Re: Architecture

1

I was raised in a sprawling ranch house with everything open except the bedrooms and nobody had their own bedroom. I don't think it really encouraged us to be more connected in a way you'd call intimate. At least, we certainly didn't go around expressing emotions and things like that.

I'm still not sure why some people think it is good to have people expressing emotions frequently. It's more of a special occasion activity.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 6:39 AM
horizontal rule
2

Of course, our house wasn't designed by an architect, so maybe that was our problem.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 6:55 AM
horizontal rule
3

And I grew up sharing a bedroom in a small apartment with three other introverts and a lot of tension. This did not make for closeness, it made for spending a lot of time in the bathroom to avoid other people.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 6:56 AM
horizontal rule
4

That was me.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 6:56 AM
horizontal rule
5

That was before Starbucks.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 6:57 AM
horizontal rule
6

What an interesting post! The house you grew up in is a metaphor for the state of nature - isolating and lonely - and I am sure that your new house - designed by an unfogged commenter - is a metaphor for the life you've made for yourself in this community. No need to be lonely anymore, HG. We're here for you!


Posted by: renegade bane | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 7:28 AM
horizontal rule
7

We did have a 2,500 square foot house, so even with six of us and an open plan, you could spread out. Plus, the basement was unfinished, but it was great deal of space in which to roam.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 7:28 AM
horizontal rule
8

1, 3: Thank you for sharing!


Posted by: renegade bane | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 7:29 AM
horizontal rule
9

You probably expect me to have an opinion on this.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 7:36 AM
horizontal rule
10

It's almost as if you all are saying there's no sure-fire way to rig a happy family.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 7:38 AM
horizontal rule
11

3 could have been me as well, just my siblings are pretty close to me, not that much to each other, but we dont discuss our private lives the way westerners do


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 7:38 AM
horizontal rule
12

9: Yes, please.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 7:38 AM
horizontal rule
13

I'm still not sure why some people think it is good to have people expressing emotions frequently. It's more of a special occasion activity.

Word.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 7:39 AM
horizontal rule
14

It's almost as if you all are saying there's no sure-fire way to rig a happy family.

As a great Russian writer once said in the beginning of a famous novel, all happy families are more or less dissimilar.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 7:40 AM
horizontal rule
15

For the record, intimacy doesn't mean going around expressing emotions constantly.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 7:41 AM
horizontal rule
16

Intimacy just means that you wouldn't feel too weird or awkward if there was something emotional you wanted to say.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 7:42 AM
horizontal rule
17

What if you had something emotional to say and Halley's Comet wasn't in view?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 7:42 AM
horizontal rule
18

Something emotional to say to the comet?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 7:43 AM
horizontal rule
19

HG:

And wasn't/isnt your family pro-nakedness?

Maybe that is because you had fewer drafts?

JRoth: Is there a pro nakedness design?


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 7:44 AM
horizontal rule
20

I'm still not sure why some people think it is good to have people expressing emotions frequently. It's more of a special occasion activity.

Like the airing of grievances at Festivus.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 7:44 AM
horizontal rule
21

Interesting. My current house is not unlike the childhood home you describe. I don't think this necessarily inhibits the level of intimacy in the home, though maybe the space plays a different role in a family of two. Indeed, come to think of it, I didn't get divorced until we moved to this house of isolated corners. Oh, for want of an architect! Anyway, Rory and I spend most of our time in the family room watching TV, so the lack of openness doesn't matter so much there. It feels like a much bigger problem on the rare occassions that I entertain -- guests are more or less forced to split off into separate, isolated little groups.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 7:47 AM
horizontal rule
22

And wasn't/isnt your family pro-nakedness?

True! My parents, at least.

They've cut down some of the trees between us and the river, and our house is now much more visible from the park across the river. That might cut down on my nakedness, actually.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 7:49 AM
horizontal rule
23

It's almost as if you all are saying there's no sure-fire way to rig a happy family.

Culling the herd of its most worthless members worked out well for me. You have to be willing to be ruthless if you want a happy family.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 7:49 AM
horizontal rule
24

OT: Now I'm getting the Martha Nussbaum thing too! I like that her one friend has a totally fake name.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 7:50 AM
horizontal rule
25

Mr. Jablome is very real.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 7:52 AM
horizontal rule
26

I grew up in a relatively small ranch house. My sister and I had our own bedrooms, but all three of the bedrooms are clustered at the end of a hallway, and there certainly isn't much sound privacy. The only phone was in the kitchen, and we didn't have a cordless until I had left for college. So basically, no possibility of a private conversation in the entire house. This drove me crazy, and my mom would say, "Anything you want to say, you should be able to say in front of your mother." So, so wrong.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 7:54 AM
horizontal rule
27

Hey, Benquo? Could you post under your own pseud rather than as 'renegade bane'? I'm not sure what you're doing, but the general rules around here are stick to your own name unless you've got an embarrassing personal confession, at which point it's world leaders or bust.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 7:54 AM
horizontal rule
28

I have an embarrassing personal confession to make.


