We have begun to house hunt. This is not so much a signal of wanting to settle down. It’s just that here in Nashville the rental market is so high that we will, more than likely, SAVE a bunch of money by buying rather than renting. Sigh.
Anyway, we have begun to house hunt, and it forces me to ask, as I have many times in the past, WHY GOD WHY do so many houses look the same? Why do so many Americans go to extremes to keep up with the Joneses? Why do we think the Joneses’ have it right? Homes are such large investments. Surely we can be more creative!
Disclaimer: I understand that many houses look cookie cutter because they are cheaper to build that way, and the cheaper the cost of the home the easier it is for families to raise their children in a nice space. This is a good thing.
HOWEVER, I firmly believe that everyone wants their own little castle. These are homes with character, with nooks and crannies and unique features and potential for customization. We all grew up drawing pictures of our dream houses, so when did we start caring so much about what’s “normal?” Is it just a cost thing?
All of these questions came flooding to mind when I stumbled across this fabulous Ted Talk. It challenges simultaneously the myths that “standardization” saves us money and that “standardization” makes us stylish. Dan Phillips builds houses out of, well, anything. Eggshells–who knew? While I’m not enamored of all of his stuff, he definitely stretches the limit of what will “work,” and for that I applaud him. His bent is all about reducing waste on the consumer end of home development. His designs attempt to break the subconscious sense of pattern we all harbor, showing us the difference between what is “broken and useless” verses something that can just be recategorized to new use. He argues that being creative about how materials get used we reduce waste, lower costs, and achieve unique style. Let me know what you think!