Thursday, November 10, 2011
Principles of Home
I've been reading this book like a novel, I find it so interesting. The hardback was released last year but this abridged version is new, and more than enough for me. I was drawn to this book because I admire Kevin McCloud's use of language when it comes to design and homes.
I came to it off the back of a freelance job where I was asked to write about 20 stories for a website, each on a different decorating style, ie, beach house, modern country, etc. So I spoke to many people and I read up. A lot. Towards the end of the job I was almost banging my head on the desk at how much bad writing is out there when it comes to decorating and how much pretension when it comes to design.
This book is the equivalent of a palette-cleansing sorbet.
Split into four chapters - energy, buildings, things, sharing - it breaks down difficult subjects, particularly in energy, and makes them easily digestible and palatable. And interesting!
I don't think I'd forgive any other book for a chapter called 'things', but it works. It's all about the things we put in our homes and two sections deal with 'Things at home worth investing in' (taps and light switches) and 'Things at home not worth investing in' (kitchen cupboards and doors).
He values good design but not in a must-have-this-chair type of way but in the way it can make life more pleasurable:
"Finding comfort - the joy of a comfortable chair or door handle - is to be prized above fashion, style, image - or cool design, which is just another term for fashion, style and image. Comfort is the most civilizing aspect of design or architecture. Seek it out."
Or, a little more idiosyncrastically:
"Cleaning the aluminium case of my own little Apple is no chore but an act of caring, like stroking a Furby. I won't admit to it being fetishistic but it's a little like wax polishing a fine old piece of French polished furniture. OK, that's enough, I'm sure, for all you PC owners trying to remove the crumbs from your keyboard. I will just add that using a Mac is a tactile pleasure and an intellectual one too. With a PC, not only does all that plastic get scratched, worn and dirty, but even trying to operate the software feels a bit dirty in comparison. Yuk."
Fan letter over.