Posted by: bust | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 7:56 AM
horizontal rule
29

THE GROUND RULES INCLUDE OTHER SITUATIONS WHERE YOU CAN POST WITHOUT USING YOUR PSEUDONYM.


Posted by: OPINIONATED NOT-MY-PSEUDONYM | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 7:58 AM
horizontal rule
30

Look, you, I get enough lawyering in my day job.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 7:59 AM
horizontal rule
31

A figure 8 pattern is a little much, but it is very important for a house with kids to have a run-around, that is, a group of rooms that form a circle. We have that in our house: you can pass from living room, to dining room, to kitchen and then back to the living room.

This allows grown ups to say things like "Hey Joey, wanna see how long it takes you to run around the downstairs ten times?" which can keep a 7 year old busy for a while.

It also means that when chasing someone around the house, you can play the all-important trick of doubling back on someone and running into them.

These are important family activities.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 8:00 AM
horizontal rule
32

I am moving to a new place this weekend. I'm slightly dreading breaking in a new neighborhood to nakedness and screaming.

"Hi. I am your new neighbor. Please do not get alarmed when you see a 20 year woman, naked and/or screaming. She is my daughter."


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 8:02 AM
horizontal rule
33

29: I've really cut down on that. I'm not sure why.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 8:02 AM
horizontal rule
34

31: It also means you can say "NO RUNNING IN THE HOUSE" a gazillion damn times a day. (This is mostly Lee, though she also was the one instigating the doubling-back tricks last night.)

I'm sort of curious how we'll end up using the bedrooms in our house. There are three off a hallway upstairs, so currently ours at the front, where it will stay, and then Nia's, which is very large and has a couch and tv as well as her bunk bed and would be a family room if we didn't have a second child, then the bathroom that the girls and I use, and then Mara's small but sufficient bedroom at the back.

If we're going to have the girls share a room at some point, the most reasonable way would be to put them in the bedroom that shares a (currently locked) door with ours, but I'd rather have them farther away as they get older. We can eventually move them to the attic, where the room that's currently their playroom could hold two beds as long as they don't care about headroom. Lee and I each have a room to ourselves up there too.

I don't know what this says about the personalities of any of the people involved, but having a house where we could see different configurations for different potential configurations kids was a very important factor when we bought it.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 8:07 AM
horizontal rule
35

Didn't almost everyone grow up sharing bedrooms?

I believe a child having his or her own room is relatively recent. Now it is almost scandalous. I have clients who cannot imagine getting divorced and their children sharing a room.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 8:10 AM
horizontal rule
36

I shared a room with my brother until I was about 8 or 9, I think, then the Afghan dissident in the spare bedroom moved out and I got his room.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 8:12 AM
horizontal rule
37

It's always hard on a family when the Afghan dissident moves away.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 8:15 AM
horizontal rule
38

27: OK, that experiment had a boring conclusion.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 8:18 AM
horizontal rule
39

Didn't almost everyone grow up sharing bedrooms?

No, because I was an only child till I was nearly 12, by which time they thought it was a bit much to make me share a room with my new born sister.

I certainly favour labyrinthine houses over open ones and always have. You can all hunker down together in a small space as well as a big one, and much more importantly, you can fuck off and shut the door on everybody else when you want to.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 8:22 AM
horizontal rule
40

36. Which Afghan government was he dissenting from?


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 8:25 AM
horizontal rule
41

14: All great books start off more or less alike.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 8:26 AM
horizontal rule
42

you can fuck off and shut the door on everybody else when you want to

Maybe modern, open-architecture housing is the cause of all of the increase in domestic shootings. Somebody should look into it.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 8:28 AM
horizontal rule
43

I'm not sure what you're doing

See.

From the post: ascribed to

Subscribed to!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 8:32 AM
horizontal rule
44

I think I like a nice mix of labyrinth and not. Our current house is pretty pleasing to me in terms of its general layout and its facilitation of togetherness and apartness, aside from being bigger than it should be. There are annoying local features of the layout everywhere, though--the configuration of each bathroom, the kitchen, the kitchen/back entrance interface, the bathroom-other room interface, et cetera. Gnash!


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 8:33 AM
horizontal rule
45

I was about to say I never had to share since I had brothers, but I shared with my younger brother until I was six and then shared with the teenaged Bosnian refugee who lived with us for about a while when I was in high school.

