Genius of Architecture


This house, it’s a whole different thing than I am used to seeing, a whole different sensibility.  My Victorian was only five years newer than this house, yet I instantly understood how it was organized and how to make it happy. This house, I don’t know.

So maybe the house itself nudged me to dig through my California boxes and open the one marked DVDs. Inside that box, at the top of the pile, was not a DVD but a translation of a French book written in about 1800: The Genius of Architecture; the Analogy of that Art with our Sensations.” Nicolas Le Camus de Mézières is about to explain the theory behind the design of my house. He does not shy from commenting on its decoration, oh no. Room by room, he spells it out.

I will never have a Workroom for Confectionary or the Ninth Room, for the Under Pantryman. But I will never again have to wonder what this room is doing in that place. Gravel floor or no, I believe I now have solid theoretical ground beneath my feet. I believe I am, in 21st century terms, good to go.

As I read on, I will keep you posted.

7 thoughts on “Genius of Architecture

    1. Well, something, anyway. If you start reading that I believe, for example, that the Doric proportion is proper to the Library, do me a favor and suggest that I lay off the medicated Kool – aid.

      It couldn’t hurt to just check the proportions of those rooms, could it?


  1. That gravel floor really shook you.

    I’m glad the house is keeping you on your toes. Not good to go stagnant.

    I can’t sign in to your page any more since I upgraded the OS. I always want to at least “like” the post.




  2. Sorry. I know nothing about the logins. I can log in but for all I know, I’m still using the old OS.

    Actually it wasn’t the gravel floor per se. It was several weeks of gravel floor or worse, no floor, while I was writing huge checks and seeing no progress. There were rumors about heating and all but little action. I was specifying materials and finishes with no idea whether I would be able to pay for them or whether my contractors would ever stop fooling around and put something in. I’m talking weeks of no action. Even as I type, I still have old wallpaper on the walls. We are reaching the end of decent weather but have the guys hurried to replace those shoddy skylights or put in the dormers? No they have not. I guess they are waiting for a good lightning storm. I could go on but you get my drift. A mere gravel floor would in no way destabilise me. Watching my entire housing budget disappear, even though the house is nowhere near being habitable? Now that’s worrying. Watching my contractors pull the old trick of showing up in force on meeting day, only to drive off immediately after the meeting, not to return until the next meeting? Not good. When I return in a week, I hope to see solid progress. Watch this space.


  3. I detect a hint of “end of my tether with this bl***dy renovation lark” in the comment above.

    Been there, got the tee shirt and dragged myself back from “sell it, I can’t cope any more!” at least three times . Currently I am fairly positive but it won’t last
    Please believe me when I say that I understand that teetering on the edge feeling, Please feel free to rant at me if it helps, maybe we could set up a “let it all out” forum?
    On a more positive note, how amazing to have written descriptions of how your house looked.
    Absolutely sure that our French patchwork hovel never looked good before so nothing to aspire to apart from my Inner Vision , not sure if that’s a bonus or not………………,


  4. PS
    I admitted in an earlier post that the house and I were setting the agenda between us and got borderline abuse comments that I couldn’t post for suggesting that I wanted to make the house happy as it was only a “thing “, a “very small” hovel that could be sorted “in five minutes” by a decent builder, and that I am delusional (but said in nastier terms)

    I may well be delusional but only we are allowed to call Maison Priest a hovel


    1. Seriously? Abusive comments? Those folks have no clue. And if you detecting just a hint, I have been on very good behavior until now.

      The great thing about this house is that it wasn’t just cobbled together. My little pea – brain is working up a post on this topic. And though I am frustrated by the lack of progress, when these guys actually do something it becomes clear that they understand and respect the basic structure. So we’ll get there, assuming the money holds out. But if you get a message asking where, precisely, I might find you, and do you think red or white goes better with a good rant, don’t be surprised.


Comments are closed.