There exist sunny houses in which, at all seasons, it is summer, houses that are all windows.
— Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Space
In movies the light-filled home is relatively hard to find, compared to the dark, ominous house in which light and dark are exaggerated with lighting.
The Influence of Farnsworth
The famous Farnsworth House is a square construction made mostly of windows and constructed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe between 1945 and 1951. It’s in Plano, Illinois.
In real life, people who build these houses are well-off and have environmental aspirations. When a house has this much glass you’re living ‘at one with nature’. You’re also respecting the environment by refusing to build something garish. From a distance, the house hardly interferes with the natural landscape, with the trees reflecting off the windows, and the lack of a pretentious, gabled roof.
The glass house in the movie Lake House (with Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock) is based on the Farnsworth architecture. The character who lives in this house is an architect, and in movies, architects can’t live in ordinary houses. Here, the house is ‘at one with the water’.
Batman v Superman
FERRIS BUELLER’S DAY OFF
Because a house made of glass is such an ostentatious statement — while ironically seeming to fit into the surrounding landscape unobtrusively — the comedy of building such a thing just to house your classic cars is comedic in itself.
Despite their terrible sleep hygiene, you won’t find light-filled rooms in House Of Cards.
Mad Men is equally dark as House of Cards in many ways, but well-lit rooms are quite usual in this series. Mad Men is an apparent utopia. Don Draper has everything he could possibly want… from the outside looking in.
California is the flipside of New York — New York is wintry and studious while California is light-hearted and beachy.
But even on the East Coast, the light-filled kitchen scene here only highlights how down-and-out Betty Draper seems. Her mood contrasts equally with the upbeat innocence of their children.
DON’T TRUST THE B IN APARTMENT B
Krystin Ritter is actually the perfect fit for dark stories and her look has been utilised thusly in Breaking Bad and Jessica Jones. You won’t find many light-filled homes in those series. But here she is in a light-hearted comedy, bathed in a white, welcoming glow.
Here’s another Pinterest-worthy white kitchen in a light-hearted series.
Though the title of this series suggests a kind of hell, the home is filled with natural light. This is a safe house in some well-off suburbs.
The opening of Gilmore girls shows the main characters drinking coffee inside Luke’s, but at night, with all those fairy lights. In that case, the dark forms a cloak of reassurance and cosiness. During the day, Luke’s is always a place of refuge, even when he goes out of his way to be gruff.
Emily and Richard’s house has no natural light at all — a cold house from another age. In contrast we have Lorelai’s house, which we often see from the outside bathed in sunlight.
There’s plenty of light all right, but it comes from those Gothic chandeliers and expensive mood lighting, not through the windows. This house is an island unto itself. Nothing’s coming in that Emily hasn’t put there her very self.