Nia would very much like to share with Mara, but I let them sleep in the same room on weekends but not during the week, which hardly matters since Mara almost never makes it through the night in her own bed.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 8:34 AM
horizontal rule
46

Our house is large and old (basically, we found that we can get a huge house for cheap as long as we didn't mind that it is falling apart) so you would think it would have plenty of effective hiding places. But no. No matter where I go, the kids find me out, and sit on me.

On the other hand, the house is big enough that the larger child is unwilling to venture many places alone. The basement, the tippy top room--these places are spooky, distant outposts from the proper house, which is the kitchen-living room-dining room complex.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 8:47 AM
horizontal rule
47

"Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society. In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the kitchen-living room-dining room complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists, and will persist."


Posted by: President Eisenhower | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 8:51 AM
horizontal rule
48

My experience growing up was that being able to run in a big circle was especially useful when you have a dog.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 8:56 AM
horizontal rule
49

We do basically have a bowling alley running from the old house through the addition, so there are laps to be run. You can take your little shopping cart a full speed from the far back of the house to the far front of the house, over and over again. Or your new wheeling backpack, since you used your old one until it completely fell apart.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 9:06 AM
horizontal rule
50

open plan sucks. give me plaster walls and an early 20th century 2 story-home on a street of porches and small front yards with alleys. Like Ralphie's in A Christmas Story, but a bigger back yard.


Posted by: uncle rameau | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 9:16 AM
horizontal rule
51

And someone other than the Bumpus's next door?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 9:16 AM
horizontal rule
52

the bathroom-other room interface

This isn't a door?


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 9:29 AM
horizontal rule
53

It's always hard on a family when the Afghan dissident moves away.

They grow up so fast! *sniff*

chris: this was the 1980s, so the DPRA, I suppose.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 9:34 AM
horizontal rule
54

"The cat's in the cradle..."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 9:36 AM
horizontal rule
55

52: it's... more... organic...


Posted by: Annelid Gustator | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 9:49 AM
horizontal rule
56

I'm partial to having nooks to hide in but I have come to appreciate a more open plan. When I went off to college my parents renovated and opened up the kitchen to the living room allowing someone (my mom) to cook without walling her off.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 9:55 AM
horizontal rule
57

53 Did you pick up any Dari (or whatever his native language happened to be)?


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 9:56 AM
horizontal rule
58

"When you teaching Dari dissident?"

"I don't know when, but we'll get together then son
You know we'll have a good time then."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 10:08 AM
horizontal rule
59

JRoth: Is there a pro nakedness design?

Now that is a good question.

Comfort: Hot water heating, ideally in-floor; super-insulated exterior walls, to minimize cold surfaces; in summer, ceiling fans and open windows rather than AC (which IME is actually too cold for sustained nudity).

Privacy: Carefully locate windows that have low sills; lots of clerestory glazing. Exterior plantings, obviously. Exterior living spaces that act as both screening and psychological barriers help.

I'm probably missing something. This wasn't covered in school.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 10:31 AM
horizontal rule
60

Also, a flashing red neon sign.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 10:34 AM
horizontal rule
61

my mom would say, "Anything you want to say, you should be able to say in front of your mother." So, so wrong.

This is totally horrible.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 10:35 AM
horizontal rule
62

57: unfortunately not. He spoke very good English.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 10:36 AM
horizontal rule
63

61: It does preclude ever bad-mouthing your mother to anyone, which may have been its primary desired effect.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 10:44 AM
horizontal rule
64

56: I like our current house which has front bedroom - living room - dining room - hall/bathroom in a square loop, and dining room - kitchen - laundry - bedroom - bedroom as the back loop. The living room and back bedrooms are a little small (constructed 1930), but work pretty well.

We're considering some work in the kitchen, removing the wall between the kitchen and dining room (or creating an opening), exactly to connect me (cooking in the kitchen) to my wife (tinkering in the living room) across the dining room.


Posted by: MooseKing | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 10:44 AM
horizontal rule
65

I just bought my first house and took the 'tiny house in the good neighborhood' strategy as my route to affordability in the big city. This means my place is a little narrow rectangle and I guess it's cute but it's driving me nuts. WHat with the baby gear I am constantly having to maneuver around things. You can also hear anything that happens in any corner of the house in every other corner of the house. Whenever I visit a normal size house I'm like I LOVE SQUARE HOUSES MY NEXT HOUSE IS DEFINITELY GOING TO BE A SQUARE HOUSE.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 10:47 AM
horizontal rule
66

63: But it doesn't preclude insullting your mother to her face with other people there.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 11:01 AM
horizontal rule
67

I grew up mostly in a house fairly similar to the one we are in now. Kids all have their own rooms, but spend lots of time downstairs. With laptops etc of course - not having one probably makes the ten year old spend the most time in her bedroom with her desk top. But she's around all the time, not being at school, so it balances out.

