Friday, April 25, 2008

The perfect house?

How does one define one's style? What makes us like one thing over another? We chalk it up to personal taste but it can be hard to break down into pieces. For every home we love, there are many things we may like about it and numerous things we may dislike. Is there such a thing as a perfect house?
Take for example this house from Peter Marino

I look at this house and know that I love it. I love the symmetry, I love the materials ( stone, slate), I love the simplicity of the massing and the simple garden. I love the stateliness of it. I love the big windows! I do not like the sheer size of it, this is a house for a robber baron with a large family and numerous servants, not for me! I don't like those little shutters on the second floor windows on the wings. I don't like that it seems rather institutional and plain.

Look at Garrison Keillor's house. Charming, right? This house isn't boring -it's rather charming isn't it? I like the covered loggia at the entryway, I like the interesting dormer on the front and the steep rough lines. I like the red brick with limestone details. I'm not a fan of the way the roof just sort of ends undramatically. I don't like the mish-mash of styles. I don't like that the front entryway isn't very pronounced. I don't like that this house seems to FILL the lot and feels claustrophobic.
Check out the palatial Sap Mansion


Beautiful, right? It looks like one of the French King's built this back in the 18th century. We all know why I love this - it's that french historical style I love, except it looks BRAND NEW -that bothers me. It's too crisp and perfect. Those large entry courts might have been common in the 18th century -but now they LOOM in front of the house and are so unfriendly ( not to mention NOT green!, in more ways than 1 ). Also -unless for state functions -why is the house so big? And whats behind that plain boring wall on the one side of the court? In 100 years if this house is still standing ( it's so big, was the quality of construction meant to last?) I'm sure it will be more appropriate looking.

Check out this house via Cote de Texas. Totally charming right?
I mean, who doesn't LOVE this house? It's not too big, not too small, it's open to the BEAUTIFUL gardens. But for me personally, I'm scared of all those plantings right on the house -will that bring bugs inside? And I don't know that I want a clock tower right on my house. The garden is a little formal looking for me too.

Check out this cute cottage
I love the front porch, but maybe it's a little small? And do I want to climb up all those steps everyday, especially with groceries?

So is there such a thing as a perfect house? It's such an individual choice. I suppose every house has it's good points but maybe also little things that you concede on. On what qualities do you chose a house? Location vs. price, style vs. comfort, size vs. quality. Maybe after years of living in a home and constant tweaking you get it to a point where it is 'perfect' but what for? Once perfection is acheived, is it satisfying? Just some musings going on in my head and an excuse to post some pretty pictures :-)

11 comments:

stuarts brasil said...

I guess our desires and securities are all part of past experience and self esteem and every thing we experience visually effects our desires. A house very much is the security in our life and the appearance of the house will show something of our past as well as our desire for the future. The house of our parents can often be the vision of security and affect the choices for the future.

Cote de Texas said...

Thanks for the shout out! I truly appreciate it. In case your readers don't know - that was David Easton's country home. Inside it's an enfilade - one room going into the next with no halls. It's wonderful inside - my dream home if only the exterior was more french though! An Aesthetes Lament posted a gorgeous home - - the plans for it - a french home - you must see it!!!! And tell me that you love it - ok? because you will! I promise. go to his blog =- it was about two weeks ago - wait , I'll get the url, ok? http://aestheteslament.blogspot.com/2008/04/see-through-style.html

I like your blog! You are so young, what, like 16???????

pve design said...

I will send to you an old Irish poem on what makes a home.
My parents are in the same home for over 50 years and some things they just leave well enough alone, like the kitchen door with our dog's scratches. Money can't buy that. My father always will remark,"A house takes a heap a livin to make it a home" -
I love that last home, of course all the others are chic, and grand, but I love a simple cottage and stairs to have a nice view and keep my legs in shape!

Be the change..... said...

I agree, PVE - simplicity is best!

Derek said...

I wonder what your take is on this house.....see here

http://www.ingomar.org/photos-mansion.html

Be the change..... said...

wow, that house is pretty spectacular, Derek!

An Aesthete's Lament said...

re the SAP house ... surely McKim, Mead & White's work or that of Horace Trumbauer looked just as spitpolished when new, yes? Give it a few years and a bit of acid rain and all will be well ...

An Aesthete's Lament said...

dont' know if my comment got through ... re the SAP house ... Even Horace Trumbauer's work looked seriously brand-new when fresh (love the Belgian ambassador's house, don't you?) ... give the SAP house a few years of acid rain and wear and tear and all will be well ...

Be the change..... said...

Here's hoping, AAL, because it looks like a fantastic house!

An Aesthete's Lament said...

The house with the clock tower reminds me of a friend's parents' house on Long Island ... when the family's big house was torn down in the 1960s, because it had become too costly to maintain, they simply converted the nearby neoclassical-style stable block into a smaller residence ... on top was the original clock tower ... the conversion was absolutely charming, one of the prettiest houses I've ever set foot in.

Anonymous said...

Where did you find the first photo? The house by Peter Marino? Its spectacular but I can't find a bigger version anywhere..! Btw, you have brilliant taste. Almost all the houses where spectacular