Today, more than ever, there’s wisdom in Henry David Thoreau’s well-known exhortation. And it applies to our domestic lives as much as anywhere else. Here’s Thoreau’s quote in its entirety:
"Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify, simplify! I say, let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand; instead of a million count half a dozen, and keep your accounts on your thumbnail."
Alas, the unstoppable wheels of marketing and mercantilism that subtly direct so much of our American lives make it damnably hard to heed Thoreau’s advice. But once we recognize that there’s only one thing absolutely crucial to a contented life — namely, your good health and that of the ones you love — and all that attendant bric-a-brac of materialism quickly falls away.
Architects are as much a captive to rampant materialism as anyone else. After all, much of an architect’s time is spent divining and assembling collections of people’s material wants into tidy packages, whether they take the from of a kitchen, a bathroom, or a whole house. And since we’re the gatekeepers for some of the biggest expenditures most people ever make, marketers are hell-bent on trying to influence us.