The Handmade House

 

House trinket found at my folks house. Not sure where it is from but I adore the handmade quality especially shape,  patterns and two inch tall size!
House trinket found at my folks house. Not sure where it is from but I adore the handmade quality especially shape, patterns and two inch tall size!

It was three degrees this morning my tile installer told me. He added that is without wind chill factored in. He was here promptly around 9 AM to finish grouting my kids’ bath. 2014 was the year of finally doing work around our own home. The danger of being an architect and also being married to an architect is that we can see the future. We can imagine it done so in actuality improvements at our own home tend to move very slowly.  Add in the fact that my favorite tradesmen are often busy building projects I have designed. It is hard to get them scheduled when I need them.

 

What does three degrees outside my favorite tradesmen and my own home have to do with a handmade house? Everything! As we wrap up 2014, I want to remind everyone dreaming about a new house or renovation and even those currently knee deep in drywall dust a house is handmade. What? Not in today’s machine made world. Not with everything being made across that big wide world in a factory. What could possibility still be handmade? While the actual building materials may have been machine made they are almost always placed or installed by hand. No robots were used at my house to replace windows, doors, trim, or tile.   Everything was installed by hand.

 

Getting ready to Install doors  by hand at my own house.
Getting ready to Install doors by hand at my own house.

I am repeating that phrase everything was installed by hand. Sometimes in the midst of a home project it is very easy to forget. Yes things can go wrong, things can go right, and sometimes projects can even take your breath away with joy when you see it finished! My kids’ wall tile was not on a tile backing matt mesh. They are individual 4”x4” and 6”x12” tiles that need to be placed one by one by hand. The smaller tiles were handmade which means there is variation in each tile. Variation requires extra attention when laying placing the tile.  It takes time and skills make that finesse to do it right. I appreciate that effort as I know my tile installers take pride in their work.

 

Handmade tile being installed by hand!
Handmade tile being installed by hand!

I tried to keep a list of everyone who has worked or built/produced any part of my small project. From salesman, delivery drivers, installers, inspectors etc. but there are so many it easily gets away from me. Even my tree trimmer had a crew of 8! I bet for my own small project it was easily over 100 people! The fine folk in Versailles MO who made my new doors by hand or the Seneca KS door and cabinet makers I didn’t even meet. Keep that in mind when any work is done at or on your house it can be three degrees outside and the show goes on! Somewhere, someplace there is a framing crew working by hand right now or a cabinet maker is building unique custom cabinets or a painter painting a hand selected the color choice or carpenter is installing trim just the way a homeowner wants it. All of them are creating a Handmade House!

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