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29 December, 2007

Modern houses are weird

Overstatement alert: I'm basing that statement on a single example, my sister's home.  However, I do suspect it's representative of modern commuter-belt design in at least some respects.

It's a large house: a living/dining room, four bedrooms (three and a 'study'* ) and three bathrooms (one with a bath, one with a shower and one just a toilet & wash basin), all spread over three floors.

Yet the most striking element is a tiny kitchen: standing in the middle, I can easily touch all four walls. There's plenty of storage (actually, there's a lot of storage space) and it's more than adequate for a microwave user, but the working surfaces are minimal. The intended residents aren't ambitious cooks, plainly.

Two of the bedrooms are bigger than my living room, but oddly the 'master' bedroom isn't one of them, if that's the bedroom with the en-suite toilet & shower. There's enough floor space to access a double bed and two wardrobes, but little more; it's fit for purpose, but hardly luxurious. Could it be that more ostentatious use of space is reserved for rooms a visitor might see?

The garden is surprisingly large for a newly built estate (it's not on Google Maps yet; that new) i.e. it has one at all – most other dormitory estates I've seen have provided negligible outdoor space, even alongside family houses. Still, the rectangular lawn, gravel path and decking have the expected 'easy-clean' look.

I hadn't expected a three-bedroom house to come with three parking spaces (and with my mother's car, my sister's and a boat trailer, they're all in use).

In short, it feels efficient yet soulless. It's probably great for people who merely use a house to rest and refuel for activities elsewhere, but it's a bit too overtly utilitarian for (my) real comfort.

It's odd to see my sister's home anyway, as it's arranged so similarly to my mother's. The house itself is totally different (my mother's is a bungalow, for one thing), but the pots contain cuttings from the same plants, the souvenirs are from the same destinations and my mother's taste has influenced K's. Knowing where my mother keeps teaspoons, I found K's instantly.
In case you were wondering: no, the same doesn't apply to my house.

*: Actually, I'm told the 'study' was advertised as a second living room.


I agree that modern houses are weird. A house my friend has just bought (also not on google maps yet) has one massive bedroom (en suite of course) and three absolutely tiny bedrooms all connected to a bathroom in one way. I think because houses are free both design and physical constraints (ie not having to have fireplaces all connected to a limited amount of chimneys etc) architects run a little wild.

Posted by AKALucifer at December 30, 2007 01:57 AM
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