No one likes being told they’re wrong. Especially in a public forum.
I was in a creative writing class at U of O when I really learned that lesson. It was a small group, maybe twelve of us, all of us trying to prove how well-read and literary we were while critiquing each other’s work around a large wooden table. The first couple of weeks had gone better than expected. I had made some well-received comments, and my pages were getting good marks, so I was really feeling myself during that third week.
It was during a discussion on another student’s story when I confidently chimed in about the main character. I used a certain word in my overly-verbose dissection that would ultimately cause me to never raise my hand again.
I was mid-sentence into my second important point when a dude (who I think was trying to show off for the cute girl in class) interrupted me,
“Sorry, did you say ‘volumptuous’?”
“…yeah. Anyway I thought that–“
“Ummmm. It’s voluptuous.” He looked around the table, like can you believe this idiot? Then hammered it home,
“Volumptuous isn’t a word.”
The air went out of the room and my lungs. All the faces swung back to me like spectators watching a tennis match, but like, if one of the players was a baboon. My cheeks flushed. My tongue clinched. I couldn’t believe what an idiot I was. I had always thought the word was volumptuous. I mean, just like in an onomatopoeia way it makes way more sense. It sounds more rotund and sexy. I think. But I could tell by the faces staring at me, I was wrong. I went white-hot. This guy had just called me out in the worst possible way, basically pointing out that there was a toddler at the table.
Now. I could have graciously accepted the correction, admitted my mistake, and continued like a big boy. But that’s not how a stubborn guy rolls. I really don’t like being wrong. Especially when people are watching. So naturally, I doubled down.
“No. It’s volumptuous.” I snipped.
The little titters around the table broiled my cheeks even more. I was ready to triple down, louder and more emphatic. There was no way I was going to lose ump-gate, dammit. But thankfully, right before I gave a version of “Yeah-huh“, the professor stepped in and moved the discussion along. I think he saw how embarrassed I was and graciously forced the room to ignore the exchange without taking a side on the issue. I learned a lot about myself that day.
I haven’t seen that hot-faced indignant kid for a while, I’ve developed a more grown-up set of responses and recognitions. But I have to tell you, he was back in full-force when I read all your comments about the farm floor plans. I was pissed! I was indignant! I couldn’t believe how wrong you all were! We had worked for like two months straight trying to figure out the best possible floor plan for the new house, and even though there were little things that we were still kind of bumping on, it at least felt done, like we’d done the best we could have.
I think Emily has learned from getting negative comments about her work before. She is very good at letting things roll off her back, or just ignoring them. Living your life somewhat in public teaches you to accept that haters are gonna hate. It’s been a hard-won victory for her, and took many years of crying before she learned to not let the comments get under her skin which I’m super happy about. Sometimes I’d rather she didn’t read them, because all it takes is one Mean Jean or Asshole Casserole to ruin all the positive comments (and now the comment policy is so much more strict towards cruel or inflammatory comments). It’s all you focus on. But she’s become very zen about it. In fact, she hadn’t even gotten around to read the comments that day, despite it being such a popular post. I think she knew what she was in for. Let me say right here, it’s a very vulnerable thing to share your work with the world, I don’t think I could do it. At least not in a place where I’m allowing immediate feedback. So my hat’s off to her for even doing it. I’m a little different. Because this was the first design plan where I had skin in the game, I definitely felt personally attacked and angry. Like, how could you not like this thing? We worked so hard on it! We really love it and so should you! But then I started noticing a pattern form in the comments.
First off, they all ended with “but I’m sure it’s going to be beautiful” or “can’t wait to see how it turns out”. Even the negative ones ended with a nice note of care and investment, which settled my hot cheeks down. I started to read them with more of a willingness to listen, not just through defensiveness. And the more I read, the more I started to see that there were consistent areas of concern. A few of them really hit home, because I had felt some of those concerns myself, but not like in a major way. Just like little naggings of, “I kinda wish this wasn’t like this, but I don’t know how to make it better.” So when those areas were highlighted it made me reluctantly admit that they might be bigger than I thought. And there were a few that I didn’t agree with or I think can be eased by some explanations. So here we go. I’ll start with the ones that aren’t getting changed.
1. Y’all Really Like To Pee But The Bathroom Isn’t Moving
Yes, the powder room on the lower floor is tucked into the family room, which means that if you’re hanging out inside and have to go, you have to walk past a sofa. But this one isn’t a concern for us for two reasons – first, if you could see the whole layout of the property, you’d find that the majority of the time is going to be spent directly out the west side. It’s where the kids will play, it’s where the stables are, it’s where the deck is. So anytime someone needs to go, they just come in the door at the family room and it’s right there. Second, there’s no other place to put it without disrupting the entire layout. So you’re just gonna have to do a pee-pee dance twenty steps further than you’d like. Sorry.
2. Stackable Laundry In Our Closet Is Staying
Yes, if this was meant to be the primary washing station it would be insane. But it’s not. This is a small unit that is just for our bedding, towels, and clothes from the main bedroom. We are installing a proper laundry room up on the second floor (well, it’s shrinking by the second because we are trying to add another WC up there). We’re doing this because we’re teaching our kids to wash and fold their own clothes and we want that mess out of sight down on the first floor. Oh, and for the commenters who see this as wasteful, I hear you, it seems like a lot, but it’s not like we’re going to be using twice the electricity or water, we’d still be doing the same amount of laundry, it will just be split between two units rather than an all-day marathon of one. I promise, we’re very conscious of wastefulness and will not be running these things day and night (and we make ourselves and our kids wear things until they are filthy, never washing after one wear). And for those concerned about not having it in the mudroom, well, now we barely have a mudroom so there’s no space. Also, is the concern that muddy pants will drip all over the house? I’m a little confused. It would be nice, but then that means you’re literally washing clothes every time you come in the house? I don’t mean for that to be condescending so don’t get your cheeks flushed but I’m genuinely confused as to why having your laundry in the mudroom is a “must-have”. But like I said, it’s not even an option anymore.
3. Family Room “Too Close” To Main Bedroom But We Have A Plan
I actually voiced this when we were designing. It does seem like it will be annoying to have the TV going when we’re sleeping but there are a few things that keep it from being a big enough concern to re-work the space. First, there’s a large walk-in closet between the wall that the TV is on and our bed. So noise won’t be an issue. Yes, I don’t love the idea of a bunch of smelly teens hanging out by my sanctuary of a bedroom. But here’s the thing you didn’t know – we’re planning a whole teen enclosure, like a zoo, out in the 1850s original house. If you look at the original post about the property, you’ll see that there’s an adorable little one-bedroom structure that Arciform labeled “The Victorian House” because of its style. Well, it needs a LOT of love but we’ve got some years to do it, and it is scheduled to become the teen-zoo. We’re gonna put a TV and sofas and maybe some games out there. I’m lobbying hard for a shuffleboard table and a pinball machine, so maybe it’s a Brian-zoo too. All that to say, hopefully by the time the kids are teenagers, all their friends will be out there so the adults can be in the main house talking about adult things like broccoli and economics.
4. The Sunroom/Dining Room (I Call It The Office) Distance Drama
Many people thought that it was a waste to have a breakfast nook and a dining room, and you’d be right if that dining room was meant to be our nightly eating area. I wanted to rename this just “Sunroom” because I didn’t see us using it for eating very often. Only when we had guests. Most days it would be used for Emily’s writing space (until the Victorian is done). We’re a casual eating family and we were planning on using the cozy breakfast nook for our day-to-day dining (which seats 4-6). What we have here at the Mountain House is kind of a nook, and we use it all the time. So that wasn’t a big deal to me. I really don’t mind walking a few more steps than normal to bring a steaming dish of Brian’s Famous Ribeye to a table of happy guests. The distance really wasn’t a concern. What WAS a concern was the fact that we’re adding an expensive (albeit beautiful) addition to the structure. We needed to make sure it was going to be used. Well, when you get to number 5, you’ll see that it may or may not have become obsolete. Saving us money, but leaving us a bit sad. What do we do?
5. The Kitchen/Living Room Situation (You Had Some Good Points)
This was by far the most commented upon aspect of the floor plan. Many of you thought it was too modern to have a great room and many thought it encroached on the living room too much. Both of which I had felt for a while but didn’t really know how to express. It’s also hard because the Chief Architect program makes everything look like a video game, and therefore more modern and sleek than it would be in real life. It can feel a little lifeless in the program. In reality, Emily had found an amazing ten-foot apothecary table with ornate drawers and labels that looked aged and had so much character. It would have made the space really unique and cool. But it was in the middle of the room, and it made the living room kind of hunch over to the wall away from the fireplace. Also, the fridge so close to the living room always seemed a bit odd, but there was no real other place for it that made sense for the flow of the kitchen.
Also, by pulling the kitchen into the living room, it would allow us to have that big beautiful mudroom, which was one of our favorite moments. AND it meant we could keep the cabinets that the previous owner had built and use them as like a pantry. Which I know would have made a lot of the “preservationists” happy.
But all the comments started scratching at an itch that we realized needed to be addressed. For some reason, we had just kind of thought, we either keep the small kitchen that’s there or we move it to the center and make it the hub of the house. The way it’s set up now is just not functional, it’s on the Eastern wall, with no real access to the rest of the house, even if you open up that eastern wall, the kitchen is like an afterthought. But you guys had a great idea – what if we put it up where the breakfast nook was?
Well, I had to fight my urge to double down and say that IT IS PRONOUNCED VOLUMPTUOUS! YOU’RE WRONG! but then we tried it out. And after the initial wave of nausea, we think we came to a new design that makes much more sense. We even wrote out a pros and cons list for each floor plan and we think the new one wins. We’re going to lose three major elements that everyone involved had come to adore -the mudroom, the breakfast nook, and the sunroom (potentially). They were all stand out, like, magazine pieces. But were they totally necessary? A reluctant no. Would removing them save us a lot of money that could be used on the Victorian, or even landscaping? A resounding yes. Does this new design keep things beautiful while making everything a little more functional? We hope so. It definitely moved the adjectives from luxurious to sweet. Is that a good thing? We think so. Especially when you’re trying to raise two level-headed children.
The reason we didn’t originally do this is also because there will be 3 different ceilings in the kitchen/living room – which is odd. We also thought that you’d have to have a load bearing post to hold up the second floor in the middle of this new kitchen. We’ve since talked to our engineer and Arciform helped come up with a solution. It of course will cost, but it will be a much better room. Moving the kitchen had a domino effect on everything else. It took away the mudroom, which is now like a six-foot area off the side of the house, and it took away the breakfast nook. But now we’ve got a small dining area right off the kitchen that flows into the living room or around into the family room. We have opened a ton of new light into the cavernous living room and put the kitchen in the best light. And instead of a separate sunroom we’re thinking about a wrap around deck. And we’re really digging all of it…… or we WERE.
