good!


Dearest Doug,

Thank you, thank you!
What a gift – an ode to architects and good taste/design – I could not agree with you more on all that you so eloquently point out, especially the idea that what is seen out the window becomes an extension of style !


May this year be a great source of happiness to you.


Douglas, I just listened to this very well crafted and delivered talk. I LOVE that you brought the human back into the idea of what makes s happy, what we love about our homes.. It reminded me of a continuation of Marc Kushner’s talk about the design of the home he grew up in .. “every time I walked along the cat walk from the bathroom to my bedroom in view of people in the living room , I HATED it, .. and that’s architecture.

The idea of what we love having NOTHING to so with # of rooms or the kind of description that we are given on digital sites. The stripping away of the human in all of the qualitative things we love.

The only suggestion you might try is to actually give some of your examples personalities. make them a story .. the school district vs school, the gentrifying neighborhood and the welcoming sound of construction vs the noise annoyances. It would cement these concepts in the listeners minds.

All in all I love the idea. Looking forward to seeing you at TED. Cheers!


Douglas!!! I loved your talk! The camera really loves you!

What a great accomplishment… I’m so impressed by your talk, by your stage presence. It’s remarkable how well your generous spirit and good nature comes across just by virtue of being present on the stage. You wouldn’t have to speak a word to have that come through. It was really inspiring to see you on stage, sharing your mind.

Sending warmest regards and happiness.

Big Hugs and Gratitude,


Amazing! Spectacular! Bravo! Really disappointed I didn’t see it live! How did you do it? The content and “lyrics” were beautiful but you had to commit all 16 minutes to memory. I thought only actors could do that!!! Hmmmm. Thanks for sharing. Have already forwarded to others so you should be getting a lot more views!


Jim and I just watched it to rave reviews. I’m often nervous when I watch others that I know give talks but you are so completely natural and relaxed that I was completely absorbed in the subject. It’s so interesting and so true. You hit all of the truths about what constitutes good design in such a precise, eloquent and enjoyable fashion. I’m going to be more mindful as we continue to look.

We are going to watch it again. Loved it!!!



Douglas, I just watched your TEDx talk. It’s wonderful, and right on. Thanks for your commitment to pushing design forward!


Wow! Great talk Douglas. And yes you have described my happy house which I will always be grateful that you helped find and negotiated to own!!

You are a darn good speaker!


I really enjoyed this video. Our home checks all the boxes. I really enjoyed this as it reminded me of why we love our home


Great TED Talk Douglas! I really enjoyed it and thought you did a terrific job. You have a great stage presence. I’d love to chat with you the next time I see you about how you prepared for that talk. Doing a TED Talk is on my long term goals list.


Thanks Doug,

I watched your talk. It was very good. Here are two quotes that left an impression on me:

“we love our home when it is a private sanctuary that opens up to nature.”

“we forget to dream”

Thanks for sharing your thoughts.


Impressive TED talk! Thanks for sharing your ideas!


Barny and I just watched your TED talk again. We continue to enjoy it. Your observation of thoughts are so true!

Thank you,


Ken just sent me your awesome Ted Talk. By accident Sharon and I followed your recommendations in designing and building our home on 73 acres. It made the cover of Luxe. We don’t care….we love it? Great talk….I told Ken you have been one of the most entertaining people I have known since meeting you. Congratulations on all of your success.


My home makes me happy!

Thank you for sharing your speech with us! Inspiring as should be any Ted talk.
I saw after 3min. and 50 sec a French flag on the screen; it cannot be serious? Can it be? Are you behind that surprising image? a friendly one indeed…

Thank you again and happy new year.


Very well done, Doug! Quite impressive!

Keep sharing your ideas,


Hi Doug,

Wow, all homebuyers should be required to view this before purchasing a new house. It should give people pause. I think my house has most of the elements you are talking about but I find myself still arguing about this with the Appraisal Board which keeps overvaluing my house because it is newer and on a big lot.

You gave a great talk!!!


Hi Douglas,

Loved your TEDx Talk.  I understand it perfectly.


Mari & Lou

Thank you, Douglas.

I especially appreciate your words and your talk coming from you, as a real estate professional.

You are correct, so much of the market is driven by cost/SF, room count, features, that it misses the soul and spirit of a place.

Something that I love about the design process and especially with residential design, is the conversations become very intimate … describe family holidays, Friday evenings, Sunday mornings, after school, your bedtime routine, entertaining family, friends.

And there’s no better compliment than a text on a Friday midnight, “Our friends just left and the kitchen was magnificent…,” or a Sunday afternoon, “Just woke up from a nap and looking at our back garden through our beautiful windows, how special is this place you made for us.”

On your talk, I specifically appreciate that you painted the picture with words … not images. So powerful … and while I know some of the places you described, it’s magic to hear them come alive with language.

And the circumstance around the talk is funny (not funny) and ironic … a serious and passionate talk about not being superficial.

Thanks again for your commitment to our craft.

I’m in China these days, back and forth between Shenzhen and Shanghai, truly an amazing place.

Peter Brown

Thank You for Your Kind Sentiments

The opinions and reactions to TED Talks that I trust most are from my friends, thought leaders and TED speakers I know from the TED conferences held in Monterrey, Long Beach and Vancouver. Below are some of their reactions along with those of other business leaders, homeowners and TED Talk aficionados. I would be delighted to know your thoughts on this subject of Homes That Make Us Happy. It has always been an important subject, but now might even be considered a profound proposition. Thank you for furthering the discussion and thoughts on homes that make us happy living, working and playing in them.