The Suitcase Lady


August 4, 2015, 9:27 pm

Twenty years ago, I embarked on the largest art project in my life. My husband and I collaborated to design our house. We challenged ourselves to plan a small (1,2oo square feet) well proportioned, easy to maintain and affordable house. In addition, we wanted the design to compliment the furniture we bought in the early years of our marriage. And finally, we wanted to enjoy the process and still be best friends when we moved in.

Before we began, two friends, one an architect professor and one a building contractor gave us brilliant advice. The professor told us, “On your budget, you can only build right angles; i.e., a box.” The contractor said, “On your budget, you can’t have anything custom made, all components have to be standard, ready made sizes.”

We do believe in listening to people who know more than we. Dreams of curved walls, odd shaped windows, exotic materials and unique built-ins were quickly scuttled.

Our first sketch was done on a napkin in a spaghetti restaurant. The elevations and floor plans were done on my husband’s Mac. We had a structural engineer check our final drawings to make sure our lovely design wouldn’t fall down on our heads.

The hardest part of the design process was thinking in 3D. We resorted to standing on a ladder in the framed house in an attempt to get the correct sight lines for the windows. I still do not understand stairwells, but, fortunately, my husband could visualize them correctly.

We have begun the twentieth year in our home, and every day we are still amazed that we have the good fortune to be here.

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