After days of being sad about the sunroom we realized that we missed it too much. Anne showed us that if we made it a few feet narrower (so we don’t have to redo all the rooflines) it won’t be as expensive. So now we have a smaller little dining area near the kitchen, we have a ton of flexibility with how we lay out the living area AND Emily gets her sunroom/writing room back.
So I want to thank you guys for being so generous in your comments. It’s a strange thing, designing by committee, we probably would have just pushed forward with the great room design if I hadn’t spent the morning pouring over everything you wrote. And as much as it was painful, it was also very helpful. So bravo you designers. You all should have your own blogs. And when they get up and running I’ll come over and comment about how I would do things differently. And maybe I’ll be right!
I think you will be much happier with this. Our kitchen is sandwiched in the center of the house and even with windows and wide spaces to other rooms with natural light it is just always too dark for me.
Yes, I love this! I’ve never been a big fan of the open kitchen-living room floorplan, and I think the front of the house will look great with the sunroom flush to the front door. Looks amazing!
Thank you Brian. Getting your view on our comments, and your explanations why you change something or don´t, is taking away the heat and too personal debate/critique. The adjusted floor plan looks gorgeous and appropriate, but still upscale.
Looking forward to seeing the new 2nd floor!
May I add one wish? As an European I am used to see design plans orientated with the North to the top, or with a compass rose/north point in the corner. Isn´t that practice in the US as well? That would be really helpful to understand the plot, use of the areas and the flow of the light.
Yes! American here, and also confused. I understand wanting the front of the house at the bottom (i guess?), but a compass rose, especially when we’re talking about light, would be helpful.
Designer here….a lot of times the front door of the house is at the bottom of the plans (so you kind of picture yourself “walking through” the space, if that makes sense). Then a North arrow is added to the plans so you can see which direction it is. If you put true North on the plans facing the top of the page, most times the house will be at a weird angle on the plans, which makes drawing it very difficult.
Yes! Especially since with a lot of American and newer homes they aren’t on a grid system and may face an ordinal directions instead.
Great point! It is a standard practice here in the US and agreed it would be super helpful since the orientation of the sun is playing such a big role in the layout of the house as it should!
Yes. I have no idea which way north is. I’m also used to that as a standard inclusion…the little “N” arrow.
I just hope the bed doesn’t face east, in the feng shui coffin position!?😳
Omg Rusty. Not cool. Some people have no idea about this and live happy lives without worry. Now you are putting negative thoughts in their minds. Also all around the globe people place and burry coffins in various orientations. Why do you have to burden others with some irrelevant superstition? Most people can’t do much to change the orientation of their house or bedroom. They should layout how it works for them as opposed to satisfying an ancient tradition. I strongly believe this is not kind to burden people like that.
Dear Mods, You don’t have to post this comment, but there is no report comment feature, so I felt that someone should at least say something, and if there’s any way to remove the above comment, I would appreciate it. While I agree that everyone should be able to place their beds in whatever direction they choose, at the same time, this comment is extremely dismissive of other cultures. Bringing up a common and accepted system of architecture and interior design of a culture that encompasses nearly a fifth of this world and dismissing its principles as “negative”, “burden”, “ancient” and “irrelevant”, is not cool. And why is it considered negative and irrelevant, when so many Western design principles are venerated and upheld as Classic standards? Inintentionally or not, it’s pretty racist. Whether or not the “facing east” aspect is a correct representation of feng shui is irrelevant; the tone of the reply response is egregious. Given the absolutely horrific current situation in the US and the growing hate crime against AAPI, I felt like I couldn’t just let this go by. Not after watching a video this morning of an Asian woman in NYC get beat while a security… Read more »
Whoops, typos. “*Unintentionally* or not”
“Classical* design standards”
I have a little more time now to sit down and parse this comment a bit more clearly, so since my comment and the previous one have not (yet?) been taken down, I felt I should explain why I felt that it was both inappropriate and racist. “Not cool. Some people have no idea about this and live happy lives without worry. Now you are putting negative thoughts in their minds. Also all around the globe people place and burry coffins in various orientations. Why do you have to burden others with some irrelevant superstition? Most people can’t do much to change the orientation of their house or bedroom. They should layout how it works for them as opposed to satisfying an ancient tradition. I strongly believe this is not kind to burden people like that.” Emily mentioned in a previous post that she cares a lot about feng shui, so another commenter bringing up specific feng shui regarding bed position seems to be perfectly in line with her wishes. The original poster (Rusty) did not seem to have any ill intent, so it seems like the only reason that they would be considered “unkind” is because they used the… Read more »
Why do you think they would remove your comments? Also why should you wish to ‘report’ the above comment and have it removed instead of wanting to engage in conversation about it..I don’t find that attitude very helpful if you are trying to get people to think about the point you are making..
Read. Research the topic. Learn about it.
Then, your question would be entirely mute.
Honestly, mute would have been better.
Like! This is a legit question. When I first saw the initial comment, I just wanted to report the other comment and have it removed, and so my first post in reply was in that tone. I didn’t really want to start a conversation about this; I wanted to read more about mudrooms on real farms. This is one of my favorite design blogs, in part because the comments are usually so fantastic. When I came back hours later and saw that the post had not been removed, so since it seemed like it was just going to just sit out there on the internet as a testament to colonialism and racism in America, I figured that I should write out a more clear response than my initial one. TL;DR: The first was intended to be in essence only a report to mods to say, “Hey, this post is kind of racist, can you look into it and remove it?” The second one was like, “Okay, so it looks like you’ve decided it’s not racist, or you feel like this is a conversation worth having, or maybe Brian was so overwhelmed with criticism/comments from the previous post that he’s not… Read more »
Thanks for the reply Michelle, I understand more now where you are coming from. Was a good conversation to read through, appreciating you and Shannon having it.
Point taken but i think Lane just meant don’t stress them out about what is inarguably superstition. She meant well. The difference in defending classical design is that it’s an aesthetic choice, with no subtext of curses and doom. So the comparison isn’t really fair, nor is it fair to play the race card for the sake of this faulty comparison.
You have just done exactly what was called out by calling a widely accepted Asian design culture “inarguably superstition”.
Your supposed ‘argument’ is ill-informed and (without prejudice) ignorant, in the rrue dictionary meaning of that word.
Is there science behind feng shui? If so I honestly didn’t realize that and so agree with you about my ignorance. But I’m certainly not racist, which is what was supposedly being called out in the first place. Anyway, since when does “widely accepted” equal valid or true?! And just because I disagree with a certain culture’s beliefs does NOT make me racist against them. Give me a break. I’m Jewish but I think Kaballah, the study Jewish “mysticism,” is a load of bs dreamed up in an unenlightened time. Does that make me a self-hating Jew? Nope, just #teamscience all the way baby!
There is science behind feng shui, even though the way that it’s often translated and explained makes it sound a lot more “mystical” than the rationale behind it. As I mentioned above, the direction your front door faces is often considered very important, and the origin of that is the direction that cold winds come from. By orienting a house or its front door in the more favored direction, you end up avoiding cold drafty winds rushing into your house every time you open your door. Sometimes the description of blocking the flow of energy is actually more about how airflow moves through a home or a space. What you see written out in English on the internet isn’t a perfect representation of the feng shui being practiced on modern buildings in Asia today, nor is every local Chinese restaurant in America cooking cuisine that native Chinese would consider to be authentic. But, as counterpoint, we don’t really know why we put wainscoting in thirds up the wall (1/3 or 2/3) other than that’s what looks good. Why does it look good? It does, but I’ve never heard a scientific explanation for it. The racism is not in disagreeing with… Read more »
Michelle, thank you for your thoughtful answer. I honestly don’t feel I’m more likely to dismiss a belief because it comes from another culture, though. I dismiss many a belief from my own culture, regularly. And you won’t convince me that there is racism at the heart of dismissing Feng Shui. The fact that Feng Shui is so widely embraced in the West speaks to this point. Why is it ok to accept it blindly but when you dismiss it blindly you’re a racist. It just doesn’t add up to me. Again, racism and racial violence is disgusting. But that is unrelated to this debate imho.
Like I said in my previous post, it’s the words that are used in dismissing someone else’s beliefs that speak to conscious or subconscious racism, white supremacy, colonialism, and entitlement. It’s about words and language, and how they matter.
As you have done, I too have dismissed beliefs from my own culture, regularly. Honestly, my mom’s nagging can only go so far, lol. But what I was referring to was the specific words used that spoke of coming from a place of ignorance, lack of respect, and lack of parity. In contrast, when, as you have done here, you bring up your own beliefs from your own culture and compare them with mine, you’re showing me that you think of us, our cultures, and our beliefs (or choices not to believe) on the same level.
Sorry, I quite like your comment, probably because I’m #teamscience myself, so I’m replying again, lol. I mentioned what you said to my husband, who is Taiwanese and often has interesting insights on what we Americans do and accept as “normal” or “default” without thinking about why we do that (and he can read all the Chinese-language written sites about feng shui that I can’t, ha). He pointed out that when we look back at history, science and mysticism really often went hand-in-hand. We lacked the science back then to explain cause and effect, yet people noticed it, so they attributed magical or religious properties to things that can now often be explained by science. We say, “bless you” when people sneeze, without really thinking much about it. But the origins of it also mention superstition: ‘One of the symptoms of the plague was coughing and sneezing, and it is believed that Pope Gregory I (Gregory the Great) suggested saying “God bless you” after a person sneezed in hopes that this prayer would protect them from an otherwise certain death. The expression may have also originated from superstition.’ Library of Congress: https://www.loc.gov/everyday-mysteries/item/does-your-heart-stop-when-you-sneeze/ A lot of superstition is based off of… Read more »
Another thoughtful and deeply intelligent response, much appreciated. But in an age where we have furnaces and vaccines, worrying about the luck of orienting your bed in a certain direction is an added stress that no one needs. Just like I dismiss the necessity to eat only kosher foods in my own culture as a superstition, I reserve the right to dismiss bed-orientation for good health in yours. And it doesn’t make me a racist! Fun debating with you though. You and your husband are clearly brilliant.
Shannon, thanks so much for the thoughtful conversation. I totally agree with you regarding bed orientation, and since my own bedroom right now can only fit the bed and nightstands properly in one direction, I shrug my shoulders and say, it is what it is. I do think a lot more than I used to about the orientation of my front door to the wind, and the feng shui of airflow in my house, than I did when I was younger, but I’m not asking you to do so. To each their own. Sometimes I do think though, that even in the age of “furnaces and vaccines”, it might be more important than ever that we explore the scientific aspects and origins of traditions and sayings of different cultures, to see if they do have actual scientific merit, instead of immediately dismissing them as outdated thinking. Some of these go back even thousands of years, and they must have come out of somewhere, so there may be ways for us to harness the benefits in our modern world. The traditional explanation for why feng shui says your door should face a certain direction may not reflect the science behind it,… Read more »
Sorry, typo again. I missed something when I was editing.
