The realtors love to say, Great bones, but let's not forget that our spaces need muscle and blood and skin as well. Muscle makes for spaces that work to get things done, to do and not just show. Blood controls flow, helping you and your guests get from the drinks to the food, the bed to the door. And skin--what Patrick calls the "top layer"--is the layer of stuff we show and (perhaps not often enough) slough off, the books and baubles we use to describe ourselves to ourselves and to our guests.
All bones, and a house looks gaunt. Not enough muscle, and your home will be a source of fatique instead of energy. Poor blood flow? You'll feel stuck. Old, dead skin? There's a Cure for that.
For a practical and witty look at "the measure of man," the human-sized proportions that make for a home that's not just organized, but is a fully functioning organism, check out Julius Panero's classic Anatomy for Interior Designers, available from eBay, Optos, and the library. The amazing Alvin Lustig did the book jacket, and the witty interior illustrations are by Nino Repetto.
Photo credit: modernism101