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learning as we go (or read)

January 23rd, 2010 by

The process doesn’t always bring out the best in us. Kevin believes that research, research, research is the key to not getting ripped off or taken advantage of; his rationale is that knowing as much as possible about architect’s working ways, what builders do, how realtors work and what the laws are concerning real estate and construction will keep us safe from predatory designers, builders, realtors and lawyers.

That translates into a pile of books that collapses onto the table, and multiplies into several piles—in the bathrooms, where important reading is always done; in the bedroom; in the living room and the TV room, in his office, in my office; on the floor; against the walls…we will be able, after all this, to start a library of need-to-know building books.

My own style in this situation is as it is in most situations. I learn by listening, watching, asking questions. For me, we’re hiring experts to take care of this information for us, so learning all the things they should know is redundant and time-wasting. Of course, if I’m honest, the things Kevin knows I do absorb just from hearing him talk (even when I wish he would talk about something else or not talk at all). But he worries that I won’t know enough, and wants me to read “What Your Contractor Can’t Tell You” and all the how-to-design-your-own-home tomes he’s acquiring.

Interesting, really, that this process is pointing up our differences. It’s probably inevitable. His exactness, his need to know as much as he can about whatever the subject is we’ll be discussing with someone, never stood in as great contrast to my organic learn-while-we-do style as it does now. Of course, we seem to be learning just as quickly with our different methods, and all of this points out that smarts comes in different packages.

So we’re flying home, as I write this in my middle Southwest seat, or back to the home we’ve known for the past several years, with a path started down the direction of home buildership. Our architects are working on our feasibility study, Linda is looking for land (and checking out the land we found on this trip), Chuck is now our lawyer and we have new friends in the Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill modernist community.

Two of whom live in the first house our architects built, with an art collection that includes an apparently scandalous painting in their dining area (by a very well-known painter) featuring frontal male nudity. I mean, come on; everyone who’s seeming scandalized by it is married, so the women know what a naked man’s penis looks like and I sure hope the men do.

The other couple we’ve befriended live in Greenville, two hours east of Durham, and they own the most recent home designed and built by our design/build firm. No scandalous artwork, at least not that we saw.