Tenet 2 - Vanity has No Value

Rolex Submariner, $6,000.

Timex T29781, $50.

It's a bit odd that furniture manufacturers sell Amish vanities.

Unless one is selling it.

The Amish see vanity as a pretty serious evil although I couldn't find their exact reasons. Of course everyone in general doesn't like vanity, yet most people do lead vanity centric lives. It's what separates us from animals, the desire for people to believe what we say rather than what we do.

I see no value in being vain. When a contractor shows up in a new $60,000 pickup truck I don't think "wow, he must be a great craftsman". I think I'd better look for another contractor.

There's a lot of research on relative wealth and happiness. A McMansion has one purpose, make neighbors, friends, family jealous, at least until foreclosure. Friendly neighbors have much greater value than envious neighbors. They're more fun. They'll call the fire department when my house is on fire.

Shaker door.

Turning Vanity Inside Out

Feydeau attempts to turn vanity inside out. Make the outside of the house the most modest and add detail and luxury as I move into the more private areas. Areas used everyday. This ties to Tenet 3 - Beauty in Everyday Things.

Shaker cabinet doors turn the fielded side toward inside of cabinet so the plain side shows. They thought showing the fielded side was showing off. There are technical reasons why a panel is fielded at all. This had been done by cabinet makers long before the Shakers, possibly because the fielding process could be rather rough. Shakers did have the same dislike of vanity as the Quakers, but they weren't trying to turn vanity inside out. They didn't want to be showy in private either.

Vanity is "excessive pride", not pride. Quakers and Shakers curbed pride to head off vanity. I think pride can push me to do better work. Being able to see and use my work inspires me to improve skills and create new designs. The trick is to not be duped into vanity which stifles improvement. For example, showing my work in steampunk forums would get lots of compliments because they compliment everything. It is part of their thing, to never criticize work someone says is steampunk. Criticism is essential in improving a craft or art. Being told crap is good is death.

2008 Tardis. Seats removed, payload of a pickup, carries 8' lengths of lumber with the hatch closed.

19th century carriage house, 181 Columbia Heights, Brooklyn Heights, New York.
Photo by lumierefl

Automobiles are tools.

Vehicles are probably the most vane and costly object humans covet. Just behind clothing.

Driving is useful, but I shouldn't forget cost. More than $1 per mile, 356,697 Americans killed in cars since 9/11, more than 20 million injured. I have no wish to live forever, but I couldn't live with myself if I was killed driving to the store for a pint of Chunky Monkey. Or worst, killed returning home with a pint of Chunky Monkey. So I don't want a car that inspires me to drive more.

Feydeau's garage will not be a 3 car monument to consumerism. Instead I will try to minimize the car and instead display a house and yard. I'll use late 19th century carriage houses as inspiration.