The headline proclaimed, “The Inventor of the Self-Cleaning House is Dead at 101.” Two thoughts ran through my head; 1) Wow, 101 is really old, and 2) Why haven’t I ever heard of the self-cleaning house? I’d like to have one.
The article explains how Frances Gabe spent years designing and building her own home that would free her from the drudgery of house cleaning. Sounds good to me! The idiosyncratic inventor figured out how to turn her house into what is essentially a giant dishwasher. That explains why I never heard of the self-cleaning house. Who wants to live inside a dishwasher? Not me.
Photo of Frances in her house. Source: NY Times, Shane Young.
I don’t mean to mock her achievements. She was obviously a very creative inventor. What I’m reacting to is the lack of beauty in her solutions. Perhaps, Frances believed her home was beautiful because she considered every inch to function exactly how she wanted. I get that. A truly personal design is like a work of art.
Design can be both functional and beautiful and stir emotions like great art. When we can marry the form and function of the spaces with the inherent beauty of the natural environment, we create meaningful gardens that set the stage for new experiences.
Look around. Like Madonna says, beauty is where you find it.