For the eighth grade yearbook, we were asked what we wanted to be when we grew up. Listed under my picture of me wearing teased bangs and a white turtleneck peeking out of a red cable knit sweater, it read “Actress or an Architect”. You know, two things that are pretty compatible. I’ve always laughed at the ridiculous pairing of those answers, but I recently realized that being a home decor blogger is sort of somewhere in between. I just didn’t know this profession would exist at that time! As someone who was perpetually in plays, the reason why I answered Actress was obvious. The reason I listed Architect as a desired profession was because of something I did in private. I used to draw elaborate house plans while sprawled out on the floor of my bedroom listening to music.
It was the more mature way of playing with a dollhouse, which was my favorite toy as a child. It wasn’t my favorite because I liked to play with dolls, but because I loved to rearrange the furniture and even create extensions to the house with lebkuchen tins.
I had beautiful German dollhouse furniture to play with and it’s interesting to see how that furniture informed my decorating tastes in my adult life.
You can see more of my dollhouse furniture pieces in THIS POST.
I was “too old” and grown-up for my dollhouse, so I started playing with furniture on paper. I even made cutouts of furniture so that I could move them around in each room. and I studied real floorplans and design concepts, so I could draw doors, windows, stairs, and furniture pieces correctly.
When I was cleaning out the basement storage room last week, I happened upon my portfolio of floor plans!
Most of the homes I designed were enormous and paid no attention to building code, weight-bearing walls, or even how practical the home would be to heat, cool, and clean. It was all about creating something fit for my imagination. My house plans had ballrooms, Florida rooms, verandas, multiple staircases, recording studios, media rooms, smoking rooms, libraries, and lots of plants filling empty corners, represented by a little scribble contained in a circle.
I taped multiple pages together to be able to show the full spread of each floor, including the grounds and pool.
I even drew a plan for a theatre including fly space, dressing rooms, light storage, and green rooms.
This hobby progressed into drawing different elevations of homes as well as creating drawings and floorplans for my own room.
I showed these to my boys and we all laughed at my houses, which looked a lot like the game board of Clue. While he thought it was a little dorky, I could see Calvin’s wheels turning about ideas he could draw out on graph paper.
One of my favorite memories about these house plans was when I showed them to my Opa, who was a home builder. “Now, most people don’t live in houses like these. If you’re going to be an architect, you need to design some homes for real families.” He challenged me to create a floor plan that was 1,000 sq ft or less. I sat at the kitchen table, determined to meet the challenge, and fit everything in. I wish I still had that 1,000 sq ft plan, but it wasn’t in this collection. I’m sure it was lost in a move or a purge.
I was deterred from being an architect in high school when I realized it involved a lot more math and precision than I was willing to learn. But I still build and renovate houses in my head regularly. I still make sketches of rooms to rethink them. I still make cutouts of furniture and shuffle them around on a piece of paper to figure out possible furniture arrangements.
And I still listen to music while I do it.