The Shell

You gotta start somewhere, why not bare bones.
You gotta start somewhere, why not bare bones.

My new building has been around since the 1930s. This is the first time it’s been used for habitable space. It was designed to be a school with a parallel series of large rectangular classrooms separated by a wide hallway.

New construction ate in only at the corners, the central artery remains intact for the most part. To transform schoolrooms into studio, one, and two bedroom units, however, a lot of gerrymandering went on behind the old hall walls.

The carving-up has left some strange configurations. The largest part of my unit is the open dead space that connects the entry, kitchen, and living areas. I don’t know how you’d use it. Since we’re only a couple of rungs away from public housing I’m guessing not a lot was spent on design. Or construction.

The kitchen sink top was originally installed about 4″ lower than the other counters. Some obscure ADA requirement? If you didn’t have a disability before you moved in you would after a couple of weeks hunched over that thing. It’s been fixed.

And there’s the incongruous outlet in the faux kitchen cabinet drawer. Someday I’ll probably find the crack pipe of the worker who put that in.

The windows further complicated the floor plans. To maintain the building’s facade nothing was changed to the scheme, original placement was retained. Architects had to strain at times to include natural light in units, like from the corner of a room. With some of the wider windows walls now extend over the sills, flush to the sash bars,  then split the set between two rooms. Or units.

Despite that, the windows are spectacular. Worthy of Vermeer. In the living area they are seven feet high and nine feet wide. The large rectangle panes trimmed in Delft blue allow tons of morning light to flood in. And the sills are deep enough for planters of Coachellian Cacti. Along with the 10 foot ceilings, the windows are the apartment’s best feature.

The main challenge will be dealing with the odd entry/kitchen/living space. Like a hefty dose of Imodium, one can only hope to make the irregular regular.


8 thoughts on “The Shell

  1. WELL…I think it is stunning! I’m also so happy that you saved your Mothers coronation picture
    for the top of the Christmas Tree…You always were so CLEVER… xoxoxo ALEXANDRA DE LARGO…

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