Simple Home

Simple Home

Whether you are designing an iphone or a country home, keeping it simple is harder than it looks.  Instead of relying on flash and dash, a simple design relies on substance, proportion, and details.  Most people cannot tell exactly what is wrong with a home when the proportions are off, but they know a beautiful home when they see it and good proportions are always the key.
In the eighteenth century, nails and bricks, as well as most other elements of a new home were made by hand and therefore became precious. Only the most experienced craftspeople were allowed to use those valuable resources. Mass produced building materials were scarce or non-existent and early American homes were therefore simple by design and necessity.
The wonderful old homes we love, are still around today because the details were well thought out and the materials were simple and of the highest quality.  Today it requires restraint and discipline to design a simple, elegant home.  Driving by most new homes, it seems that the designers have changed the old adage from ‘Less is More’ to ‘More is More’ and have thrown everything at the houses that will stick.
Simple Home With Copper Roof

Simple Home with Copper Roof

Simple designs if done correctly can be timeless.  The study of proportions is critical to the success of a design and does not lend itself to formulas and templates. The proportions of each element must work individually and together as a group.  On a façade, windows, doors and architectural details must relate to each other and to the whole.  Although symmetry can be beautiful, it is not required as long as there is balance.  Since a home can be around for hundreds of years, I think it is important to take the time to get the details and proportions right.


About the Author: James Crisp

James M. Crisp has been an architect for well over 30 years. His architectural firm, Crisp Architects, designs projects throughout New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Massachusetts. In April of 2007, Taunton Press published 'On the Porch' by James M. Crisp and Sandra Mahoney.

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One Comment

  1. 959B23B2D629955C72672007C99B220C?S=54&R=G
    Ric Parolini July 14, 2016 at 9:45 pm

    Enjoyed your thoughts and discussion on these pages. You follow the simplicity theme that I so respect. We are trying to build a second home in the vacation area of Door County Wisconsin. We purchased land in the least expensive area at the northern part of the county (one mile to water on three sides) and now want to see if we can build REASONABLE with an interior that provides all of what we want (my wife loved the small pantry you have on these pages – so efficient and space saving) and an exterior that is simple but comfortable in the wooded setting. No glitz just solitude. We want to stay at a cost efficient SF which I suspect is no more than 1600 sq ft. All of this sounds easy but it is far from it so far and our search continues. Again – enjoyed your perspective. Ric

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