At some point a few weeks ago, in the midst of weeks filled with more trips to showrooms, research on the internet, taking field measurements, altering designs to coordinate with plumbing requirements, and drawing up construction details, I felt like I wanted to stop. Kitchen cabinets and appliances had been selected. Bath cabinets, kitchen countertops, light fixtures, plumbing fixtures, tile selections, and many other selections were in process and needed attention. Construction was continuing on schedule, leaving no time for a break. It’s been relentless ever since construction started about 10 weeks ago.
It wouldn’t have felt so relentless if I didn’t still have to show up for my full time paid employment! Luckily I have a lot of flexibility to get to the office late or to leave early. I’ve been taking full advantage of that flexibility to meet on site with the contractor and to work with sales people who don’t work on weekends. I have worked as an architect and builder since before I received my Master of Architecture degree in 1973. I have done numerous projects for new houses or additions and renovations, but it’s different doing this project for myself while working five days a week elsewhere.
I don’t want to hold up the construction and I want to be sure to provide the guidance needed to achieve the result I’ll be pleased with. My permit drawings were quite detailed, comprised of 23 drawings of 17” by 22” each. Still, as construction proceeds there are more questions every week about how to handle particular situations. So it’s no wonder that there are times that I just want the whole thing to be done!
On the other hand I am excited to be engaged in this project of recreating our home. I do like figuring out how to put things together, whether we are talking about how the kitchen relates to the family room, how the plumbing vent pipes can be routed to their exit through the roof, or what tiles to select to go with the countertop and cabinets in the kitchen. Meg and I have enjoyed going to showrooms, discussing what will work best in our space, and making selections collaboratively. This process can be a big stress on a relationship. For us, I believe sharing the process has been good for our relationship. We have always liked doing projects together.
I am also both excited and challenged by the opportunity to be creative and to express myself through the design. I find the process of designing the space and selecting the colors and finish materials is a way for me to engage fully with life. I feel more fully alive when I am creating the space around me than when I simply accept what’s there. There is a challenge in doing this work well. There is also a challenge to be confident in this self expression. People will experience our house and, hopefully, find it very attractive and comfortable. In many ways the house will become an extension of who I am. I want them to like me and appreciate who I am; therefore, I want them to like my house.