Stoned Architect

16 Aug

I’m certain that the people who designed apartments in California during the 1960s were on drugs. Not only are there psychedelic touches here and there on the trim of many of these buildings, but they were often created with little or no thought to the fact that people will actually have to live in them.

Case in point — our current abode.

The genius who came up with the plan for this place never took into account the fact that, yes, Pasadena gets super hot in the summer and, especially at night, near-freezing in the winter. The placement of the walls ensure that there is no way for a breeze to penetrate the bedroom in the back of the apartment (which also happens to catch the full afternoon sun). They then decided to install Hawaiian windows — those thin horizontal glass panes that, when open, cut off a large part of the breeze, and, of course, when closed (this being a loose term, they never really close fully) let in drafts of cold air.

There’s also the kitchen. It’s made for giants. Granted I’m not tall, but I can only barely reach the lower shelf of the cabinets. It’s frustrating having to ask Doug to reach up for the simplest thing or climb on a chair to get something down. Of course, tall people aren’t immune to this design flaw either — the door is at just the right height to bang Doug in the head every time it doesn’t latch (which is often, as it happens to be).

Then there’s the bathroom. There is only a sliver of a medicine chest and the sink slopes downward causing anything sitting on it to occasionally slide off. When we got a set of shelves to go behind the toilet, we also found out that the floor is slanted — 16 inches of shelf width meant that there was a 1/2 inch difference in the slope of the floor.

None of the corners in the apartment are perpendicular. I found this out when trying to install corner shelves.

Finally, the AC is located on the bottom-most part of the furthest-most corner of the living room. It only cools a 2 by 5 foot swath of space.

In my last apartment there were a few things that weren’t really designed well, but at least there was a lot of cross-ventilation, the floors were even, and I could reach 2 to 3 of the shelves in the cupboard.

The more I think about it, the more sure I am that there is something deeper at work here. Perhaps these buildings are a by-product of an acid trip gone bad, or a Zen-like desire to instill in its inhabitants a sense of austerity by way of poor planning.

Maybe then, the solution to the problem is for me to jump into the mind of the person who originally conceived our building. Come to think of it, ‘recreational’ drugs might actually make this place seem normal!

3 Responses to “Stoned Architect”

  1. knitplaywithfire August 16, 2007 at 6:51 pm #

    I have a folding stool for reaching the high stuff. And sometimes architects go for pretty not practical.

  2. Christina-san August 17, 2007 at 5:02 am #

    I know how you feel when you move into a new place and how hard it is to get used to it! When I lived in Gardena, we had a nice 3-bedroom with laundry room no dryer though, one bath, nice kitchen (with the hawaiian windows the bathrooms had it too), backdoor with patio. The complex itself had 6 units and the backyard was wonderful. You could hang out your clothes and lay out in the sun plus you had your own garage. Then I moved to Torrance in the small 2 bedroom apt and it was terribly hot! But living close to the ocean helped some.I lived with my brother and his girlfriend and everywhere you turned you were facing them, no where to hide! Then I moved into a nice house in Torrance that was the same size of my old gardena apt. But it had a bigger backyard and it was fairly quiet. Then moved to Lomita and that was like your apt in Pasadena! Small rinky-dink kitchen almost like a mini hallway with a stove, dishwasher, fridge (had to have your own) and the bathroom had no medicine cabinet just a cabinet and barely enough room to move around in. Though it had a heater that was built into the wall and you could scorch yourself if you weren’t paying attention! The little tiny hallway that connected to the bathroom, kitchen & bedroom had a closet and one closet in the bedroom. There was some breeze but it was so hot. And it was another small apt complex maybe 16 units and you could have cats since the mgr had more than 10 but you could only have 2 then you had to pay extra. Had one carport, if you had another car, parking was difficult on the street cause it was always full, that was the case in my Torrance apartment! 2 laundry rooms with only one set in each. Luckily on hot days, trips to the beach were great. After a while, the place grew on me, I got used to it and liked it. It became cozy. It took some time to unpack though, with work and daily things to do, but eventually it gets done, the important stuff anyways! I had 2 cats, a box turtle, and a tempermental female iguana (which would scare the cats! and the neighboring cats, used to take the iguana for a walk on the leash and it would whip it’s tail at anything that would get in her way!)

    I know things will work out for you, with the wedding, work, organizing, all the crazy things going on right now it will all pass and you should feel at home soon! I know how you feel esp with the heat! Here in Utah it is still 98 degrees and nights aren’t any cooler! Like in the low 80s to high 70s not much breeze sometimes. The west side of the house is intolerably hot!

  3. outdoorknitter August 24, 2007 at 3:19 am #

    It sounds like it’s reaching out in every way it possibly can…to be remembered.

    Oh and the memories you’ll be making!

    Wishing you an early Happy Wedding Day and Best Wishes in your new life together.

    Outdoorknitter

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