Wishing Won’t Do it, Saving and Slaving Will
Some would argue that the ramshackle property you see at left is my house. This is a scurrilous contention I would hotly deny.
What I see when I look at my house is not what you see, or anyone else, for that matter. When I look, it is already painted (it’s gotten so bad, professional house painters knock unbidden on our door). The @%& #$! pachesandra has filled in to form an evergreen carpet between the trees and shrubs we planted last year. There are French doors, instead of dorky bay windows with fake mullions, leading outside from our ground-floor bedroom to a stone-walled patio (which even you can see) in one direction and, in the other, to an herb garden (which you definitely cannot) that’s a ringer for Nicole de Vésian’s near Bonnieux in Provence. It’s quite the stunner, my house, but you have to be me to see it.
Which is why I am obsessed with architect Jimmy Crisp’s blog. Yes, he is an advertiser, an early, enthusiastic, wonderful supporter of Rural Intelligence. But that’s not why I dote on On The Drawing Board. I love it because it fuels my fantasies with concrete facts, which make them seem less pie-in-the-sky and, therefore, more worth saving for. Did you know, for example, that an “industry standard” Marvin French door unit, 6’ x 6’8”, costs $4,897, compared to an “average quality” Simpson, half as wide, at only $2,000? In How Much?, every amenity is compared and contrasted on a tidy chart. So now instead of worrying and wondering, I lie in the bed in the morning mulling whether to hold out for the Marvins or go with the Simpsons. Naturally, I’m tempted by the Simpsons, until the specter looms of doors that age as gracelessly as those nifty-in-1950 budget bays. Then I find myself helplessly swinging back to the Marvins. Somehow this feels like progress, as if I am actually getting closer to my goals.
In his latest installment, Kitchen Costs, Crisp gives us the price range for everything, including the kitchen sink. I was surprised to learn that 36” brand-name cooktops (Kenmore-to-Gaggenau) range in price from $519 to $2999. To me a burner is a burner, as long as it lights, which, alas, several of mine have ceased to do. When I finally get around to doing something about the situation, I’ll know where to turn first: On the Drawing Board.