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Architectural dissonance

November 27, 2009

I love my family dearly, but I often wonder if the meaning behind some of their actions occurs in jest, or if they’re being deadly serious. 25 years and I’m still waiting for them to leap out of the cupboard yelling, ‘Surprise!’  

A relative of mine has a beautiful house, and a stunning kitchen. Insanely dark green granite, almost black with a hint of sparkle which makes up both the floor and worktops. She does no cooking in this kitchen, it all happens in a separate utility room. My grandmother in Italy lives in a beautiful villa but again, no cooking done in the kitchen, she does it in the garage. And an aunt in Sicily hasn’t used her kitchen in decades, she uses the loft to cook. I don’t know if I missed the memo in our family which suggested we should act completely loco where utilising the house is concerned.

This isn’t new, I know many families for which the living room holds the same idea. Everyday crappy living room and fancy lovely living room only used when guests come visiting, or for wedding morning photography. I can just about get my head around the living room thing (actually, I can’t, dead space makes absolutely no sense to me) but kitchens are another matter entirely.

My mother, a walking superego rolls her eyes and looks at me as if to say, ‘Don’t you understand?’ Apparently, what I’m meant to get is the idea that if cooking happens in the kitchen, then the beautiful kitchen and any rooms close enough become permeated by the cooking aromas. It doesn’t matter if that is meant to happen, the mere idea of ruining years of hard work and design is enough to put the family off their dinner. For good if they can help it.

Years of saving, work and redecorating, only to fear the end product, ultimately sacrificing enjoyment of a space which is so fundamental to daily living.  For goodness sake, don’t mention the bathrooms.

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