It's a Puzzlement--Putting the Pieces Together When Building a House

cube 1Oh the games people play now…

…every night and every day now.

Joe South, 1968

Got your Rubik’s Cube handy? You know, that multicolored puzzle cube from the 1970’s made of smaller blocks that twist and turn, billions of possibilities but only one correct solution. It was designed by Hungarian Erno Rubik, and has been called the best selling puzzle of all time. It is easy to solve if you take apart the pieces and reassemble them in the correct way. Build your blue face, your yellow, your green, red, white and orange. It takes a minute or two and you get the right answer. But that is not what the cube is all about. It is about all that twisting and turning. Each cube influences the one next to it and the one after that and after that. Everything is interrelated. Or as Jonathan Safran Foer said in the title of his first novel, get it right and everything is illuminated.

Why talk about an old toy now? Because that maxim, that “everything is related” thing, is what is making it so difficult to design, build, and decorate the house. How can you choose a countertop until you know what the flooring will be. And how do you pick a flooring without deciding what color the cabinets will be. Plumbing fixtures? That depends on the whether the tub is built in or free standing, and that depends on what tile is attractive, affordable and available. Roof color? Well that depends on the exterior stone color, which is hard to pick when the samples don’t always accurately portray the actual product. All separate choices, but they all need to come together.

Those are the puzzles that swirl in our brains and keep us awake at night. I know it is not solving world hunger, but it is the immediacy of our life and (chosen) project. Actually, I lie when I say it is keeping us up at night. It is only Barb who is charged with making all this work. Her hands are the ones turning the inter-linked cubes over and over, lining up all the colors in their proper location. With the toy Rubik’s Cube there are some savants who can come up with the solution in seconds. I wish I could magically grant that power to Barb for the house. But that is not likely to happen.

Barb has undertaken this challenge before, redesigning various parts of our current home. And the spectacular results should make the house very marketable. But in comparison, those projects were like solving a 2 x 2 cube, not the full 3 x 3 version. This is the real enchilada, or in honor of Mr. Rubik, the authentic goulash. I help where I can, but I lack Barb’s sense of style and her vision. My best role is as a documentarian and as a sounding board, and I apologize for even getting impatient with that.

So Barb, this one’s for you. We will find the tile, find the fixtures, sell our house and make our move. And oh yeah, plan a wedding too!cube 2
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Filed under: home building

Tags: joe south, rubik's cube

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