Sunday, November 25, 2007

Empire II - Comedy and Tragedy

I suppose Martians have as much right to sell pieces of the planet Earth as anyone else.

I’ve never understood real estate as a concept. Who owns what? Who can sell what? Pieces of the planet? Who first thought up selling pieces of the planet? Who was first foolish enough to pay for a piece of the planet? Does that make any more sense than buying a piece of Mars?

Would you buy a piece of Mars?

Many things may be viewed as a question of give and take. In the history of real estate, there is probably more take than give. This is Thanksgiving weekend. All we who still have our homes have much for which to be thankful. Still, ironic - how it all got started and where it ended.

Southern California is on fire again today. As of this moment, at least 46 homes have been lost.

We may take; we may buy; we never own.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Empire I - The Guest Bath is Done! (but would Her Majesty approve?)

It's November and I haven't touched this blog since July. How time flies when you're having so much fun with remodeling.

The good news is that the guest bath is finally done.

A view of the bathroom before the remodel:

and after:

The Kitty was a great helper, as anyone with a cat could attest:

A few years ago I acquired a set of Victorian era prints on EBay. The Victorians were wild about ferns and having a collection of memorabilia of British royalty I decided to give the guest bath a Victorian tilt, even though the house is a Craftsman style. Or, I should say I gave it my mis-informed interpretation of Victorian. I thought the revelation of the claw foot tub would support my inspiration. Wrong. Claw foot tubs are very un-Victorian. The Victorians had a big thing for hygiene and the tubs were too difficult to clean under. I later learned this sad fact for myself but still, I'm happy we could recover the tub and bring a bit of history back to the house.

Now, here's the question that occurred to me once I got the whole Victorian thing into my head. The Victorian era was all about Empire. How could I celebrate that in my home design?

I have a cup that commemorates Victoria's 1897 Diamond Jubilee as "Empress of India."

Why not have a mug celebrating Cortez as Conqueror of the Aztecs?

Or a plate picturing Andrew Jackson as the Scourge of the Cherokee?

In a hundred years, will anyone celebrate our 21st century incursions? Not likely. Not likely we'll be here in a 100 years. Too bad. I'd like to think my house could reach the age of 200 and that someone else will still be enjoying the work we've put into it.

In spite of the ugliness of the reality of Empire, I confess to being drawn to British colonialism as inspiration. I like the idea of confronting the exotic from the comfort of a well-furnished tent. Very Abercrombie & Kent. But to think that way, one dismisses the humanity of the Other. Victoria was Empress of India, but not likely in the minds of the Indians, who hardly needed an Empress.

fyi - I've played with the formatting of this entry until I'm ready to throw crockery. I still can't get it right. Maybe that's why I only post every 4 months.