My wife looked at me and said, “I think it is a little too Victorian.” She was talking about a print I was holding up for her in our dining room. She is on a mission presently to re-do all of the curtains in our house.
And . . . truth — I don’t know if she has *ever* actually said anything like that to me. You see, she is way into Victorian stuff, and that bit above was really only needed for the spinning my blog posting here. Our dining room is in fact fairly Victorian.
But again it happened, just last week — as we were playing with kitchen backsplash layouts, she turned to me – and we both said almost simultaneously (*jinx*), “*That* is way too rustic . . . (the ‘for this room’ implied).” And how did we both come to say something like that?
I wonder too how frequently situations like this have occurred – perhaps my mother, or better yet my grandmother, and at some point in the past — turned to my grandfather and said, “I love our new metal cabinets (and yellow); they are so modern!”
And would those have been the words she would have used? I mean — what exactly did that adjective communicate . . . then.
Now imagine a conversation over flooring in some showroom . . . somewhere, and not in the too distant future maybe, a wife responding to a husband’s enthusiasm. He was staring at a laminate or some other builder’s grade base hardwood – gunstock maybe. She says – “Well, I was really looking for something a little more – well … ecomod.” And what would that then mean?
OK – I think you know where I am going here. I have been talking about context, idiom and of course communication. We use words to convene on a “shared understanding” — as in this case often on “context” and/or as a simple means of comparison. For my wife and I above, I mean — the question really was “Does it fit (here)?”
And I ask — are things inherently Victorian or Modern, Deco or maybe even as I suggest ecomod – words conveying a sense of well “sense” and representing qualities. Some of this language is passed (and a discussion I guess for another time) down from the academics – the capitalization of words such as Victorian, Modern, Deco and so on - a giveaway.
Now – maybe I am out of line here — I really have no background and I’m just chucking this stuff out. But to me it seems that when we in the populus use these words we are speaking of context. Context communicated in terms of element x to – a. the house (aka the architectural unit), b. the home (the décor and finishes), c. a room, or d. even another mere detail.
At least these were the considerations we made, historically….the only things we had to consider. Now think about it – ecomod (read: Ecological modern (small m)) – maybe something that just always fits and more grassroots. Modern and especially in the sense that our minds *now* are focused on a more sustainable way of building. Becky – this blog’s host (as you probably know) crisply defines it here.
And a new layer in my contextual hierarchy — house, home, room, detail, and now . . . planet, right? What I mean — Are (architectural) elements . . . be it lighting or stain or tile or counters – produced, designed for and installed with that “new” consideration in mind – our ecosystem — you know, the earth and everything that is on it.
And it really has a ring to it. No? And one day soon perhaps, my wife turns to me and says . . . of our recycled glass backsplash – “I love it! It is so ecomod!” Neither too Victorian nor too rustic — rather just right.
Thanks to Becky for asking me to post. It was a fun little exercise. jb
Photo Credit: glass.terrazo by OrphanJones via Flickr photostream — http://www.flickr.com/photos/orphanjones/
*editor’s note: Thanks to the ever thoughtful JB of Building Moxie for posting with us! You can find him posting articles at http://www.buildingmoxie.com/ regularly.*