If a building cannot be loved, it will not last. It doesn't matter what the carbon footprint of a building was once its pieces have been carted off to the landfill. Unlovable buildings are tolerated until the mortgage is paid, but we often find ways of getting rid of them shortly thereafter.
Bring Green Inside
Maybe everyone knows this so deeply that it’s unnecessary to say anything about it here, but for those who might not, be sure to bring something green indoors. “Biophilia” is a fancy word for human attraction to living and growing things, but most people don’t need big words to explain what plants do for a room. This is Steve’s condo, and his wife Wanda often populates vases with garden clippings that would otherwise have been thrown away, like this giant leaf.
Curtains are thought of most often as a device for achieving privacy, but they can be used in such a way that they make rooms more lovable as well. They filter light, for example, and move softly in a breeze. Don’t use them merely as decoration, but if they’re useful for other things, you likely will find they’re lovable as well, like the ones in this cottage.
Expanding the View
Tiny spaces can be cozy, but there are times when a space simply feels too small. Consider expanding the perceived size of the room using a mirror like this bath does, effectively doubling the apparent room size.
Head to Foot
Buildings reflect the human form in several ways. Our bodies are topped with our heads, and stand on the ground with our feet. Lovable buildings tend to do the same. See the subtle break betwee the base of this building at Schooner Bay and its wall? That break makes the wall more durable, but it also reflects the way that humans stand on the ground. In other words, it is the foot of the house. The roof is the head of the house, of course.
Quirky-cool metal elements adorn buildings all over this tiny mountain neighborhood which is actively cultivating several local craft communities, including metalworkers. Examples like this without question builds up the whimsy and charm of the place.
Stone that is pulled from the ground nearby has a story to tell, whereas stone bought from elsewhere merely has an invoice. And the story of the local stone helps contribute to a character of architecture identifiable as indigenous to the place, such as this river rock harvested from the earth and sand of South Main, which is built on alluvial deposits of the adjacent headwaters of the Arkansas River.
Reflecting the Human Face
One of the ancient paths to lovable architecture is to reflect the human form. Buildings can reflect the vertical arrangement of our bodies, our horizontal arrangement, our overall proportions, and the proportion of our parts. But when they're able to reflect the arrangement of the human face in some way, that's when they're even more likely to be endearing. The side gable of this house has a chimney as its central element with a small window to either side, arranged under a triangular top gable much like the nose is flanked by two eyes and topped with a forehead.
Reflecting the Human Face Indoors
Reflection of the human face doesn’t end with the exterior of the building, but can occur many places indoors as well, such as in this bathroom. Here, the windows are the eyes again, as they so often are, turning to the flip side of “eyes are windows to the soul.” In this case, the mirror is the nose and the sink is the mouth.
Small Lights That Sparkle
This might seem like a strange item among more high-minded principles, but most people resonate, time and again, with small sparkling lights more than big glaring ones such as these at Schooner Bay’s beach cabana.
The First Teddy Bear
You’ll read in a moment about the Teddy Bear Principle. Here’s the cottage that first helped us figure it out. It does a lot of other great things as well, which you can see here.
The Teddy Bear Principle
When buildings are smaller than expected like these at Mahogany Bay Village that are only 14 feet wide, but you meet codes on window sizes, the windows look unusually large on the face of the building, giving the building a subtly different proportion more similar to an infant than an adult, and to which we seem genetically predisposed to find endearing. This is known as the Teddy Bear Principle because it works on bears as well as humans.
Things That Curve
Most construction materials and elements are straight, but humans are drawn to things that curve. These are simple soapstone slab shelves cut to a curve and supported by brass pipes on the front of the shelves, a reflection of the Art Deco building in which this condo is located.