My parents' house is nice - the living room, dining room and conservatory are open plan, so they can sit in different bits at either end but still communicate when it's just them there, but there's plenty of room for all of us when we visit.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 11:05 AM
horizontal rule
68

We love our house. (Although I didn't think I'd ever live in a ranch; it's pretty much that or bungalows where we are.) Kitchen-dining-living great room on one end, bedrooms on the other, and the family room in the middle.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 11:06 AM
horizontal rule
69

We have a classic foursquare, with a bedroom on each corner of the 2nd floor and 2 bedrooms plus a long room across the front on the third floor (with sloping ceilings). But we've opened up the ground floor considerably, an ongoing project that's nearly complete.

We have, however, decided that we like the kitchen being isolated from the dining room - leave the chaos of cooking behind and enter the refined, candlelit dining room.

We tend to cluster in the (smallish) living room, but usually at least one of us is on an individual task elsewhere. Neither kid has ever been a huge player in his/her own room, although both do it .


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 11:13 AM
horizontal rule
70

It's funny. My favorite thing in the whole world is to be by myself in my house, and this was true when I was growing up in the maze-house or today in our current house. And I loved living alone for about a decade.

Yet when other people were home at the maze-house, I didn't like how hard it was to do things in parallel but nearby - my mom would be in her study, painting, my dad at the dining room table, working, and there was nowhere within sight to curl up and read a book, say. (I could sort of do homework but the chairs in the dining room are really too low for me so I just ended up elsewhere.) Brothers would be on the go or moved out of the house, by the time this seemed relevant.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 11:15 AM
horizontal rule
71

Our stairs are switchback-style, with a landing that overlooks the front hall and living room. Our old dog used to perch there so she could keep an eye on us, especially when one of us was upstairs (where she couldn't see us, but knew where we were).

Our house in Miami was topologically a straight line*, but shaped in a semi-ellipse around the pool/patio. The result was rather like what H-G describes: unless you were in the living room (which was open to the dining room and foyer, but distant from any other room where you'd hang out), you were probably isolated.

*when the patio doors were open, there were many, many circular paths, but otherwise I don't think there was a single one; in fact, I'm certain of it.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 11:25 AM
horizontal rule
72

67: I grew up mostly in a house fairly similar to the one we are in now. Kids all have their own rooms, but spend lots of time downstairs.

Ooo! Is it semi-detached? I've always wanted to see one of those semi-detached houses. Over here we only have detached or attached -- there's no middle ground!


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 11:34 AM
horizontal rule
73

Like when Kirk Cameron lived in the apartment over the garage?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 11:36 AM
horizontal rule
74

71: The cat likes to sit at the top of the back stairwell and observe things (this also gives her a good view of the front end of the hallway.) Unfortunately for her, our friends with the 1 year-old are now staying with us. And That Thing (which is what the cat calls the baby) is very noisy and smelly, so the cat feels like she can't really hang out in her usual spot. Those babies! Always blowing up the spot!

Six adults and one baby is way too many people for our house. All we need is a goat and a mother-in-law and we'd be a Sholom Aleichem story.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 11:37 AM
horizontal rule
75

I once saw a pilot for a short-lived show, which was taking place in a living room, and all of a sudden one of the characters noticed the Growing Pains family portrait was still on the mantel, and surreptitiously removed it and carried it from the room.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 11:39 AM
horizontal rule
76

The cat will try to kill the baby. They always do.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 11:39 AM
horizontal rule
77

The dingo really wanted to kill the cat.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 11:40 AM
horizontal rule
78

The cat will try to kill the baby.

IME cats and dogs are extraordinarily patient with babies, unless the baby is actually hurting them and they can't get away.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 11:44 AM
horizontal rule
79

Every currently living person is alive because a cat did not kill them when they were a baby.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 11:45 AM
horizontal rule
80

There is a mid century ranch style house in Dallas that was torn down several years ago to make way for some garish mansion that I miss as if it were a person. That is possibly all I have to contribute on the topic of houses.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 11:50 AM
horizontal rule
81

80: If it means that much to you, you could move back to Dallas and befriend the mansion.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 11:53 AM
horizontal rule
82

Our house in Miami was topologically a straight line

Okay, time for everyone to post the fundamental group or other interesting topological invariants of your childhood home. (Along with income and photos of your genitals.)


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 11:59 AM
horizontal rule
83

We have a mid-century rambler that has a very open plan: great room, then kitchen with a pass-through, small room off the main hallway, bathroom and two bedrooms in the back.

We finished our basement, which is a large open living room, with a room for an office and a spare room we're using as a bedroom in the back.

It's not a very big house (1100 sq ft/2200 including basement) but almost every inch of the space is useable.

