One of my favorite parts about the NYT Magazine is the advertisements for new luxury high-rise condominiums. Grand views. Clean lines. Clutter-free. I linger too long and look too closely. Why? I never knew why until Rebecca Solnit skewered me. For the tired and disorganized self, it's as escapist as the steamiest fantasy.
Admiring houses from the outside is often about imagining entering them, living in them, having a calmer, more harmonious, deeper life. Buildings become theaters and fortresses for private life and inward thought, and buying and decorating is so much easier than living or thinking according to those ideals. Thus the dream of a house can be the eternally postponed preliminary step to taking up the lives we wish we were living.
-- Excerpt from Rebecca Solnit's Encyclopedia of Trouble and Spaciousness (HT: Brainpickings)