The solitary is more interested in rooms than in houses. The room is the focus of as many activities as possible, designed and adapted to personal interest, while a house is usually designed and built by someone else, a faceless builder constructing to conform with social convention, profitability, and municipal codes.
The rooms of a house have been given social functions based on an ideal of socializing. Thus a dining room for dining, a kitchen for cooking, etc. More status is reflected by houses with more functions to their space — in other words, more rooms, so-called family rooms, entertainment rooms, drawing rooms, foyers, libraries, and the like.
House occupancy or ownership presupposes a higher social and economic status in the first place. Throughout history, people around the world have lived in one large room. Their functions were defined by nature and their family role, not by rooms. No wonder that hermits in these societies have always sought out a cottage, a cell, or a cave, while the majority of people sought out the marketplace, the community well, and gregarious places.
Solitaries may live in buildings where sets of rooms are “apart,” (i.e., apartments) and where scale and partitions make intimate spaces more of a challenge, but the idea of house versus room is the same. Even within the smallest spaces, the solitary finds a smaller one and makes of it an intimacy.
Ultimately, rooms project individuality whereas houses project social faces. Rooms look inward; houses look outward. Rooms are where we live while houses are where we dwell. Rooms are intimate and personal while houses are concessions to functional containers with spaces occupied occasionally for particular functions. We don’t want visitors to our room but we accept visitors into our houses. We display tokens of our beliefs and personalities in houses but keep our originals within our private space. If we invite someone into our room it is as if we have invited them to glimpse our souls.