Home ownership can be a pain in the ass but man, this house is great.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 12:01 PM
horizontal rule
84

The class of 2016 has never known a world without baby-eating dingo jokes.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 12:02 PM
horizontal rule
85

I do find the question of how the design of a house or office affects relationships very interesting. There's the obvious stuff, like cubicles vs. no walls, but also who passes what and whom on the way to the break room or whether the copy room is big enough for 2 or 3 people to stand chatting, whose office has enough room for 2, 1, or no chairs, whether HAVING NO NATURAL LIGHT MAKES YOU PSYCHOTIC, things like that.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 12:22 PM
horizontal rule
86

82: Most of my childhood was in a rectangular, 3-BR, one-story brick ranch. Cock photo.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 12:22 PM
horizontal rule
87

My current house is entirely too small and undivided by walls for cohabiting with two grade school-aged kids.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 12:24 PM
horizontal rule
88

85: No office in my building has natural light. They put the hallway on the only side where you could put a window. It used to be medical offices and I think that is why, but it might have just be built by an asshole.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 12:24 PM
horizontal rule
89

79: That's at least true in the trivial sense.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 12:25 PM
horizontal rule
90

87: Legally, you can leave them outside during daylight hours if the temperature is from 40 to 90 degrees.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 12:26 PM
horizontal rule
91

it might have just be built by an asshole


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 12:27 PM
horizontal rule
92

89: I have no idea why people complain about tautological arguments. They're great if you want to be right.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 12:28 PM
horizontal rule
93

Our current flat is, I think, late 60s or early 70s but the interior architecture could almost be 50s. It's great in a sort of 'Mad Men' sort of way. Large open L-shaped living room with windows giving amazing views across West London and a small balcony at the back. Cool almost period looking fitted wall units. 6th floor, top of a high hill. We move in about two weeks to a late Victorian mid-terrace, which has much smaller rooms, but more of them.

My childhood homes: a small caravan parked behind a ruined farmhouse* for a couple of years, then a maisonette, then a standard 3-bed council house. The latter was a riveted steel prefab, although the council put a brick shell and insulation around it in the early 80s.

* it belonged to a hippy couple who were in the process of turning it into a pottery/racing-car-workshop.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 12:29 PM
horizontal rule
94

My office is a converted parking garage, so yeah, not a lot of natural light. But lots of inconveniently placed giant concrete support pillars!
I don't think I've ever lived anywhere more topologically complicated (neglecting windows and vents and exterior doors) than a torus. Maybe some high rises in Chicago.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 12:32 PM
horizontal rule
95

I don't get any natural light at work, especially now that I don't smoke.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 12:34 PM
horizontal rule
96

My office is a converted parking garage, so yeah, not a lot of natural light.

There is a very old parking garage with giant windows that I always figured should be turned into loft apartments. However, I don't own it so I can't kick out the cars. I went inside and found out that much of it is currently not useable as a parking garage so it is cheap, not really heated, studio space for artists. Still, it should be lofts, with a nice roof garden.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 12:38 PM
horizontal rule
97

That link is in the wrong block. Should be 2700.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 12:39 PM
horizontal rule
98

Center hall colonials, suitable for running around and around and around, throughout my childhood. One had a step up into the kitchen that sent me to the hospital a couple of times to see whether I had broken my nose. No sharing of bedrooms. I'm all for lots of discrete spaces.

Now I have a floor of a brownstone with all the rooms basically in a straight line. The boy and I sleep at opposite ends, which is nicely conducive to my sleeping in on Sundays.


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 12:45 PM
horizontal rule
99

I love the layout of our house; a fairly standard Victorian terrace with careful remodeling to alleviate some of the tiny boxed in feeling of many of them. The previous owners added a porch so you don't walk right into the living room, and the kitchen was added to the back rather than converted out of the existing building, so we still have a large dining room. (One house of the same type that we looked at had a dining room so small that you couldn't actually fit a four-seat table in it.) There's a nice flow through the public rooms, and then the two bedrooms and bathroom on the second and third floor. (The third floor has very charming sloped ceilings, as it is technically the attic.) You can be alone easily, but you don't feel far away when you're in the kitchen or dining room even though you are in a separate room. Lack of doors helps, I think.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 12:49 PM
horizontal rule
100

94: My office is a converted parking garage, so yeah, not a lot of natural light. But lots of inconveniently placed giant concrete support pillars!

I work in a converted garage too! No AC! The envelopes are self-licking in the summer.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 12:53 PM
horizontal rule
101

One of our local theater companies is housed in part of a still-active parking garage, only nominally air conditioned.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 1:11 PM
horizontal rule
102

One of our local theater companies is housed in part of a still-active parking garage, only nominally air conditioned.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 1:11 PM
horizontal rule
103

Two of our local theater companies get along so poorly that you can't mention them in the same sentence.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 1:13 PM
horizontal rule
104

||
So this came up at the meetup last night: Anyone else here read Nick Harkaway's "Angelmaker"? What'd you think?
|>


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 1:15 PM
horizontal rule
105

re: 104

I have. I liked it. I can't say I deeply deeply loved it, I feel like I've read a lot of the same tropes before combined in somewhat similar ways. In some ways I preferred 'The Gone-Away World'. It's a good read, though.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 1:24 PM
horizontal rule
106

I am powerfully in favor of sound privacy -- more necessary to me than sightline privacy -- and therefore against most of the open plans. The house Oliver Sacks describes in _Uncle Tungsten_ that had *two* piano rooms, so the classical and jazz musicians could both practice, sounds about right.

