The house of the future elicits one of two basic
reactions in people; it is either a cornucopia of technological
marvels that converts the home into a true Machine for Living, or it's
like living inside a gigantic video player with the instruction manual
translated from Japanese into English by someone in India who speaks
neither language and relied on a pair of phrase books to do the job.
It's bad enough when you have a black box under the
telly that keeps mocking you with a blinking "12:00," but it's
positively infuriating when you're trapped in the rain on the
solar-powered turntable deck that refuses to cease rotating; forcing
you to trot alongside the front door as you desperately try to punch
in your override code because the retina scanner refuses to recognise you
for the fifth time in a week.
A Victorian terrace house in Crouch End starts to
look pretty good after that.