“But as it turns out, when you face your front door in the direction of the wind and line up the front and back doors of the house close together with no walls or other furniture impediments between, there’s a draft created from the front door directly to the back door, and the house will often feel cold and drafty.”
Michelle, I’m thinking about this further I realize that this debate is really not about feng shui at all. I entered the conversation because everybody was pounding on Lane for expressing his/her/their opinions about the belief system of feng shui. Everybody immediately jumped to calling her a racist as if expressing negative beliefs about feng shui was the same as expressing negative beliefs about Asian people in general. I just don’t believe that is a leap of logic that we can make in good faith. Whether or not feng shui has scientific merit or any merit is beside the point. The point is that people should be able to express their opinions about interior design, in a forum where that is the entire objective, without being crucified for supposed racism, subconscious or otherwise.
One more point. If i say i really don’t like French Country design, no one is going to accuse me of being racist against French people. To me this perfectly illustrates the problem with your argument.
You are correct insofar as this subthread has never been about feng shui, and whether or not you choose to believe in feng shui or follow it. Frankly, I don’t even know to what extent I believe in it, as I’ve made quite clear, so I think I’d be a hypocrite if I demanded that others do so. If the original post was put in such a way, “I don’t believe in feng shui, and I don’t think Emily believes in feng shui either, so I don’t see the need to bring it up,” I quite literally would’ve just passed the post by. I’m absolutely certain of it. I don’t actively post much on here; mostly I just read the comments and like the ones that are thinking what I’m thinking (breakfast nook wall down! Yes!). Except that Emily DID mention feng shui specifically, and I bet some other commenter might’ve pointed that out, but it probably wouldn’t have been me, because I would’ve been busily fixated on farms and mudrooms. What’s racist about the post is the judgmental terms in which a design system that is used by a huge percentage of this world, was described. What’s racist is… Read more »
I should add this: part of the reason I said that the initial post was racist was in part because it was so clear that it was angrily defending and protecting Emily, in effect, the original post was about “being nice”…by throwing an entire culture under the bus to save the precious white woman’s feelings. (No offense meant, Emily. Huge fan. Lol.) You say that you feel like, “people should be able to express their opinions about interior design, in a forum where that is the entire objective, without being crucified for supposed racism, subconscious or otherwise.” But your statement ignores that the post that I pointed out made this forum distinctly unwelcoming for anyone who practices feng shui, and particularly unfriendly for posting, for feng shui practitioners who wanted to help Emily with that element of her home design, *even though she explicitly mentioned that it was an interest and concern of hers*. So you need to consider that your objective, given your current position regarding that post, eliminates the possibility that an entire subsegment of this blog’s readership would be comfortable expressing their opinions of interior design as well. I don’t see how pointing out the racism is… Read more »
You see racism where I don’t. We will have to agree to disagree. Just because you see it there, doesn’t mean it actually exists independent of your perspective. And just because I don’t see it there, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. You can call out whatever you like but know that it’s offensive and inflammatory and you you should certainly expect to have to defend your ACCUSATIONS of racism, because that’s what they are. As for the tone of what was said, people have different writing styles and i think we can all agree that the written word can be misinterpreted. So a lot of what we’re debating is semantics. Finally, I don’t personally see the benefit of trying to paint everything as negatively as possible in this life. I’d rather focus my energy on creating the life I want, giving back, and leading by example than spending my precious time and energy unearthing and calling out antisemitism where it may or not exist. I wish you nothing but the best. Peace out, as the kids say.
“You can call out whatever you like but know that it’s offensive and inflammatory and you you should certainly expect to have to defend your ACCUSATIONS of racism, because that’s what they are.”
Interestingly, when I tell you something is offensive and inflammatory, you tell me that it’s up for debate.
Michelle, just because YOU are offended doesn’t mean it’s necessarily racism. And yes, calling someone racist is unequivocally offensive and inflammatory. Why do you even care that you can’t convince me of absolute racism here? Many others seem to agree with you. Are you actually denying that it’s debatable that to think feng shui is rubbish means you’re a racist? Now you’re saying it’s an unequivocal fact that all adamant feng shui deniers, who aren’t Asian, are racist? That’s laughable. You seem to be bending yourself into a pretzel to prove that racism exists in this thread. Seems like a giant waste of intellect and energy to me.
Good point. Interesting though, that you seem to be putting an awful lot of time and energy into insisting that I’m wrong, while also insisting that my actions are a waste of intellect, as if you have the right to tell me what to do with my own brain. To finish by circling back to my original point, my very first original post is actually quite in line with the last post. From the starting gate, I said that it’s not about where you put your bed, but how you talk about someone else’s culture: ‘While I agree that everyone should be able to place their beds in whatever direction they choose, at the same time, this comment is extremely dismissive of other cultures. Bringing up a common and accepted system of architecture and interior design of a culture that encompasses nearly a fifth of this world and dismissing its principles as “negative”, “burden”, “ancient” and “irrelevant”, is not cool. And why is it considered negative and irrelevant, when so many Western design principles are venerated and upheld as Classical standards? Unintentionally or not, it’s pretty racist.’ (I corrected my previous typos, because they were irritating me.) I said on… Read more »
Oof. I know I said “lastly”, but then I remembered afterwards that this is Brian’s post, so doubly, triply sorry to Brian, because I’m sure this is not what you were bracing yourself for when you put out the new floor plan.
IF I accept tour premise that there is indeed a link between dismissing feng shui and the hideous violence we’ve recently seen in this country, then of course your energy and time is being put to good use here. To my understanding, feng shui is unique among interior design principals because there are implied negative outcomes when it isn’t applied properly. This seems to me, and others apparently, like a lot of pressure to put oneself under. That’s a fair statement, i think, and has NOTHING to do with racism or the origin of feng shui. As I’ve said previously, i dismiss many a commonly-held belief from my own culture, and many others, often and loudly. Do you want people to tiptoe around their opinions of Asian food too? How about the Chinese government? Is it verboten to voice a negative opinion of them? (Well, we know it is if you live in China. Uh oh, will I now be called a racist for saying that?) Asian hate exists, yes. But i don’t see it in this thread. Maybe I’m not the most restrained, refined or tactful human in how I express myself, especially when i feel passionately, but here… Read more »
*…a White person, a Black person, any person.
And as to why I’m putting a lot of time and energy into this, it’s because I don’t take kindly to being called a racist.
I, like you, don’t comment often but I wanted to thank you for all of your thought provoking comments today! They have been articulate, informative and heartfelt and I deeply appreciate your words and perspective. I am saddened and shocked that you had to spend so much time in this space defending your own opinions and culture and literally pointing out how the thoughtless words of others can be offensive and hurtful. Those who cannot even recognize the fault and responsibility of their own words, are usually reluctant to see their impact on another human being, let alone a community or culture. It is a shame.
Thank you for sharing your voice today!
I one million percent agree, Lea. Michelle, you articulately, kindly, respectfully educated so many of us. Thank you. And I’m sorry that yet again this burden fell to you, a person of color. I want you to know that your words mattered to me today and they will sit with me long after I close out this page. The acts of learning, unlearning and practicing anti-racism are *the work*. I have needed to get comfortable with getting it wrong again and again, with being okay looking stupid or defiant in the face of what I know is right in my heart. With having uncomfortable conversations with all different people in my life. I imagine this is nothing compared to the kind of inner scaffolding you’ve built to grow into the obviously articulate, brave woman you represented here. Words matter. My sister in law is Chinese, adopted by my in-laws when she was a year old. She’s eighteen years younger than me and I cringe now to think of all of the ways we have inadvertently hurt her over the years. Ignorance, naïveté, and clinging to the need to be right don’t cut it. My sister in law and all people… Read more »
Sara, what you wrote is hugely humble and poignant.
Thank you for sharing your extremely relevant experience and thoughts.
Sarah, I should really be the one thanking you. What you wrote is wonderful and vulnerable and real. This is exactly what I’ve been trying to get at, and you cut straight to it. You say that you may have inadvertently hurt your sister-in-law with what you might have said in the past, and I imagine that even though she might have been hurt, she might have also comforted herself by knowing that you didn’t mean to hurt her. I don’t believe that most people say racist things with the intent to be racist, as I also don’t believe that most people say things that hurt others with the intent to be hurtful. Maybe I’m an idealist, but I believe most people in this world do care about others, and that we can learn to be better. There are, obviously, exceptions, but I don’t think I can ever change those people’s minds, no matter what I write. To me, the enemy among us is not “racist people” to be labeled and shamed or canceled or whatever. The enemy is white supremacy. I didn’t come into the thread and say, “Lane is a racist, cancel”, etc, because I really don’t think… Read more »
I’m leaving a couple further notes here in case people are still reading this thread and might find them of interest. Most of my white friends were taught by parents who wanted their children to have an open mind, so they learned (in common practice in the 80’s and 90’s) “not to see color” and that “racism is bad”. So, as far as I could tell, they took it to heart when they made friends with me. At the very least, I love their parents for that. Once, I went to the local mall with my friends, and one of the checkout staff at a store who had just smiled at my blonde and blue-eyed white friend and had a very nice, sweet conversation with her, held her hand out for my item while refusing to look at me, and then threw the bag with the clothes I bought across the counter. I was shocked, and probably because I was so used to my dad doing it, I shrugged said, “Hm, I guess that woman is racist.” My friend was absolutely horrified at me and said, “How can you say such a horrible thing! She’s probably just having a bad… Read more »
The second point I wanted to make was that these conversations, no matter how hard they seem, are relatively safe in the grand scheme of things, and maybe that’s part of why I think they’re important, because at the very least, they help some people who are struggling and overwhelmed with where we are and how to approach all of this, to dip toes into the water. (I wholeheartedly include myself in that.) I was remiss yesterday in even trying to leave the conversation without saying that there’s a far bigger picture. It may be difficult, but comparatively, it’s easier to talk about how words matter, and how we were taught that Western culture is superior, and that AAPI culture is often exoticized while the people are dehumanized. But we’re nibbling on the very edge of a cookie here, and at the heart of it is a country with holdovers of a system that was designed explicitly and specifically (literally, there’s documentation for it) to keep certain people down. I know these posts are AAPI-centered and to some degree, white-centered, and the more I have written, the more I have felt like, even though I have tried to be succinct… Read more »
I’m not sure if you’ll see this, but I wanted to thank you for your thoughtful contributions in this space over the past few days. Your wisdom, bravery, and kindness have been apparent in every word. Thank you for your transparency and for taking the time to share your thoughts, feelings and personal stories with all of us. I have found it both frustrating and maybe a little symbolic to be having such a big conversation in such a little corner of this blog, tucked in the comments from days ago while the rest continues on business as usual. But here we are, and though I’d like to know that the masses read your words, I am also certain that those who already have are the better for it. You are right to say that these conversations are important and necessary, and wherever they take place is a good place to start. Thank you for being brave enough to speak up!
