Two designers creating a roadmap to a simpler more fulfilling lifestyle
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
WHEN A HOUSE IS NOT A HOME
IS THIS REALLY LIVING?
I may be wading out into dangerous water here but I'm going to go where no blogger should go and criticize a piece I recently found. I'm going to start by saying Remodelista is one of my favorite if not favorite design blogs out there. It beats me to every story. It has sources both nationally and internationally that I can only dream of acquiring. Its stories and photography are superior, but on this one occasion I'm not jumping on their boat with praise and envy. The story that got me going originates from Australia so I'm pretty sure no Aussies are gonna come knocking on my door looking for an apology. My beef with this story is centered around the suspension of reality in the field of design and the way we 99 percenters really live our lives.
The article is titled, "Living Large in 1,000 Square Feet, Family Included". The space belongs to a Sydney architect and his family. Thankfully there are no pictures of the actual family members. I'd suspect the children are still swaddled well into their teen years or locked in rooms not pictured in the article. This "home" is for me endemic of the problem many architects have when designing residential spaces. It points out the great difference between architects and interior designers in general. This does not hold true on an individual basis but as a huge generalization (this is my caveat so my architect friends who I do love and respect won't kill me after they read this) architects are space and form driven, sculptures of space concerned more with the envelop, the skin of a space than the physical pieces that will inhabit the space. Interior designers are more conceptual and driven by the personality of a space. Now here's a sentence architects are really going to take issue with but I secretly think some architects are little more egocentric. Their designs are more about them and the beauty of space than about the people who might inhabit their spaces. There's a sense that once the shell has been created there's no need to muddy up the design with artifacts of the family who will eventually try to live in their beautiful space.
Now I know this space is actually designed by the inhabiting dwellers but who the heck are they? I want to know who can live like this. Let's take the master bedroom. Where's the alarm clock and where's the extra chair piled with yesterday's clothes? I don't know about you, I've got a stupid superstition that if I don't make my bed in the morning I'll have a bad day. It keeps our room looking decent, but holy cow Rick's nighttime reading is on his bedside table and there's a dish for extra keys and change on mine. And where's the mirror? Now I know this is a hetero couple and we're not but there's no way either of us is going to go out the door in the morning without checking ourselves out before we leave. I've caught myself ready to bolt only to see my zipper clearly unzipped on several occasions. Don't straight people have the same worries?
Where are the pictures? Don't these people believe in art or records of their past? Call me crazy but I love putting reminders of who we once were and where we've been on our walls and in picture frames on side tables and over the mantle. Maybe we're too vain. Maybe they don't have a camera, god knows there's no cell phone left on the kitchen counter or maybe they're too uncomfortable with their past or present to reveal it to anyone by framing it and hanging it on the wall.
And what about the kids? I don't know about you but our sixteen-year-old has more stuff than a dog has fleas. We decided a long time ago that for her to develop her own sense of style and identity we would have to give up trying to make her room into our vision of what her room should be. We decided we would have to allow her permission to cover her walls with images of Justin Bieber and Cobe Bryant instead of Bette Midler and a shirtless Giles Marini. But by definition in this posting this family does include children. Where they keep them is a mystery to me. There don't appear to be any signs of children, no pb&j stains on the counter, no errant jelly beans under the sofa, and no baskets of laundry sitting around piled with unfolded t-shirts and single socks without their matching mate. Where are their kids' toys? I don' get it. Don't get me wrong. I can go Asian. I understand minimalism and I love it up to a point. I crave a less cluttered life but I want a life and I want my home to reflect that I've had a life, a life filled with memories worth displaying on my walls, a life represented by the things I love to collect and in the books I love to snuggle with up. I want comfy chair, no two chairs so I can sit with my partner and pet our dog even when he has muddy feet.
Take This Waltz, 2011
Christopher Moloney, photographer
Recent images by @Moloknee