A week ago, I moved into the house above (blurry image obviously courtesy of Google Maps). To save money, as I will soon be a starving graduate student, I'm living in the basement. It's kindof a cave: windows only on the top third of the wall, some pipes and vents projecting out from the ceiling, poor light. It's not as bad as it sounds, though. The windows are bay windows, and project out into the front yard covered in a big tree and impatients, across the street from a park. I placed my bed in front of the ledge in front of the window to fully appreciate this. Now, in the summer, the basement is heavenly cool and smells like growing things, but I fear that in the winter it will be horribly cold and damp. I have at least three space heaters, and a lot of rugs and blankets to combat this. Another problem is that the walls are plaster, and in my old apartment I depended rather heavily on being able to screw things into the wall to hang my mirror, hooks for hanging various bags and scarves, hooks for hanging ceiling lamps, etc.
Anyway, since I will be living (mostly) underground, I decided to take inspiration from desert architecture, which is often built with thick walls and possibly underground to hide from the sun's heat. Above is a home in Tunisia that was (dork alert!) used as the set of Luke Skywalker's uncle's house on Tatooine, the desert planet. Ahem. Anyway, it appears that it is now used as a rather low-budget hotel. I really like the arches, the undulating walls, the light earthy colors, etc. I remember being very impressed by the interior of the house in the movie, which I probably watched about 307 times between the ages of 9 and 14.
Here are some other interesting cave house interiors. Let's start in Spain. These houses are near Granada, which is one of the most beautiful places I've been, and apparantly Gypsies live in them.
Lesson learned? Whitewashed walls, architecturally interesting walls make underground seem brighter, in a cozy, rustic way. Unfortunately my walls have few cool niches and more pipes. But I am not feeling the cold tile floors or the metal chairs.
So, let's move on to Cappadocia, in Turkey, where early Christians carved houses, churches, and monastaries out of the unique rock formations, called "fairy chimneys" in the area around Göreme. My mom has been to Göreme, and says that it is awesome, so please look at the pictures on the wikipedia link. This picture is from an inn inside one of the minaret-like formations.
Pretty sweet. Lessons learned: I'm into natural-looking walls, simple furnishing are best, wall-to-wall colorful rugs are a good look.
Next up: actual pictures of my house, a hobbit home in Wales, and Morrocan architecture. Here's a teaser, from the blog My Marrakesh, that I think fits in pretty well with the dark/earthy/cozy/simple theme: