Sunday, July 6, 2008

Scale

It occurred to me that I may come off as braggy sometimes, complaining about how big our bedroom is or about how much we love living in the woods, etc. I want to add a footnote to all of that talk and explain that my idea of size and scale have been permanently altered from living in tiny New York apartments.

When I say that a room is big, I mean that more than one upholstered piece and one case piece fit comfortably inside it. Even though we have more space now then we feel we need, we still live in much less square footage than most Americans do, and indeed, more than most of my friends around here. I find the scale of suburban homes offensive not only because of the energy it takes to heat and cool these "great rooms" and "two car kitchens" but because they encourage the culture of more; big fat McDonalds bottoms sitting in huge chair and a halves or sectional sofas with a big giant television fifteen feet away, huge kitchens with huge islands and professional appliances for people who do not even cook but walk around the island to the microwave from the fridge getting what is likely their only exercise of the day, California King sized beds and drive through closets filled with cheap clothing from several decades.

What is wonderful about living in a small space is that you are forced to evaluate carefully each item you introduce into your environment as you will either have to purge something else to make room or navigate carefully around it on a daily basis. Small kitchens mean that you don't acquire kitchen gadgets that only perform one function or plastic 'big gulp' cups from drive through establishments. Your closet is a place for a functional wardrobe rather than a place for nostalgia (photographs provide enough proof of the way we were). Living rooms that are actual living rooms rather than rooms entered in trepidation with relatives on holidays.

As sad as it is that people buying a studio apartment in New York City have to pay a mansion tax if it costs over one million dollars, I think it is wonderful how succinctly they all live. I hope to always remember the lessons I learned from living there, to not shop for entertainment but instead dine, to buy the smallest technology items possible, to use your good linens and dishes everyday or give them up, the beauty in leaving a space empty.

1 comment:

Le Owner said...

i got into this 'debate' with papa while home this weekend much to his suburban dismay. i think that you and alberto taught me this lesson best- live simply, buy well, have little...and it is so so so true. i've paired down considerably since you've left (*sniff, sniff*) and i'll never look back...i hope...