Thursday, February 22, 2007

The engaging of an architect

We're going to do some work on the house. I wrote about B's morally and materially questionable funding proposal in a previous post. When we bought our home nearly 2 years ago, it hadn't been touched in 30 years and was in desperate need of modernisation. The intention was to completely gut the place; add a bathroom, extend the kitchen, rewire, re-plaster, decorate throughout and tackle the front and back gardens. At the time we thought this would take 3 months at most. Well, it's now nearly 32 years since our dream home has seen a lick of paint, and B has had enough.

B's approach to the project would be to start. To just start, with the kitchen initially and to then do the other things in an iterative fashion. My approach, more akin to running projects at work, would be to begin with the end in mind. To describe a vision of our family enjoying our living space. From this we could determine the things that are important to us in a family home. We could then develop a number of options that could deliver this Utopian existence, all at varying levels of cost, duration and quality of finish. Having consulted experts in various trades, we could then make an informed decision, giving us the best chance of ending up with what we'd envisaged.

A compromise was required. B conceded that her less than holistic methods might well end up taking more time and being more costly in the long run. But she also felt that I was being overly long winded with my 'front end loading' and insisted on speeding up the process by getting in a professional. We engaged the services of an architect, who came to spend a planning day with us last week. He arrived, I offered him a cup of tea and he began to explain how the day would run.
"I'd like to spend the first half of my time with you exploring a vision of how you want your family to live. We'll try and establish the values and emotions that are important to you when spending time with family and friends here at home," he said as he was sitting down. B suddenly sprang into action.

"Don't take your coat off," she blurted, grabbing his arm and pushing him toward the door. "I'm taking you to the kitchen shop."

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