(Brick foursquare in childhood, with the run-around property and solid doors on the bedrooms; idiotic unheatable open-plan `cathedral' 1970s house in teens, that we all retreated into the corners of -- built the kids' rooms into the basement -- except in winter, when we lived in a cottage idyll 10 feet from the woodstove.)


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 1:27 PM
horizontal rule
107

We are air conditioned to such an extent that for a few years there were regular power outages in the winter caused by people's space heaters. They are now banned, so we huddle around the servers for warmth.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 1:31 PM
horizontal rule
108

The room-sharing thing has come up as we discuss how many children we might have. My wife didn't share a room with her sibling and can't really imagine doing so (and has said that she partially based her college decisions on the availability of single rooms). In contrast, I shared a room with my brother until I was 11, and from then until I left for college my "bedroom" was a corner of the open space between the stairs and the (only) bathroom and my brother's room (I got to use more space than he did, so I considered it a win at first).


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 1:43 PM
horizontal rule
109

I am powerfully in favor of sound privacy -- more necessary to me than sightline privacy -- and therefore against most of the open plans.

This, a thousand times this. I'll be apartment-/house-hunting soon and I'm bummed that most of the new construction around here is open-plan.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 2:30 PM
horizontal rule
110

there was nowhere within sight to curl up and read a book, say

I am strongly convinced that kitchens need a couch, so someone can be near the activity and good smells but still curled up and reading. But I've never seen a kitchen accommodate a couch.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 2:40 PM
horizontal rule
111

Ooo! Is it semi-detached? I've always wanted to see one of those semi-detached houses. Over here we only have detached or attached -- there's no middle ground!

Grin, well, it is only attached on one side, but it's end-of-terrace, rather than a true semi. Long and thin.

And to 70 - yes, the being able to do things in parallel is what i most like about my parents' house. There are always several things going on in our house, but it's more chaotic than companionable.

Kid B's school is very new (rebuilding finished last September) and very open plan. This summer, after a year of actually using it, they put in a lot more doors and walls.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 2:40 PM
horizontal rule
112

110 - we used to have a comfy armchair in our kitchen, until a couple of years ago. If we didn't have a huge pile of bikes in our kitchen I would definitely have a sofa.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 2:43 PM
horizontal rule
113

This, a thousand times this. I'll be apartment-/house-hunting soon and I'm bummed that most of the new construction around here is open-plan.

You would really dislike Fort Raskolnikov.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 2:48 PM
horizontal rule
114

108: You were like Harry Potter!


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 2:50 PM
horizontal rule
115

87:

Every house is entirely too small and undivided by locked partitions for cohabiting with two grade school-aged kids.


fixed


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 3:15 PM
horizontal rule
116

AB has been talking about a kitchen couch since we moved into our house (probably before). In our carefree childless days, I would sometimes bring in one of our living room chairs (Danish, wood frame with cushions - mobile, relatively soft), but it wasn't the same.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 3:19 PM
horizontal rule
117

Actually, it's relatively common for people to have a breakfast nook with built-in benches; the mistake is in not making them cozy enough. I will start recommending this to clients.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 3:20 PM
horizontal rule
118

117:

Ive had two house with built-in benches and neither was comfortable. Would it be difficult to have a several lazy boys instead?


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 3:24 PM
horizontal rule
119

Eventually, we'll inherit a dining room table too large to fit in our dining nook, and so our front living room and dining nook will switch places.

At that point, my plan is for the current dining nook to become a sun room - lots and lots of plants and comfy chairs. It is open to the kitchen, so that will kind of accomplish couch-in-a-kitchen-hood.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 3:25 PM
horizontal rule
120

119 evinces a level of certainty about the future I find incomprehensible. I keep trying to imagine saying something like that myself and failing miserably.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 3:29 PM
horizontal rule
121

119.2: Our kitchen is L-shaped, with the base of the L a sort of sun room at the back of the house appended to a galley kitchen, and furnished with a couch and armchair and plants and a bookcase. It's a very nice arrangement, conducive to curling up near cooking activity, or relaxing while keeping a close eye on the oven, etc.


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 3:31 PM
horizontal rule
122

||

Kai just walked up to me at my desk with 2 pennies and a nickel that have been sitting on the counter downstairs, and says, "Do you think these are yours, or is it a mystery that we has to work together to solve?"

