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Talking Home Renovations with the House Maven - Katharine White MacPhail EPISODE 19, 1st July 2020
In Consideration of Walls

In Consideration of Walls

I was copied on an email recently from a client to a contractor referring to me as “Katharine who is-oh-so-fond-of-walls”. Was I supposed to see that? I don’t know. The truth is, I am fond of walls.  

Walls form our spaces, create privacy, allow differentiation, block sound. In this particular case I am really failing in my attempt to persuade this young couple that opening up their long living room wall to the long central hall in their new-to-them but classic 1920s house will not create the space they think it will and certainly won’t be worth the money. Open plan is so overrated and misunderstood. I would have thought that after many people spending weeks and weeks in their homes with their families, all on zoom calls and trying to stay out of each other’s way, would finally result in an appreciation in walls, doors, and the need for varied “public” spaces in the home. Unfortunately, carefully curated photographs on Houzz and Pinterest create this illusion that removing the walls in your home will result in an impressive space.  I made a video about my warnings over open space last year, see the link here

Don’t get me wrong, I love a kitchen open to living and dining space. I understand that that is the heart of the home. But those big open spaces need to be balanced with public spaces that can be closed away, what Sarah Susankah calls “away spaces” in her book the Not So Big House. Just opening up walls randomly isn’t going to create useful space, especially not combining a living room with a center hall that contains a radiator, coat closet and stair to the second floor.  

Here is a link to my rant on YouTube about open spaces: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ed2Y7ShExbY

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Thanks to Ray Bernoff, the editor of the show. www.RayBernoff.com

Music at the beginning and end of the episode is Blueberry Festival Footrace by David Fisher and performed by Hanneke Cassel www.hannekecassel.com

Cover Art by Sam White www.samowhite.com

This podcast is a production of dEmios Architects. We've got a log of exciting events coming up, including Reading with Architects (book discussion) Saturday Morning Coffee Chats, how to get going with your home renovation zoom classes and a monthly artist chat- learn more at www.demiosarchitects.com

Email questions for future episodes to thehousemaven@talkinghomerenovations.com