Faux Finish

Structure dictates function. Whether it is the human body, the design of a car, the floor plan of a house or organization of a garden. The placement and proximity of one thing to another determines how things eventually work. Who can argue the grand design of the human body? Consider the rib cage. It is a movable, flexible box that encases the most vital organs, our heart and lungs and major blood vessels. The rib cage can absorb impact and the heart and lungs remain safe. Watch professional football and you can see the force a chest is able to withstand. A breast bone, which is actually three bones, the collar bones, twelve paired ribs and the spine. Each single rib connects with two vertebrae in the back and the breast bone in the front and can move like a pump handle or a bucket handle. And if you have ever eaten ribs, you have gnawed off the layered muscles that connect each rib to its upstairs and downstairs neighbors. The structure permits the function.

All things should have purpose. Sometimes the purpose is sheer whimsy. The joy of frivolity is a genuine purpose. But I draw the line at faux finishes. It is not uncommon for builders to add a dormer to the roof line of a house just for appearances. Some even have light fixtures inside them but there is no true usable space behind the dormer. They are appliqued to the roof like birthday candles. I prefer practical and useful. A fake roof top features is not the place to spend your dollars. Better to use that cash on the gingerbread inside the house or to landscape. There are other ways to embellish that are not fake features.

But the convergence of serendipity and frivolity with something wholly practical is a sweet discovery. I like the bookstore and restaurant or better yet, the bookstore and beauty parlor all in one. Then there is the laundro-mat and fitness club. These marriages are not for convenience or to assist in optimizing time management. Exactly the opposite, they are meant to take an otherwise time aware task and make it fun , even silly.

I will leave the faux finishes off my house and I will avoid the Styrofoam fixture imitating the real McCoy. The function of one’s life is greatly increased in value when the components that make up that life are real and true….and not just stage settings.

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