Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Pleasant surprises about the design of our house

We put a lot of thought into the design of our house. (Elizabeth would typically call it obsessing when I would do it. She'd do something else while I pondered the importance of the position of a door, for example. Often that something else was try to get me to stop obsessing so that we could leave the house.) With a few exceptions most things worked out the way we'd hoped. For example, I had the electrician install a power outlet in the downstairs hall at light switch level. I intended to put a shelf there to set my phone on while charging. In the end, Elizabeth came up with a better solution, which was to put some furniture in our "mud hall" to collect that kind of stuff. Because I wasn't on the same page with her there, I didn't get an outlet on the right wall in the mud hall, so I can't plug my phone in at the same place that I drop my keys and wallet. Whoops.

However, there were other things we didn't plan that have worked out well. For example, as we were walking through with the electrician Elizabeth told him that we wanted one can light on its own switch above each of the window seats. I thought it was a silly idea, but the electrician said it would not cost substantially more to have it on a separate switch, so I acquiesced. Turns out, I use that light in Eliana's room as a night light. She likes it because it's bright enough to read by. I like it because the CFL can uses less power than the pretty, girly incandescent night light.

Another happy surprise is also lighting related. I've been reading to Eliana most nights before putting her to bed. We'll turn off all the lights in the living room, light the fire, and sit down to read. Normally, that'd be the time that you'd want some sort of end table lamp to give you just enough illumination to see the page. Well, I don't really like lamps and we don't have any in the living room. But we do have awesome lighting on our deck. If I turn that on, more than enough light comes in through the window to read by and provides something of a sunset effect. I like it.

The shelving unit that we bought to put into Eliana's closet was a mistake that turned into serendipity. It took up too much space in the center of the closet, i.e. where the door opened, leaving too little room to hang closets on the rods, which ended up back in the hard-to-reach corners. I'd already assembled the shelving unit at that point, so we didn't feel like we could return it. Then Elizabeth had the brilliant idea of installing the unit in the laundry room. We'd originally drawn the laundry room with enough space for cabinets on the wall opposite the washer and dryer, but hadn't planned to actually buy them until later. Well, the closet kit, which was much less expensive than cabinets, worked great in that space and provided hanging space that we (or at least I) weren't even thinking about. It also provided storage for detergent, stain remover, etc. There was even a little room left over to slide in a table for folding clothes on.

On an unrelated note, the water is starting to melt off the pond and the birds are beginning to return. After Eliana and I cleaned up after dinner, we took some bread down to feed the ducks. We also saw a Great Blue Heron, a Red-tailed Hawk, a pair of Hungarian Partridges, and some geese. It was fantastic except for the daughter forgetting to put on socks before we wandered outside into a newly fallen half foot of snow. Her cold toes required the excursion's end.

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