Wednesday, May 9, 2012

When I was young, my grandfather built two houses. He built one in Connecticut first, then one in Florida. Both of these houses were like paradise for me. Huge, filled with endless rooms, small secrets, beautiful landscapes, and everything a child would want in a vacation home. 

In Florida, we had a giant pool and a hot tub in the backyard. My brother and I had our own room and bathroom in one wing of the house. Our grandparents' room had a huge bathroom, spilt into his and hers sides complete with separate toilet rooms, sinks, and showers. Everything was state of the art. The closets were bigger than the bedroom I grew up in. [The bedroom I happen to be in right now.]

In Connecticut, the house was buried in the trees next to a lake. We had a boat that we could take across the lake to a club house. There was a backyard with so much green and a balcony that looked out over all of it. There was a basement with a play room, a screening room, a sauna, a bar, a pool table. There was a sun room. The room my grandfather died in. He actually died in the hospital, but that sun room is the last place I saw him alive and it was the only place he liked to spend time during his six month battle with lung cancer, and so I love and hate my memories of that room. There were two living rooms, joined together by a wall that had fireplace through which you could see the other room. There was a yellow room at one end of the house and a pink room at the other end. The yellow room was for my family, the pink room for my aunt and uncle's family. My grandparents' room was on a separate floor and had a separate stairway that lead down to my grandfather's office in the basement. The Connecticut house was featured in an architectural magazine when it was first built. I found that magazine today.

I recently had lunch with a good friend who is finishing building a house her husband and she designed. After I read The Fountainhead, I always thought I would be disappointed with whatever house I would live in because it wouldn't have been built for me the way Roark built that house for Dominique. But who's to say that can't happen? I know I sound silly, but some people have very particular dreams to be famous or to visit certain places or to accomplish certain goals. And I have those dreams too, but one of them happens to be this house. A house I will build someday. A house that I will fill with things I've found while traveling and with my favorite pieces of furniture. Starting with my Room & Board ladder bookshelves. And the pieces of art I bought in Buenos Aires. If my grandfather can build two houses, who's to say I can't? He started an investment account for me when I was born, and I've always imagined that money to be the house that exists in my head.

Don't get me wrong. I know I've been spoiled, to even express these thoughts might come across as obnoxious. But I also know how lucky I am to have grown up the way I did, with two magical castles in the east to visit and with a fund of money that might someday help me build my own castle. Except that I don't like castles. I like modernist architecture. I like this church.

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