Now, if we have already set our hearts upon having a house just like that "love of a place" we saw in Wayout-on-the-Hill the other day, we shall have to reconsider the entire lot proposition. We may as well face the fact that the house which is everything appropriate and artistic in one place may in another be simply grotesque. In this phase of the selective work we will profit by the advice of the architect, if he be something of an artist and not simply a draughtsman. At any rate, if we have the lot, let us decide what style of house should be on it; if we are surely settled upon the house, then by all means let us get a lot it will fit - and have a care, too, with regard to the style of architecture (or lack of it) in our prospective neighbors' houses.
There have been two extremes in later American home architecture - overornamentation and absolute disregard for appearance. The first arose from a feeling that every dollar spent in the interest of art (!) should be so gewgawed to the outer world that all who passed might note the costliness and wonder. The second extreme had its birth in an elementary practicality that believes anything artistic must be both extravagant and useless.
None of us can afford to build a house merely for its artistic qualities. Yet we feel that we owe it to our neighbors and to the community to make the house sightly. Most of all, we owe it to ourselves, for the product of our plans will be the concrete expression of our personality. Fortunately showiness is neither necessary nor desirable; while artistic qualities are not so much a matter of money as of thought. A few days ago, in a suburb of a Western city, I passed two houses recently constructed. One was simply an enlarged drygoods box with a few windows and doors broken into its sides - altogether a hideous disfigurement to the charming spot on which it was erected. Across the way stood the other cottage, with the same number of rooms as its vis-à-vis, but really exquisite in its simple beauty. And the latter, I was told, though equally spacious, cost less than the monstrosity across the way! Into the one there was put thought; into the other none. Can we resist an opinion as to which home will be the happier?