Sep 24, 2010

The Patton House...Dwell Version....Part 1

The house....unfinished....but the cat is already paying homage.
If you have never visited the website Unhappy Hipsters it's high time you did. It's over on the side bar under my favorite blog lists. Take a moment now and check it out. But do come back. It will make this post much more relevant.The gist of it is this. Modern homes seem to take on a life of their own. Separate from the architect, or the builder, or god forbid, the owner, they are their own unique entity with a personality and, horror of horrors, an actual voice.

One that speaks. Out loud.

I know. I've been there. For us it was a triple whammy. We designed, we built and we owned. That house screamed at me!

It all started with the land. A beautiful six acres on a hill with amazing views and darling little creeks and deer and peacocks. It was called Paloma. It caught Matt's eye and we looked at it. There were some small water tap, no power, and a steep grade that made cutting a driveway just a tad difficult. A friend told Matt that he had looked at it, but that it was impossible to access the building envelope. We bought it the next day.

Water Tap? We bought one on the black market. Power? Matt bribed an official. (not really, but it was arduous and ridiculous, and nerve-wracking.) The driveway? Don't tell Matt it can't be done. He told two of his friends with heavy equipment that Joe Blow had said it was impossible to get up the hill and, literally hours later, they and their testosterone fueled egos were at the top. $15,000 dollars worth of gravel later, we were ready to go.

And let me say here, that it is sad when you are hoping for loads of gravel for your anniversary or Christmas. I think we gave Max a yard of concrete for his third birthday. And it was awesome! But that's a different house, a different driveway, a whole other post...

Now the task at hand was to design a house. Which we did. We ARE NOT the type to research and study and analyze and research some more. We are of the 'just do it' ilk.

Matt said that it had to be rectangular because of some site issues and cost efficiency.

We decided that we were in a modern mood.

And that was that. I drew it and we took it to a draftsman. It was to be our Dwell House.

It was three levels and cantilevered. There were more windows than not. Roof top deck. Why not? Yoga studio off the master bedroom. No one does yoga, but what the hell. (We should in a house like this.) Symmetrical rooms for the kids. In floor heat, sustainably harvested bamboo floors, passive solar design, a staircase to quickly end the life of an eighteen month old, a vintage bubbler by the back door, yada, yada, and yada.

We moved in before it was finished, which is again, another story.

And it started talking. I imagined the voice to be that of an elder statesman from somewhere in South America. Sao Paolo perhaps. That is to say that the voice had an accent. 

Of course it would.

"Do you think your grandmother's sofa is appropriate for this space?" it often whispered.

"Does that thing on the counter top have any significance?" it would ask. 
"That thing is the coffee maker and it's non-negotiable, Senor!" I would reply.

But inside I would be thinking, 'it's a stainless steel french press, for God's sake, WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME!!?'
Sometimes it would say..."Would you please go to Toast and order your family some damn clothes!"

The voice was at times annoying and at times humorous. The details were often overwhelming and I'm not one to be vested in details so it wasn't always fun. And, of course, all of this came with a price tag. 

" Excuse me, Madame, but where is the mint condition 1920's water fountain that you plumbed for in the mud room?" he asked one day.

"It's in queue on Ebay, jackass." I calmly replied "Can we use YOUR credit card?"


1 comment:

Grant said...

That is an awesome post. Thanks for making me laugh!