I told him they were his.

|>


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 3:34 PM
horizontal rule
123

I told him they were his.

Next time, it will be a twenty. They're just testing you.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 3:37 PM
horizontal rule
124

120: Before we ever had kids, we planned for our big 3rd floor room to first be a playroom, then to become a "library", with a big table in the middle for all of us to work around in the evenings. In fact, for either a housewarming or a wedding present, my sister bought us a globe for the eventual librarihood of that room. So far we're on track with the 20 year plan.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 3:40 PM
horizontal rule
125

120: Unfortunately, the certainty is that my 95 year old grandmother will not live indefinitely.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 3:42 PM
horizontal rule
126

Also, I love thinking about interior decorating. In fact, when we were talking about rich inner lives recently, I kept thinking My inner life just sits there and redecorates various rooms and that was somewhat driving why I said that it wasn't very rich.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 3:44 PM
horizontal rule
127

114: Did Harry Potter's cupboard under the stairs have a door? That's the key question.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 3:50 PM
horizontal rule
128

I want to buy a dining room table, but I'm intimidated. Actually, what I really want is for our current dining room table to no longer be rickety with bits falling off it, but we tried having someone reglue it, paid him a whole lot of money, and it was rickety again in weeks.

The problem is that we have a very small dining room. What we have now is a gateleg table that also has an internal leaf, so it can be half-folded down against the wall for the four of us, folded out for six, or folded out and extended for eight or nine if we're all good friends. Whenever I look for a table with all the same virtues, everything is incredibly expensive and too huge -- I can't find anything I like tiny enough. But one of these days our table is just going to collapse into a pile of sticks, and I'll have to buy something.

I hate buying furniture. Something about it makes me feel like an incredible sucker.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 3:55 PM
horizontal rule
129

128: You need to solicit some NY commenter who loves this sort of thing to go rummage around 2nd hand stores or estate sales outside of the city on your behalf. If I lived nearby I would do it in a heartbeat.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 3:59 PM
horizontal rule
130

I was all set to offer you a very nice table (which is still in my former marital residence), but it doesn't sound like it would work any better in your place than in my current apartment.


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 4:01 PM
horizontal rule
131

Normally, my mother does that sort of thing for me, but she found the currently collapsing table for me seventeen years ago and is in denial about its ricketyness. (It was shaky seventeen years ago -- it's gotten worse, but it was never sturdy. A family in which all the members could be convinced that it had to be lifted rather than dragged would have made it last longer, but its days were numbered from when we got it.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 4:03 PM
horizontal rule
132

Ooh, maybe I should push Lee on the idea of a kitchen couch! We have a radiator under each of the big windows and right now there's an ugly but functional wooden shelf unit there. A couch could have sturdy shelving above if needed.... Lee really wants an island, but I've never had one and don't entirely get the appeal. But a cozy couch where the girls could read and do homework sounds delightful. (I'm not sure how the reality that we always eat in the kitchen rather than dining room fits into Lee's model, really.)


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 4:03 PM
horizontal rule
133

130: Yeah, the problem is that the one we have is perfect. It's very small when necessary, but very easily expandable a whole lot. This would be the gateleg table you'd want on board a ship. If it were in good shape and set on gimbals or something.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 4:04 PM
horizontal rule
134

If the table was non-rickety before and no wood has rotted, logic would seem to require that it could be fixed by some method.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 4:11 PM
horizontal rule
135

Maybe what your table needs is to have all its screws taken out and put back in again. Have you thought of this?


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 4:15 PM
horizontal rule
136

It was less rickety before. About ten years ago, parts started falling off of it, and we took to a recommended guy for regluing. We gave him a whole lot of money, and it seemed sturdier for a month or two, and then it got shaky again. I am hesitant to do the same thing again, unless someone in the NY area knows a reasonably priced wizard.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 4:16 PM
horizontal rule
137

136: I don't know what Nate Silver charges.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 4:19 PM
horizontal rule
138

Certainly don't try the same guy.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 4:19 PM
horizontal rule
139

I bet you could find someone upstate who could build you a new one for the same as a less-perfect replacement from a (good) store. Do Buck's people know anyone?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 4:21 PM
horizontal rule
140

Something Megan something mumble couches.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 4:25 PM
horizontal rule
141

Thorn, perhaps a heated-from-within cushioned windowseat in your kitchen? The woodworking magazines have plans for those (with built-in bookcases!) about every third ish, seems to me. Three carcases and a square foam pillow, as a rule, very handsome.

My Ithaca cousin might well know a cabinetmaker. Hiring a good one is sort of peaceful, I find: you will pay a lot and get what you asked for.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 4:34 PM
horizontal rule
142

136: The company that shipped it to me managed to break three of the six legs on my current gateleg table, but you'd never know it. I will send you the info on my wizard.


