If I had to define myself – which I wouldn’t, because it’s so limiting – and who really likes limits. Not me. But if I had to, I would definitely be more inclined to think of myself as a design/builder than an architect. I change my mind. I see a better way, sometimes it’s aesthetic, sometimes functional, sometimes financial. Whatever the reason, being able to adapt quickly to a new reality is important to get what’s right for you in the moment. Well, as right as any situation can be under the circumstances.
The circumstances in South End properties – and many city dwellings, wherever your city may fall on the map, is tight quarters. Spaces that aren’t really suited for the function they must suit, and lacking the feet to fit those feet that will surely step into those spaces. When I say feet, I really am being generous. In fact, every inch matters, and when the plan can be nuanced to fork over an inch here or there, there really is no other choice than to take it.
Today, with the help of my Dad, I took back half a foot. When I tell you that’s life changing for this space, you may not fully appreciate the veracity of the statement, but I can assure you, it’s enormous. It makes the difference between being able to fit a queen size bed in place of a full. It makes the difference between being able to walk around the bed and make it perfect hospital corners. It makes the difference between blocking the window or orienting the bed properly so you approach the foot upon entry into the room. These might seem like picky details, and they are, but life is in the details. Your perceptions and enjoyment of the space will be in getting these things right. By placing the new metal studs on the flat, staggering them, and then weaving acoustic insulation between the studs our wall will be three inches thick instead of four plus, and by butting the wall up against the window casing we gain the additional five inches needed to create the flow around the bed and allow the door, clear swing.
There are days when getting it right simply won’t be possible. When that unfortunate situation arises, as surely it will, we will trick the observer into thinking it’s otherwise. Being clever is far more important than being pretty. One that can appreciate cleverness is to be kept around.