Friday, June 02, 2006

Ask Cardine: Part IV - Pontifications on Home Design

This one is going to be a little long because the questions were long. I will put the question portion in italics and the answer portion in regular type.

Cash asked:

I want to know your opinions on home design. By that, I mean I want you pontificate on many things. Do you hate stucco?

No, I don't hate stucco, but I don't feel that a house that is 100% stucco is very beautiful. If a person were to have an entire house of stucco because they're going for a Southwestern look, that's fine with me, but I don't want to live there. I think that stucco should be accompanied by something else, such as brick or stone of the fake or real varieties.

What about siding?

Actually, I've noticed that a lot of people are siding snobs. They think that siding is ugly and cheap. I think that sometimes siding can actually be quite cute. If I get time I will go around and take some pictures of siding houses that I think are cute. Some of them (probably most) aren't 100% siding houses, but I am not adverse to siding.

Do you think fake stone will be hideous in just a few short years?

No, I don't think that it will be hideous; however, I think that the fake stone will probably date the house. Sort of like certain color-schemes or brown wood houses scream the time period in which they were made. Right now I've noticed that everyone is all about the brown houses around here. They look nice and everything, but why is every new house the same color scheme? I have no idea.

Do you think it's good that cheap materials have made it possible for families to buy larger houses for less money, even if it's not built to last?

I am a fan of following building regulations and of people who are experts in fields doing their jobs. In other words, I am going to trust that building inspectors will ethically perform their duties so that a future purchaser of a built home can trust that their home is free of material errors that would cause the home to be unsafe. Other than that, if someone wants to put cheap doorknobs on their doors, that is fine with me. Did that sufficiently answer the question?

Or do you think modern technology makes it stupid to build houses to last just because we'll want to update and upgrade so much along the way we might as well raize the building and start again?

Oh, I don't think that it's stupid to build quality homes. I think that updating and upgrading is optional. I really think that this question is more for people who are rich and put all sorts of new-fangled gadgets in their homes and not for me, the girl who only uses TV to watch LOST that she taped on her VCR. Yes, I typed VCR, not DVR. And, I think that there will always be people who like old homes, such as the treehouse and would rather restore as opposed to destroy and build anew.

Do you like modern styles?

Some of them. I'm not much of a fan of all of the brown that's going on around here. Something that should give you a clue is that usually when people say that they like the architecture or coloring of a building, I am thinking, "Ew, that would drive me crazy." Needless to say, I know that I am not a trend-follower. There are some looks that I just don't like, such as salmon-colored stucco commercial buildings. In fact, I don't like most of the architecture of the commercial buildings around here that were built post-1920. But, I do like a lot of newer architecture in other cities. I have no explanation for this.

Do you think garages should be detached or attached?

Really, in my opinion, it depends upon the size of the house. If it is a gigantic house, I think that it could go either way. For convenience purposes, attached appears to be better, but I am fond of a carriage house-type garage. If the house isn't very big, I think that the garage should generally be attached or hidden in the back so as to not make the house seem small. I hadn't really thought about this, so I just made it up while I was typing.

On the front, back, or at the side?

If the garage is going to be on the front, then there should be a substantial amount of house front to go with it. If it is in the back, then there had better be a substantial yard to go with all that concrete. If it is to be at the side, then there had better be a large area in which to maneuver into the garage, plus sufficient yardage.

Do you think home furnishing should be like Ikea -- slightly funky,slightly junky, but mostly affordable?

This is entirely dependent upon the homeowner's situation and style. Their personality would have something to do with it, too.

Or should they, too, be built to last?

I think that quality is always a good thing, but a person would have to weigh the pros and cons of the amount of money spent vs. what they are able to afford, given their situation. If possible and reasonable, quality and built-to-last furniture would be fantastic.

Do you worry that buildings are built in a more disposable fashion and that's dangerous what with hurricanes damaging the Gulf Coast and big earthquakes forecasted in both Utah and California?

Sometimes I think about buildings and wonder about the quality of the workmanship that has gone into the structure. I always hope that the structure is of good quality in case some sort of a disaster strikes. However, I am aware that there are many people who choose to dwell in dwellings that are less than sturdy. I would not want to tell those people how to live their lives, so I just hope that those who choose more disposable building materials will be okay if they are ever faced with disaster. Again, I will have to trust building inspectors that buildings are being built in such a manner that would not compromise the safety of individuals.

Or do you not care?

I would like to live in sturdy dwellings.

Do you think people build too big of houses?

I don't know how to answer this one, except to say that people are free to choose the house in which they live. I don't want to clean it.

Do you think it's good for siblings to share rooms or do you think it's better for them to have privacy of their own room?

There is an opportunity cost to both situations. I think that in many cases it is good for siblings to learn how to share space/respect others' space in a shared environment, but I think that there are many cases in which it really is better for siblings to have their own rooms. It's situational, really, but when siblings get to be older, I think that it's just probably a relief for them to be able to have their own room.

