Surprise. Our brains squirt dopamine on themselves when we encounter Novelty. This is part of why:
- many women will go shopping today.
- many men will watch football today.
- I work with concrete.
- you are browsing the internet now.
The chemicals won't last for long, so we keep looking at new stuff until we have had our fill.
"One question still remains - how much more art can we take" - Fat Mike of NOFX
Too much though, and we want to go home to Familiarity. Familiarity puts serotonin into our blood, and is why I felt so delightful riding to Austin after a catfish dinner at the Hill Country Cupboard.
This is also why we love music we grew up on. Though it may be really great music, at this point the novelty is gone, and we are there listening because it feels like a blanket right out of the dryer. This is also why we love concrete flooring - the first floors were stained in the 1920's and it hasn't gone out of style yet. Therefore, I hope/pray/expect much of the work we do to be there when I am long gone.
Good design creates good feelings. A well designed space balances Novelty+Familiarity well. Architects and designers work hard to do this in many dimensions (the "bones" that create the spaces, the lines of the furniture, how light is used, etc.). In contrast, the floor is easy:
More novel finishes demand less patterning to stay appealing. The photo below was a floor we did in Fredericksburg for a couple with remarkable taste. Anne selected a color I frankly didn't "get" at first, and she was totally right.
Less novel finishes with less patterning make great backdrops for bold art and furniture.
The photo below was a floor we did in the Hyde Park neighborhood in Austin. It was a remodel, and there is some subtle mottling in the floor, but overall we shot for a very muted effect to backdrop her art.
Less novel finishes with no patterning or remarkable art end up making unremarkable spaces. I don't want to diss anyone by putting up a picture to illustrate this, but chances are you could go out to your garage and see what I mean.
Bold patterns with bold finishes can end up overwhelming. We made this countertop for a home in the AHBA Parade of Homes 3 years ago, and frankly it was overdone.
Once in a while, it works though. This floor+countertop was done in 2007 for an art and furniture store in Marble Falls, and everything was turned up all the way and the net result was great:
Thank you for reading. The big idea to take away is balance Novelty with Familiarity. Take care.