Thank you, K. It has been a little scary for me, posting, and each time, I feel guilty and apologetic taking up any space with my own thoughts and writing, *especially* on someone else’s platform. I’ve noticed your comments as well, and I appreciate your support. I think all of us may suffer a little from thinking that we’re not making much difference by saying something, but it did. You did. Now that I’ve done just this bit, even in this small corner, I also have even more respect and admiration for Emily, her team, and Brian. They put out their thoughts out there in such public fashion, day after day, year after year, for us to scrutinize. I don’t think that I could be that brave and that vulnerable, all the time. After all of this, part of me wants to just throw up my hands and say, “Let them have the mudroom they want! Sheesh! And don’t make them defend two laundry rooms; it’s fine! Let them do anything they want! Who cares if you can’t wear a skirt with a glass ceiling!” LOL. (Ok, yeah, the skirt thing is a bit of a problem, haha.) But they… Read more »
Michelle… please keep sharing, writing and talking about this.
I’m as white as they come. I see racism, overt, covert and subconscious…even though it’s not aimed at me.
I know from my lived experience, that most people who look like me do not.
You are making a difference.
Thank you, Rusty xx
Taking the bait one more time. Michelle, it’s terrible that you were mistreated this way as a kid. It sure sounds like the woman was a racist. But does having been the victim of racism give you the de facto authority to officially label anyone’s intent as racist, as you see fit? Maybe you could consider wether having the experiences you did as a child has perhaps made you overly sensitive in certain situations. It is precisely because of how evil and destructive racism is that making the accusation is indeed serious and shouldn’t be done lightly. Throwing a bag in a child’s face can’t seriously be compared to what Lane said about feng shui, a belief to which you yourself don’t subscribe. Listen, at some point, every last one of us has been traumatized, victimized or ostracized. But anytime someone cries racist inappropriately, it only serves to weaken the argument on the occasions when it’s actually justified. Why choose to victimize your entire culture for the sake of theory you don’t even support? There’s plenty of actual hatred out there you could be combatting instead, in my ever-humble opinion.
Just reposting what I just wrote: ‘I don’t believe that most people say racist things with the intent to be racist, as I also don’t believe that most people say things that hurt others with the intent to be hurtful. Maybe I’m an idealist, but I believe most people in this world do care about others, and that we can learn to be better. There are, obviously, exceptions, but I don’t think I can ever change those people’s minds, no matter what I write. To me, the enemy among us is not “racist people” to be labeled and shamed or canceled or whatever. The enemy is white supremacy. I didn’t come into the thread and say, “Lane is a racist, cancel”, etc, because I really don’t think that’s the case, even though I don’t know Lane. I don’t believe that was his/her/their intent with that comment at all, despite how hurtful it was. Intent and outcome are two entirely different matters, and what I was hoping to point out was that while the intent may not have been racist, the outcome was, and we can, and should at least try, to do better than that. And I don’t see how… Read more »
Well i don’t think the “outcome” of what Lane said is racist either. I just don’t.
We are ALL ‘right’ for calling it out.
Michelle has the “authority” to call it out every time.
And, gosh, she does it so very well.
Sorry Sara, just noticed that I misspelled your name by accident!
Thanks Lea. <3 It has felt really weird typing so much and hitting reply, when I have lurked around here pressing the + button for so long. It was scary!
Michelle has been astonishingly polite, positive and rational in all of her responses and graciously informed us about cultural and scientific facts.
There was nothing “offensive and inflammatory” nor negative.
Clearly, from the votes, she is far from alone in her thinking.
My race is, via a scientific, (not Ancestry.com) 99.9% pure north-western European and I think Lane’s comment was overtly racist.
Maybe she isn’t/wasn’t aware of the subliminal cultural ‘programming’, but it was certainly there.
Perhaps some people have a wider exposure to other races snd cultures than others? But , as they say “ignorance is no excuse”. Especially when it’s pointed out as eloquently as you have done.
Change is all about learning.
If we wear comfortable blinkers, there will not be positive change.
Michelle, I hope you continue to speak out, butvI deeply hope there won’t be a need.
Thanks for all the info, Michelle. Undoubtedly there can be value and reason found in many ancient beliefs, feng shui included. Obviously it’s up to the Hendersons wether they choose to adhere to any given belief structure. I apologize if my ignorance of these customs made you, or anyone, in any way feel that I was dismissing an entire culture and race. I was merely pointing out what i believe to be the negative side of adding another set of guidelines to an already fraught design project. In other words, I was giving MY TWO CENTS about this design. Isn’t that what we’re here for. Still not a racist. Still not saying anything racist.
Michelle, thank you immensely for you indepth insight and understanding.
It would’ve taken effort and diligence to share and I certainly appreciate it.
Shannon, your responses to Michelle’s eloquent and thoughtful comments only drive her point in further….“worrying about the luck of orienting your bed in a certain direction is an added stress that no one needs.” Clearly, you have the right to decide what to believe or dismiss in your own life/culture and what to disagree with in others. Disagreement does not equal racism. But where it gets ugly is when you belittle, insult and dismiss someone else’s beliefs/culture because you feel it is irrelevant to you….which sadly, and all too often, contributes to the perpetuation of racism.
So it’s okay to tell someone that they’re placing their bed in the “coffin position,” but it’s not ok to say that IN MY OPINION that belief system irrelevant? Nonsense. Racism is evil, but you are all barking up the wrong damned tree.
Wow. Clearly you like to have the last word and nothing that anyone says will allow for any self reflection on your part. But you’re missing the point, again & again. It’s not that you don’t believe or subscribe to a certain train of thought, tradition, culture, religion etc. It’s not that you disagree. It’s that you are publicly insulting, belittling, & judging those who do. Maybe ask yourself why was it easier for you to jump on Lane’s defense that she “meant well” and dismiss what she said, with no knowledge of her intentions, than it was/is for you to accept Michelle’s truth about it being disrespectful and offensive? (She’s even provided a detailed description of how/why!) Take a look at Michelle’s recent comment about her experience with a store clerk growing up…a poignant lesson for all and the opportunity to ask ourselves “who am I in that scenario?” and “what would I do differently?”
Where did i belittle, insult or judge those who follow feng shui??? Where? That’s just not true. This isn’t about having the last word. I happen to feel quite strongly that there is nothing racist about saying that it’s not fair to put the negative, anxiety-provoking tenets of feng shui onto others, which is all that Lane said. And i also feel quite strongly that false cries of racism water down the real ones. Finally, I don’t have to ask myself for one second who I’d be in Michelle’s checkout-lane scenario because I know. I’d have seen her point then, as i do now. In case you haven’t noticed, i don’t blindly follow the crowd. You don’t know me and have no way of estimating my degree of self-reflection. I’m just on a different side of this debate than you, doesn’t mean I’m wrong, doesn’t mean you are either. It just means we disagree. So take your “wow” and self-reflect on that.
Shannon, it’s really not a productive conversation if one person is just blaringly shouting the same thing over and over, so this will be my final response to you. I, and many others apparently, found Lane’s original comment and your subsequent comments to be racially insensitive. If you need explanations as to why or how, well they’ve been pointed out numerous times by numerous people, but most eloquently and thoroughly by Michelle. That should be enough. All too often in discussions about racism we hear “I didn’t mean it that way”, “It doesn’t offend me, so why would it offend them”, “I’m not a racist”…”I…I…I”. We only look at it through our own lense…We all need to do better and look beyond ourselves “Would someone else be offended by that?”, “would my words be hurtful, disrespectful or dismissive to someone else.” I’m not suggesting that we tiptoe through every conversation that we ever have, but I am talking about approaching them with purposeful respect. If none of us are willing to look beyond our own race, culture, status, upbringing, etc, how do things ever get better?
K, just because i haven’t been convinced in this exchange that I’ve been racially insensitive, does not mean that I’m closed-minded or self-centric. Clearly, I’ve been unintentionally Michelle-insensitive and I have no problem copping to that.
K…so well explained.
Maybe things get better when we are all less inclined to lean in to feeling offended.
Or maybe when we feel less entitled to tell others what they can or can’t be offended by.
Everyone is entitled to be as offended as they wanna be, but that doesn’t give them the right to label others and insist they are spreading racist hatred.
After days of thoughtful dialogue and (hopefully) personal reflection by many on this thread, you have continued to come back here and make it about you. We got it…YOU don’t like being labeled. It’s painfully ironic. Somehow instead of contributing to a much bigger discussion, you’re using your voice to talk about yourself…how you feel judged, wronged, offended. And yet you refuse to acknowledge how your very own words may have had a much more significant effect on someone else, or in this case, many others. Worse yet, you’re not just denying the acknowledgement, you’re telling others what they should or shouldn’t find offensive. You’re suggesting that things will only get better when victims have a higher tolerance of such injustices, or how did you say it…when they are “less inclined to lean in to being offended.” That is the heart of privilege, of selfishness…putting both the blame and burden on someone else. Where is your responsibility in making things better? What is your contribution? And yet here you are telling others it’s their problem to fix. If you are still thinking this is all about “feng shui”, I’d like to point out that your first comment came after Michelle’s… Read more »
CJ, I’m not sure why you’ve launched a personal attack here. Anyway, in a previous post to Michelle I said, “I apologize if my ignorance of these customs made you, or anyone, in any way feel that I was dismissing an entire culture or race.” Michelle has every right to feel offended, as I’ve repeatedly said. And she has every right to assert that, in her opinion, the use of the words “irrelevant,” “ancient” and “negative” (when referring to the “coffin position”) to describe feng shui, in the context of a design blog, amounts to racism. I disagree. I DON’T SEE FENG SHUI AS A PROXY FOR THE ENTIRETY OF THE ASIAN RACE. Michelle does, though, and that’s her right. But since it’s my belief that bringing up racism in this scenario is counterproductive and yes, offensive, I have every right to say so. I never told Michelle to stop making her points, yet you and others have no problem telling me that I shouldn’t make mine. I believe that it’s ok to dismiss feng shui all day long and that it doesn’t mean the dismisser is racist against Asians. I see no reason why I shouldn’t speak up for… Read more »
Michelle, I’m really sorry that it was necessary for you (or anyone) to have to write this, BUT it was necessary and I’m glad you did! It goes to show that Lane and those that voted up her comment, are yet to ‘see’ the reality of how racist, narrow-minded and unfortunately, ingrained historically ‘white’/anglo attitudes permeate even the reading of a comment on a design blog. Oftentimes, I read these kind of retorts and sigh, truly, because it smacks of a lack of breadth of understanding of cultural groups outside of one’s own echo chamber of existence, in addition to the extremely unfortunate perpetuation of racist comments, without even realizing that’s what they’re doing. On 27 March…literally days ago, EHD took up the AAPI cause with Anita Yokota’s wonderful post, clearly explaining the importance of this issue. Did Lane and her up-voters read it? Maybe they just looked at the pictures? Who knows. What is evident, is that even more needs to be done to wake some people, more people, up about ANTI-RACISM! We are the standard that we choose to ignore, just like those Neanderthals that closed the door after watching the AAPI woman being beaten on the street.… Read more »
Michelle, I just want to thank you so much for taking the time – despite being impacted by the current environment of violence and discrimination against AAPI – to compose a couple of the most important and eloquent comments I’ve ever seen on here. Sending appreciation and care.
