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Literature & architecture: Romance

Sheila Byers Sheila Byers
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The term romance: for some, might conjure up images of candlelit dinners and roses, for others the chivalrous actions of King Arthur's knights. But whether you think of art and literature or of your partner, all interpretations come back to the idea of romance. In the romantic movement that emerged during the late 18th century, which was a reaction to the hyper-rational era before, human experience and emotion took centre stage, and reason was seen as less, well, romantic. There was a lot of attention to emotion, intuition, spontaneity and imagination, which strongly emerged in the visual arts of that time and literature. However, the connection with love was also a significant part of the name, because romance is derived from the medieval romantic tales (romances) in which ordinary people chase big dreams of perfection, a bit similar to our contemporary novels. Of course, the word romantic is now sometimes seen as negative or overly sentimental. In the romance, and the romances of the Middle Ages, everything was indeed sentimental, but this was not considered negative, but rather as a positive assessment towards the pursuit of perfection.

After this short lesson about romance, we want to show here how beautiful and idyllic romantic architecture can be. Even contemporary architecture and renovations can accommodate a large portion of romance, hoping for certain emotional reaction and attempting an image of perfection. Here are six examples of homes that seem to come straight from romantic movies or novels.


Here we see the first example of a typical, traditional and romantic idyll in the style of the children's book Heidi. The romantic style of this novel may have less to do with romantic love, but more with the perfection of nature and the Alps. Still, we can imagine how romantic it would be to be here as a couple, walking through the wildflowers and alpine meadows and evening or sit by the fireplace of warmth and coziness.

Jane Austen

New Build Country House:  Houses by GHK Architects
GHK Architects

New Build Country House

GHK Architects

In a completely different style, we see an classical English country house reminiscent of the novels of Jane Austen. You can just picture her heroines walking about this property with a book, admiring the view of the pond with the swans, and dreaming of the perfect gentleman. Surprisingly, this is a complete new house that perfectly imitated the classical architecture of England, but has within all the conveniences and innovations of the present to keep the English weather outside!

Romeo and Juliet

Historic House, Notting Hill, London:  Houses by 4D Studio Architects and Interior Designers
4D Studio Architects and Interior Designers

Historic House, Notting Hill, London

4D Studio Architects and Interior Designers

Here we see a historic British house completely refurbished to a modern apartment. Although this is a typical city view in London, it reminded us instantly of the balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet, which, of course, happened in Italy. Still, you can imagine that the British Shakespeare, when writing this typical romantic and tragic story, might have had in mind a London property like this.

A gazebo

In a beautifully lit idyll like this, with a romantic gazebo and a view of the water, we see a classic in the field of romance. Where can you finally declare your love better than in a place like this? In this gazebo, the romance is already taken care of.

The Mediteranean

This rural cottage in Rome radiates a rustic style that is undeniably Southern European. Here you can see yourself sitting barefoot in the garden, or with with a guitar and a glass of wine in the evening, enjoying company in the romantic Mediterranean atmosphere.

Robinson Crusoe

And what could be more romantic than living on a desert island? Especially in a spectacular house like this. Perhaps this house in Rio de Janeiro is not actually on a desert island, but be honest: who really wants that? The generous tropical design is built in the shape of a flower where each blade is open to the environment. In the excessive heat, you can retreat to the core of the house and enjoy a romantic siesta. In the cooler twilight or darkness, you can then walk on the beach along the garden, a caipirinha in the hand and enjoy the sunset… Romantic, right?

It appears that in medieval romances can be brought into the modern world with all the modern conveniences! And not even a crumb of romance is lost!

What do you think of these romantic homes? Let us know in the comments!
Whitton Drive:  Terrace house by GK Architects Ltd

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