How big is too big?

8000 sq ft. Just kidding. I don't know. I suppose that if there were space in a structure that is only used for the housekeeper to clean, that would be too big. What's too big for me? If I murmur about how big it is, it's probably too big. I don't know how big that is. I have often wondered how I could find a balance between a house that is large enough for parties or to entertain people, but not so big that when I'm not entertaining people I think ... whoa, what's up with this big house I have to clean?

There are so many questions here and because you've recently considered buying/building a house, I'll bet you've thought of these things. What are your opinions?

I am too lazy to want to take on yardwork by myself. A yard should be somewhat easily-maintained if those who live there are working full-time. Kitchens should be large. Bedrooms should be separate from community living areas. I like 3+ floors, but I don't want to clean them. I like having a basement. I am a fan of wood furniture, especially dark woods. I haven't figured out how to have both an indoor and an outdoor pool. People like large jacuzzi bathtubs. I don't care much about those. I think that a bedroom is a sanctuary. Most people put their beds there, plus a tv. I don't really want a tv in my room. I like white walls. If there's not going to be white walls, I like crown molding. I like a room with four different colored walls, one of which is somewhat bold or dark. I also like light yellow walls. I am not a huge fan of tile. I like it when people have sufficient places to sit in their living areas (hee hee). I like pianos in houses, separate from a room where there is a tv. I like the idea of a reading room/study/computer room. I think it would be okay for the windows in that room to be full West. I like the sun beating down on me when I'm reading books, just as long as the sun isn't in my eyes. I think that a yard should have quite a bit of lawn. A yard should have the means in which you could play a rousing game of croquet. People should be able to play night games or day games in the yard, without fear of ruining the landscaping. I should always have access to a riding lawnmower. Flowers are pretty. Trees are pretty. I don't like rock art so much in yards.

I will be editing this someday and adding photos. It'll be great. Stay tuned. Thanks for the questions.


julie said...

I'd love to drive around with you. I love looking at houses. I tend to get car sick, but I'll survive.

I am impressed with your pontifications on home design. I wouldn't be able to say that much about what I want/like in a home. I know that I love yards, but I don't enjoy yard work so I'll need a gardner or a husband.

tearese said...

I like those houses up the street from 'the old hospital' as my mom calls it. I don't know what street it is, like 200 or 300 west. They all have swoop roofs and I think they look cool, but small.
when I was younger I wanted to live in one of those octagon shaped houses. Now I think they're kind of ugly. I like rooms that aren't square...for instance, our livingroom area has six walls.
I like houses with riverstones, or those stucko ones with bits of stone or brick mixed in. I think that bed and breakfast off of center street is like that, but I'm not sure.
I like Frank Lloyd wright's 'Falling water' or whatever that famous house is called. The creek goes right under and maybe into it.

In seattle where I lived, this whole neighborhood had the garages at the basement level of the house. So it would have this realllly steep driveway, and you parked under your house. I guess it saved space, but it would be horrible if you couldn't drive up the hill, or if it snowed or something.

Cassie said...

So Cardine, are you thinking of buying a house? That is so awesome if you are. I would love to have my own house. Really just to have my own place in general would be great.

Cardine said...

Those houses up the street from the old hospital used to have a name. I guess that when the old hospital was actually a hospital, it was sort of the snooty rich people area. I can't remember what everyone called the area, but I do remember the name of the poor area counterpart. It was called "Dogtown." I guess lots of dogs would roam around that neighborhood.

Cassie: Sometimes I contemplate purchasing a house. Right now it's on the someday-but-not-now-plate. I revisit the idea occasionally, but not really ever seriously.

Cash said...

Wasn't that area of houses by the old hospital called something like Million Dollar Way or something with "million" in it?

Cardine said...

Perhaps "Millionaire Way."

tearese said...

iTs interesting how the way 'millionaires' live has been redefined. I would never think of that as a really rich area now, just nice.

tearese said...

nice pics. now I better understand the brown house bit. Hey.... don't you live in a "Brown" house? Get it, get it?

Cardine said...

I have no idea what you are referring to...

Funny, funny.

Cardine said...

*This is a reproduction of cash's first comment on the blog, but with edits:

Wow, Cardine, I can't believe you answered ALL those questions. Props to you. Did that take all night? I'm not entirely sure what you mean by those brown wood houses that are all the rage. Could you post a picture of one perhaps?

Cardine said...

*This is a reproduction of the 2nd comment (which I deleted) with some edits.

Actually, it didn't take very long because you provided most of the blog.

I can see how the brown wood house thing would be confusing because of the way I wrote it. The brown wood houses are not all the rage. Brown wood houses, like our house in Royal Glen, date the house. The brown-colored houses I was talking about that are all the rage are typically a combination of stucco and brick or stucco and that fake rock stuff.

I'll post pictures if I have time to drive around my town and take them.