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!