Michelle, you are absolutely the freaking best. I am so appreciative of your time and emotional labour on this post. Thank you thank you thank you.
There is a lot of graceless white-ing going on upthread, and I’m looking at you, Lane, and you, Shannon. And it was & is racist, and actually thinking that you, as a white person, know more about what is racism than a person of colour IS racist, and the very phrase “the race card” is also epically racist because it was COINED to dismissed people’s articulated experiences of racism.
Michelle, I am in awe. I know I’m days late to this and reining in white folks shouldn’t even be your work in the first place, but you win my internet today. 100%.
Michelle. I want to personally apologize to you for not seeing and taking down Lane’s comment when it was posted. Had I read it when it was posted I would have immediately deleted it. Racist comments like this, even when said unintentionally, are completely unacceptable. I deeply hope that Lane and everyone who has thought or thinks similarly read your extremely thoughtful comments and have seen WHY those thoughts are rooted in white supremacy. I do think that this comment thread is important to, once again, show that our words matter. Again, I am so sorry that this thread got past Lane’s comment but I really hope that everyone who reads it will learn from it.
Thank you Jess. I know that keeping up with comments is always difficult, so my original intention was just to try to flag it so someone would notice it. It does hurt when Emily can mention how much she cares about feng shui without people putting down her beliefs this way, but we can’t. Anyway, I can’t put the rabbit back in the hat, so I just hope that the conversation can be civil and educational…and then get back to the floor plan!
Thank you, Jess.
Lane, please get off and stay off my back.
There is nothing offensive about my comment whatsoever.
100% agreed with everything Michelle said. It is NOT okay to dismiss feng shui as “some irrelevant superstition.” And it is not okay for the EHD team to have allowed that comment to stay up. Lane probably didn’t mean any harm, but intentions don’t matter — the content matters, and the effects matter. The fact is that when you call a Chinese practice “irrelevant superstition,” that sends a colonialist, racist message out into this community of readers. And that has powerful negative effects. If this website wants to be inclusive to readers from all backgrounds — particularly those whose cultures and religions have long been marginalized, dismissed, or (as Michelle rightly put it) straight up held in contempt — flagging a comment like Lane’s would be a good place to start. No one should have been able to “up-vote” that comment in the first place. Also, thank you Michelle for taking the time to educate readers about (a) how feng shui is practiced in certain communities today and (b) why Lane’s comment was so inappropriate in the first place. I gather from your comment that you are yourself Asian American. You should not have to bear the burden of educating… Read more »
Especially after the recent and immensely educational post about AAPI!!
Wake up people and get with the change that’s taking place!
This line of reasoning is nuts IMO. I abhor any kind of racism or violence, as do all sane people, but what does that have to do with disagreeing with the tenets of any culture’s beliefs?? I don’t believe that Jesus was the son of god so does that make me racist against Christians? Come on, we need to be able to think rationally. Most people in the US don’t follow feng shui, that’s a fact. Most people on the earth don’t follow most belief structures. They choose one and dismiss the rest. So they’re racist against everyone else for making a choice? Any religion is a superstition at base. If you want to decorate according to it, great. But don’t blame me for thinking that’s ridiculous. And don’t imply I’m a racist, because that is not ok.
See my comment above about saying, “bless you” when people sneeze. The problem is not about believing in others’ belief structures, it’s about making sure you have at least a baseline understanding of what those beliefs are, before you start commenting in such a dramatic fashion (by that I am referencing the original post by Laine, not yours).
It’s about respecting different cultures and people’s rights to their beliefs, and it’s about understanding that they may hold those beliefs at the same level as you hold your own. Do you go out of your way to insult people who believe that Jesus was the son of God, and tell them that their belief is harmful, negative, outdated, and irrelevant? Somehow I doubt that. And this case is even more extreme: it would be the equivalent of you insulting Christians but under the false assumption that they believe that one of the disciples was the one who is the messiah, because you didn’t bother to look up the information that could be obtained after two seconds of Googling, and you decided that your ignorance was just as good as their knowledge. That’s the difference.
Completely agree with all of your points above, Michelle. You have said it perfectly. I am sorry you were in the position of educating people on this thread when all you wanted was to talk floor plans. Two more thoughts to Shannon, and anyone else who thinks it’s okay to call feng shui “irrelevant superstition”: (a) Critiquing a religion or a culture holds more weight when you personally are a stakeholder in that religion or culture. Also, it holds more weight when that religion or culture is *dominant.* Power matters; context matters. My background is partly Jewish, partly (Protestant) Christian, and I will gladly criticize (aspects of) both of those complicated and gloriously superstitious religions all day long. BUT. It is 100% NOT the same thing for me to throw shade at a religion or culture that doesn’t belong to me, let alone one that is routinely the object of racist hate in my own country. In short, just because you critique your own inherited traditions (and again, I’m right there with you) doesn’t mean it’s okay to dismiss someone else’s. This is all the more true against the historical and ever-present backdrop of colonialism, racism, and anti-AAPI violence in… Read more »
Thanks, Nellie. I love what you’ve said, especially about dominance, power, and context.
Nellie, well said.
It’s important that people ‘get’ this or there can be no real change.
Nellie, yes yes yes.
I often feel like the most salient learning of this unlearning, unlearning white supremacy and practicing anti-racism, is welcoming being wrong, welcoming trying again, welcoming discomfort. The more I practice those things, the more I’m on the right track I think.
Michelle, if i was responding to a post about decorating and someone told Brian and Emily to, say, hang a giant cross over their bed because that was the best way to avoid eternal damnation, you’re damned right (see what i did there?) that I’d insert myself to say keep your beliefs to yourself and don’t burden others with them. So i guess that makes me an equal opportunity asshole, AND NOT A RACIST.
But in your example scenario above where there is a widely accepted design principle among people of a certain culture or religion that hanging a cross above your bed will save your soul, there’s a difference between chiming in to say “I’m don’t think Emily and Brian ascribe to Christian practices when it comes to decorating so a suggestion to hang a cross above their bed is probably not in line with their vision” and saying “Emily and Brian shouldn’t be forced to think about what happens after they die so why would you suggest such a ridiculous and supersititous idea as hanging a cross above their bed.”
Lane’s comment was phrased more like the latter – it denigrated the whole belief system of Feng shui and by association anyone who participates in that belief system.
Kristin, I see your point but to me the crux of the issue is where you say, “by association.” I don’t think dismissing feng shui equals dismissing those who choose to practice it. I agree that Lane’s wording could have been gentler. But I think to call it racist is a leap. What is the upside of looking for the most hateful, negative interpretation of her statement?
Knowing the origin story of the “bless you” doesn’t make it any less of a superstition in the present day. People have the right to feel better when someone says it, or believe the blessing protects them, but they don’t have the right to tell nonbelievers that they’re cursed if no one said it. And if i call out a “bless you” as “some irrelevant superstition,” in that context, that may be offensive to those who believe in its power, but they would still have no cause to say I implied that they are somehow an inferior group of people for being believers, no matter how downtrodden they believe themselves to be, or are.
Religion, race and culture are different things.
Religion: “Religion, human beings’ relation to that which they regard as holy, sacred, absolute, spiritual, divine, or worthy of especial reverence. … It is also commonly regarded as consisting of the way people deal with ultimate concerns about their lives and their fate after death.”
Race: “Agroup of people of common ancestry, distinguished from others by physical character istics, such as hair type, colour of eyes and skin, stature, etc.”
Culture: “Culture is the characteristics and knowledge of a particular group of people, encompassing language, religion, cuisine, social habits, music and arts. … Thus, it can be seen as the growth of a group identity fostered by social patterns unique to the group.”
By learning about these things and the nuances, we may better understand other people, fellow human beings, better.
Global blog = big, global thinking and acceptance of and learning about other cultures.
What a wonderful thing, for real!
If you want to have an actual talk about this, I am here for you. But you don’t get to tell other folks, and in particular racialized folks, what is and isn’t racist.
If someone tells you something is racist, they are giving you a gift. It is vulnerable work to acknowledge that something is hurtful and damaging. You are arguing, “No it’s not hurtful, it’s not damaging. You shouldn’t feel that way; my comments get to stand outside a tremendous cultural legacy of dismissal and supremacy” but actually your words don’t stand outside anything. They are just a part of daily experiences for everyone else, just a little more everyday racism.
It’s okay to be learning. But that means taking the feedback and, you know, reflecting. Learning.
I’m all for learning and reflecting but the idea that any and all accusations of racism are gifts doesn’t hold true for me. I believe that by accepting every accusation without examination, we are contributing to a culture of division and self-victimization. But thanks so much for the, you know, feedback.
HERE’S GOOGLE’S RESULT:
“The tradition of placing the casket/shroud covered body in the grave with the head to the west is common, and people know about it. At the same time, the feet are to the east. The body would be placed face up.
Why the east-facing position?
One may think that it’s for practical reasons, but the east-facing placement has religious causes. It seems that in Christianity, the star comes from the east.
Some of the ancient religions (based on the sun) would bury the dead facing east so that they could face the “new day” and the “rising sun.” Once again, Christ is considered to be the “Light of the World,” which explains the eastward facing burials. Many scriptural talks about the resurrection and how Christ will come from the east. Lightning shows from the east, but it’s from the west that you can see it. It makes perfect sense that the Son of Man would arrive from the east.”
Aaaand, it’s not only in Eastern cultures!! “The tradition of placing the casket/shroud covered body in the grave with the head to the west is common, and people know about it. At the same time, the feet are to the east. The body would be placed face up. In all fairness, it’s not very practical to utilize the west-east placement all the time, which is why the north-south placement turned out to be a great alternative. This time, the funeral casket was placed on the side, head to north, and face to east. Suffice to say, not all cemeteries and traditions allowed the position either. Why caused the east-facing position? One may think that it’s for practical reasons, but the east-facing placement has religious causes. It seems that in Christianity, the star comes from the east. Some of the ancient religions (based on the sun) would bury the dead facing east so that they could face the “new day” and the “rising sun.” Once again, Christ is considered to be the “Light of the World,” which explains the eastward facing burials. Many scriptural talks about the resurrection and how Christ will come from the east. Lightning shows from the east, but it’s from… Read more »
Brian mentioned when talking about the powder room that the deck and family room are on the west. That puts the front porch and sun room on the north. (And … the foot of the bed as drawn in the floor plan with the green background near the bottom of the post is on the west!)
Great/s. My slow internet took so long to load my comment that it inadvertently got put in the middle of a tiff.
To better fit in with the rest of this sub-thread, I offer for your consideration that Emily herself *did* say “I believe strongly in bedroom feng-shui and how it can affect how you feel and live in the space.” This was in her post of March 18, right above the section about the porte-cochere.
