Audio File great reveal revealed Sept 28 2012
When the architect and his spouse came, they brought us lunch and a new home plan. There was some discussion as to whether to eat and then look at the plan; or plan, then eat; or peek then eat and plan. My spouse said he was hungry and if he looked at the plans all he would think about was food sitting there looking so yummy.
I had waited so long that it was almost better to wait a bit longer. As long as we did not know, it was still going to be OK. We put a lot of stock in OK these days. OK is good. It does not disallow the troubles and weary feelings that come from the fire. It does allow for the fact that we have good times when we don’t think about the fire, when this temporary home does not feel too strange, and when life is at its quiet best, unnoticeable.
Life, of course, was not unnoticeable today. Our guests were gracious and witty, I was patient and my spouse was hungry. We ate. We had “Ma Maison Chicken Salad.” We have it on good authority that it was Orson Wells’ last meal, although it seems it was not the cause of his demise. If any of us faced demise from lunch today, it would have been a good way to pass from this life, chicken and homemade mayonnaise. It was more than OK.
At the point when people were just finishing eating my spouse crossed the room, picked up our architects’ beautiful, well used, leather plan case and advanced toward him. I was shocked, I would never pick up someone’s briefcase, but I looked the other way because I was just as curious albeit a little more socialized to the should’s and ought’s of the world. I could tell my spouse was getting a bit antzy and I was having a little trouble breathing myself. There was a story begun at lunch but not finished so the architect proceeded to finish the story. I suppose I must have looked funny because he said politely, “Would you rather look at the plans?” The story was interesting so I said, “By all means finish the story. I’m just going to sit here and hyperventilate, don’t mind me.”
It truly was a funny story and well worth hearing. But the plans. There was a roll of white paper. It was tantalizingly close. It crossed my mind to grab it and holler to Sophie the dog “go long” and then toss it to her like a football hoping she would make a break for it. While I have taught her to “go long” for a cookie toss, in my mind’s eye, the plans landed on her head and bounced off so I discarded the idea quickly.
In due time there they were unrolled on the dining room table of our temporary house. Four, beautiful, white, 24 by 36 inch pages with three staples on the left of the 24 inch side. In beautiful hand-lettered font running down the 24 inch side on the right it had our names on each page. I could not even focus on the pages because I was so taken by the idea that my name was on a page like this. Over the past 36 years we have owned 9 houses, every one of them included other people’s mistakes. In every case we fixed mistakes and, on all but one that burned, sold the houses for a good deal more money than we paid. The house on these papers was for us. It was not for someone else. It was about us. It was about who we were. No one ever did that for us. I suppose most of us live an entire life never having a house that took you as the start and built itself around you so that it fit perfectly. Most times we are glad to have a house at all and we select one that we think will work best. It is OK. OK is good. But OK is not a house that envelopes you because it is shaped for you in its wood, its windows, its halls, its ceilings, its floors, the orientation of the rooms, the size of the closets and the depth of the counters.
Usually we are trained by a house to live in it. What was on those four sheets of white paper with black impressions was a house that asked us what we wanted it to be. It was as if leaned forward toward us asking us to tell us its secrets. It wanted to be our house, to be part of us, to be part of the family. It wanted to be more than OK. It wanted to contribute to our lives by being the space that helps us be a family and helps us to warmly envelope those around us. A home should be a sanctuary. This home wants to be our sanctuary.
We were instructed to study the plan and think of things we liked, want to rethink, things we might have forgotten we wanted, or anything else. The architect said several times, “you have a busy weekend.” His spouse who along with chicken salad brings her trained designer’s eye, smiled like a Cheshire cat.
After dinner and a video, I sat down, pencil and little 1/8th inch scale ruler in hand, and poured over the pages 1/8th of an inch at a time. I “walked” through each pathway, down every hall, up each stair and through each door. The flow is not obvious until you study it and then it sings. During my “walk” I could see how much the flow was natural so that the house lived around the person rather than the person around the house.
Those 4 pages are so much more than OK. We are astonished at how many quirks of our land, and of us, our architect saw and grasped right off and addressed so eloquently with the elegant black markings on these beautiful 24 x 36 inch, white pages that will be our home.