Ashton Woods Expertise

Eclecticism or Convenience?

by Christian Franco

When describing a beautiful home, many images come to mind: from traditional to contemporary, modest to flamboyant, quaint to classically formal. All of the pictures that pop into our heads are surely beautiful ones. However, the mind tends to be very selective – or better yet, exclusive. It sees what it wants to see and blurs out the rest. For example, when you close your eyes and think of your ideal home, can you visualize the doorknob? How about the windowsill? Probably not.

Our challenge here at Ashton Woods is to achieve that perfect image by filling in the blanks appropriately. It’s important to clarify that just because a space is blank does not mean that just anything can fill it in. Each detail deserves the same amount of respect that something as crucial as natural lighting does. But in addition to that, each detail needs to be delicately chosen to work hand-in-hand and complement the other parts and pieces of the house. Because let’s face it, one out-of-place detail can make a beautiful home start to look quirky pretty darn fast. Just to give an idea of what I am talking about. Look at the image below:

Source: Wikipedia

The pen is a fascinating item, it comes in all types of styles, sizes and colors… much like architecture. Each type serves a purpose. This particular pen is your typical day-to-day battle pen. You don’t cry if you lose it, or if it breaks or runs out of ink. No one mourns the loss of this type of pen and, more often than not, you wind up with one in your pocket without remembering its provenance. It’s useful, practical and appropriate.

Now consider this pen:

Source: Jet Pens

Its proportions are different, the circumference of the barrel is greater and has two flat sides for gripping, the clip on the cap is curved at the end to facilitate slipping onto a pocket, the opening is strategically placed to let the user know when it’s running out of ink without having to make the pen completely transparent, and so on. There is more design to it, but at the same time, it’s a practical and cost-effective product. In short, it’s a great design. However, if we were to lose the cap and naively replace it with a spare out of the drawer, we can potentially end up with something like below:

Maybe there is sentimental value in the blue cap. It could be the cap to the pen I signed my first house with, or the one I lent to the girl sitting next to me who eventually became my wife. This all sounds romantic indeed, but is the cap appropriate for the pen?

Before I go any further, let me say that I love looking at nice houses. And there is nothing quite as satisfying as seeing a house where all its bits and pieces simply fall into place; all of its intricacies are carefully selected to complement one another and create a stellar composition you can call home. Or as Bobby McAlpine puts it so eloquently in his book, Art of the House:

“Seemingly incompatible things, when put together, complement and correct each other. Like marbles in a bag, they polish one another.” -Bobby McAlpine. Art of the House

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think the last image can be found in Bobby’s bag of marbles…

Eclecticism is about carefully selecting elements that complement and celebrate each other, not about filling in the blanks with random widgets. It is a process of great complexity that requires even more thought and effort than it does to create a composition with a defined style in mind. It is easy to fill an empty corner with a random object that does not tie in well with the rest of the room and call it “eclectic”. That is not eclecticism, it is convenience. There is a huge difference.

However, instead of you having to single-handedly take on this arduous (and seemingly overwhelming) task, let us do the hard work. Let us rack our brains and think about how your new home can be uniquely and stylishly yours. Bring all of your ideas to the table, all of your magazine clips, all of your pictures and things that have inspired you throughout your lifetime (regardless of how short or long it may be). Every scrap of cloth and each chip of paint is a bit of happiness collected along the way that will give us a glimpse of your ideal home. Our team is committed to taking all of this inspiration and helping you put everything together the right way… and you can keep the convenience.

Header image Source: Ashton Woods