Back in D.C. we cautiously congratulated ourselves for having completed the two main floors of the house.
There was just one problem—they didn’t connect.
To get from the upper floor to the lower, you had to walk along the upper breezeway, unlock the gate, go down a short flight of stairs into the neighbor’s driveway…
…walk down the main road that ran beside the house, swing back into our driveway…
…unlock the carport gate, and enter the second floor breezeway.
I’m exhausted just thinking about it.
If we rented out the house as a three-bedroom unit (think parents upstairs, children down), the guests would think we were insane and demand a refund.
It wasn’t as if we hadn’t foreseen this problem. Steve had, in fact, produced a number of spiffy designs to solve it. But this was before he got sick and work had fallen behind schedule and we had spent a lot more money than we expected.
In short, it had been a problem that was easy to ignore–until it wasn’t.
Which was now.
We pulled out Steve’s designs and reconsidered. Each was ingenious in its own way…
…and yet there was something indefinably wrong with all of them. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it until suddenly it dawned on me: all of the staircases were on the exterior of the house.
Whatever the house’s architectural shortcomings, it was a perfectly contained unit, a large cube enclosed by balconies on two sides and unadorned facades on its garden and back side.
David’s staircases would have to be appended to one of the two balcony facades and would, in essence, violate the integrity of the structure. This didn’t seem right.
We racked our tired brains.
Then we racked them some more.