The house shapes its dwellers

From Tim Jones over at Old World Swine, as he talks about the hunt for a new home:

    The assumption is, of course, that people will move into the space and “make it their own” by populating it with objects, by painting it and living in it, and this is true to an extent, but the mistake is in thinking that this is only a one-way interaction. The house is presumed to be mute, but no created thing is mute. We speak through everything we do and make. What do our modern buildings and suburban houses say about us?

    If I wake up in, work in, and return home every day to a dull, prosaic, box, will I not over time begin to feel the world is dull and prosaic? Will I not tend to think in predictable boxes and right angles? If I become more and more acclimated to an indoor, artificially lit, air-conditioned life, will I begin to see nature only as something alien, inconvenient and uncomfortable… and maybe dangerous?

    We are increasingly cut off from the poetry of nature by our manufactured environment.


About pcNielsen
Paul Nielsen founded The Aesthetic Elevator late in 2005. He owns a piece of paper, located somewhere in his house (not on the wall), stating that he earned a B.F.A. from the University of Nebraska around about 2001. While there, he studied studied architecture, graphic design and ceramics, graduating with a degree in studio art. Paul presently serves as communications manager for a small non-profit doing their print design and marketing. He spends as much time sculpting in his studio as possible — which is not nearly enough. Visit his website at

One Response to The house shapes its dwellers

  1. I love this passage!!! It’s a silly thing, but my DH and I argue about screens. I hate screens. I feel like they separate me from the outdoors. “But they keep the bugs out!” He says. And he’s right, but growing up on a farmette meant that bugs were in the house. So, for me, it’s normal to have flies in the kitchen. Who cares. Without screens, I can walk seemlessly indoors and out. I feel like my porch is my family room. In our last house we ate dinner outdoors whenever the weather permitted. Even in the rain, we were covered by a small overhang and a lovely big maple. The first time we at outside at the new house made it feel like home.

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