Marilyn Monroe – House Vs Home?

There is a big difference between ‘house‘ and ‘home‘.

I find myself torn between the two. As an Architect by profession I find myself designing cool contemporary spaces for clients that have the architectural wow factor. However, beautiful minimalist spaces that are wonderful spaces to be in don’t usually tend to be sympathetic to the bustling messiness of family life. It takes everyone in the family to live in a very structured and tidy way in order to inhabit beautiful houses. Of course you can design endless hidden storage solutions, but at the end of day these houses were not designed for mess. However hard the architect tries to inject warmth into these houses be it through colour or landscaping, it is inevitable that they remain a little sterile. Day 1 or 2 may be truly calming and serene for the family but how long before the family tires of cool and calm?

A ‘home’ or ‘homeliness’ is often another way of saying ‘messy’. Don’t get me wrong, I am a fan of spaces that have character and look lived in. There is something very comforting in seeing signs of life.

Is it therefore possible to ‘have it all‘ and have both? Incorporate mess into minimalism or are they oil and water?

Below are pictures of Marilyn Monroe’s last home. Whilst it’s not my taste, there is an air of homeliness. It was her refuge, her place to hide away from it all. It’s of no real architectural merit, but there is something about it. It seems poles apart from her glamorous persona, but maybe that was the point. Maybe this was the real her. Much has been made of the plaque she installed on her house which reads “Cursum Perficio” translating to “My Journey Ends Here.” Rather than the more macabre belief that this in some way relates to the fact that she died here, I choose to believe that she meant that this house was in some way her salvation and refuge.

(Photos are courtesy of The Huffington Post and


 Marilyn Monroe (photo courtesy Hollywood life)

Marliyn a more natural version of herself?(photo courtesy of

Marlilyn a more natural version of herself?
(photo courtesy of







Niall Mclaughlin is one of my favourite architects and he does create some beautiful spaces. Whilst his Burren House is very calm and beautiful I wonder how it can really function as a real home?

What do you think? Would you tire of it after a year or two?

(Photos courtesy of Arch Daily, Niall Mclaughlin architects and Nick Kane)


Niall Mclaughlin Burren house



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