The Philosophy of a Home

— Modern requirements

A hand made home I visited in rural Poland

Last year, I painted an Ikea cabinet. It looks great but then I had to smell paint for a couple months. 'If I really want to decorate my place, I gotta get comfortable with this smell,' I thought.

Rarely are there home decor ideas that don't involve paint. But architect Steven Ehrlich built his entire home without any. He gives a video tour of his Venice, California home.

"There's no paint. The white walls that you see on the ceilings are actually white plaster burnished with wax over it." - Steven Ehrlich

I'd like my home to philosophically represent me. As I get serious about planning, I feel I need to be more selective. The structure and items have to be something I believe in.

"This plaster...you see the trowel marks of the craftsman?"

Paint has always represented artifice. It's used to cover up irregularities and despite the number of brush strokes, the surfaces come out even. There's no detection of any hand work involved.

I'd have to know more about materials. Color would have to be baked into materials I select for my home.

"it's made out of white cement and pumice and bead blasted in the factory..."

Ehrlich has a wall of custom-made concrete blocks. Up close, the multi-colored specks resemble terrazzo...but it's a concrete block. It looks surprisingly good.

Decades of ideas poured into a house...I wonder how long it'll take me, especially since I'm not an architect.

Like any luxurious home in Venice, the home opens into a courtyard. I don't know who wouldn't want more fresh air.

"I started to truly understand the power or potential of courtyard housing when I lived in Africa. I lived in a courtyard house right in the heart of the Medina, the ancient city of Marrakech. You become connected to nature." Why aren't there more courtyards?

Ehrlich also designs furniture and the video features his 'floating plane' table. "I designed these benches just so you would experience this table and not have other things, like the back of a chair".

This reminded me of a similar table I came across in Taipei. I went to Woolloomooloo and sat at their large square table. The center is hard to reach. 'How is this functional?'

The middle space was empty at all times. Looking back, I realized the purpose: the hard to reach areas are empty. Why else did I feel so relaxed sitting in that cafe? The scene in front of me was blank, a spatial expanse devoid of stimulation.

Lastly, the video featured something I never knew existed. "This is an African stargazing bed. It's carved out of one log." I, too, want to star gaze so much that I need furniture dedicated to the activity.

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