Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Better Homes and Gardens

I spent a lot of time dreaming about my future house. Before falling asleep, or during long rides in the car, I'd fantasize about all the different rooms and passageways the adult me was going to enjoy.

This was in the old days before smartphones and back-seat DVD players, so I had a lot of time to design my future digs. Come to think of it, even if that stuff had been invented back then, most parents would probably have banned them on the theory of, "Why should I be bored driving when the kid gets to watch his Space Wars foolishness?"

While I admired the all-around design of the Addams Family house, or Disney World's Haunted Mansion, I felt my house should be more normal looking on the outside, only to BLOW VISITORS' MINDS once they got inside. Plus, a big creepy, Psycho-looking house might give people the wrong idea. I didn't want to be a villain or a creep, just a dude with an awesome house.

Exposure to kid mystery shows and books made me realize I needed hidden chambers behind bookcases and hidden passages to different rooms. Ideally, the house would also be over a secret cave I could firepole down to and ... I dunno, plot and stuff.

I didn't really see the need for those oil portraits with the eyes cut out where you could watch people, but figured I had to have them as part of the overall decor. Plus, I'd probably get a deal on them if I installed a firepole.

I definitely wanted a secret laboratory, even though I didn't really know that much about science. I would have to keep a gorilla down there, since based on old movies and comics, gorilla brain transference operations were pretty routine in secret laboratories.

I'd probably want a Tor down there as well.

But while secret chambers and labs were cool, what I really wanted was an outdoor room.

I have no idea how I came up with this plan, but I really wanted a bedroom that was full of grass with a pond in the middle. Maybe some boulders scattered around, also. To make myself fall asleep at night, I would concentrate on the carpentry and stuff I'd have to do to accomplish this.

I'd have to saw the door about a foot from the floor, then make some sort of liner to accommodate all the dirt. I was also going to stock the pond with fish, so I could catch some every once in a while, or maybe just look at them while relaxing in my outdoor room. I think I might have actually written some blueprints for this room at some point.

While the outside room was going to be my home's shining architectural achievement, I had a second act - an upside-down room, where all the furniture, outlets and everything would be up near the ceiling. While the outside room would have been functional (sort of), this would have been just for weirdness' sake. When friends came over I could casually say, "Oh yeah, you can stay in the room down the hall," and watch as they caught a debilitating case of vertigo.

I thought about this stuff for years. When I got older I didn't think as seriously about having an outdoor room or an upside-down room, since that stuff seemed sort of outlandish, but I did fantasize about having a living room that was a huge half-pipe, as that was much more grown up.

I think a lot of this came from hearing about the Winchester House, with its stairways leading to nowhere and false doors and ghost traps and whatnot. Plus, a lot of TV shows at the time, like Real People and That's Incredible celebrated weirdos who lived in crazy houses or drove cars covered with lightbulbs or whatever. So I was really sort of in tune with '70s culture.

I never got a chance to design my cool house, but there are places in my hillbilly shack where you'll probably go through the floor if you stomp, and my ancient windows let in about as much heat or cold as standing outside, so you could say I'm fairly close.

1 comment:

Sherri Larsen said...

I had a house all designed as a kid, too. Mine had a huge, center garden area with a giant, plastic skydome. The garden was filled with trees, waterfalls, birds, and other critters that wouldn't try to eat the birds. I may still build this someday, so consider yourself warned. You can design all the surrounding other rooms in your Scooby Doo style, if you'd like.