One of the odd perks of the 5.5 hours per week that I spend teaching piano is that I get to go into the houses of several different families. Of course everybody visits other people at some point and sees different houses, usually just for a brief time (and of course the people they are visiting are able to be on their best behavior for those couple hours,) but when you teach piano, and you are there week after week...you start to really see the daily lives of lots of different families. I get to see kids doing their chores (or evading their mothers,) dirty houses, clean houses, tidy houses, and messy houses, dogs that bark at me and well-behaved dogs, dinner cooking, sibling arguments, and of course, mothers yelling at their children! (always a delight. It helps remind me that really, maybe my family wasn't so abnormal after all!) I mean, how many people really get to see the daily, mundane lives of so many other families besides their own?
In addition to observing relational dynamics, I have found it interesting to observe home decor. As in, what works and what doesn't. Many of the houses I visit are rather large, and I have heard them accused (by someone who will remain nameless,) as being bland and impersonal. After I heard this, I started really observing different houses and trying to figure out what exactly makes a house cozy and well-decorated, but also having character and being welcoming. Interestingly, the one house that I believe I can hold up as a "standard" as receiving many compliments and admiration about the interior decorating and generally nice looking inside, is a rather small house. So, to continue my observations, I don't believe that larger houses can be criticized for any lack of nice furnishings-they all have plenty. But when I look at the smaller house, and wonder what exactly it is that makes it receive so many compliments, recently, my conclusion has basically been that it is because of the size. I think that less wall space requires less emptiness to fill. The large houses have SO much wall space, it would be ridiculous or impossible to try and fill to the point of having the same amount of empty wall space as the small house. (and even too much empty floor space begins to take away from character.) The proportion of windows/artwork/bookshelves to empty wall space is much higher in the small house. Wood floors with large area rugs and nice but stylish curtains are also essential.
so there you have it.
the interesting things I get to think about from going into lots of different houses!