Thank you. Emily did and that’s why I mentioned it.
Feng Shui has many layers and differing sects; the “coffin position’ is when the bed is placed so feet are pointing out a doorway. It really doesn’t involve a certain direction.
Command position is best in FS circles-when you can see the doorway to the room from the bed; usually this creates a feeling a safety.
BTW, my fave FS place is https://redlotusletter.com/
Yeah, when it’s done indepth, it’s based on your birth info., and all kinds of other details, I shared a basic premise.
The teen zoo is killing me. So good.
Love the design too. I lean a bit preservationist, but this flow is so much better imho. The kitchen feels a bit separated from the other living areas, but the access to windows makes the rooms feel more open. How often does that happen? Bravo.
I was one who raised the issue with the sunroom/dining room, but I’m glad it’s staying as a writing nook. That makes a lot of sense and will be really pretty, especially on the exterior.
Great post, and a timely reminder to us commentators that we are commenting on the home and decisions of real people with real feelings!
I love how you looked at all the comments and then adapted the floorplan where you thought the commentators had a point yet stood your ground where it really mattered to you. Perfect combination. Thank-you both for being so open and gracious.
I think the result speaks for itself, it immediately looks less chopped-up and easier on the eye. I also love how the kitchen is both open to the rest of the space and yet simultaneously” a little bit around the corner”. To my European eye it looks much more liveable too, or at least like you will use all the space all the time.
I commented on the upper floor post about making this ground floor Universal Design. Not to send you back to the drawing board, but is that a possibility/element here?
I agree with the “little bit around the corner.” Looks so much more cohesive. Gargantuan mud rooms just tend to become giant junk rooms, what you need is a place to take shoes off and corral bags/ dog leashes. Much prefer a smaller mudroom!
Agree too. This looks much more balanced whereas before it looked very choppy with lots of little rooms and then one big great room. The flow now is so much better, and you will never regret having great natural light in your kitchen.
Universal design is a great idea always, and an extra-great idea when you’re thinking about a home in which you hope to grow old!
Brian has such a fun voice and I always enjoy reading his posts. I look forward to more like this!
Ok so this has nothing to do with the article but just a tech issue : I have a really hard time reading the blog on my mobile (iPhone). The “cookies” or “ad-blocker” pop-up kind of glitches and nothing gets accessible. Is it only me ? It’s been happening for a week or so !
Yes, me too. I tried to read the original post 5 times and had to give up. I thought maybe it had to do with the videos?? Unfortunately I am not tech savvy enough to know the problem.
Yes, I had the same problem on mobile (there was this grey see-through thing making me unable to click any of the posts) and I had to switch to my laptop to read the post.
Same, it’s been happening for a while for me, but only when I get to the post from linkinbio on Instagram. To keep reading, I either have to open a browser and navigate to the blog that way, or close and restart Instagram
Same here! I haven’t been able to read the blog for over a week now, and for me it doesn’t matter if I come straight via browser (using Android+Chrome btw).
And thanks for the blog, it’s super interesting to follow your design journey with this gorgeous house!
Not only you – I can only read the blog if I go through Facebook and not the blog page.
Yes! I can’t read it on my phone at all. I have to look at it on my iPad.
Yes, the floating appliances made it nearly impossible to read today. I also have issues with the site reloading on mobile — I think the ads have made the site really “big.” Half the time I don’t comment, because the site will reload before I can finish.
Yes! I can’t read the blog on my iphone at all at the moment. Some kind of pop-up comes up when I load the blog, but it’s not visible to click on and accept/dismiss so I can’t get to the content.
SO sorry everyone! I have our tech guy on it!
Yay Jess! I hope you know, you’re this person:
What you do is so essential. Hope you and Tech Guy have a relationship as great as Ned’s and Peter’s!
I like to imagine Emily saying, “Brian, since you’re so fired up about the commenters, maybe you want to take the revised plan post.” Brian, as fired up as he was, “Yes, I’ll do it!” Emily has a quiet snicker to herself because it’s one less post she has to do this week. Meanwhile, Brian gets gifted a whole new batch of comments, which I’m sure will also be loaded with some new “ideas”. 🙂
Brian, I love your storytelling writing! The plans look great. Holy Toledo, this process is a lot of decision making. You both are champs!
Totally agree! I can hear this convo in my head and am dying. Thanks for being so gracious with us Hendersons! I love the new kitchen location, it flows. Brian, have you ever seen the glass shower enclosure at the Gianetti’s Patina Farm? It has a glass roof and is amazing-I see your vision.
Obsessed with the Gianetti’s and Patina Farm. I watch those videos like a meditation.
Thank you for explaining the reasons you kept some things !
For example, I understand now why the powder room stays here, indeed it makes a lot of sense if people will be mostly hanging out on the deck.
It’s also an argument pro-reducing the mudroom, because the play area won’t be on that side of the house. Great read !
Yes, I was thinking that too! If your mud room is RIGHT by a door you won’t use all the time, it might be more of a fight to get your kids to use it when they come in through a different door. And if you end up having a back door shoe basket by the deck, that’s great too!
I think you summarized the design by saying the adjectives moved from luxurious to sweet. That’s appropriate for a farmhouse and I’m happy for your shift in mindset as well as design. Sweet can be beautiful and classic. Really admire the way you and Emily handle feedback.
Just wanted to say I went to the U of O too and had a very traumatic creative writing class experience (Freshman year! First term!). Luckily I tried again a few years later and had an amazing professor. But the shame of the brutal feedback still haunts me. (also, go ducks!).
Not U of O, but I also had some experiences in creative writing workshops as an undergrad that continue to haunt me in middle age–something about the workshop form can incentivize viciousness and shame if the professor doesn’t aggressively model respectful discourse
University of Michigan ecology grad here; I just took the approach of not saying a single word unless forced to whilst sitting around an oak table discussing important books with 10 other VERY self-important literary students and matching professor. I felt like a dysfunctional mute the whole time but I just wasn’t going to get in there and throw punches with those people. I’m so glad there was only that one literature requirement for my degree. On the other hand, I do wish a lot of scientists and engineers were better writers/communicators. This comment has really strayed off-topic…..
I am a writing professor and these traumatic stories make me so sad. I super aggressively model respectful discourse. Ugh bummed this still happens.
The explanation behind your reasons for certain decisions, the gracious way you guys took and worked with feedback, AND this awesome layout makes me happy. Not that my happiness matters but the previous plan felt like it was too much but not what you wanted, this feels like your home!
Also I feel like we should be taught that it’s not voluMptuous in primary school, not by some smart arse when we’re adults 😆
Thank you for another great read, Brian. I have to point out that it’s onomatopoeia, not onomonopea. Irregardless, I love your writing and your voice here. 😉 (see what I did there?)
yes, agreed, the new plans look fantastic.
to follow up on TMCC’s good point about onomatopoeia (unless you intentionally misspelled it? in which case: hah, and please ignore this): to make it an adjective, try “onomatopoeic” or “onomatopoetic.”
so in your original sentence: “I mean, just like in an onomatopoeic way it makes way more sense.”
congratulations on the beautifully revised floor plan!
Nellie, thank you – I learned something new. And just in case my joke wasn’t clear, irregardless is not a word. Nevertheless, it persists.
Coming back to this post, I think the new main floor layout is going to be great. The flow really works, and the changes make so much sense. I’m really looking forward to seeing the kitchen as it progresses. Congrats Emily, Brian and team Farmhouse.
Actually, irregardless is now considered an actual word. The powers that be gave up the fight and let the unwashed masses win this one. Look it up.
Things like that have got to be why academics working at dictionaries have an alcohol drawer in their desk, or a hollowed out book with a flask in it on their shelves.
Yes, your cromulent comment has undoubtedly embiggened the conversation 😀
I’m sure we’re all in agreeance on that. (my spellcheck doesn’t like that, although I think it’s also now been declared an acceptable alternative term, first time I’ve loved spellcheck)
I have not commented however, having grown up on a farm, I would like to share with you two experiences: 1. My dad’s farmhouse has a mud room when you first walk in. It’s complete with a sink and a washer dryer as well as lots of hanging storage to dry wet coveralls, store the boot warmers and, when my daughter stays with him, air out the soccer gear. Growing up my dad had angus beef cattle, sheep, goats, horses, hogs and Buffalo. We always wore other clothes under our coveralls so we weren’t tracking manure through the house. And his house never smelled like a barn. As a bachelor pad, having that separation helped keep things tidy in the rest of the house. Also, when we come out and our puppy gets pooped up from playing in the manure and mud, we can lock her in there to dry off during the winter – before we drive home and throw her in the tub. (We have a backseat hammock for her to keep her mud from staining the seats). 2. My mom and stepdad also have a mud room. It’s right off the walkway but there is no laundry… Read more »
K, you’ve made me think about mudrooms in a whole new way! I feel like in the burbs where I grew up we had sanitized mudrooms, commonly known as the foyer, if at all. But poop, manure, dogs, shoes, coveralls— ya know, farm life— it makes me want to have a glorious mudroom so none of that blech would get in the house.
Henderson’s, so curious how farmy you plan to get!
Love this helpful comment! I’ve learned so much about the importance of a good farm mud room!
This makes so much sense! Also, I may be reading the plans incorrectly, but it looks like the mushroom is not connected to an entrance, which … isn’t that the whole point? Do you have to track mud (and dirty dogs) through your kitchen in order to use it? It seems like something you need to be super practical where you’re going to live .
The white box in the wall on the angle looks like a door out to the portico that Emily had talked about adding, so it does look like they will have direct access from outside to the mudroom.
There is a door between the porte cochere and the mudroom, you can see it on the final pair of floorplans at the end of the post (the green one). There is a small run of steps up to a stoop, then a door into the mudroom.
You know, that’s a good point. In the farmhouse where my mom grew up, they actually had the mudroom situation in the basement! Everyone would enter, go down to the basement, shower and change out of barn clothes, and the washer and dryer were down there too. No manure smell in the house! I’m guessing there’s no basement in this place?
I think Emily said there is a very low head height basement, and it is likely that the stairs would be conveniently located right off the current mud room
Honestly, I don’t the kind of farm they are envisioning would result in hugely manure-covered clothes. I think I’ve experienced more their kind of farm– I grew up on a farm with goats and currently live on 1/2 acre with chickens. I also have kids who regularly get completely covered in mud when they play! (And my six-year-old may or may not have been sliding down a pile of horse manure last week.) We never had a washing machine by our door, and while our house sometimes gets muddy, a good door mat helps a lot, as does actually mopping the floor sometimes (I’m working on this). Basically, I don’t think they’ll find this is a very big deal either way. I bet they will be sort of “normal muddy” rather than “super manure covered muddy,” and on those rare days when we are actually super manure-covered muddy, it’s not a big deal to take off clothes by the door and then walk them to the washer.
