Does the home where you live harmonize with its surroundings, or is it more just placed on top of the land?

When my friend from England came to live in California, he was distressed by the construction; he felt that English homes tended to be natural extensions of their surroundings, while California buildings were more just stuck down somewhere. So how do you feel about your home? (Feel free to post photos, if you are comfortable doing so.)

Below in answers is a photo of the Frank Lloyd Wright home Taliesin, in Arizona, which he began building in 1938.


6 Answers

Ancient Hippy Profile
Ancient Hippy answered

I live in an old neighborhood and most of the homes are red brick, built in the 40's and 50's. My house and a few others are built with local natural Pennsylvania field stone and were also built in the 50's. Tree lined, narrow streets and a lot of grassy areas compliment the way the hood was laid out.

It doesn't look like the houses grew out of the ground but they look like very natural looking parasites. Luckily, we don't have any newer, plastic and aluminum homes in the area, they just wouldn't fit.

Ray  Dart Profile
Ray Dart answered

I'm not sure that we are THAT good at "harmonising with the surroundings" here in the UK, really. New house building has to be "appropriate to the area" - but that might mean anything.

The once popular "Taco Bell" architecture works well for a lot of So Cal but would look silly in England (although it has been tried on some parts of the Devon and Cornwall coasts (and it does look silly)).

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Virginia Lou
Virginia Lou commented
Ray, as I think about it my friend may have just been really homesick, too...but I thought the concept was interesting!
Ray  Dart
Ray Dart commented
It's an interesting thing. A lot of our houses, particularly in the country, are quite old. (My grandfather lived in a 300-year old farmworkers cottage on the banks of the Thames, near Henley). Some (like the thatched cottage) just LOOK right where they are, and they've had hundreds of years to start to blend.

Railway viaducts built by the Victorians across Northern valleys were considered monstrosities at the time, but most are now accepted as things of beauty. They sort of belong.

A friend of a friend living near Santa Monica lost much of his garden and his driveway to a mudslide a few years ago. That sort of thing almost never happens in the UK. We had all our mudslides 1000 years ago, and anyone who was likely to lose property as a consequence already lost it long before "modern times. Sometimes the right property ends up in the right place as a consequence of such history.

Say "Shut up Ray, you're talking too much!" :)
Virginia Lou
Virginia Lou commented
Interesting about the mudslides, Ray, not taking homes now in England for a thousand years...
The large city nearest to where I grew up is Seattle, and every huge rainstorm, every few years, some homes slide down the cliff...but Seattle didn't even really get going until the mid-1800's, with lots of boom-and-bust construction.

If I ever come to England, I will make it a point to poke around the country with all that in mind!
Virginia Lou Profile
Virginia Lou answered


Thatched cottage in England

My apartment is along this balcony, third door on the right.

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Didge Doo
Didge Doo commented
That thatched cottage truly fits in with its surroundings, Virginia. It's beautiful.
Virginia Lou
Virginia Lou commented
Dozy, as I was browsing Google, there were so many choices for an English cottage I did not know which to use...Ray's comment brings in doubts about their new construction, but I do wonder if people maybe have a natural feel for the land when the motives are for a "home" rather than the profit from construction.
Didge Doo Profile
Didge Doo answered

My village is located in the middle of a national park and I doubt that any homes built here could truly fit in completely with the environment.

It's a leafy area, in spite of the hintrusion (Lewis Carroll will tell you that hintrusion is a word you get if you try to say "human" and "intrusion" both at the same time without emphasising either.)

Here's a pic our Didgehelm, taken from the street.

KB Baldwin Profile
KB Baldwin answered

Around here, I don;t think that most homes really "harmonize" with their surroundings altho some more than others.  My biggest complaint are the folks that build their "trophy" home (3000 or 4000 square feet) on a hillside or hilltop, and then paint the eyesore (they all seem to hire the same unimaginative architect) bright white.  You can see it for miles, whereas had they painted it any number of other colors, it would not be so noticeable. 

DDX Project Profile
DDX Project answered

I live in Northern California, this is the backyard of my house in the South Bay. I mean sure, the building itself isn't covered in overgrowth, but I'm not a Hobbit.

The front. 

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