if this was your house, what would you do?
June 8, 2011
i originally promised updates on the dutch colonial house renovations. as expected – work, life, children take their place and time, and the little yellow gem has been through seasonal tides under its new owners. it might feel like a slow process – the baltimore county and state of maryland tax credit applications and approval; the numerous subcontractors evaluating the hvac, windows and site drainage, and the occasional spur of the moment wall-painting frenzy. i remind myself that it's a process, perhaps not a linear one, like those subatomic particles whose unclear pathways are only justified thru nuclear energy (should have paid more attention to my physics). going through the tax credit application forced us to identify all the necessary improvements (heating, window refurbishment) and the wishful thinking ones (5-panel solid wood doors in their original stain). it prompted us to look at things logistically rather than emotionally, which is something with which all of our clients struggle. finding that perfect balance between everyday needs of functional space and desire for much more within a rational budget. having a clear modus operandi always helps. our goals have been to preserve what is here, perhaps budget driven, but more so, providing stewardship to quirky old things that last a lifetime longer than the off-shore mass-produced voc-and-chemical treated new products they try to sell at the local home-improvement store.
i wish i was asked more – 'if this was your house, what would you do?' as architects – or I should say, as any good architects – we do not strive to shape the clients' home based on some unrealistic personal agenda. if that were the case, by my book, you would all be living in a tuscan villa enjoying the breezes thru palladio's windows. as i stumble on functionality and desires i must tell myself, and my clients, take your time – choose well – rationally and happily. a successful project takes a long time, patience, committment to what you believe in – whether it be sustainability, preservation, budget restraint, quality of materials and craftsmanship. perhaps we could all agree that keeping all of these in balance it's worth the wait.