Home Again



I have spent most of my life traveling. I grew up traveling with my dad when he was a diplomat in Europe and then on his subsequent lecture tour. I traveled through college for class and for fun. Now I travel for work, and because I don’t know what to do with myself at home. Fortunately I enjoy it, but I suppose I haven’t really ever known another life. Usually, I have a neutral feeling of returning home. I don’t resonate with those who long for their own bed after a long journey. This time was different. I was looking forward to getting on the plane, not because I needed my bed, but because I need a space that was mine and mine alone.

The trip had actually gone quite well. Once I got past the initial shock of the engagement, it was a great time continuing our childhood tradition. Being back on the east coast was a wonderful as well. I love to be in old America, where houses are more than 30 years old and people still wear suits. But now, I am longing for a little comfort and athleisure might just be OK. Sitting on the plane right now I am happy to be wearing my Nike pull over and the thought of building a fire at home is warming me up. A little rain could do me well too.

I love the west coast for its informal interpretation of a more buttoned up east coast architecture. Since the late 1800's, it's always been a little true that where the east coast would have renaissance balustrades of marble, the west coast has light-hearted wood sticking in “exotic” patterns. There was a brief period between the late 1930's and very early 1950's, when domestic architects of the west were playing fast and loose with classic forms before they gave them all up for the puritanical lines of Modernism. As the ubiquitous bungalow fell out of vogue and began morphing into the ranch, it went through some exciting adaptations. At this little cottage I've been renting in Lake Oswego, the formal balustrades have been exchanged for a painted cinder block screen of circles. Wall articulation has been realized through various brick and cinder block patterns. The leaded glass windows, diamond grid on one side of the front door , and big square panes on the other , make the whole place feel really playful. Still, it does appear to have some decorum, as it's really hunkered down onto the rocky, treed brow of earth it was built upon. That's another thing I like about the Pacific Northwest: the undulating landscape causes every house to address its site, and therefore be completely unique.

I do struggle living here sometimes, it is definitely a different culture from where I grew up, not to mention the climate. But it also a great place to develop my architectural style. Here I get the pieces from the classical world that I have lived in and studied, and rearrange them into something familiar, yet possibly all together new.

My plan right now is to take a little vacation after my vacation. I’ll spend the next few days wondering aimlessly around my room. Processing the week before, planning the week ahead, but mostly watching old movies like Bringing up Baby and Key Largo. Then on Monday I have to get back on a plane for Paris to start working on the material for our next issue of Daniel House. This is a pretty good job.