Yeah, I think the term for this place is “hobby farm” which I always thought meant the people were just doing it as a hobby and weren’t serious about it, but apparently it’s about how big the farm is and how much farming is done (hundreds and hundreds of animals vs. a few chickens/goats, many hectares of crops verses a large kitchen garden). The way they are planning to live their life here does not sound like lots of manure will be created or tracked into the house. This minimalist mudroom is going to be fine.
My grandparents lived on a farm too. They didn’t have a running water or bathroom in the house in the 1980s. They had 4 big rooms, one was a kitchen, plus two entries, and two storage rooms (like a porch, unheated) off each entry. They had a basic washer, but not in the mudroom/porch. How come their home never smelled? It was clean like a city house. They had to attend to fields, gardens, cows, horse, pigs, and chickens many times throughout each day, in all weather. Again no dirt or smell. They wore work boots (tall rubber boots like rainboots, or short rubberboots in summer, or warm boots in winter) and a coat or vest as needed. They took all off in the porch, but they never took off their shirt or pants unless they were doing bigger jobs. They didnt wash their coverings very often, they just dried in the sun, and boots got ronsed outside as needed. Again no smell. Surely, mudroom was a great buffer. But I find it some of those comments strange. Maybe because I prefer being prepared and prevent cleanup, as opposed to coming in dirty and washing everything all the time. My… Read more »
I’d agree that I don’t think their definition of farm is going to be quite as full-fledged as yours. I do think a mudroom is necessary to take off muddy boots and clothes. But unless your clothes are dripping with mud (this would be hard to accomplish, and I live in Oregon) then I don’t see how you’re tracking mud all through the house. You do need a sink in the mudroom to rinse off the muddy boots. Then you carry the dirty clothes to the laundry and dump them in. If you drop a piece of dirt here and there, you vacuum it up! My husband has a very dirty job and has been known to strip on our front porch if necessary.
We are moving into a house on 14 acres that has a proper mudroom entry with a small bathroom and laundry right inside it. I now understand what a luxury that is! But a necessity it is not.
I grew up on thousands of acres in Montana. My family still farms and ranches in Montana and North Dakota. Mostly cattle, but also crops and horses.
I currently have horses, goats, chickens, donkey, ponies, 10 dogs and 6 cats on 10 acres in Fort Worth TX. I think the mudroom you are describing sounds dreamy, but not necessary. We go in and out our front door and not our mudroom. And we have a dreamy mudroom, but for various reasons it isn’t convenient right now. We also only have 1 washer and 1 dryer. It’s totally fine. I ride horses every day. My husband works on cars in his shop every day. Yes, it’s nice to have a place to drop things, but it is just as easy to strip wherever you go in the house and drop the dirty stuff where it needs to go. This is especially true if you live in the country and don’t have to worry about breaking laws or scaring neighbors with your nudity. Because no matter what you do, if you live in the country/on a farm your house is going to be dirty.
I live on 2/3 acre in rainy Portland and am an avid gardener. We often come in caked in mud and/or soaking wet, and drop our dirty clothes directly into the laundry room adjacent to the mud room. The clothes are often way too wet and dirty to go in the main closet hamper, so right into the washer or utility tub works for us.
Personally I still prefer the original design with the butlers pantry and that wonderful set of glass cabinets and the breakfast nook, but this new version flows very well and seems to help solve the problem of too little light in the main living space.
I know, I’m SO sad about the loss of those glass walk through cabinets!!! I’m
Sitting here trying to think if there is any way to keep a Butler’s pantry if you put the dining area back in the sunroom… but I’m NOT a designer and I assume they did try some ways to keep those stunning cabinets!
Ps As someone who loves to throw dinner parties I might be the only one who is concerned about the lack of a formal dining room and breakfast nook. I think I’d feel better if I knew how many people could be seated at the new dining table area…
But I am psyched that the kitchen is more separated from the living room area, and that Emily will have a dedicated writing area!!
I love the new plan and also wondered about a larger table. I wonder if a table instead of an island in the middle of the kitchen could work as a causal dinning area and they coudl have a more formal space in that transition to the living room. A work table in the kitchen would be very period appropriate and I love the warmth of a scrubbed table to do kitchen prep work and eat casual meals, rather than an island. Shavnoda has talked a lot about this in her kitchen renovation.
Extremely unlikely, because they would lose the cabinetry that is in the island. Seems like there is barely enough cabinetry now.
I like the idea of a fantastic table in the middle of the kitchen too! It seems like there might still be room for company seating in the sunroom… and maybe they’ll end up doing most of their entertaining outside anyway!
Agree that for a farmhouse/Shaker style, a center farmhouse table would be perfect!
Just want to say- I really love Brian’s posts!
I understood the previous floorplan but I LOVE the new floorplan! The sunroom looks like it will be such a sweet room 🙂
Good morning! I can’t imagine reading the comments, ugh that must be really hard and I try to keep that in mind as a commenter. Anyhoo…
I was someone who wasn’t super fond of the kitchen… but I tried really hard to see it from Emily’s perspective and to be understanding. I’m glad you changed it though because I think this is just such better flow. I’m always trying to think of the way one needs to move through their house because I once lived in a home with horrible flow and it really is a dealbreaker for me now. A home needs to support you, your life, and your movement.
Thank you for your perspective, Brian. Always nice to hear from you 🙂 I think you guys made a huge improvement this round (but really what I think doesn’t matter as long as you love it)
RE point #2 – i truly dislike having my laundry in the mudroom. maybe it’s just our layout and the openness [sound-wise] between the mudroom and the kitchen/main areas of the house, but i really don’t enjoy hearing/seeing my laundry when it’s in progress. and it means there is no laundry ROOM, so no space to hang clothes or just be messy with the laundry. i am all for separation of laundry, and leaving a mudroom as a touchdown/entry. 🙂
So glad to see you are keeping the beautiful sunroom/dining room! That was my favorite part of the original plan. Also, if I may, it seems like you are thinking about changing the 2nd story plan to add an extra bathroom. I just want to put in my vote to keep it the way it is. 1. Your kids will be JUST FINE sharing a bathroom. I shared with my brother, I’m sure the two of you shared with your siblings, same with the vast majority of the readers of this blog. We all survived. 🙂 Also, I like to think of it as a water conservation measure. If you don’t have anyone banging on the door telling you to hurry up, imagine how long those showers can get! 2. Unless you’re planning on having overnight guests every weekend, your guests will also be just fine sharing a bathroom with the kids. Or if it’s that much of an issue, have the kids use your bathroom while guests are staying with you. The kids will get their own little spa vacation and your guests can keep the private bath. No reason to change the layout to make things slightly more… Read more »
Totally agree! I shared with my three siblings (and any guests who stayed with us) and we learned to do just that — SHARE! If you’re happy with the upstairs, no stress, keep it!
Agree! I grew up with a family of 6 in a 3 bed, 2 bath house. All of us are super close and had 4 kids sharing a bathroom and it worked! It did help to have big mirrored closets in the girls room so we did all of our getting ready in the bedroom.
If they really need to use the bathroom, the powder room is also there so 3 toilets for 4 people seems very reasonable (not even touching the Victorian house).
Agree with points made on kids sharing bathroom and the overhyped need for separate bath for guests (depending on frequency of guest visits). However, like the changes made to the downstairs, I think there is a way to make a single bathroom more FUNCTIONAL. Like double sinks and creating room separation of shower/toilet from sinks.
Y’all, my five siblings and I shared a single bathroom, and it sucked. I really would have happily traded all of the “valuable lessons” that sharing a bathroom “brings” and instead have been able to bathe at length in privacy, since I had no privacy at length anywhere in that house. When we moved to a new house with two bathrooms to share with six kids when I was sixteen, it was like a damn miracle. Make all the bathrooms you can!
My five siblings, my two parents, and I shared a single bathroom and it did not suck. So….
First of all, love that you took the time to consider your loyal readers’ comments. The fridge by the fireplace was bothersome, as well as injecting a contemporary kitchen into a traditional living room with an off-center arrangement. This open floor plan hits everything right for gracious living and use of light and space. The sunroom will possibly be the favorite room in the house. I really enjoyed studying all the iterations and reasonings behind the different plans. Thank you for taking us along on this journey. The house will be amazing.
i love the kitchen changes – not crazy about kitchens in the living space, and now the dining space can take advantage of the fireplace!! but what about the butler’s pantry? that’s what i would miss. where’s all the “stuff” going to go? there might be less storage and prep space.
Oh thank goodness! I’ve been so worried about the kitchen being dark. I’m from the East coast, so I don’t know Portland weather well, but if it’s rainy and muddy but not cold, could you have some mud room functionality outdoors? Like an outdoor dog wash station and boot tray under a lean to roof?
I second this idea! It seems like the western side of the house will see the most action & mud, so maybe a section of the deck could be dedicated to washing dogs and hanging coats.
I love the changes too. The new kitchen will be a very happy place. Good for you for being adaptable!
Or… a dog washingstation with hot water, under the carport or the fancy French name Arciform gave it,
I live in Portland and strongly agree with this suggestion! Outdoor washroom for doggo is awesome. If the Henderson dogs are like mine, they instantly shake as soon as you spray them down and it’s better to get that shake-water off outside than inside. The mudroom can stay small then–just a space for wet clothes/shoes.
What a great post! Thanks for sharing the thought process in your decision making. It helps to understand everything much better. I’m glad that you are leaning on moving the kitchen to the back of the house since it lets more light in the living room and allows the kitchen have beautiful light as well. It also feels more appropriate for the house to have the kitchen tucked away at the back of the house (still having it open to your living room) as opposite to your original plan to place the kitchen in the middle of the living room. Your butler’s pantry in the original plan was gorgeous tho and I wish you could find a way to keep those beautiful glass cabinets you had in the doorway. They added so much character, but I’m sure you’ll add that architectural character in other ways. Also keeping the sun room is a great decision, I’m sure it will be a gorgeous space.
Thank you for sharing! I can’t wait to see how it will turn out. 🙂
Is the sunroom going to be closed off or open? Maybe add the glass cabinets between the sunroom and the living room? I thought Emily didn’t like working in the open mountain loft area because of the noise/distractions?
I was thinking the same thing! Those cabinets could flank the entry to the sunroom – it could still be open to the living area if they like, or do french doors if sound/distraction is an issue.
But what purpose would cabinets there serve? Seems kind of gratuitous and silly to me to put cabinets in an area that doesn’t require storage.
I worried about the tone of my comment on the last post, as I wanted to convey the incredulity and fraternal warmth of a good friend who is questioning a decision, but I couldn’t send along a six pack of beer or a set out a pot of tea and crumpets to soften the fact that I was compelled to chat you all up about your kitchen island placement.
suffice to say, this is way better to my eye, and solves the biggest issue I saw in the previous post. I’m super happy you changed it, but truly and for real because I really really think you’ll prefer this.
this just is better.
Beautiful changes. I have to say, that line of windows facing the “special” former breakfast nook light makes me so happy for you all! It will be a gorgeous sunny happy kitchen to build your family memories together.
