It was a dark day on Main Street when we gathered around the table with Chris Kinnard (Keyway Construction), Michael and Jason (theworkshop 308) and me. No Cheeto and Hot Tamale combo this time...no Stella in a playpen....no coffee from the Coffee Ethic.....no Great Lake Swimmers playing in the background. Just us. Just the facts. And, unfortunately, just too much of an incredible house design for too little money to spend to get it built. The storefront glass, the large amount of concrete and the two separate structures were the vital elements of the project that couldn't be compromised, yet couldn't be afforded.
The lower Chris got on the list of what each component would cost, the lower my hopes got. It was pretty quiet for a moment or two when he finished and when all of the questions and all of the "what if we cut these...." were uttered.
My first thoughts during the moments that followed were...."Everything I had always wanted and much, much more." (gone) "They nailed it." (gone) Not only had I been "living" in that house over the past few weeks, myself, but I had garnered support and envy and unanimous appreciation for the gifts and talents of the designers for every facet of the plan, from family and friends who knew what this house meant to me.
My next thoughts were....Remember that day I walked into theworkshop 308 with my plastic shoebox full of ideas? Remember the enthusiasm....the confidence....the acceptance....and the commitment with which I was received? Not to mention the sheer admiration I had for their design talents and abilities which attracted me to them in the first place. And did I say "commitment"? I knew when I left their building that first day, that they were committed to my project and they were committed to my budget for the project and that I trusted them to honor those commitments beyond any doubts, and that I would have a house that I would love and live in for the rest of my days when everything was said and done. That kind of trust doesn't come along too many times in a lifetime......and it sure takes precedence over the me-me-me thoughts I had in that first moment.
And then, I think I remember saying, "Well, I could always just live in a shipping container"....thinking back to several years ago when I was so intrigued by Adam Kalken's "Architecture and Hygiene" website that I ordered his book and seriously thought about the shipping container houses he had designed. Chris had an extremely polite but non-committal look on his face, but Jason and Michael took that comment and ran with it. The more they talked and the more Chris got the picture, the more "The Montgomery Residence" began not to be the ending of my life-long plan, but more the beginning of a new one. A few minutes later, we were all walking up the street to visit a shipping container that had just been used as part of a First Friday Art Walk exhibition space.....and I guess you might say, that was the beginning of Phase II: the 8747 house.
And did I say commitment?