Note: This is part of the group series called #Architalks led by Marica McKeel (http://maricamckeel.com) for the month of April- the theme is “My Favorite Place”
“You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…”
A favorite place is a hard thing to choose when you have covered half the world, and you have a trail of memories – some that want you to come back, and some that you want to go back to. It’s only four walls with a roof and a floor – the memories of childhood in that home with dark gray stone floor and dark wood ceiling, painting those walls with my grandmother, running up the terrace to close the skylights when it rained, and staring at the stars in the sky through the same skylight at night, sharing absurd dreams of adolescence. And then there was a series of white walls that I couldn’t drive nails into, that beige carpet always looking like it needed to be ripped off, and that bright white ceiling that white washed all the dreams sometimes, and sometimes just gave a blank space to paint colorful dreams on. I don’t know what’s my favorite, there is not one place that’s dearer than the other. Life right now is very close to the 2 a.m. moments at Singapore Airport every February – it’s beautiful, and it’s the world’s best, but I am too distracted to notice and appreciate it’s beauty because I am focused on the country I just left behind and the country I am traveling to.
That time of the year when the Jasmines bloom and the weather is warm enough to leave the door the backyard open.. and then slowly let the jasmines fill the house with their sweet fragrance. It’s a small backyard, makes more sense to keep smaller backyards with water-wise plants in California at this point, but when we bought it, everyone was still buying the square feet they could afford, not the square feet they needed to live comfortably. Our backyard is a little space, good enough for our family, with dwarf fruit trees that survive on once a week watering, and almost no other flower to compete with the jasmines. There are bird feeders filled with sunflower seeds, and a hummingbird feeder that the hummingbird gives second preference once the lemons and oranges fill up the trees. It’s calm, it’s serene and it’s a place where I can sit down and reorganize my thoughts.
That place that no one talks about probably knows the best of you- your bathroom. A place where I can be myself- be true to my emotions-and be with myself. Wherever I have lived, bathroom has been that special place in the house that I take refuge in times of confusion, and of despair. The first love letter I ever received was opened and torn to pieces and flushed down a toilet. There are no specific reasons, or justifications for the actions we do at that time in our life when everything is a confusing mess of hormones- if I had known there would be only one first love letter, I would have saved it! The first time I discovered I would become a mother was in a toilet, like million other women, and in my case, a proud prolife moment that I don’t regret. That time I failed my Structure test, the stomach sank and the weird feeling of failure took over, I took a little break in the bathroom to regroup my thoughts and plan the next course of action. I still haven’t forgotten those times of parenting when the children were little, and working from home wasn’t mastered, and taking ten in the bathroom helped me more than a cup of coffee. All my life altering decisions have happened in the privacy of my bathroom, and so have many moments of peace and quiet. Sorry, no picture, but just know that it’s ultra clean and has white towels.
And then there is a place where there is no roof. Under the blue sky, walking in the sand, when the blue water hits my feet with a froth. Sometimes calm, and sometimes angry at something, like a hormonal teenager, the ocean has something new every time I visit. I love California beaches – especially during winter when we stop mandatorily while driving to the Northern part of the state. It’s that time of the year when the car parked on the street in Paso Robles will have ice set on it, but still Pismo Beach is inviting with it’s cold water. We walk, we collect sand dollars, we walk into the water and run to the sand when the cold water freezes the feet, but it’s something we like to repeat every year. I am not a fan of piers with amusement park style rides and eateries at every step, and selling pearl necklaces, but I love every beach that has stayed true to its environment.
A glassful of Robert Mondavi’s red in the comfort of my own living room while surfing through my Netflix list is the most relaxing, but once in a while I love to go this special place where only those with certain number on their ID can enter – it’s not an easy task, juggling four calendars, but we manage to, mostly because we want to, and once a month meet at Yard House for lunch. I don’t drink beer- but the Yard House love started in Pasadena. Their location in Pasadena is through a series of steps, and then a waiting area with fire places. There is a certain romance to the interiors, as well as the location. That Yard House is too far for a lunch date now, but it’s the thought that counts, and we continue the thought at the local Yard House..
Not all days are the same. Not all moments happy. Not everyone is worth the trust you place, or the love you share. Moments like that you want to hold on to innocence, and wait for that innocence to heal you. I hold her and sleep next to her on her little bed sometimes, and that special emotion that I experience when there are no other thoughts than just that moment, whether we read a book together, or we talk about her dream of driving a white jeep into a jungle chasing a black jaguar filming it in its habitat, it’s a different world beginning at the door of that little room with pearl lavender walls. She is my wings of color to go to that magical place where I can be child forever.
Home is where the heart lives, and hence the favorite?
Here is a take on the same subject from other “Architalk” architects:
Enoch Sears – Business of Architecture
Matthew Stanfield – FIELD9:Architecture
Marica McKeel – Studio MM
Lee Calisti, AIA – Think Architect
Evan Troxel – Archispeak Podcast/TRXL
Lora Teagarden – L2 Design LLC
Cormac Phalen – Cormac Phalen
Andrew Hawkins, AIA – Hawkins Architecture, Inc.
Jes Stafford – Modus Operandi Design
Michelle Grace Hottel – Michelle Grace Hottel, Architect
Meghana Joshi – IRA Consultants, Inc.
Michael Riscica – Young Architect
Stephen Ramos – Buildings Are Cool
Brian Paletz – The Emerging Architect
Tara Imani – Tara Imani Designs, LLC
Jonathan Brown – Proto-Architecture
Eric Wittman – Intern Life