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 4:38 PM
horizontal rule
143

Certainly don't try the same guy.

I dunno, it sounds like a job for Mr. Wizard to me. He's always doing this thing with a bottle whose steam makes a balloon get big and this proves things about pressure. Relevant?


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 4:49 PM
horizontal rule
144

Architecture is captivating.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 4:50 PM
horizontal rule
145

Germans are really into having a couch in the kitchen: a Wohnk├╝che! They're especially popular for big apartments with lots of roommates, which tend not to have separate living rooms, but you find them in all kinds of apartments.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 5:28 PM
horizontal rule
146

A couch in the kitchen sounds like it would easily become very messy, but also sounds kind of enticing!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 5:30 PM
horizontal rule
147

Blume, you always get loquacious around this time of day.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 5:57 PM
horizontal rule
148

You know, after three or four beers, it tends to go that way.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 5:58 PM
horizontal rule
149

very messy, but also sounds kind of enticing!

It is if you're doing it right...


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 6:08 PM
horizontal rule
150

LB, there is a great Skovby table in my apartment which is very adaptable. It's this one
http://www.smartfurniture.com/products/Skovby-Multi-Function-Extending-Table-SM-101.html?att=859&cid=860
but lots of their tables are extendable (ible?). Not cheap but you might get a deal - my mother and father practically lusted after the above table for years and years and eventually we got it across the border at a much cheaper price.


Posted by: emir | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 6:48 PM
horizontal rule
151

142: I would appreciate it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-30-12 7:49 PM
horizontal rule
152

To tie various comments together, I used to go to daycare at the house of an Afghan refugee, and she had 6 children and they all had their own bedrooms. Her husband had remodeled the house, and they were all very tiny. They had very nice carpets though.

I shared a room with first my brother and then my sister until I was about 12 or so. I think fighting over where the exact middle of the room is so each of you have the same size half is very character building. If children all have their own rooms today, it probably explains why the schools are failing.


Posted by: Britta | Link to this comment | 12- 1-12 2:05 PM
horizontal rule
153

I had a Thai-Chinese friend and housemate on what must be the opposite of six tiny bedrooms; she eventually confided to me that she thought cultures where people grew up sleeping alone were all crazy, because how could that be natural for a mammal? Fair enough. (I might be able to sleep in a puppy-pile as long as I had somewhere quiet and shut away during the day.) ...She is missing and presumed dead after the 2004 earthquake.

Josh, is it your tastes that change or your furniture or the dimensions of your abode?

I would be okay with a dinette in the kitchen, if the path to it didn't cross paths with cooking and the person at it didn't distract me by, say, speaking, but wouldn't a soft couch get steamed up and smelly? My fantasy kitchen has a floor which is soft and yet can get sluiced down with scalding water, which seems as unlikely and less replaceable than a couch.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 12- 1-12 11:07 PM
horizontal rule
154

Maybe some kind of industrial rubber flooring?


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 12- 2-12 6:02 AM
horizontal rule
155

We enjoy our new linoleum. (It doesn't look dated.) And it's eco-this-that-and-the-other-friendly. And it's soft and easily cleaned although I've never poured scalding water on it.

It can stain, I think, if you let something sit on it for days.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 2-12 7:35 AM
horizontal rule
156

We have stone stairs that are all scarred up from when someone hammered a carpet on top of them. But I like them that way.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 12- 2-12 10:09 AM
horizontal rule
157

Oh, there's great rubber decking made for barns & ice rinks.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 12- 2-12 7:03 PM
horizontal rule
158

Horses and hockey players have all the nice things.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 2-12 7:05 PM
horizontal rule
159

.She is missing and presumed dead after the 2004 earthquake.

Oh, this world.


Posted by: beamish | Link to this comment | 12- 2-12 7:09 PM
horizontal rule
160

And it's eco-this-that-and-the-other-friendly.

As I like to say, it's effectively edible: perhaps a bit tough on a human GI tract, but all plant-based.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 12- 2-12 7:48 PM
horizontal rule
161

there's great rubber decking made for barns & ice rinks

Rubber decking you're the one!
You make skating so much fun!


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 12- 2-12 7:55 PM
horizontal rule
162

Heh.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 2-12 7:58 PM
horizontal rule
163

And IIRC linseed is pleasantly renewable and non-environmentally destructive.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 2-12 7:58 PM
horizontal rule
164

I suppose if we decide to embrace Mara's pica rather than fight it, I'm getting good advice for an edible house.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 12- 2-12 8:12 PM
horizontal rule
165

164: Have you considered gingerbread in place of drywall?


Posted by: Child-Eating Witch | Link to this comment | 12- 2-12 8:19 PM
horizontal rule