We often find ourselves taking the analogy further. Each house can be discussed in anthropomorphic terms – relating it to the human body or figure and even how we dress our bodies.
When you are out on a porch, enjoying the view, the porch roof should sit down low, like the brim of a baseball cap over your eyes. Perfect for a sunset and a cool drink.
An animated thatch roof sits on top of a landscape folly like a hat, one perched playfully and dramatically on top of a graceful head.
Chimneys or parapetted gabled ends of a Cape Dutch house have shoulders. Nobody wants to see slouching shoulders on a person, so these house “shoulders” should appear relaxed but strong, graceful but confident.
The rafter tails along the edge of a roof should always sit down on top of the doors or windows under the eave. If not, it will reveal too much “forehead” above the doors. That would be like wearing a top hat tilted back at a 45 degree angle on your head.
Houses will sometimes have projected bases or watertables that act as a “belt” around the façade. The human body can look disproportionate if a person wears their belt too high, or too low, or cinched too tightly. A house is the same – its belt will allow the base below to be grounded, while the body (or torso, if you will) above is elevated and accentuated.
Landscape walls and stone bases are meant to be like flared pant legs, or pants with a cuff, providing a connection to the ground that is stable and organic.
Some houses, like their owners, are meant to be tall, slender and elegant. Other houses are low and humble, rooted to the landscape, salt-of-the-earth and kind, just like their owners.
Every client has their distinct personality and style; so too their house. Art and life are entwined in each drawing and design.
“Ars imitator vitae. Ars vitae.”*
John Sease for McAlpine Tankersley
*translation: “Life imitates art. Art imitates life.”
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