The Kitchen with Six Doors

June 6th, 2012 | No Comments »

Some background about my house. It’s stingy. How can a house be stingy? When I have thought about changing things I run into many, many limitations that seem to be embedded in the design. Take the Kitchen with Six Doors.

One of the six doors

My house was built on a hill by a family of Swedish immigrant of very modest means who worked down at the wire mill that used to be the center of town. The Sundquists lived next door to the Lindquists, another Swedish immigrant family who built an identical house next door. And I mean identical. I can go next door and find the bathroom with my eyes closed. My house had some work done by the previous owner but the Lindquist’s house is untouched—it’s like a time machine. The houses were built on a hill facing a spectacular view, but they were both built before the road, so what they thought of as the back door is now our front door. Their front door was connected to town with a little path that led down the hill. The road was built behind the hill so that’s where our garage is and our “front” door.

Instead of stingy, you could instead describe the house as “frugal”. Every space is a path to another space and nothing is wasted. There are three small rooms on the first floor—living room dining room, kitchen, small pantry a tiny hall that connects the kitchen and entry and leads to the stairs.  The second floor contains three small bedrooms and a bath. The house has next to no closets and no fireplace–the one thing I said I wanted while house-hunting was a fireplace—and it’s the one thing the house didn’t have. I imagine Mr. S saying to Mrs. S “we don’t need an old-fashioned fireplace, Ma, we’ll get those new-fangled radiators!”) The first bathroom (there was only an outhouse in the beginning) was in the basement. The Sundquists and the Lindquists were apparently very competitive—when one built an indoor bathroom, the other had to build one too. When one family enclosed their tiny back porch to make a mudroom, the other family did too.  There is such a cooperative yet competitive spirit between the two homes that I am reluctant to make any drastic changes to the house lest I upset the abiding spirits that seem to reside  in both.

Three more doors

Back to the kitchen with six doors. Going counter clockwise, we encounter the first door which is the one that we use to enter the house. The next is the door to the pantry. Then the cased opening into the dining room, then the opening to the front hall which connects to the upstairs. Next is the door to the basement. Last is the back door to the wrap-around porch. Each door has an important function, each one we have decided that we cannot eliminate. This is why we have virtually no counter space.

Two more doors

Next post:  how we managed to turn the Kitchen With Six Doors (and no counter space) into a great kitchen for a family that loves to cook.

Greetings from the Georgetown Studio

December 15th, 2011 | No Comments »

Well, without much fanfare, and with much trepidation, we are soft-launching the website and blog.  I hope to be regularly updating you on what is going on in the studio and with some thoughts about local architecture and trends in sustainability and universal design.  I welcome your comments and look forward to the journey.