Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Here we go...

Friday night, while watching Game 7 of the World Series at M's grandma's, I checked my phone for messages. There was an e-mail from our architect. With attachments. My heart started pounding...here were the first drafts of our new home's layout. I downloaded the PDFs and waited for them to load, then tried to read house plans for an approximately 2,500 sq ft residence on an iPhone screen. After I got a general idea, I silently handed the phone to M, who looked at me quizzically before squinting at the screen himself. "Oh!" His face lit up and we beamed at each other.

That night, or rather, early the next morning when we got home, we printed the plans and looked some more. Even though we were both exhausted, we couldn't help it. We batted around a few things, then set down the plans and went to sleep. Saturday and Sunday, we'd pick them up as we passed by, not spending too much time on any one thing but just letting them marinate. Since we had a meeting with the architect scheduled for Monday, Sunday night we sat down with the plans, a pencil, a tape measure and a calculator, and got to work. There wasn't much to do, but we jiggered around the pantry, guest bath, bill desk, shoe rack and coat closet, and made a small addition that attached my darkroom to the main portion of the house (the door had been located off the garage). We measured some furniture, re-mapped the finished basement, and wrote down our list of questions.

Yesterday at our meeting, our architect seemed surprised that we had very few changes and even fewer questions. We believe this was a result of two things: 1.) he had actually listened to us at our first two meetings, and 2.) we have very firm ideas of what we want and don't want and were able to give pretty explicit directions. We were thrilled by solutions he offered. I feel that our choice to retain an architect, and especially this architect, was validated. It's nice to say, "We have this problem, this need...fix it." and have that actually happen. He also knows us well enough to suggest things we had never dreamed of, but after he proposes them they make so much sense we wonder how we never thought of it.

We busted through the floor plans, working room by room from North to South. Then we started talking about the roofline, and Mike (our architect, not to be confused with M, my hubby) said, "Oh, I have some rough sketches to show you." He rummaged through his portfolio and pulled out three papers with colored ink. My heart skipped a beat. This was our very first look at what our new home will look like, what others will see as they drive down our street, what our friends and family will see when they come to visit. What we will come home to after a hard day at work, a business trip, vacation, soccer games and school plays and birthday parties. He flipped through them, deciding which to show first, second and third. I jiggled impatiently. He decided to show us the options in the order in which he had created them.

The first went down on the table and I nearly leapt out of my chair with excitement. It was wonderful. He had added a feature that I had never thought of, but which replaced my original idea with more style, function and practicality. Unfortunately, it also had gables. M and I agree that we will not have gables on our dream home. We have them now, and we hate 'em. We didn't say anything at the time, reserving our opinions until all three were shown. Option 2 came out and it was even better. No gables, and a more distinctive design.

Option 3 went down. Holy crap. That was It. At least in my mind. "M will never go for it," I thought. "He won't like any of these rooflines as they are too radical, and we're gonna have to start over." Internally, I started talking myself into a traditional hip roof immediately. We moved the pages around so we could see all three options at the same time. M said, "I know which one I like, no doubts." I was surprised he had no real changes. We both immediately threw out Option 1 for the gables, and Mike looked at us in amazement again. I don't think he's used to working with clients who are both decisive and who agree with each other so readily. Then M said to me, "Which one do you like? I have my favorite, but I want to hear what you think." Deep breath.

"I love Option 3."
"Me, too."

Mike beamed. "Really? It's my favorite, too!"

It was reminiscent of the day Zoe was born, when we had decided to wait and meet her, see what she looked like, to choose her name. We had a couple names on the list and were keeping our options open beyond that, because we couldn't really settle until we met her. After the c-section, M was over with the nurses watching while they tended to her. I remember asking several times, "What does she look like? What's her name?!" M came back to me with a nurse holding Zoe all wrapped up. "I know what she looks like. I want to hear what you think." The nurse laid her on my chest and I looked down into her beautiful little face through eyes flooding with tears and whispered, "She looks like Zoe Grace." And M, with tears in his own eyes, said, "That's what I think, too."

These are the moments when I realize just how lucky I am to be married to my best friend. Someone so compatible that when it comes to the really big decisions in life, the really huge things, we always agree. (That is not to say we agree on everything - oh boy, do we not!) But when it comes to things that could end up being a real battle - things like what our new, custom home will look like - we are perfectly in sync.

We wrapped up our meeting by creating a list of things to get to Mike (mostly furniture dimensions) and things to research (what the hell is "cultured stone" anyway? and yes, we do prefer Roman brick) and agreed to meet again in about a week. It's time to get some general contractor rough bids, and start work on true building plans.

Mike left and we looked at each other. I can't speak for what M was feeling, only how I felt. Excited and anxious and pleased and nervous and grateful and scared. All in the best possible way. I think he felt the same, or close to it. He practically vibrated with energy, and I think he'd have taken a sledge to an interior wall to start the demo if I'd let him.

Lots to do in the months again, in addition to our normal holiday hustle and bustle. Cleaning out, organizing and packing. Selecting a general contractor and working on permits for demo and build. Making sure we have a place to live, and that all our belongings are there, before the wrecking ball comes to visit.

To quote an amazing woman I met in person recently, "I don't know what it's going to be, but I know it's going to be awesome." I am learning to trust the universe, that everything unfolds exactly as it should. I started thinking this way sometime last year, and I'll be darned if it isn't working. I know this process will be hard, but I also know we'll get through it and learn and grow and continue to love and create the life we want. And I really don't think it can get any more awesome than that.

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

<< Home