The void, the empty space in the middle, defines a bowl. And the look, the aesthetics, the material defines the bowl. One aspect cannot be discussed without the other, yet they are distinct parts of the whole. And they have distinct roles. Separate halves of the whole.
A wooden bowl and a steel bowl may be essentially the same shape, but will have completely different character, feel and use.
The same is true of a house. A similar home sheeted in corrugated steel will have a different feel that the same structure sheeted in untreated cedar shiplap siding. The internal shape and form may be exactly the same—the void identical—but the outside will set a tone with the setting and the attachment to the land.
In The Not So Small House, Susan Susanka talks of taking an inventory of how you use rooms.
“We are all searching for home, but we are trying to find it by building more rooms and more space. Instead of thinking about the quality of the spaces we live in, we tend to focus on the quantity. But a home is much more than its size and volume, neither of which has anything to do with comfort.”
This becomes your definition of the void in the bowl. What you need to be comfortable, not in size, but in tangible features,
Then take an look at what you like in other houses you see. Modern? Traditional? A combination?
Layer that on your void and voila, you have your house.