My only question is: can you find some way to enclose or wall off the mud room space? Otherwise the mess of coats and boots in the winter is going to drive you nuts! Maybe down the line, you could bump out that wall a bit and build that dream dog shower.
I agree with Emily on the sunroom. It’s going to be a beautiful room, maybe she will style it as a library/ sunroom space.
You’re college story brought back my own trauma from Kindergarten where my “friends” convinced me animals was “aminals” to the point I started saying it that way and eventually used my “new word” it in front of the teacher who politely corrected me but I was still GUTTED by the betrayal… Yeah, I’ve gotten over it, it’s only been 25 years. All this to say, who HASN’T experienced a miss-used/pronounced word?!? I’m still learning, and plant to continue, I’m just better at checking my sources now. 🙂
I went from a rural town to a posh city boarding school when I was 11 and the city girls teased me because I pronounced Versace “Versase” when reading it from a magazine one day. Super funny in hindsight but I was mortified and felt like such a hick!
Since you say you read everything we wrote, I hope you saw that I stood up for you about building a balcony with a glass floor. The glass floor in the Dubai frame (saw on a video, so I don’t know the details, just that it looked wonderful) has some sort of mechanism that can change the glass from clear to opaque. And, there are those shades you can get for skylights that would probably work for your balcony floor/sunroom ceiling as well. I’m very much rooting for you to get your wish about that balcony!
Is there a reason the access to the first floor washer and dryer is IN your closet, rather than the hallway leading to your bedroom? The laundry footprint would still be within the closet, but could be accessed via a door in the hallway (in the drawing, to the right if the powder room door). Seems like it will ease the repair process when the washer leaks or pipe gets clogged or whatever inevitable water issue arises.
Also – will the dryer be vented or a condenser? I would hate for humidity to ruin your clothes (and carpet if you have it in there).
This is great. I didn’t comment before but was thinking the same thing. We had this same issue when we moved our kitchen to the other side of the house. We opted for an semi open space to the larger living space that gives a cohesive look but also keeps areas in their zone. Agree about a smaller mud room too as if it becomes to large, it’s just a dumping ground. Excited to follow the progress!
Brian, I love the revised plan. It feels like a much better use of the existing space. I felt all along that you didn’t necessarily need to add on, just make the existing space (which is a lot) more workable. Bigger is not always better! I’m really surprised that you both read so many comments from the last post about the first floor plan….not sure I could have. As someone who has moved a lot (I think 15 times, lost count) I know that function and flow are truly important. I didn’t suggest moving the kitchen before because it just seemed too critical, but I really like that you did. I honestly don’t care for all open spaces but prefer” separate but open” and it fits this house better. The mudroom area will be fine. I didn’t like the location of the DR before but thought it would be a great sunroom….and I actually like it smaller as it’s more intimate. Obviously it can be used for extra dining as needed but it just makes more sense. As long as you all are happy with the bathroom location, that’s what matters. It’s very hard to design a space when you… Read more »
I love this! Can’t wait to see it!
Loved this post! You two are so gracious to allow comments and actually respond to them! Thanks for letting us follow along!!!
I honestly liked your original plan. More charm and purpose to each area. This just feels like your making your big great room even bigger and emptier. The original plan felt cozier and a little more authentic to the feel of architecture. And I’m not a farmhouse architecture purist at all. Why do ppl think you need two eating spaces right beside each other? I completely disagree with those who felt the sunroom dining was too far. I think it was obvious it wasn’t for everyday and it gives entire new environment to enjoy dinner with friends or special occasions. I’m not mad a you though. I understand that you can’t please everyone. I’m a kitchen designer and because of where I live you will not believe the number of blue, grey, white kitchens ppl ask for. Aaaaallllll the time. And like ppl in the comment section it seems like a safe bet. But it took one client for me to realize my designer super power. I took a chance and presented her a backsplash option that was not white subway tile but something that as a designer I felt would work better for her space. I was in love… Read more »
Why is the exterior mudroom door on an angled wall now? There aren’t any other angled walls anywhere in the house, are there? It seems super 80’s, 1980’s not 1880’s unfortunately. I speak from experience because we have two angled doors into our two master closets and they are truly hideous looking. If we can ever gut our master bath they will be the first thing to go.
oh there’s ways you can make it pretty and not 80’s! imagine it it was a super narrow french door tucked off a the deck. with symmetrical topiary’s potted on either side. Or a dutch door! And maybe a transom up above? if the roofline / ceilings allow?
Well done, Brian! I was cringing at the tone of many of the comments on the last post, because some of them were harshly written. I’m glad you took the good and left the rest. Congrats on the revised floor plan! And boooo to that dude in your writing class.
Okay, just had a thought… in case you are still open to “tweaks.” If you move the hallway from the family room into the bedroom so it is at the “top” of the family room instead of the “bottom,” you could scootch the laundry room down so it is adjacent to the deck and put an exterior door in it… so that becomes your mudroom. Then you could eliminate the mudroom on the east side of the house and have more room for a full dining table. You would lose having the laundry attached to your closet, which would be dreamy, but they would still be close. And you would have laundry in the mudroom where the real mud is likely to occur.
Either way, it will be fabulous. I love your changes. Floorplans are my favorite part!
Oooh… or turn the mudroom on the eastern side of the house into a little butler’s pantry… where you could drop groceries after bringing them in from the porte cochere…
That’s a clever thought. Might be worth gingerly testing that with the architect – I know they have been really accommodating already but it will be your forever house. (And this blog is probably huge advertising for them so it pays for them to be seen as flexible)
“Probably huge advertising”?! Undoubtedly, Emily and Bryan are paying little, if anything, for their architects’ services. And that’s as it should be, given the life-changing exposure the firm is receiving in exchange. They don’t need to test an idea gingerly. Politely, yes. And I’d expect nothing less.
Or, take the master closet and split it in horizontally. The half closer to the front of the house becomes new mudroom/laundry space. If you move the doorway entrance into the bedroom further down the hallway to the right you can put a door into the mudroom/laundry room from the hallway giving it easier access from the deck outside. Moving the bedroom entrance farther down that hallway doesn’t cause you to lose usable bedroom space as you are just basically losing the hallway that was inside the bedroom.
Ok, I swore I was gonna stop reading these posts, but curiosity won out with this one. I really like where you guys landed with the revised floorplan. Of course, the preservationist/open concept hater in me isn’t perfectly satisfied, but I really do think that where you landed with the living/kitchen/sunroom is the best of both worlds as far as preserving the functionality you guys wanted without making it feel too much like a McMansion-y new build. I think it’ll be great!
Sooooo much better! I will sleep better at night now ; ). As far as preserving, there is probably someone out there who would come and carefully remove the existing kitchen to use themselves. At the very least, you can donate to restore (assuming they are also on west coast). And with no guilt! For those of us with tight budgets, those donations and craigslist opportunities are necessary and invaluable.
I really enjoy these posts, and appreciate your explanations. I love your writing voice. Thank you so much for sharing your home and process with us. It’s going to be incredible.
I am a huge supporter of the revised floorplan. I think you will love having the best light and a wall of windows in the kitchen. I also wanted to make one comment in support of not having your powder room near the kitchen and formal living room. We live in a narrow but tall Victorian house in the UK, like most of our friends. A lot of these houses have a powder room added to the main level right off the kitchen or living room. I find it can be awkward when visiting because you can usually hear everything that happens in that bathroom from the kitchen/dining/living. In our house our powder room is on the first floor landing so more removed from the main entertaining and kitchen space. Is it sometimes a little annoying to run upstairs? Yes, but I would emphasize “a little”. We have 3 young kids and they’ve just gotten used to it, as have the adults. To me the negatives are outweighed by the positives of having some separation and privacy in the bathroom and never having to hear what my guests are doing in there while I am cooking or entertaining.
This makes so much more sense, and I appreciate you all being open to feedback (I have the same reaction when people give me feedback on my hard work–how dare they!). I am wondering if this change means you’ll be losing the original cabinetry in the kitchen? That wasn’t clear in the rendering. I’m glad you’re keeping some sort of mudroom.
I like this new floorplan better. One other thing to consider – lose the door in the upper left corner of the kitchen. That will open up a lot of kitchen layout opportunities and will leave a bigger space for the dining room.
In short, although I wasn’t one of the commenters, I also felt that the kitchen was taking over the living room to the point where the living room became more of a furnished walkthrough space than an actual respected room. Which makes sense when you have young children, but when they are a little older and the pandemic is over, you will want a beautiful, emphasized space to have grownup friends over and sit in after dinner and talk into the night as kids rampage outside and in the teen garage. Now you have one. Hooray!
Emily and Brian, just when I thought I couldn’t possibly love you two any more! You are both so honest and kind and such captivating storytellers. I can’t believe how wonderfully you took all the feedback, I would have had Brian’s initial reaction and probably stayed in that place hahaha. (But seriously, Brian your therapy post last year was a significant factor in my decision to start therapy – thank you so much!) Also in an English seminar presentation I mispronounced “inevitably” – my sister and husband still tease me about it. We all have random knowledge gaps; there’s a whole HIMYM episode about that and it’s hilarious. This post was delightful and also clarified lots of things for me, like where you’ll be hanging out outside and the teenage zoo (love it!). The new plan flows so well! It’s dreamy to imagine bringing in groceries and garden produce and then cooking up a storm with all that southern light in a space that feels dedicated but still connected to the rest of the house. And I’m relieved you’ll have the option of center-ing the living room around the fireplace! Good point that muddy splash pants often just stay hanging… Read more »
anyone remember the Friend’s episode with Joey and “indubitably”?? 🙂
Yes and no. I remember it as “supposebly”
And a ‘moo’ point. Instead of a moot point. “It’s like a cow’s opinion”
Yes! 🤣🤣🤣 I miss Joey
What a great post – on a bunch of different levels. I don’t know how you all have the courage to live in blog land. It’s hard territory. But I love what you’ve come up with, and thank you for sharing the process. Wishing you every blessing in your new home!
Great change! The only thing I would still change is making a smaller entrance to the main closet and have the washer and dryer closet facing the windows to avoid humidity in your closet. I cant wait to see!
I’m Team Washer-and-Dryer- in-the Master-Closet. That would be a dream. And also makes me realize I’m officially old.
Love the new sunroom! What a perfect place to drink coffee, write blog posts and watch the world wake up around you. Invest in some comfy chairs — I get the sense this will soon be your favorite spot in the house.
The rest of the layout seems like it will really work for your family. I always liked the idea of a powder room off the deck (minimizing the steps from outdoor dining/playspace to WC seems like a smart bet) and am glad it stayed as is.
So cheeky and honest! I love reading Brian’s viewpoint on this. It was obviously very passionate and thoughtful at the same time. I love that you were willing to listen too, let the wisdom of the collective guide you. AND that you kept the sunroom because I loved it but also felt it was a strange addition but wasn’t willing to part with it. Onward!!