Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Stuff you hardly stop to think about...

Hello Everybody!  So if you were wondering about my London living conditions...

...for my social spaces assignment I made a rough (emphasis here) drawing of Carol's apartment where I live, labeled it, and made some notes about the space and it's uses.  I also talked to Richard (my roommate) about it and he added some interesting comments that helped shape my thinking. Hope you enjoy it:

One thing is for sure: Carol's flat is really small. Composed of a living room, a small kitchen, two bedrooms, a small outside porch, and a uniquely split bathroom composed of a small room with a toilet and another with the shower and sink, the resulting lack of space means, as Richard put it, that “everything in it is multipurpose.” The small outside porch is for food storage and for the clothes dryer. The washing machine is in the kitchen instead of a dishwasher. The second bedroom is also the library. The living room, which is equipped with a small fold-down wooden table and several fold-up wooden chairs, is also the dining room. However, due to the unique rental situation that has placed Richard in the small bedroom and me in the larger, double-bed bedroom, the living room moonlights (literally) as a double bedroom for Carol and her daughter Alana. This means that the primary public gathering place in the house is also a private space depending on the time of day.

Furthermore, and partly as a result of the semi-public nature of the living room, the kitchen serves as a secondary public gathering place. The only problem is that the kitchen is very small, and there is only a place to sit if you hop up on the large countertop by the window or if you bring in one of the wooden folding chairs from the living room. Hence, while the kitchen does serve as an additional place of social refuge, its sore lack of comfortable furnishings only makes it survivable for about a half hour before everyone either moves to the living room or gives up on the conversation entirely.

That being said, since my bedroom is the larger of the two it has become a private social gathering place for Richard and I when we hang out in the evenings. The double bed works as a mostly-comfortable platform for watching Youtube videos and Avatar episodes, and we have exchanged many stories while one of us sat on the one wooden chair and the other on the bed. When I get tired of sitting on the bed I often just sit on the floor. That's why we have carpet, right?

Perhaps the most interesting social space in the house is the entryway, which could be renamed “the transition zone,” because nothing occurs in it for it's own sake. Instead, the entryway is just a passage from one part of the house to other: from the kitchen to the living room, from the kitchen to the bedroom, from the bedroom to the sink, and for leaving from or arriving at the apartment. The list of uses goes on and on. Yet this ambiguous nature of entryway activity turns it something akin to the stack of “Chance” cards in monopoly. The slightest sound coming from it sends all the heads turning. After all, just what could be going on in there? Is it someone going out? Is Carol making food? Has the mail arrived? Is someone trying to break in? Make no doubt about it, noises in the entryway means something is about to happen and nobody can be quite sure exactly what it is, making it, ironically, the greatest point of interest in the whole flat.

The last, and perhaps most curious element of Carol's house is her bathroom. Because, well, it's split in two: the small room with the toilet and the other with the bathtub, sink, and cupboards. You may not think much of it, but I am not used to using the restroom being a two-room activity. Although I suppose it's useful since it makes it possible for someone to be using the toilet while the other is using the sink or shower. I still think it's a little weird though.

1 comment:

  1. You can tell this is an apartment in England because you called it a flat. I remember reading Dirk Gentley for the first time and thinking, what in the world is a flat? :)