I have never really understood contemporary architecture. I am not a minimalist. So when I leaf through a decorating magazine and come across a sleek city loft or a house made of steel and glass on a hillside, I wonder what kind of people want to live in them. 

I am envisioning very energetic and purposeful people. They have no use for frippery, clutter, or anything that could remotely be seen as extraneous. I see these people slim and stiff as ramrods, striding around their barely furnished homes, sipping dirty martinis and talking on cell phones, never noticing the view.

People who live in contemporary houses seem to love art. That and wide expanses of shiny dark flooring. The art punches the atmosphere with color, but doesn’t seem to warm it up much. Lofty people also seem to favor leather furniture and when they do put down a rug, it seems to be some sort of skin from a goat- like long haired animal, usually white. 

I also wonder where people who live in contemporary houses KEEP things. I live in a hundred year old house, and we have stuff everywhere. I don’t mean furniture, but the simple detritus of living: mail, magazines, books, groceries, sweaters, and pets. Don’t the people who live in contemporary houses have these things? I know they sometimes have children, and children come with masses of equipment. But you never see any of that in contemporary houses. I think that there must be some built ins somewhere, hidden behind perhaps a wall of paneling, that are CRAMMED with mismatched socks, tennis rackets, unpaid bills, galoshes, and extra pillows. 

I wonder how people in contemporary houses feel in winter. In an old house, winter is a time to hibernate with blankets, a fire, carpeting on the floor for warmth, curtains on the windows to stave off the drafts, and things like puzzles and knitting. How do you get cozy in a room with no rugs, leather sofas, huge expanses of windows with vast views of coldness, and abstract art? 

But perhaps it gets back to personalities. If people with spare bodies and busy lives favor spare houses with minimal furnishings, then they must like to keep it simple. Nothing there to stop them from their busy lives. Coziness does encourage the desire to sit down and snuggle in. And heaven forbid any snuggling in a glass house. Those people run marathons, head up giant corporations, and do yoga on their gleaming floors. It seems to me that those people must really be motivated to get OUT of their houses every morning, and accomplish things!

But I am perhaps just a bit grumpy, because both of my Snuggies are in the wash.

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