Who is your house for?

Today was an interesting day.  We took a couple of hours off from working and went to an open house being put on by a local home magazine.  It was in our neighborhood and we figured it would be fun to snoop!

While the usual industry standard fare of nametag staring and glad handing happened, we were also treated to the architect saying a few words about this rather run of the mill house (that WAS sited well on a beautiful lot).

He began with the usual jargon of space and scale, which was hit and miss in the rooms open in the rooms we could look into.  Then he ventured into the why of the home.  The 'context of the neighborhood' and how this cape cod mansion had to somehow fit into the neighborhood.  Note that this 'neighborhood' was a McMansion developer's special complete with 6,000 sf colonials and overly pitched roofs that seemed to reach to the sky above.  He waxed on about the need to respect the neighbors and help to create the 'fabric'.  Ugh.  I felt like I was back in studio.  No wonder people hate architects.  His final nail was when he said that some people 'get this,' and then others 'need to be taught and brought around to this'.  I felt like raising my right arm at a 45 degree angle and saluting the Fuhrer.

Unfortunately, this attitude extends far beyond the pencil of the designer.  Many towns have 'design standards' that dictate what can and cannot be built in a neighborhood.  This color paint, this style of house, this many windows.  Design by copy and paste!  This is backed up by the pseudo-intellectuals who support this town fascism in the interest of keeping 'those people' out.  Yet, in my area, they are also the open border idiots who believe that any one can do anything they want freely anywhere, except in their neighborhood.  Ugh, make up your mind!!!! 

According to the logic of this architect, everyone is interchangeable and fits nicely in a neo-colonial or neo-cape, it is just the square footage that matters and separates the haves from the have nots.  Hogwash!

We are all different.  This fact bugs me sometimes when I am trying to navigate traffic or a trip into a large city, but it shows up everywhere and is real.  We each like and don't like things that the next guy thinks is just the opposite.  So why should we be herded into a stock of housing that is near the one size fits all?

Instead of accepting what the neighborhood wants you to be, challenge them if you believe your style of life does not fit into that cookie cutter requirement.  Go for a variance or special permit.  Meet their size requirements and you will have a better opportunity to succeed in court if they so choose to force their beliefs onto you as you decide how you want to live your life.  Because your home is YOURS.  There is nothing wrong with any style of home (well, except brutalism...:)), as long as it is what YOU want. 

Maybe I should stay in and work instead of wandering through neighbors houses.

Cheers!