3 Jun 2010
Bob asked me to write a post on his blog at the request of several readers. It seems that there are a lot of people who are interested in knowing what its like to live with an architect. I wasn’t sure exactly what to write about because there are oh, so many peculiarities and defining characteristics of my husband being an architect. I do think, however, that I came up with the one thing about Bob being an architect that most changed me. I call it the ignorance factor. Let me explain:
Bob has ruined me. Yes, I know that sounds pretty harsh. My husband (and possibly all architects) are extremely specific. Bob talks about how in college they had to be able to articulate the smallest detail and understand how to explain ‘why’ they liked something. It wasn’t ok just to like something, there had to be a reason and you had to be able to articulate it. Now, I don’t know if this is an architect trait or just a Bob trait, but either way, Bob has it in spades. And by the way, he has passed this lovely trait down to my daughter. You can feel sorry for me now.
How this relates to living with an architect is this. Pre-Bob I would have been perfectly happy buying what I would call a ‘builder home’. By builder home, I mean those subdivisions where every 6th house is the same and you go in and ‘build’ your home by picking out the floor plan, the roof, what the front will look like, etc. out of a pre-determined kit of parts. When I was a child we used to go to the model homes and I would dream of those homes being mine. We always lived in ‘used’ homes and I wanted one of those ‘new’ homes. Somehow, new seemed better. As an adult, I would still have blissfully loved to have one of these homes, even if it looked exactly like the house six doors over. I would have never known that the house had too many rooflines or had poorly designed spaces or wasn’t built with quality parts. I would have LOVED the large walk-in closets and big kitchens. But no. Bob had to go and point out all those things that are wrong with them and now, I’m painfully aware of their problems and I can’t stand them either. And it makes me mad. I just want my ignorant bliss back. I really want to be able to buy my reasonably priced builder home, decorate it in floral fabrics, pick out wallpaper and coordinated paint colors, and enjoy it – and I can’t.
So now we live in a house with lots of ‘potential’ because it doesn’t have any of the typical pimples that architects abhor. The problem is that my friends don’t really understand potential. They just think my house looks run down. They don’t care that the floor plan was carefully laid out on a grid and that each room conforms to that pattern. They don’t get the modern aesthetic. They just see that the closets are small and there’s no granite or stainless steel in the kitchen. Bob’s friends, however, totally get it. They can look beyond the old, dull concrete floors that need to be re-polished and say ‘wow, this house is so cool and has great potential.’ They then begin discussing all the things we could do to it with great excitement. Unfortunately, we never have ever, ever hit that ‘potential’ because of the amount of money it costs to get there.
So, therein lies the dilemma. I’m tired of living in a house that has potential. I want a house that looks good. I want people to say ‘you’re house is gorgeous’ rather than ‘you’re house could be gorgeous’, but I can’t afford the house that would be approved by an architect and complete. Besides, I think Bob likes the idea of getting there more than the finished product. I find myself driving down the street going ‘wow, look at all those conflicting rooflines’ and I actually cringe at myself.