| Would the illogic of this bother you, each of you?
| Or if you had a choice of 1) would the other two be acceptable and
| just considered decoration?
I'm assuming they're all decoration, but as others
have said, it's hard to picture from your description.
I'm not clear about whether any or all of the houses
you're describing have any component that's actually
stone or brick -- or whether all of them are just cheap,
commercial projects that were victims of Ace and Acme
Do-It-Yourself Stick-On Decorations from the "Royalty
and WASP Collection".
I find the whole topic of changing design tastes
interesting. How does fashion develop? How do we
decide what looks good? Part of it, at least, seems
to be "kitsch radar": We don't want to risk being
wrong in our tastes, so we tend to gravitate toward
cutting edge kitsch, which says, "I'm up to date and
in tune with fashion" while actually expressing nothing
at all. Just as a NY baseball cap, Budweiser t-shirt
and Adidas shorts say nothing at all, albeit with a
Plastic fences and fake rocks are becoming
very popular lately. As are fake bricks. People don't
seem to notice how ugly most fake rocks are -- little
more than textured concrete bricks. I think most people
just don't consciously notice such things.
Down the street from me are a couple of McDuplexes,
with each unit priced over $1 million. The properties have
been desecrated with cheap stockade fencing and low-
maintenance shrubbery. I hate to think what's inside.
A duplex condo surrounded by rhododendron and
hemlock lumps plopped into piles of mulch, boxed in by
stockade fencing, shouldn't sell for $1 million+. So why
does it? I can only guess that the buyers don't notice
the tasteless no-design. (That, and the fact that the
landscaping means no yard work while the fences mean
no tedious relationships with neighbors.)
Low ceilings, small windows and missing trim make
ranch houses depressing. There's no magic, no reason
to live, in a "logical", cubed space. But I don't think
most people living in ranch houses ever notice.
An off-white ceiling makes a room look old, but few
people will be aware it's the ceiling color that gave
them that impression.
Those are all examples of not noticing design, yet
being affected by it.
Also, when people do tune in to aesthetics at all, a
lot of it is trained. Modernist design started as stripped-
down minimalism based on a socialist ideal. But for
Americans, socialism is a collectible, not an applicable
concept. I live a few miles from a neighborhood
of Bauhaus crap that perfectly fits that socialist ideal.
No trim. Metal door frames. Metal railings. Those
houses cost a fortune. They're considered to be period
art. The whole neighborhood is a museum. Let the hoi
polloi find their own crap houses that haven't been
signed by famous architects. :)
I find that I, myself, like farmhouse style. (Mid-1800s
before the vaguely monarchical style of heavy moldings
became fashionable.) But that's probably only because I
grew up in such a house. If I'd grown up in a Soviet
tenement building, might I find that cozy and think any
design reeked of dishonesty and excessive capitalism?
Perhaps I'd be drawn to living in a converted boiler room?
During the Reagan era brass was big. I even worked on
some jobs where people were getting gold faucets for
kitchens and baths. These days everything is some
variation of silver -- richness but with a high-tech feel.
The thing I find fascinating about fashion is how much
it usually feels right. I liked brass in 1985. I like brushed
nickel now. Yet I know it's just fashion. If brass makes a
comeback I'll probably realize that I actually quite like it. :)
I dislike fakeness and I think stuck-on symbols of
richness (which includes PoMo generally and probably
includes your arches) communicate a degraded self-
loathing, while good design should evoke a feeling of
upliftedness. Actually, I think of PoMo as a kind of
final achievment of "godlessness": Modernism celebrated
rationality as an ideal, a refutation of aesthetic
as being unscientific. With PoMo we've finally exorcised
all aesthetic out of the cultural lexicon, freeing us to bring
back symbols in a whimsical manner. We can stick on
arches and columns to our square, tasteless structures,
just for the fun of it. Plop. The grandeur of Greek history,
in the form of sitck-on plastic columns, can decorate my
house. The decorations don't have to serve a purpose
or even take part in a design. They're just symbols of
good taste, a la Charlie the Tuna.
Yet, where am I standing to say these things? I have to
acknowledge that much of my own personal taste comes
down to nothing more than arbitrary associations coming
from past experience.