After your floorplan, and along with your use of sunlight, the materials you choose will make the biggest difference in the mood that inhabits your home. This post covers our own thinking and what we decided.
Simon, this post is terrific — and I think the most terrific part of it is your discussion on honest and dishonest materials. Authenticity in design, I think, trumps all. And you can’t fake authenticity. I think that’s why so many new homes feel off — there is no cohesion. Is the material used appropriate for the place, for the scale, for the intent? When you don’t put that forethought in, and just use whatever is cheap, or available, or looks cool on Pinterest, you end up with discord.
In many cases, I’m not sure it’s necessarily dishonesty. Most buyers are not as discerning as you are, and builders less so. So what feels like a dishonest design choice might often just be one that’s made lacking the knowledge you could do anything else (I think you wrote about this in an earlier post as it relates to the stone surrounding your foundation, plaster walls, etc.).
Posts like this are so important to help people understand why some things feel right or wrong when they otherwise might lack the vernacular to even notice in the first place.
The doorknobs section reminded me of how much i still lust over P.E. Guerin's exquisite creations: https://peguerin.com/productlist.php?section=Door_Hardware&coll=&subcoll=&category=Door_Handles&style=A
(Though from an interior designer friend i learned a single piece is likely more than my not-inconsiderable manhattan rent! One day...)
Love this series, man. Especially as I'm renovating a 40s house that had layer after layer slapped together over the walls, ceilings and floors, and am slowly stripping everything off to build back some character in it.
I am nowhere near having the ability to build or renovate my own home, but this series will certainly be on my "re-read" list for when I am preparing. Great work.
This whole house series reminds me of one of my favorite pieces of literature, that I'm currently in the process of adapting- In Praise of Shadows by Jun'ichirō Tanizaki. Have you read it? It really seems like you have. If not, I still appreciate witnessing when "great minds think alike" ^_^
hi, can you please help me choose a material for a kitchen countertop in my small 400ft^2 apartment? I enjoy regularly cooking meals and want it to feel homey, but not folksy, and not palacy.
wood isn't durable enough
stainless steel feels dishonest, too industrial for home kitchen
marble although fits well in your kitchen seems over the top for such a small space. but I can splurge on it because my countertop is small enough
Simon, I’m thoroughly enjoying this series, and I’d love to hear your thoughts on mobility - people who want to, or have to, change their location primarily due to work. Perhaps a rise in people changing jobs (and locales) more frequently could partially explain the trend towards a bland uniformity, a sameness purposely designed to not offend. All of which is intended to make it that much easier to sell the house. And, on the other side, buyers and builders don’t want to sink a ton of effort and more expense into planning and creating their masterpiece, only to have to up and leave in a few years (and you can’t take it with you!)
Would love to hear you opine on this, and look forward to the rest of the series. This has given me a lot of food for thought for my own house someday!