It's a good thing I didn't go into architecture. I don't look at a space and know what to do with it. I think, Hey, there's a kitchen. It is how it is. Let's paint it and throw in a new dishwasher. Yay!
But the kitchen we are moving into is a strange, bizarre kitchen. It's in a large space but seems to be hiding in the corner, saying, "Don't mind me. I'm just over here having a little counter time." Whoever designed it must have felt he was the kitchen captain, leading the house on a floating food journey, holding the sink faucet like a helm.
"Onward," he cried, taking the house into uncharted territory.
We'd rather have a kitchen that is livable and the center of the house, even if it's not dead set in the center. I just don't know how to imagine it. The good news is that Michael does. For half of his working life, he was an architect. He says things like, "Don't imagine what is there. Imagine what you want."
He said, "Don't let dollars steer you. Put down what you want and then later work out the budget."
Who knew you could rip out a bathroom and annex it to the kitchen, creating a new bathroom next to the office? Who knew that some walls can come down (others truly cannot)?
He sits down with tracing paper he puts over the drawing of the top floor of the house and makes up scenarios. And all I would have done is slap down a new range, dishwasher, and sink and called it a day.
Of course, we will need to get the contractor in there to figure out if we can afford all this, but remember, the budget didn't steer.
As I watch him work, I imagine how designing is like writing. When I sit down with my characters, I don't think about what they can't do as much as what they might. But sometimes what they can't do leads to surprising new ideas. I keep going until the "right" thing shows up, and if I am patient and if I let go, it usually always does.
A book, a kitchen. It's all the same kind of thought, all of us with our own abilities to see past the outline of the existing fabric of things. Something grows out of what wasn't there before.
Causes Jessica Inclán Supports
Women for Women International Goodwill Industries Lindsey Wildlife Museum Freecycle.org