Is There a Line Between Quirky and Eccentric?

This leopard print house sits on a street near my own home, and each time I pass it I think wow. It also inspires me to wonder — where does quirky stop and eccentric begin?

Now, full disclosure here, I am probably on the eccentric end of the spectrum. At least, according to my husband I am. When I innocently commented to him that I was probably going to become an eccentric old man he shot back with "become eccentric"? Ouch!

So that has me wondering — is there a line that separates quirky and eccentric designs? If so, where is that line? And how do you know if you've crossed it?

Take this leopard print house, for instance. I can imagine the owner thinking that it would be whimsical and outside the norm to paint a pattern on the house. Does that make the owner eccentric? Or is the owner merely an individualist who perhaps has a penchant for animal prints?

I actually like the animal print house but, then again, I'm in love with prints in general. I can see myself someday painting a houndstooth design or stripes on a house. (Hmm, maybe my husband is right!) But for some reason stripes or a repeated pattern like houndstooth seem to fall on the quirky but tasteful side of the scale. Why is that? What is it about the animal print that seems so eccentric?

Image: Jason Loper