I like to play with my HGTV Home & Garden design program. I’ve designed some dance clubs and several pretty homes in the process of learning how to use it going, as is typical of me, from the ridiculously huge and elaborate, to fairly simple and small and back again, though some things stay the same.
I know exactly the kitchen I want and it’s been the same one in the past few designs: it has to be largish, horseshoe-shaped, with indoor herb garden on the side, bar into the great room, a breakfast nook with curving full-length windows on the other side, and a work island in the center. Oh! And, per Jeb, there has to be a double built-in oven.
This is part and parcel of the deal when you’re designing a space that’s meant to be shared: you need to incorporate other people’s ideas into it even when your ideas tend to run a little counter to one another. That’s where the compromises – or the need for them at least – come flooding in.
On my own, I wouldn’t care about the double oven, for instance, but that’s his two cents worth of what a kitchen has to have. Of course, the kitchen also has to be big enough to easily accommodate two or more butts since Jeb and I both like to cook and we tend to get in each other’s way, give each other tons of unwanted advice about how things must be done, and fight over space, pans, and what not. This isn’t to say we yell or get physical about it; we just kind of… well, it’s a fight even if it wouldn’t look like it to an outsider. We’re both very subtle and soft-spoken or jocular in our pushing, shoving, and bullying when it comes to this stuff.
Yeah, I know: I should be grateful I have a man that’s willing to cook and sometimes I am. Other times, I just want him out of the way. You want him?
In fact, anyone in the kitchen while I’m cooking who is not helping in exactly the way I see fit needs to get their butt out of my kitchen. I only share it quite grudgingly, as does Jeb. Everyone else just likes to visit in there, dang it anyway, hence the need for a bar on one side of the kitchen and a breakfast nook on the other: a place for people to visit without crossing over into what I like to call the Danger Zone.
All of which is to say, my designs get more and more complicated the more I ask for anyone’s opinion on it and they have some stock in it.
I was just putting the finishing touches on a very simple underground house design (albeit with a hot tub behind a waterfall under a pool my one frivolity) when my mom came over and asked where the mother-in-law suite was.
Instant guilt. My mom is 70 though she neither looks nor act it. Jeb’s mom is in her late 80s and just had a stroke. His father, like my stepfather would be, is edging on the helpless side without her. Chances are our empty nest won’t remain empty for long. We’ll need to have our parents move in with us eventually to care for as my mom so recently cared for her mother before she died. That’s life. It happens. It needs to be prepared for. So yeah… back to the drawing board. I needed to make room for them and a mere offhand guest room wasn’t going to be good enough. One doesn’t go from running one’s own home and affairs back to being a dependent without a considerable sense of losing self along the way.
The thought that followed this one was along the lines of my two ex-mother-in-laws from my two previous marriages.
I (with my husband) lived with one for a year in Iran. We nearly drove each other crazy in our constant competing over domestic territory and I was way out of my element what with the foreign culture and this having been her home much longer than it was mine, not to mention her seniority over me. I couldn’t do anything right by her estimation while things she did and insisted on completely mystified me.
The second, I spent only a week staying with in Arizona while my cowardly husband spent the whole time avoiding her while he instead spent time with his father. She accused me of making him avoid her and nagged me constantly on that account while I, meanwhile, wanted to strangle him for leaving me in this predicament and finally ended up hiding from her out in the car.
I don’t know about men, but the prospects of women to sharing a household portends all sorts of conflicts and difficulties. Can you just imagine the boiling pot of chaos a polygamist must find himself in with competing wives who are also competing with his own mother? And you know what happens if even one of them is upset with him? That’s when they all gang up on his sorry ass. I-YI-YII-YII-YII!!!!!! It’s the stuff Hell is made of for all parties involved.
Keep your friends close and your enemies even closer the old spy adage goes. I say keep your family close but with a certain clearly defined degree of separation. Competing females need their own kitchens or the flour and pots and pans are definitely going to fly.
So I’ve added studio type apartments with full independent kitchens attached across from the main house, separated by gardened courtyard. What do you think? Would that work? Or do you think I just need to discard simplicity altogether and design a whole family compound, aka castle.
Oh hell, why not?
There are days, however, when I think it would be nice just to live alone in a cottage by the sea with my pets and maybe a bit of romantic company now and then, but never so long as to allow him to make a nuisance of himself in the kitchen. You know?