Life of an Architect World Headquarters is moving to a new location … which means I am moving out of my house and moving in to a new one. While the change is positive, I am a little melancholy about actually moving out of my house. For a bunch of reasons that I don’t think anybody cares about (unless your name is “Bob”, “Michelle” or “Kate”), we sold our home. I suppose I shouldn’t be too surprised because everything in my personal history told me that this was going to happen … this
is was the 5th house my wife and I have bought and sold since we became married almost 20 years ago.
The good news is that we basically sold our house immediately after putting it on the market, so no stress there. The better news is that the people who bought it aren’t planning on tearing it down and building a McMansion on our lot (which seems to be the natural order of things based on where we lived).
In an ironic turn of events, I started ‘Life of an Architect’ during the first year that we lived in this house and over the years, I have written almost 40 articles about various aspects associated with my house and the challenges an architect faces in their own home. Do I fix this? Can I fix that? Metal siding would look amazing over here … All the sort of stuff that someone who designs houses for a living goes through when they come home from a hard day at the office having evaluated every single nuance in someone else’s home. Quite honestly, it’s a little depressing.
When my wife and I bought our home, I kind of felt like I had won the lottery. There aren’t any other homes that look like mine in the area – none that are even close. My house was designed by a fairly well-known architect in the 1960’s … and you can tell it just by walking in the front door. Of course, the first time I walked in the front doors, the house was in fairly rough shape. The house was pretty dirty (I tell people it looked like a scene from ‘Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom’) and every single room was filled waist-high with stuff which caused you to rotate your hips and shoulders as you moved through each space. All of that notwithstanding, you could tell that this house was something special. Every architect who has every walked in to my house noticed that the concrete floors were scored on a 32″ x 32″ grid pattern that matched up with the 4″x8″ rough hewn cedar beams in the exposed ceiling above.
I am going to miss this house more than some should reasonably miss an inanimate object. To that end, I spent a better part of the weekend rereading my old posts that I had written about the house (it didn’t seem quite as weird and lonely when I was doing it but it sure seems that way now that I am writing it down). If you are new here to Life of an Architect – or you just want to revisit some of the classic articles I have written about my own house, I have culled out a few of my favorites.
Cue Sarah McLachlan ‘I will remember You’
Why You Should Read it: The first post article I wrote – where you can see the house in it pristine glory before I started to clean things up.
Best Line: Don’t read too much into this, it’s just an analogy, but me buying one of these spec/ flipper homes would be like Vincent van Gogh buying art at a “Starving Artist Liquidation Sale”.
Why You Should Read it: The first drawings of my house show up. Nothing like having an architect in the family so that you can have your very own As-Built drawings handy when you want redesign the driveway, backyard, sidewalks …..
Best Line: I hate to admit this (bad karma probably) but I was home one day and I saw a guy throw his trash into that big bush so I turned the sprinklers on.
Why You Should Read it: This is one of the most popular articles on my entire site. There is something so completely wheels off about the Master Bathroom shower in my house that it brings people together … like a 1970’s sex party.
Best Line: There were pendant light fixtures hanging down INTO THE SHOWER!! If that doesn’t make you raise an eyebrow, you must have liked your time working in the Russian Gulag.
Why You Should Read it: Of all the articles I have written, this is one of my most favorite. When I reread this post over the weekend, I literally thought to myself “I used to write funnier posts than I do now“.
Best Line: post-it notes should never be used to hang wall sconces … but I am a professional and know what I am doing.
Why You Should Read it: Because sometimes, even when something is completely awesome and amazing, it still sucks. And by sucks, I mean these lights will suck your should out of your body.
Best Line: In the right environment, these light fixtures – which look like they were designed to entomb the lost souls of the damned – could provide just the right amount of personality for some hipster and they would be loved.
Why You Should Read it: Some of the very first construction drawing sketches I ever posted on this site show up here. I have maintained over the years that I am not particularly good at sketching, but that hasn’t stopped me from talking about it ALOT here on this site. As it turns out, I apparently have a recognizable sketch style – and it is on full display in this post.
Best Line: I am starting to wonder if a low-cost modern house is Santa Claus – something you believe in until you get a little older and learn enough to know better.
Why You Should Read it: People love to see other people in misery … as long as it’s funny.
Best Line: This is a look at the stucco wall partially painted. Hopefully you could guess which part is existing and which is new. If not, here’s a clue for you: the new color doesn’t look like “hobo urine”.
Why You Should Read it: Because this is the most awesomely wheels-off shower room in the history of shower rooms and this particular post is one of the most popular posts I have ever written. Does that mean you should read it? If course it does … you don’t want to be the only one who hasn’t read it, do you?
Best Line: In fact, I am growing weary of the space because despite the “I like to party naked for everyone to see” vibe that exists in this shower, the silliness of this room has finally broken my architectural spirit.
Why You Should Read it: If you have ever wondered what is involved when refinishing concrete floors, this is the post for you. In what turned out to be the messiest and single most expensive project talked at Life of an Architect World Headquarters, this would be it.
Best Line: As a brief primer, my ENTIRE house has exposed concrete floors and with the careful placement of a rug here, a chair there, they look all right. And by “all right” I mean not very good.
Why You Should Read it: While our spouses could probably go through 1 or 2 bottles of wine telling you all about the downside to being married to an architect, there is no denying that one major upside is that we create drawings on our house that come in handy. This post is full of drawings and design tips for designing fences – and as we all know, good fences make for good neighbors.
Best Line: Gosh darn it I love me some as-built drawings! You should seriously consider getting some done for your own house.
So there you have just a few of the articles I have written about my house … or should I say, about my old house, since I won’t be living there shortly. If you are a glass-half empty type of person, you will be sad that there are so many unfinished projects and squandered opportunities. If you are a glass half full type of person, you probably realize that I have a whole new house to work on and update.